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Passing the Test

Teachings of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A look at how Jesus taught Satan and us how to respond to the worst temptations and trials.

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What is the Test?

As our Lord enters into the wilderness or desert we can all see the parallel to what Israel went through when they were tested to see where their faith rested. Any time we go through a period of testing in our lives it will seem like God is no where to be found. What Jesus goes through is more extreme than anything that we will go through. We will tend to freak out if we have to go without electricity, air conditioning, internet, or television. If we have to skip a meal, we may die!
When we had the active shooter ordeal, we were told to shelter in place right during lunch hour. There was probably a grumbling in everyone’s stomach who had not brought a lunch. That grumbling turned into a whine until people would be willing to share. We are tested with our comforts and act like we know what Jesus is going through.
You and I may go through some actual test in our lives where our actual needs were about to be compromised. Are we going to say, “Forget God, He’s not going to do anything.” or “Trust that the God who provided for Elijah will provide for us. How about eating food from the mouths of ravens? What are we eating today? Worms and some grapes.
I shutter to think about the actual testing of members of the Lord’s church in America. We have become so self reliant and independent from God that we may very well sink with our ship instead of accepting the transport to a life boat. As we sit in our comfort we all must recognize that 1. God is blessing us each second. 2. If we lose it all in a minute, God is still over all.
The parallel between Jesus and Israel opens the door of understanding for all of this. In we read that the Lord humbled Israel in order to test the intentions of their heart.
Deuteronomy 8:2–3 ESV
And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
He wanted Israel to see in this that they aren’t kept alive by anything that they can see. That food does not make a difference in whether they will live or die. God is the one who is ultimately responsible for all life on earth.

V. 3-4 - Led Without Food?

Led
Jesus allowed Himself to be led out into that wilderness by the Spirit and was enduring temptations from Satan to preserve His life. This first temptation was a simple one. Surely you can stray from being led by the Spirit in order to stay alive! God wouldn’t want you dead! The mentality of Satan is not casting any doubt on who Jesus is, but instead it is attempting to belittle relying on God fully.
What more effective tool does Satan have in his arsenal than to provide us with an alternate food source than what God has given. Will God really allow His Son to starve to death? Come on! God said He was His Son (). Does God lead His son into the desert in order to put Him to death? God could send manna down from heaven if He wanted. That’s what He had to do with Israel who complained that they were starving!
Why do we see this carnal, fleshly, temporary tent that we are wearing as something more than what it really is? There is no lasting fulfillment in this body. There is no true satisfaction with the intake of these things. Food. What is the power of food? It is empty and unable to provide what ONLY God can provide. Where is our heart? Is it Food? You want your Food when you can have so much more than food. Food is life for so many people, but God says NO IT’S NOT! I AM!
Jesus understands this and we must understand it as well. Being led by God does not mean that I am controlled by my belly. My god is not my belly! .
Philippians 3:18–19 ESV
For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
There must not be a single thing that we see every day that we consider to be the source of our life. Do you trust God to be your source of life?

V. 5-7 - Led by the Word?

Here Satan comes to Jesus playing in His ball park. You want to live off of the word of God and you believe God will take care of you? I’ve got some words for you. “I see that you are trusting in God Jesus… Jump!” Show it some more and put God to the test. You are so good and righteous Jesus. God loves you so much that you will be delivered from everything… Jump.
In the second temptation, “I see that you are trusting in God Jesus… Jump!” Show it some more and put God to the test.
Jesus’ response is another quote from .
Deuteronomy 6:16 ESV
“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.
It is apparent that Jesus is meditating on the words that describe what Israel was supposed to learn in the wandering in the wilderness.
Satan has been deceiving men for all of time. He does so by using the words of God against men. He can take any verse from God and twist it to say something that is completely against God. So why are there so many denominations? Satan can come up with 23k different ways to mess up scripture. Promoting unholiness, foolishness, legalism, apathy or any one of a number of false teachings.
All we have to do is be in a hurry. If we are in a hurry or lack the proper care and concern for God’s word we will never find out how far we have strayed. If we don’t slow down in order to make sure that we are accepting the truth found in scriptures we will put God to the test by performing some other sin that isn’t in and of itself bad.
God doesn’t want to be tested. We do not put Him to the test. All of our experimentation that has improved our lives and opened up new technologies and medical breakthroughs must not be used to understand how God wants to love me. If I want to understand how God loves me and whether or not He is truly all knowing, powerful, and able to be anywhere at any time I must read and trust.
If we are led by the Spirit, we will put our faith in the word of God and not put Him to the test. Paul said that we have a hope that we do not yet see (). We walk by faith, not by sight ().

v. 8-11 - Lead Without Suffering?

The final test is an attempt to relieve Jesus from all of the suffering that He will be enduring in the future time that is left on earth. No dealing with these ignorant and repulsive people. No humiliation and insulting. No concern about all of those sick people. No crucifixion! Just sign on the dotted line and your whole reason for being here will be given to you. I give up! Just fall down and worship me and I’ll let you have everything I have power over. Let’s not make this difficult. You are the Son of God after all.
This temptation reminds me of all of the stories that have been written where someone sold their soul to the devil. Usually they don’t end up with nearly the amount that Jesus is being offered here. They settle for a billion dollars or something like that. The prince of the power of the air can grant rule over all of the world and we settle for a singing career or superstar status of some kind. ()
Jesus responds with not only a no, but a command to leave! Quoting to say that He will continue to adore and honor God. Jesus recognizes that there is only one way to fulfill what He really came to earth to fulfill, and if there was another way, Satan wouldn’t be the one to tell Him about it. He does not follow the will of Satan. Satan doesn’t compare to God.
God’s not a big fan of us putting anyone or anything in his place. He is not just #1. He is the only 1. I would often say that the wife comes second, then the kids, then the church, then the lost, then the job, then etc. BUT there is only one. My worship of Him fulfills all of the other relationships. None of those relationships are supposed to be touched without first understanding the will of God.

Applications

When the test comes, know your enemy and know the true source of life comes from God.
We don’t test God by allowing His word to be twisted. Instead we trust what is beyond our level of understanding.
There is no way to relieve the suffering and fulfill our reason for being here.
James 4:3 ESV
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
God is a prayer pinata? NO!
Our focus is not about God if we live thinking about “I want, I want, I want!”
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