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Don’t deceive yourself: Receiving, practicing, and being true to the Word (I)


From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

In preparing for the sermon (James 1:19-27) last week, I came across the commentary on the passage by Warren Wiersbe with the title: Quit Kidding Yourself, which I thought was brilliant as it summarized the whole passage so well. I like to recap some of his insight here in this article to share with you all.

The Bible tells us that “The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad. Who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9, NET) I was struck by the translation that “deceitfulness” is “incurably bad”! James in addressing his Christian readers talks about this deception twice: “deceiving your own selves” (1:22) and “deceiveth his own heart” (1:26) Wiersbe states: “If a Christian sins because Satan deceives him, that is one thing. But if he deceives himself, that is a far more serious matter.”

“Deceiving” is from a verb found here and in Col 2:4, meaning “to cheat or deceive by false reasoning.” “The deception comes from thinking they have done all that is necessary when actually listening to the Word is only the beginning.” (BKC) Sometimes Christians, even those who have been Christians for a long time, can fool themselves that they are walking with God and serving Him, when in fact they may be walking in the ways of sinners and serving themselves (cf. Rev. 3:17). Again, Wiersbe says, “Spiritual reality results from the proper relationship to God through His Word. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17), and if we are rightly related to God’s truth, we cannot be dishonest or hypocritical.” So, the critical question here is are we truly walking with God and guided by His Word. The true follower of God has the following responses towards God’s Word: receiving, practicing and being true to the Word.

  1. Receiving the Word (19-21)

Drawing from imagery of the Lord’s parable of the sower (Mt 13:1-9, 18-23), James describes the Word as “the message implanted within you” by God Himself, the Word that we should  “welcome”, or “receive with meekness.” Often when we have become Christians for a long time, we think that we already know it all. The “seed” is the same, it is the hearts (soils) that are different, either “hard,” “shallow,” “crowded,” or “fruitful.” Today, there are many reason why our hearts are hard, shallow, and crowded, but I believe the most common problem is we are “dull of hearing” (Heb 5:11) because our spiritual life is in fact decaying.

Therefore, James teaches us that if the seed of the Word is to take root in our hearts, we should “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (1:19) Our personal behaviour and interpersonal relationship must reflect this obedience to His Word. I often apply this verse to communication skills which of course are totally applicable, but I was again struck by the reason behind this verse is much much deeper as explained in verse 20: “for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” The goal is ultimately not just building human relationship, but producing lives that reflect the righteousness of God. This also means “put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness.” (1:21)

It is my prayer that we are all hearers as well as doers of the Word. Let’s “Quit kidding ourselves”!

(Next: Don’t deceive yourself: Receiving, practicing, and being true to the Word (II)  

Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Simon Lee




在我準備上週(雅各書1:19-27) 的講道時,我參看到了聖經學者維爾斯貝(Warren Wiersbe) 對這段經文的詮釋,標題是:別自欺欺人了,我認為這很有見地,因為它一針見血地總結了整段經文。我想在本文中再思他的一些見解,在此與大家分享。

聖經告訴我們:“人心比什麼都詭詐。是無可救藥的腐敗。誰能測透呢?”(耶17:9 英文新譯本)“詭詐”是“無可救藥的腐敗”的翻譯令我震驚!雅各在向基督徒讀者發表講話時兩次提到這種欺騙:“欺騙自己”(1:22)和“欺騙自己的心”(1:26)。維爾斯貝說:“如果基督徒犯罪是因為撒但欺騙了他,那就是受到欺矇。但如果他是自欺欺人,那就更嚴重了。”

根據維爾斯貝(Wiersbe )的解釋:“欺騙”一詞來自本段經文和歌羅西書2:4 中的一個動詞,意思是“用錯誤的推理欺騙或矇騙”。“欺騙或矇騙來自本身錯誤地以為已完成了所有必須的事情,而實際上聽道只是起點”。有時基督徒,即使是那些已經成為基督徒很長時間的人,可能會自欺欺人,以為他們是與神同行並正在事奉神,而實際上卻可能是走在罪人的道路並為自己而行事(參:啟3:17)。維爾斯貝繼而指出:“屬靈的實況在於透過神的話語與神建立適當的關係。神的話語就是真理(約17:17),如果我們與神的真理建立正確的關係,我們就不會不誠實或虛偽。”所以,在這裡的關鍵問題是:我們是否真的與神同行並被祂的話語所引導。真正跟隨神的人對神的話語有以下反應:領受、實踐和忠於主道。

1.領受主道 (19-21 )

雅各很可能從主所講撒種的比喻中汲取靈感(太13:1-9, 18-23),將神的道描述為神自己“植入內心中的信息”,我們應該“敞開心田”或“溫柔地接受。”許多時候,在我們成為基督徒年日已久之後,我們會誤以為對很多經文已知道了。其實“道種”是一樣的,只是在於心田土壤的不同,分別在於“硬土”、“淺土”、“生長被擠住”之土、或是能“碩果纍纍”之土。今天,讓我們的心變得堅硬、膚淺和擁擠的,有很多因素,但我相信最常見的問題是在於我們“聽而不聞”(來5:11),因為我們的屬靈生命實際上正在腐朽。

因此,雅各教導我們,如果要讓聖道的種子在我們心中生根,我們就應該“快快地聽,慢慢地說,慢一點動怒”。(1:19) 我們個人的行為和人際關係必須反映出對神話語的服從。我經常把這節經文應用在溝通技巧上,當然這完全適用,但我再次被這節經文背後的原因所震懾,正如第20節所解釋的意思:“因為人的忿怒並不能成全神的義。”最終的目標不僅僅是建立人際關係,而是在生命中反映出公義的神。這也意即:要“擺脫一切污穢和所有的邪惡”。(1:21)

我所祈求的就是: 願我們都成為神的道的領受者和行道者。讓我們不要“自欺欺人”! (下期:不要自欺欺人:領受、實踐和忠於主道(下))


Christ Our Sanctified – Sermon Series

April 30 /May 1, 2022

From the Pastor’s Desk Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

What a joy to witness on Easter Sunday this year 10 persons were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! This follows 19 persons baptized last October on Thanksgiving Sunday. I am totally amazed by the work of God Himself amidst the COVID pandemic, that after almost two years of the Church being locked down, altogether there are still 29 new members through baptism. Yes, it is all the grace of God!

At the baptism, each baptismal candidate is asked two questions. First, do you know you are a sinner, and you accept Christ as your Saviour who washes away all your sins? The second question is will you from now on follow Christ as your Lord, obey His teaching and grow in your faith daily? It is so exciting each time to hear each candidate answers very affirmatively “I will!” The whole congregation all reacts with joy to witness that, just like the angels in heaven!

But all of us as Christians struggle in our faith after we put our faith in Christ. It is part of the growing process when we face all sorts of trials in our daily lives. At such time it is important to remember that Christ is not only our Saviour, but also our Sanctifier. Christ will help us grow as Christians so as to conform to His image. Peter teaches us: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (I Peters 1:14-16, quoting Lev.19:2) So for the next two months, we are going to look at the theme of “Christ Our Sanctifier.”  We will do this by studying the Book of James.

The Book of James is most probably written by James, the brother of Jesus. James, together with Peter and John, were the pillars of the church (Gal. 2:9). He was the recognized leader of the Jerusalem church as we can see in his speech at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15).

The purpose of the letter of James is to encourage the early believers to grow in Christian maturity and holiness of life. James teaches young Christians how to achieve spiritual maturity through “a confident stand, compassionate service, careful speech, contrite submission, and concerned sharing.” (BKC) It deals with every aspect of our Christian walk.  James emphasizes “practical holiness,” how faith and conduct must come together when we walk with Christ, in all situations of life. The series is as follows:

Christ our Sanctifier 1: The testing of your faith (1:1-18)
Christ our Sanctifier 2: Hearing and doing the Word (1:19-27)
Christ our Sanctifier 3: The danger of prejudice (2:1-13)
Christ our Sanctifier 4: Faith without work is dead (2:14-26)
Christ our Sanctifier 5: The taming of the tongue (3:1-18)
Christ our Sanctifier 6: The challenge of worldliness (4:1-12)
Christ our Sanctifier 7: The challenge of the wealthy (4:13-5:12)
Christ our Sanctifier 8: The prayer of Faith (5:13-20)

Brothers and sisters, please read ahead and wait for a word from Christ our Sanctifier. Shalom!

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Simon

基督我們的成聖者 – 講道系列



繼去年10 月感恩節主日有19位弟兄姊妹受洗後,我們十分歡喜快樂地在今年的復活節主日一同見證10 位弟兄姊妹奉父、子、聖靈之名接受洗禮!在新冠病毒大流行中,神自己的工作讓我感到非常讚嘆驚訝,在教會被封鎖近兩年後,總共還有29位新成員藉著洗禮加入教會。無可置疑的,這全是神的恩典!




1: 信心的試煉(1:1-18)
2: 踐道於行(1:19-27)
3: 偏見之危機(2:1-13)
4: 信心缺行為是死的(2:14-26)
5: 舌頭的馴服(3:1-18)
6: 屬世的挑戰(4:1-12)
7: 財富的挑戰(4:13-5:12)
8: 信心的禱告(5:13-20)



The first and last temptations of Christ (3): The last temptation and the final victory

From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Easter is here! Christ is risen, He is risen indeed! On this day, we celebrate the complete victory of Christ, over death, over sins and temptation, and ultimately over Satan.

When I first started this series of article on “The first and last temptations of Christ,” I was struck by the fact that three times in the last days of Jesus was “tested” on politically sensitive, theological and ethical issues, by the religious leaders of the day, trying to put Him to death. Jesus was able to answer all these “tests” with divine wisdom. I then remembered that Jesus when He began His ministry was first tempted by Satan three times also. As I re-study these temptations, I realized that were not like the cunning traps that the religious leaders laid for Jesus, but that they were challenges of much greater cosmic significance. Satan wanted Jesus to listen to him and demonstrate in Satan’s ways that Jesus was the “Son of God,” and so not follow the plan of God the Father, which was the way of the cross. But Jesus did not fall for Satan’s craftiness and rebutted him every time with the Word of God. I finally realized that the three first temptations were but one, whether Jesus as the Son of God would follow Satan or follow the will of God.

Therefore, in this final article of the series, I would like to change the focus instead to Christ’s final real “test” (temptation), the one that He faced in His spiritual struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt 26:36-46).  The crux of the trial was expressed in Jesus’ prayer to His Father, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Mt 26:39)

Jesus was not afraid of death or the pain He knew He would suffer, that was not the test. The “cup” referred to here is the cup of suffering due to sin and eventual death. Jesus knew He would be separated from the Father (Mt 27:46) and He would bear the sin of all humanity (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24). The Father has never forsaken His Son before. A cup, figuratively in the Old Testament, refers to wrath. The wrath of God was on Christ because of the sins of all humanity now were borne by Him.

Indeed later, at the ninth hour on the day Christ was crucified, “Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46, quoting from Ps. 22:1) Therefore, in Gethsemane, Jesus was exceedingly grieved or sad to the point of total distress.  This distress was not helped by the fact Jesus’ most trusted disciples: Peter, James and John, were not able to stay awake, and watch and pray with Him.

The last and final “temptation” of Christ was not wrestling with or resisting God’s will. As perfect man, Jesus felt the heavy burden of repelling sin. Yet as the Son of God, He was ready to yield to the will of God and fulfill the mission that the Father sent Him to accomplish. This “struggle” comes from the mystery of His humanity and deity, the fact that Jesus the Son of God was at the same time the Son of Man. Christ was already victorious when He rose after the prayers in the Garden to face those that were going to betray Him and crucifying Him on the cross.

Before Jesus yielded up His spirit and died, he shouted, “It is finished! Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” (Jn 19:30)  It was a shout of victory, as Jesus the Son of God had obeyed fully the will of the Father. Jesus was triumphant over Satan and all his deceptions. His mission was accomplished.

We read that on the day Jesus rose from the dead, in the early morning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb…, an angel of the Lord said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead…, So …with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. (28:1-9)

Yes, Christ has risen. He is victorious over all temptations, sin, death and Satan. Let us all come and worship Him, for He is indeed the Son of God. He had died and rose from the dead to make us all children of God.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)

Your servant in Christ
Rev. Simon Lee





當我第一次開始撰寫關於“基督的首次和最後的試探”文章系列時,令我懾服的是,耶穌於在世的最後日子裡,當時的領袖和宗教人士,企圖置祂於死地,曾三次在政治敏感問題、神學和倫理問題上 “考驗” 祂。耶穌均能夠以屬神的智慧一一應對所有這些“考驗”。我也記得,當耶穌開始祂的事工時,祂亦曾三次受到撒但的試探。當我重新研究這些誘惑時,我才意識到這與末後宗教領袖為耶穌設置的狡猾陷阱截然不同之處,是先前的試探含蘊著具有更大「超宇性」(cosmic)意義的挑戰。先前撒但希望耶穌聽從牠的獻計,不要遵循聖父上帝的計劃而走上十字架的道路,並以牠的方式來證明祂自己是“神的兒子”。但耶穌並沒有中了撒但的詭計,而是每次都用神的話來駁斥牠。我終於明白,先前三個試探實為三連於一,要耶穌選擇跟隨撒但的意思或跟隨神的旨意,以表明神兒子的身份。

因此,在本系列最後的一篇文章中,我的重點轉到關注基督最後的真正“考驗”(試探),即祂在客西馬尼園的屬靈爭戰中所面對的考驗(太 26:36-46)。試煉的癥結關鍵在於耶穌對天父的禱告 “我的父啊,可能的話,求你使這杯離開我;但不要照我的意思,只要照你的意思”(太26:39)

耶穌的考驗不在於畏懼死亡,也更不在於畏懼祂自己知道將會遭受的痛苦。這裡所說的“杯”是指因犯罪而受苦和最終死亡的杯。耶穌知道他將會與父神分離 (太27:46) ,並且他會承擔全人類的罪在祂身上(林後5:21; 彼前2:24)。父神從未離棄過祂的兒子。“杯”,在舊約中比喻為忿怒。神的忿怒傾在基督身上,因為現在全人類的罪孽都由祂承擔了。

事實上,接著,在基督被釘十字架那天的第九個小時,“耶穌大聲喊著說:以利,以利,lema sabachthani?意即,我的神,我的神,你為什麼離棄我?” (27:46,引自詩篇22:1)回顧在客西馬尼園,耶穌極度悲傷及傷痛,甚至到極度痛苦的地步。事實可見,連耶穌最信任的門徒彼得、雅各和約翰也無法保持清醒,與祂一起守望與祈禱,門徒並沒有分擔減輕祂的痛苦。


耶穌在將祂的靈魂交付於神,斷氣之前,他喊道:“成了!父啊,我將我的靈魂交在您的手中!” (約19:30)  這「成了」是勝利的呼喊,因為神的兒子耶穌完全順從了天父的旨意。耶穌戰勝了撒但和牠所有的詭計。主的使命完成了。

我們讀到,在耶穌從死裡復活的那天,清晨,抹大拉的馬利亞和另一個馬利亞去看墳墓……主的一位天使對婦女們說: “不要怕,我知道你們尋找被釘十字架的耶穌。他不在這裡,已經照他所說的復活了。你們來看安放他的地方吧。快去告訴他的門徒,他已經從死人中復活了……,她們又害怕,又十分歡喜,跑去告訴耶穌的門徒。忽然,耶穌向她們迎面而來,說:你們好!她們就上前,抱住他的腳拜他。(28:1-9)




The first and last temptations of Christ (2): The first temptations

From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

We recently sang again the hymn “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Yes, it was also for my sins and all our sins that Jesus Christ died on the cross. In my previous article, I shared how this Lenten season for me has been a time of deep reflection, as I try to go deeper into understanding the suffering of Christ especially in the last week of His life. I see that Jesus at the end of His ministry was “tested” three times (Mt. 22:15-40), and this reminds me that when he started His ministry, He was “tempted” by the devil three times as well. I wonder whether there is any lesson we can draw from that.

As said, in looking back at the first temptations of Christ, I was struck by the fact that He was led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. I discovered a truth I had missed before, that is, the first temptations of Christ are all in the sovereign plan of God. Christ’s temptations also prepared Him to be the High Priest who understands our needs (Heb. 2:16-18; 4:15-16). Let take a closer look at the first three temptations.

The first temptation of Christ by the devil was right after the 40 days of fasting when Jesus was physically weak from hunger. The devil wanted to take advantage of Christ’s vulnerability and said, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” (Mt. 4:3) This temptation involves first of all listening and responding to the devil and yielding to the devil’s suggestion of Jesus satisfying His own physical needs using His power as the Son of God prematurely, contrary to the will of God. Jesus in His response simply quoted the word of God (Deut. 8:3): “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” The first lesson we learn here is in all our own trials, turn our eyes to Christ and His Word.

The second temptation was when Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down…” by subtly misquoting the assurances found in Scripture. This is the second time the devil questioned the sonship of Christ. This test of the devil again involves making Christ listening and responding to him and making Him to display His authority, ahead of God’s plan for Him, as if Christ needed to prove Himself to the devil. Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Deut. 6:16) The second lesson we can take away is we must never blame God for our trials and learn to submit to God’s sovereignty.

The third temptation was when “the devil offered Jesus a shortcut to His Kingdom” (Wiersbe), avoiding all the suffering Jesus knew He had to endure. This was when the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. All Jesus had to do to enjoy all that pomp and glory, the devil said, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus responded by saying, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” (Deut. 6:13; 10:20) The third lesson is that we should never succumb to wanting to short-circuit our trials which are allowed by God, and focus on worshipping God, and God alone?

Some commentators have drawn comparison of Jesus by the devil with Satan’s temptations of Eve in the Garden of Eden. The first temptation was an appeal to physical appetite (Gen 3:1). The second temptation was an appeal to personal gain (Gen 3:4). The third temptation was an appeal to power or glory (Gen 3:5). Also, in each case Satan twisted and manipulated God’s Word.

Before Jesus began His ministry on earth, the devil wanted to test Jesus on His self-identity. Twice the devil explicitly started his temptation with these words: “If you are the Son of God…”and implicitly and more subtly by offering the devil himself as the ruler of the kingdoms of the world to be worshipped by Jesus. Jesus the Son of God became the Son of Man so as to be our Saviour and Lord. His Sonship was not taken away when Jesus came into the world as a man in all His humanness, tested by the devil. As said in the introduction, the author of Hebrews tells us, “For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Heb. 2:16-18) Christ’s complete triumph over human weaknesses as a man in fact demonstrate that He is the Son of God.

The author of Hebrews goes furthermore and assures us that because Jesus was tempted just like us but did not sin, that Jesus is a high priest that can understand our weaknesses and give us help when we are in need. He says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:14-16) Christ’s complete triumph over human weaknesses as a man further demonstrates that He is our Saviour par excellence.

One final reflection, in the first temptations of Christ, we see that word of God can be misused and misrepresented by the devil in tempting us, but it can also be used powerfully in fighting back the devil in our temptations. Therefore, we must know the Word of God well to discern what is the truth and what is falsehood, and be able to use it in our spiritual warfare, for it is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph 6:17b)

Next: The first and last temptations of Christ (3): The last temptations

Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Simon Lee

基督首次和最後的試探(二): 基督首次的試探



我們最近在敬拜時再唱這首詩歌:“主被釘十架時,你在那裡嗎?”是的,耶穌基督是為了我的罪和我們所有人的罪而死在十字架上。我在前文中,曾分享這個預苦期對我來說是一個深刻反思的時期,因為我嘗試更深入地瞭解基督所受的苦難,特別是再思祂在世上生命最後的一週。我看到耶穌在祂的事工結束時亦曾三次受到“試探”(太 22:15-40)。這提醒我,當主在事工開始時,祂也是三次受到魔鬼的“試探”。讓我們來看能否從中汲取及領受到教訓。

如前文所述,當我重溫基督首次的試探時,我被基督由聖靈引導到曠野受魔鬼試探的事實所懾服,同時啟迪了我以前曾錯過的真理,那就是基督的首次受試探完全是在神主權中的計劃。基督的試探也準備了祂作為能完全瞭解明白我們需要的大祭司。(來 2:16-18;4:15-16) 以下讓我們來細心去看前三個的試探。

在基督首次的試探,魔鬼首先試探耶穌在祂禁食了40天之後,正當祂因飢餓而身體虛弱之時。魔鬼想利用基督的脆弱,對祂說:“你若是神的兒子,就吩咐這些石頭變成食物吧!”(太4:3) 這試探首先是要基督對魔鬼的建議作出回應並聽從,為要讓耶穌過早地使用祂作為神兒子的能力而違背神的旨意,去滿足祂自己的身體需要。耶穌在回應中簡單地引用了神的話(申 8:3):“人活著,不是單靠食物,更要靠耶和華口裡所出的一切話。” 我們在此學到的第一課就是:在我們面對考驗時,必須將我們的眼目轉向基督和祂的話語。

第二個試探是撒但把耶穌帶到聖殿的頂峰,對他說:你若是神的兒子,就跳下去吧!因為經上記著:神為了你,會吩咐自己的使者用手托住你,免得你的腳碰到石頭。魔鬼詭詐地並錯誤地引用了聖經中的保證。這是魔鬼第二次質疑基督是否擁有神兒子的身份。魔鬼這考驗再次涉及讓基督聽從並回應牠,讓耶穌在執行神的計劃之前展示祂的權威,就像基督需要向魔鬼證明祂自己一樣。耶穌對他說:經上又寫著:不可試探耶和華你們的神!’”(申 6:16) 我們可以汲取的第二個教訓是: 我們絕不能因為所受的考驗而諉過於神。我們要學習順服神的主權。

根據聖經學者維爾斯貝(Wiersbe)指出,第三個試探是:“魔鬼為耶穌提供可以避免自己所必須忍受的所有苦難,即能通往祂國度的捷徑。魔鬼把耶穌帶到了一座極高的山上,向祂展示了世上萬國一切的榮華。魔鬼說:你只要跪下來拜我,我就把這一切都給你。耶穌立即隨手可得,享受這一切的盛況與繁華。耶穌回答說 :“撒但,走開!經上記著:當拜主你的神,單要事奉他。’”。(申6:13:10:20) 第三個教訓就是: 我們絕不應因著想要讓自己避免神允許的試煉而屈服於試探誘惑,應當專注於敬拜神,唯獨尊崇神!

一些聖經學者將耶穌被魔鬼試探與撒但在伊甸園中對夏娃的試誘相比。第一個試探是為著滿足肉體的慾念(創 3:1)。第二個試探是與達成個人利益有關 (創 3:4)。第三個試探是與個人的權力或榮耀相關連(創 3:5)。此外,在這幾種情況下,撒但也扭曲及操縱了神的話語

在耶穌開始祂在地上的事工之前,魔鬼想要測試耶穌的自我認證。魔鬼兩次明確地用這話開始牠的誘惑:你若是神的兒子並且含蓄而極巧妙地通過突顯自己作為世界國度的統治者來接受耶穌的敬拜。神兒子耶穌降世為人子,以成為我們的救主和主宰,接受魔鬼的試驗。祂本為神子的身分並沒有被奪去,祂以作為一個人的完全人性而接受考驗。正如在引言中所提到,希伯來書的作者告訴我們:“他並沒有救援天使,只救援亞伯拉罕的後裔。所以,他必須在各方面和他的弟兄們相同,為了要在神的事上,成為仁慈忠信的大祭司,好為人民贖罪。因為他自己既然經過試探,受了苦,就能夠幫助那些被試探的人。(來2:16-18) 作為一個人,基督完全戰勝了人的軟弱,表明祂是神的兒子。

希伯來書的作者進一步向我們保證,因為耶穌和我們一樣受過試探,但沒有犯罪,所以耶穌是一位可以明暸我們的軟弱,並在我們需要時給予我們幫助的大祭司。他說:我們既然有一位偉大的、經過了眾天的大祭司,就是神的兒子耶穌,就應該堅持所宣認的信仰。因為我們的大祭司並不是不能同情我們的軟弱,他像我們一樣,也曾在各方面受過試探,只是他沒有犯罪。所以,我們只管坦然無懼地來到施恩的寶座前,為的是要領受憐憫,得到恩惠,作為及時的幫助。(來 4:14-16)作為一個人,基督完全戰勝了人的軟弱,進一步證明他是我們卓越超凡的救主。



The first and last temptations of Christ (1)


From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

For me, this season of Lent has been a time of deep reflection on what Christ suffered when he embarked on His final journey to the Christ. This has been helped with studying the last few chapters of Matthew, in the middle of trying to understand and work out my final chapter of serving at RCAC.

When I was preparing to preach on how Jesus was tested three times by those who wanted to trap Him in order to kill him, I remember the film “The Last Temptation of Christ”, a 1988 epic religious drama directed by Martin Scorsese. When researching for this article, I found that the film came with a disclaimer: “This film is not based on the Gospels, but upon the fictional exploration of the eternal spiritual conflict.” My interest here is not to revisit the film nor its voluminous critiques, but to reflect on “the eternal spiritual conflict” as suggested by the disclaimer in the film. My interest is also not the authenticity or accuracy of the account of the Passion Week, as the producers stated in no uncertain terms “This film is not based on the Gospels, but upon the fictional exploration…” But the disclaimer is very thought provoking for portraying the subject of “the fictional exploration” as “the eternal spiritual conflict.” While I believe that both the original author (Nikos Kazantzakis) of the 1955 novel by the same name and the producers and script writers of the film, missed the mark on what constituted the “last Temptation of Christ,” I also think that the producers were surprisingly right on in characterizing Christ’s experience as “the eternal spiritual conflict.” Yes, the “temptation” (conflict) was not in nature just “temporal” and “physical.” It was “eternal” because it was a drama of the God’s redemption of humankind since the fall. It was “spiritual” because it was much more than the physical pains or of carnal human weaknesses (so vividly portrayed or implied in the film), but the ultimate battle of human sin and divine grace.

The ”last” temptation of Christ (at the end of Jesus’ ministry) reminds us of the “first” temptations of Christ by the devil at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, recorded for us in Mat. 4:1-11. I find it interesting to try and contrast the two occasions where Jesus was “tempted” (Mt 4) and “tested”(Mt 22) to draw some lessons from them. As you all would remember, after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, he was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Mt. 4:1). I want to pause here right away and reflect on the fact that “Jesus was led up by the Spirit” emphasizing the sovereign plan of the triune God, and Jesus was “tempted by the devil.” What a profound contrast we see here, while we are given a lot of details of the three temptations of Christ by the devil, Matthew was careful to remind us that “Jesus was led by the Spirit…” It was the same Spirit of God that descended like a dove and rested on Jesus, when we hear the voice of God the Father “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mt. 3:17) as recorded right before the account of the three temptations of Jesus by the devil.

The thing I want to underscore here is the fact that the temptation experience of Jesus was “Spirit-led” but done “by the devil.” I recall immediately that God allowed Job, a blameless and upright man who feared God and turned away from evil, to be tested by Satan. Yes, the omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent God is sovereign and in control, even when Satan wants to tempt us and defeat us. The story of Job clearly tells us that God even allowed Job to be tested by Satan. God allowed the hard testing to happen to Job so that in the end Job in the end was able to say:

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,

                                but now my eye sees you;

                                therefore I despise myself,

                                and repent1 in ldust and ashes.” (Job 42:5,6)

The testing of Job by Satan allowed by God resulted in Job seeing and knowing God more fully, making him more aware of his own sinfulness and leading him into deep repentance. Today we may feel we are tested like Job. Of course we are not Christ and therefore do not have the same power on our own to resist the devil. But just like Christ, we can take comfort in that God is in control even when we are exposed to trials and temptation. James reminds us, “Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” (James 5:11)Whatever trials we are in, let us remember that the Lord is indeed compassionate and merciful.

Paul reminds us that sometimes God permits us to be tempted because He knows how much we can take. But tells us that God always provides a way to escape if we will trust Him. Paul says “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Cor 10:13) What a comforting thought to know that in all the trials we encounter, He will provide the way of escape, that we may persevere. My prayer is “Lord, my ability is very limited, please let provide me clearly with the way of escape.”

James states the above truth in even clearer terms: Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (James 1: 12-14). We cannot blame God when we have trials or temptations, ultimately human weakness is the reasons for our temptations. But God is always there to help us through if we depend on the guidance and protection of the Spirit.

 (To be continued).

Your servant in Christ,

Rev. Simon Lee



作者: 李耀全牧師



我在準備傳講耶穌最後旅程,思考祂是如何被那些想要設陷阱而三度問難試探他,為要將他置諸死地時,我想起了電影《基督的最後誘惑》(The Last Temptation of Christ),這是一齣由麥可-西 米羅於1988 年執導的宗教劇。在為這篇文章進行研究時,我發現這部電影附帶了一個免責聲明:“這部電影不是根據福音書改編的,而是對永恆靈性衝突的虛構探索。” 我在這裡並非有興趣去重溫這部電影,也不是要重複作大肆批評,而是反思電影標題所暗示的“永恆的屬靈衝突”。我的興趣非在討論該劇本的真實性或準確性,正如製片人絕不含糊地說明“這部電影不是基於福音書,而是基於虛構的探索……”但免責聲明非常發人深省將“虛構探索”的主題描繪為“永恆的屬靈衝突”。雖然我相信1955 年同名小說的原作者卡山札基 (Nikos Kazantzakis) 以及這部電影的製片人和劇本作者對於“基督最後的誘惑” 完全曲解了基督的「試探」,但我卻認為製片人令人驚訝的是,將基督的經歷描述為“永恆的屬靈衝突”是正確的。是的,“誘惑”(衝突或試探)在本質上不僅僅是“暫時的”和“肉體的”。它是“永恆的”,因為它是描述神自人類墮落以來施行救贖的劇本。它是“屬靈的”,因為它不僅僅是肉體上的痛苦或肉體的人性弱點(在電影中如此生動地描繪或虛構),而是人類罪惡和神聖恩典的終極戰鬥。

基督的“最後”試探 (在耶穌傳道結束時) 提醒我們,在耶穌傳道開始時,魔鬼對基督的“第一次”試探,記錄在馬太福音中。 4:1-11。我嘗試對比耶穌首次“受試探”(太 4 章) 和最後“受試探”(太 22 章) 的兩個場合,從中汲取一些教訓。大家可記得,耶穌接受施洗約翰的洗禮後,他被聖靈引領到曠野接受魔鬼的試探(太 4:1)。我想在此稍為停下去思考“耶穌被聖靈引導”這一事實,強調了三一神的主權與計劃。我們聽到父神的聲音,也看到聖靈像鴿子一般降落在耶穌身上,“這是我的愛子,我所喜悅的。”(太 3:17)。在我們讀到有關耶穌受魔鬼的試探詳細記載前,馬太小心謹慎地提醒我們,耶穌在受洗之後“是被聖靈引導到曠野… ”受魔鬼試探的,我們看到了多麼深刻的對比。



撒但對約伯的試探,令約伯更充分地看見神、認識神,更清楚自己的罪孽,使約伯深深悔改。同樣今日我們也面臨各樣的試煉和試探。當然,我們不是基督,因此我們自己沒有同樣的力量來抵抗魔鬼。但就像基督一樣,即使我們面臨試煉和試探,我們也可以因著神掌管一切而感到安慰。雅各提醒我們,“看哪,那些忍耐的人,我們稱他們是有福的;你們聽過約伯的忍耐,也看見了主賜給他的結局,知道主是滿有憐憫和仁慈的。”(雅5:11)無論我們落在什麼考驗中,讓我們緊記 : 主確實是滿有關切同情和憐憫的。

保羅提醒我們,有時神允許我們受試探,因為祂知道我們能承受多少。但是聖經告訴我們,如果我們信得過神,祂總是會提供一條出路而叫我們能承受得住。保羅說:“們所受的試探,無非是人受得起的;神是信實的,他必不容許你們受試探過於你們抵受得住的,而且在受試探的時候,必定給你們開一條出路,使你們能忍受得住。” (林前10:13)要知道,在我們遇到的所有考驗中,神必會提供出路,讓我們能夠堅持下去,這是多麼令人欣慰的想法。我的禱告是“主啊,我的能力非常有限,求讓我清楚地看到你給我的出路。”

雅各更清楚地陳述了上述真理:能忍受試煉的人,是有福的;因為他經過考驗之後,必得著生命的冠冕,這冠冕是主應許給愛他的人的。人被試探,不可說“我被神試探”;因為 神不能被惡試探,他也不試探任何人。每一個人受試探,都是被自己的私慾所勾引誘惑的。(雅1:12-14)。當我們遇到試煉或試探時,我們不能歸咎於神,因人的軟弱最終是我們受到試探的原因。但是,如果我們依靠聖靈的引導和保護,神必定會幫助我們度過難關。