We have been attending a revival this week at Sturgis Church of the Nazarene, Sturgis, Michigan. The preaching evangelist is Dr. Nelson Perdue, and the song evangelist is Dr. Gary Bond and his wife, Beth. The services have been inspirational and theologically challenging. You don't hear much about revivals any more...people are too busy with life to be concerned about spiritual matters.
Dr. Perdue always gives me something to think about...he goes deeper than most evangelists...desiring that we all understand the work of God's holiness in our lives. One night this week he gave me three mind challenges. I will put them forth to you...see if you can answer before reading Perdue's answer.
1. There are three recorded incidents in the Bible where satan audibly spoke. Can you name them?
2. What is the difference between the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness?
3. In the Lord's Prayer, where is the message of holiness?
I went to visit some of our Senior Elders here on the campground to ask them these three questions. I knew they all had sharp minds and a love for God's Word, having been preachers. I knew they would enjoy some food for thought...and they all know Dr. Perdue and highly respect his passion for holiness. After asking them the three questions, and getting their responses, I then shared what Dr. Perdue had enlightened my mind with.
1. There are three recorded incidents in the Bible where satan audibly spoke. First of all was in the Garden of Eden when he approached Eve as a serpent and tempted her to eat of the fruit of the tree that was in the center of the garden...the one God had told Adam and Eve to not partake of. Second incident was when satan and God were discussing Job and God gave satan permission to test Job (Job 1:6-12). The third incident was when satan tempted Jesus after Jesus had spent 40 days in the wilderness.
2. The difference between the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness is that satan tempted Adam and Eve to become like God by eating the fruit. If they would do so, their eyes would be open and they would become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil. (Genesis 3:5). When satan tempted Jesus, he asked Jesus to give up his Godhood and stay a man by bowing down to satan and doing as satan asked...turn the stone into bread, cast himself down off the highest point of the Temple, and at the peak of a very high mountain to kneel down and worship satan and be given the nations of the world. (Matthew 4:1-11). Dr. Perdue gave Dr. Dennis Kinlaw the credit for this comparison.
3. In the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), when we pray to be delivered from evil, we are asking God to remove the bent toward evil that we are born with so that the Holy Spirit can take up residence in our hearts and sin can be defeated through the power of the Holy Spirit who resides in our hearts. That's more powerful than I will take the time to explain here. It certainly expanded my mind to see this passage in such a light. Wow...God, remove that in me which causes me to sin. Give me power over sin, over evil, by giving me your Holy Spirit! May I be made more and more like you! Amen!
Now....for those of you looking for preaching material...there you go! I just wanted to take some time and record (blog) these new challenges I received this week from the holiness preaching of Dr. Nelson Perdue. I have been enriched!!! May I ever be growing in my knowledge of God's Word!!