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You may as well be eating rocks – prophetic lifestyle #3

August 11, 2010

Written in the style of a screenplay – please humour me, and enjoy using your imagination with me for a short while – I pray you’ll think it was worth it by the end!

Matthew – chapter 4.  Scene – Jesus, in the desert, hungry.  Really hungry.  Enter the devil.

Devil – (pointing to stones in corner, in response to Jesus’ rumbling tummy)  Turn those stones into bread, then, Jesus – if you really are the Son of God, that is

Jesus – It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

CUT!

Fast forward – scene – sunday school, South Wales, 1980-something.

Sunday school teacher – This means you need to read your Bible lots

Gareth – Hey? Where does it say that, then?

Sunday school teacher – Well, that’s the word of God, so you should read it – it is as important to read it as it is to eat food.

Gareth – <thinks> I’m still not convinced. I mean, it doesn’t actually say Jesus was reading His bible and that was what gave him superpowers to resist the devil, does it…. I suppose I can always try and read my bible more, I can try harder….

CUT

Fast forward some more – present day, two weeks ago or so, reading the actual Bible instead of a colouring-page one-verse-wonder in sunday school.

Gareth – flicks back a page from Matthew 4, and sees a well exciting scene in his minds eye.  (Having recently used this passage to illustrate the clarity with which Scripture holds forth on the doctrine of the Trinity, he is somewhat of an expert now on Matthew 3, and especially the scene at Jesus’ baptism.)

John – Hey, there he is! I told you I wasn’t the main attraction here! Here comes the Lamb of God, my cousin Jesus!

Jesus – Hey John, nice to see you.  How’s auntie Liz? Uncle Zac? Nice. Yeah, she’s fine thanks. Anyway, you’re preaching baptism, I want in.

John and Jesus disagree, Jesus resolves it amicably (of course) with John realising Jesus was right (of course!)

Jesus gets wet, gets up, and a dove flies down, hovering over Him (how would I get the FX guys to arrange that?) and then BIG voice..

Father – This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased

Scene ends with the Spirit driving Jesus into the wilderness. (A dove, in a car, off roading…. I’ve had too much coffee!)

CUT

Back to present day – my room, 20 minutes after reading.

Gareth – <thinking> I did do that round table discussion on the Trinity really well, actually, didn’t I?

Father – Gareth, you are my son, in whom I am well pleased

Gareth – WHOA!!!!!!  (cue more ‘whoa!!!’ – as God has just spoken to a man)

FX – Gareth’s brain is clunking over, smells of smoke and sounds of cogs.  Visuals – segue back to sunday school scene, Jesus’ baptism, Jesus’ temptation, God just spoke………

CUE REVELATION MOMENT!!!!

  • The word we are to live by as if it were food is “that which proceeds from the mouth of the Father”
  • The words Jesus was referring to when He responded to satan’s challenge were those that had just come from Heaven, confirming His identity and the Father’s pleasure in His Son.
  • Satan was directly challenging Jesus’ understanding and belief of the truth of that statement – “if you are the Son of God”.
  • Jesus was NOT saying “I don’t need bread, I’ve been reading my Bible, thanks”

If, when we read the Bible (as many good sunday school teachers have encouraged us all to do for years) all you hear is :-

  • “If you are a Christian, why did you do that yesterday?”
  • “If you were really saved, you wouldn’t still struggle with that sin”
  • “If you tried a bit harder, you might just get to be good enough for God, or at least you’d help Him get over the disappointment you caused Him when you last sinned”

then YOU ARE NOT HEARING THE WORDS OF THE FATHER. You can keep reading all you like, as my sunday school teacher told me to, but you are doing yourself no good.  Those words are not life, but death: they are not bread, they are poison.  Stop reading your Bible for a while – repent of your sin of unbelief and not thinking rightly about God – recognise that you are baptised into Christ, to share in His glory and even His sufferings, and then open your Bible to Matthew chapter 3.

Picture the scene – see John seeing Jesus, see the crowd watching their conversation, see them go into the water, see the Spirit fall as a dove on Jesus, and hear the Father’s voice, booming over the whole scene so it could not be mistaken by anyone – and notice that you are in Christ, the Father’s declaration over Him is His declaration over you.

NOW take this lesson and apply it every time that you are following your sunday school teacher’s advice to read the Bible lots.  It will only be life to you if you hear your Father speaking to you in the same way you just have.  If you can’t hear the Father calling out to the universe His great love for His children (that’s you and Jesus) then you need to stop – you may as well be eating rocks.  Go to your Father and do the same as above – repent, recognise the truth, and read again.

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