Faithlife Sermons

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This morning I invite you on a journey -
A journey of the blind given sight
A journey of the lame given strength
A journey of the lost given hope
A journey of the early days of Christ’s ministry
Last week we looked at the Birth of a King, and how God was revealed through the Word.
As emphasized last week, if you want to begin to know what God is like, study the person and work of Jesus Christ, because:
God was revealed through the Word, being Jesus
But also, we learned that God is revealed through His own - that being us who’ve believed through faith in Christ.
God has called those who are His to proclaim Who He is!
And that centers our focus in loving God because of Who He is, learning more of Who He Is, and Living that pursuit out together.
In reference to Jesus, Henry Bosch wrote:
2679 Enriching Every Sphere
Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40, and Jesus for only 3. Yet the influence of Christ’s 3-year ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined 130 years of teaching from these men who were among the greatest philosophers of all antiquity.
Jesus painted no pictures; yet, some of the finest paintings of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci received their inspiration from Him.
Jesus wrote no poetry; but Dante, Milton, and scores of the world’s greatest poets were inspired by Him.
Jesus composed no music; still Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach, and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection of melody in the hymns, symphonies, and oratories they composed in His praise.
Every sphere of human greatness has been enriched by this humble Carpenter of Nazareth.
—Henry G. Bosch
As we have walked through the Old Testament to this point on Sunday Mornings, we turned a new page last week to the New.
And here we find Christ’s earthly ministry beginning.
Join me please in two places Matthew 3 and John 4. PAGE ____
People were flocking out to see this prophet (remember it had been 400 years since the last one).
They came out to hear what he was preaching about the coming Kingdom.
Many were responding to his message ready to give full allegiance and obedience to this coming King through repentance and submersion in the Jordan.
And Jesus comes on the scene - v. 13
Here we see the descent of the Spirit and the voiced approval of the Father on the divine ministry of the Son as both King and Savior.
Christ’s baptism was the start to his three year earthly ministry.
Beginning in John 1-4 you find the first year of Jesus’ Judean ministry.
John ch. 1
Christ calling some of His disciples to follow Him
John ch 2
Christ at the Wedding in Cana of Galilee - water into wine
Christ clearing the temple of the deceitful practices going on
John ch 3
Jesus witnessing to Nicodemus - well versed in religion, but didn’t know God personally
John ch 4
Jesus witnessing to the Samaritan Woman at the well
Look with me there in John 4, but keep your finger in Matt 3, we will return to Matt 4 in just a minute.
So, all of these fantastic things are going on - and continue for three years.
Christ is helping the helpless, giving hope to the hopeless, ministry is going great.
But I’d like you to look back with me to Matthew 4.
Prior to the transformations of John 1-4, and just after the audible approval of the Father in Matthew 3 we find Matthew 4:1-11
Again, just after the miraculous audible approval of the Father in Matthew 3 and prior to the remarkable transformations of John 1-4, we find the temptations of Christ.
As you read through this account in Matthew you’ll find a parallel with the testings of Israel in the wilderness in Deut.
But where Israel failed during the temptations, Christ fulfilled all righteousness.
Which emphasizes the incredible empathy Christ in His humanity has for us in the midst of temptation:
Christ endured temptation victoriously, and laid out for us the perfect example.
Now concerning Christ’s desert temptations, we learn three truths when it comes to temptation:
1. Temptation occurs at our weak spots first.
As we are reading passages, it is crucial to remember the context.
We learned last week that Christ is Deity.
He is 100% God
But Christ is also 100% human.
In the humanity of Christ, He was hungry after fasting for 40 days.
Many scoff at the thought of 40 days
In 2011 Rita Chretien, a Canadian woman survived being stranded inside a vehicle in Nevada for 48 days, by eating only some trail mix and candy, and drinking water from a stream.
We know Ghandi went on a hunger strike for 21 days once.
Severe symptoms of starvation begin around 35-40 days, and as highlighted by the hunger strikers of the Maze Prison in Belfast in the 1980s, death can occur at around 45–61 days.
So, Jesus was hungry, and the first temptation occured at that weak spot first.
Importance of stewarding ourselves and energy well.
Getting enough sleep
Eating meals that nourish more than fill
Exercising when able
Not making big decisions when we are tired, hungry, or stressed
Take note, temptation first occurs at our weak spots.
2. Temptation questions what is true.
Three times (vv.
3, 5, 8) Satan hinges his statement on a question - If, If, If…
Sound familiar?
For many of us, our greatest temptations aren’t going to come with a big sign exclaiming that it leads to ruin.
No, it is going to subtly chip away at what is true.
In this instance, Satan was questioning Christ’s true identity.
“If you are the Son of God, then you should...”
Because the Son of God could do this.
Temptation questions what is true.
Gen. 3 - God’s Word; Matt 4 - God’s Son (Word)
Temptation questions what is true.
Questions your committments
God’s promises
God’s proclamations
God’s perspective
Temptation questions what is true…
3. Temptation promotes temporal benefits over eternal rewards.
Really Satan?
Were you not around for chapter 3?
The Father proclaimed that Jesus is King and Savior.
Nonetheless, What’s going on here?
It is the same thing that goes on in your heart and mine in the moment of temptation.
We are being offered temporal benefits in exchange for eternal rewards.
We are balancing the present possibilities with the God’s infinite wisdom.
The devil is promoting the earth’s kingdoms in exchange for Christ’s eternal Kingdom.
In our context, it’s:
That second of satisfaction over the choice to endure
That moment of recognition over the choice of integrity
That brief pleasure of our flesh over the continual grace of God
Temptation is the battle of the now and the not yet
At times, the battle of what we feel and what we know.
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