Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bethany Bullet - September 18, 2012

“Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will FLEE from you.”  
-(James 4:7)

A few weeks ago our Bethany Bullet highlighted the reality that, “God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.” That means God knows all things, can do anything and is everywhere; the devil is none of those things! Today we find out not only is the devil not omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent he isn’t even “omnivaliant”; that word I made up. However that word (omnivaliant) does reveal a truth James proclaims which decrees - the devil is not so brave that there is nothing that can cause him to retreat. In fact, there is something that can make the devil FLEE.  The very word, FLEE (that James uses) means to run in the other direction, to make haste, and depart from what is before. Same word is used by the other Apostles about the Christian who is to FLEE immorality, temptation, and evil desires. The word doesn’t simply indicate avoidance; it carries with it the resonance of escaping certain doom. There is something that can make the devil FLEE! The Gospel reading for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost portrays that it isn’t the presence, performance, or power of the disciples.  (Mark 9:14-29) *Click on the text to read the scripture passage.

That same text tells us what it is that will cause the devil to flee. It is the presence and performance of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes in power and pity for those He loves.  “Where God draws near, the devil doesn’t want to be there” 

Remember the temptation in the wilderness? I do not believe that it is a coincident that the devil leaves Jesus in the wilderness of temptation after the topic of worship arises. Mind you, the Lord allows the devil to tempt Him. This is part of Jesus’ state of humiliation.  Jesus humbles Himself and identifies Himself with us and, in so doing; He also renounces fully; using all the power He possesses all of the time. He is God, God in human flesh; True God and True Man, perfect God and perfect man in ONE person. He is the uncreated Creator; the devil, crafty and cunning, and capable as he is, he is still a creature. And the Lord enters temptation wilderness willingly.  He draws near to that barren place where He knows the serpent is slithering.  “Turn rocks to bread, jump and we’ll see if you’re dead.” The Lord refuses to heed either; but it is when the devil asks Jesus for his allegiance that we need to hear what the Christ says, “Worship the Lord and serve Him only; away from me you evil one.”  Jesus has been fasting, and suddenly speaks of feasting; He has been alone but now talks of worship and walks into His Father’s presence.  It is as Jesus draws near to the heart of God, He that commands the devil to go, and go he does. Where God draws near, the devil doesn’t want to be there.

One of the primary reasons that the Bethany Blueprint identifies worship as one of our core values…is in God’s House, in worship, through Word and Sacrament and the assemblage of His people gathered round the same – our Lord promises to be present in a way He is present nowhere else. God has promised that in worship He is present in power and pity for His people.  

Worship is the one place where more than any other we can draw near to the God who has already drawn near to us in Jesus of Nazareth. In worship, the Christ who came globally for all comes personally to you. 
V  Jesus comes to you and yours as we draw near to worship;
V  Jesus comes to you and yours in words we hear and read, and pray and sing together;
V  Jesus comes to you and yours in water through which His name flows down upon us and in bread and wine through which He feeds us and fills us with Himself;
V  Our Lord comes to us as nowhere else and when God comes near, the devil doesn’t want to be there.   
-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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