…tempted forty days…
· Jesus was tempted the entire time – 40 consecutive days, relentlessly, out in the wilderness.
afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
· Dr. Luke inserts a very interesting perspective to the report – after Jesus’ long stretch without any food, He was hungry.
o After such a long fast, renewed hunger probably points to a critical need for food. Jesus is beginning to starve to death.
o This is the precise time that the enemy chooses to bring his worst and most effective temptations to bear on the Son of God.
· Now, one commentator points out here concerning this passage, that “Jesus is hungry, but full of the Spirit. We are sometimes just the opposite - full stomachs and empty spirits.”
o Temptation is a universal constant while we’re still in these bodies of flesh.
§ I Cor. 10:13 says, “there is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man…”
o But you can be assured that the enemy reserves his worst, most effective trials and temptations for when we’re at our weakest.
§ And we’re at our weakest when we’re at the point of being so distant, so removed from the Lord and fellowship with Him through His Word, that we’re spiritually starving – when our stomachs might be full, but our spirits are empty.
§ Psalm 119:9-11 à “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word. With my whole heart I have sought You, oh let me not wander from Your commandments. Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”
§ Job 23:12 à “I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”
It is written…
· Notice how Jesus resists temptation and fights the enemy – the Word.
o This is real spiritual warfare, not the goofy shenanigans we often see on “Christian” television (aka, the “Big Hair Network”)
o Real spiritual warfare, in Scripture, involves prayer (not to the demons, but to the Lord of all creation) and the Word.
· It’s important to point out that Jesus fought this battle with the same tools we’re given, not with some exotic, über-spiritual power that we don’t have access to
o He didn’t face the enemy as God and smoke the unclean little creep
o He faced the enemy as a Man – like you and I have to every moment of every day.
o And He used the same weapons that we’re given – which weapons the Bible tells us are mighty, powerful, truly spiritual:
§ “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” [I Cor. 10:4-5]
o He used the Word – “it is written”
· This is important, because it illustrates something very vital for us to understand in our warfare:
o We don’t walk the Christian walk by effort.
o We can’t resist temptation – the world, the flesh, the devil – by our strength of will
o We can’t by willpower hold up for very long.
o We need something much more potent than our pitiful little fallen corrupt wrecked compromised wills; we need nothing less than the Lord Himself
kingdoms of the world
· Satan claims that authority over the earth’s kingdoms was delivered to him, and Jesus never challenges the statement.
o Who delivered it over to Satan and when?
§ We did.
§ In Genesis 1, God gave man dominion over the earth, and Adam and his descendants have forfeited it over to Satan.
o Satan is the ruler of this world (John 12:31) and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) by the popular election of mankind since the days of Adam.
· What’s true on the world scene is true in my heart. If my heart is not dominated by the Holy Spirit, then I’m in very dangerous territory
o Romans 6:16 à “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”
o The issue isn’t whether or not I’m super-holy or über-spiritual or anything like that…
§ …the issue is, do I hunger and thirst for righteousness? Do I want to want to love the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength?
§ Do I seek Him – or do I dwell on myself and seek my own?
· Please, please, please understand: It’s an issue of the heart and of where my heart is placed (in heaven, or here on earth?), not an issue of how well I’m doing or of my own effort.
o But on that note, meditate on these verses:
§ [Mat. 5:6] Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
§ [Heb. 11:6] But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
…if You will worship before me…
· Satan’s temptation moves to offering Jesus the easy way out
o “You don’t have to obey, You don’t have to submit Your will, You don’t have to abandon Yourself to the calling the Father’s placed on You…You don’t have to be misunderstood, abandoned, forsaken, betrayed, stripped, beaten, scourged, mocked, crucified…”
o He brings the same temptation to us
§ “hey, hey, hey…you don’t have to suffer any more…you don’t have to submit yourself to the Father in this area…you don’t have to take it any more in this situation…you deserve better…you deserve a break today…you didn’t sign up for this…reach out and take this fruit I’m offering…abandon the hard way…embrace the easy path, the wide path…just give in, just yield…”
· and make no mistake – by turning from the Father’s call and the Father’s way, Jesus would be worshipping Satan
o surely not openly…we can’t even begin to imagine that
o …but the practical result and outcome would be that.
§ To turn from the Father’s heart and will, to yield myself to the enemy’s temptation, to forsake the narrow way of discipleship, is to abandon myself to the enemy and his purposes and plans
· …it is to in fact worship him (the enemy, Satan).
· If Jesus had given in to this temptation, we would be hopelessly and eternally lost in our sin.
o He’d have spared Himself the unspeakable agony that was still in His future, but He’d have doomed us to eternal destruction.
· Likewise, when I give in to this temptation, I short-circuit the Father’s work in my heart
Get behind Me, Satan!
· There is a legitimate aspect of claiming and standing upon and declaring by faith the promises of the Word in spiritual warfare – I don’t want to minimize that in all that we’re talking about this morning.
o Jesus puts into effect the promise that the NT will later make in James 4:7 à “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
§ This is a Bible promise.
§ And it is a conditional promise.
· IF I actively resist the devil, he will flee from me.
§ It is also an imperative command
· “resist” in the James passage is in the imperative mood – it’s a command to be obeyed
· The Lord expects us to resist the devil
o Okay…so how do we do that?
§ Again, going back to Jesus our example, we see three things that show us how to fulfill this command to resist the devil so that we can also get the promised result that he will flee from you:
· He resisted by the Word
· Later in the Garden of Gethsemane, He resists through prayer
· Also in the Garden, as He was praying to the Father for the grace and strength to take the cup that He was about to drink, greatly desired His disciples’ fellowship and prayer support
o So Jesus fulfills the command that’s later given in the NT, in Hebrews 10, to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
§ How do we “resist the devil” so that he’ll flee from us?
· We resist him by the Word of God
· We resist him by constant fellowship with the Father through prayer
· We resist him by plugging in and keeping plugged in to fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the Lord
For it is written…
· Now, at this point we’ve got to point out that the devil knows the Bible, too. In fact, he probably knows the Bible better than any pastor or theologian.
o Seeing that Jesus is standing on the Word, the devil quotes Scripture to Him as a counter-attack.
§ This is also part of the strategy of Satan – and a part that we have to be very very aware of.
· The devil quotes Scripture – but quotes it out of context.
· This is my main issue with topical teaching – I run the risk of having an agenda, and then trying to prove my point and fulfill my agenda by finding verses that seem to corroborate what I’m trying to say.
o If my agenda is a health-and-wealth gospel, I’ll find all the verses that say that God wants me to prosper, and wrench them out of context to make the Bible seem to declare that God wants every believer to be always healthy and wealthy.
o If my agenda is a social gospel, I’ll find all the verses that declare God’s justice and meeting the needs of the poor and wrench them out of context and make it seem like those issues are the main thing of Scripture, and take an otherwise good and correct point and magnify it out of Biblical proportion, getting a skewed and insufficient gospel as a result.
o If my agenda is homeschooling, or women working outside the home, or a particular version of the Bible, or church growth, or…or…or… fill in the blank; if my agenda is anything, I can find support for it in the Bible, and when I take things out of context – even good things that the Bible DOES teach about – and blow them out of Biblical proportion, I get a lopsided, out-of-kilter gospel that’s quite frankly another gospel.
· But when I take the Bible at face value, at its word, and word-for-word – verse-by-verse, expositionally, through the entire Bible – then I get a complete, healthy perspective of the entire “story of God” and a whole, holistic view of His message to mankind.
o That’s why here at Calvary Chapel we go through the entire Bible, chapter by chapter, verse by verse – we want the whole counsel of God.
§ When we do that, we’ll cover all the individual topics and subjects that the Bible talks about – in the right context, and in the right proportion to how God lays it out.
o That’s also why I don’t put much stock in “devotionals”
§ The best devotional is to read the Bible, read the whole Bible, and let the Holy Spirit speak to you from the Bible
· …using devotionals as a supplement to that.
§ Don’t read just books about the Bible, read the Bible.
§ Don’t just read parts of the Bible, read the whole Bible.
§ Don’t just read devotionals – make the Bible your first devotional.
· The devil twists Scripture by taking it out of context and making it say what it didn’t actually say:
o [Psalm 91:9-13] Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
o When we say that we interpret Scripture literally, that means that we take it according to how and why it was written – we take it in context.
§ God nowhere promises you won’t stub your toe. The Psalm passage uses obvious metaphor (treading on lions – wanna try that sometime? How about trampling serpents, eh?) to convey the promise that those who trust in the Lord, He will defend, protect, and keep – no matter what the external circumstances look like.
· Look how Jesus responds to the enemy in the next verse:
Jesus’ response to the enemy
· Jesus takes the verses that Satan quoted in the context of the entire Word of God (which, by the way, you can’t do unless you know and are familiar with the entire Word of God)
o The enemy is here tempting Jesus to take a “step of faith” – but really what he’s trying to get Jesus to do isn’t a step of faith at all – instead, a leap of presumption.
o Jesus’ response: You don’t tempt (test) the Lord your God.
§ Steps of faith are good – but a step of faith is one where you have the full backing of the Word of God – in context.
· (and again; you won’t know the context of the whole Word unless you’re actively engaged in familiarizing yourself with the whole Word).
· This brings up the question, how do we know we’re taking a step of faith?
o First, when you’re stepping out in obedience to a specific command or promise in the Word
o Second, when you’ve gotten godly counsel that corroborates what you think you’re hearing from God (again the necessity of fellowship)
o Third, and in the context of both of the first two, when you receive a peace about the direction you believe the Lord’s leading
he departed from Him until an opportune time
· The enemy saw that he couldn’t get anywhere with Jesus, so he left…for a while.
o The devil will always seek to come back at an opportune time, so we should never give him the opportunity.
o Satan is not stupid; he won’t continually put his limited resources into an ineffective battle.
§ If you want Satan to leave you alone for a while, you must continually resist him.
§ Many are so attacked because they resist so little.
o Jesus resisted these temptations because He was walking in the Word and in the Holy Spirit.
§ These two give the believer full resource for victory.
· Too much Word and not enough Spirit and you puff up (in the sense of pride).
· Too much Spirit and not enough Word and you blow up. With the Word and the Spirit together, you grow up.
…in the power of the Spirit…
· Jesus comes out the other side of His testing stronger than ever.
· It’s important to point out that being tempted isn’t sin; it’s giving in to temptation that’s the problem.
· Notice, the focus of Jesus’ ministry was teaching.
o Not signs and wonders
o Not social activism
o Not influencing the political dialog or climate of His day
· Those things might very well be results of the teaching of God’s Word and the applying of it to every detail and decision of our lives, but they are the results only
o When any of these things – which may very well be right and good in themselves – displace the teaching of the Word, you get a deformed Gospel that ultimately is really no Gospel at all.
…as His custom was…
· Notice that Jesus made the gathering together with God’s people a priority, not an afterthought or an optional sort of thing.
o Think about it: if there was ever anybody who really, truly didn’t “need church,” it was Jesus – yet He was very specific and purposeful to make it His custom to regularly get together with God’s people for worship and the Word.
§ If Jesus, the perfect Son of God, felt that it was important…how much more should I…?
· [Courson] If it was Jesus’ custom to be in the synagogue, how much more so should it be ours. “I can worship God on the golf course,” some say. Or “Our church is so dead. I get more inspired when I’m surfing.” Do you think the synagogues Jesus attended were places of “Holy Ghost Happenings”? Do you think they were vibrant and moving? I don’t. Do you think Jesus actually learned from the teachings of the rabbis? I don’t. Yet it was His custom to attend anyway. Why? Simply to be in the midst of the church (Hebrews 2:12). And His presence in our midst is much more than enough of a reason to come together corporately, to meet together consistently.
…He has anointed me…
· Jesus quotes from Isaiah 61, declaring His mission to undo all the damage that sin has done
o As His representatives in the world now, we are similarly anointed by the Holy Spirit to continue that work
o As with most things, there’s a balance; those who focus on social justice get a twisted, anemic, insufficient non-Gospel in return
§ But if we are really going to be serious about the Bible, as we read it, teach it, let it get into us and change us…it’s going to work itself out in our lives such that it changes the way we relate to people and the world
· Jesus outlines His mission – to undo the damage that sin’s done in the world and in human hearts and lives:
o To preach the gospel to the poor: Sin impoverishes us, and Jesus will bring good news to the poor.
o To heal the brokenhearted: Sin breaks hearts, and Jesus has good news for brokenhearted.
o To proclaim liberty to the captives: Sin makes people captive and enslaves them, and Jesus has come to set them free.
o Recovery of sight to the blind: Sin blinds us, and Jesus has come to heal our spiritual and moral blindness.
o To set at liberty those who are oppressed: Sin oppresses its victims, and Jesus comes to bring liberty to the oppressed.
· The most awesome thing of all, though, is that Jesus didn’t just come to proclaim deliverance (like Muhammad or the Buddah), or even just to bring deliverance (like some religions claim to do) – but He came to be our deliverance!
· Another commentator [Courson] put it this way:
o We often hear people say, “I feel the Lord’s anointing upon my life.” But watch what Jesus says His anointing consisted of.…
§ …to preach the gospel to the poor…
· The poor, the downtrodden, the outcast, the unattractive, and the forgotten people—these are the people to whom we are to reach out, especially if we are to be like Jesus.
§ …he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted…
· Brokenhearted people are not easy to minister to because it’s not easy to walk with someone who’s hurting, to listen to their repetitive rambling, to dry their seemingly endless tears. And yet these are they to whom Jesus came lovingly, tenderly, and specifically.
§ … to preach deliverance to the captives…
· Jesus was anointed to preach to the very people to whom we all too often impatiently say, “I’ve told you what to do once; I’ve told you how to be free twice; why are you still in bondage to that habit, that person, that substance?”
§ …and recovering of sight to the blind…
· Of the spiritually blind, we are tempted to say in frustration, “Why can’t they see it? How could spiritual truth be any clearer?” Yet they are precisely for whom Jesus came.
§ …to set at liberty them that are bruised,
· Afraid of getting hurt, bruised people hold back. They’re defensive, timid, and fearful. Yet because He is anointed to free them, Jesus finds a way to reach them.
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord…
· Jesus is applying Isaiah 61:1-2 to Himself and His mission
· In doing so, He does something very interesting that it’s easy to miss:
o He stops quoting mid-sentence!
· Isaiah 61:2 reads:
o To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of the vengeance of our God…
· Isaiah’s prophecy has a comma between “the acceptable year of the Lord” (or, in modern translations: the year of the Lord’s favor) and “the day of the vengeance of our God.
o All over the place in the OT, the prophets saw the entire series of events of the end-times as one big super-event
§ They weren’t given to see the details of the end-times very clearly
§ They couldn’t, for instance, see that there was a “gap” between the Messiah’s first and second comings -
· The first coming for salvation (which is what Jesus is doing right now as we read these chapters)
· The second coming for judgment and the culmination of this dark and dying age and the establishment of the eternal age of life and glory
o The OT prophets – Isaiah included – couldn’t see that gap – the Church Age that we’re living in right now, that exists between the First and Second Comings
· So when Jesus stops after “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord…” He doesn’t put a period there, but He simply hesitates at that comma
o And we’re living in the time encompassed by that comma, that pause.
§ …so far, that comma’s lasted just about two thousand years!
§ …and it’s coming quickly to a close, when the Lord will finish the sentence “…and the day of the vengeance of our God…!”
…the gracious words…
· Jesus’ words were like a breath of fresh air in a stale room, or a cup of cold water to a man dying of thirst
o Here, this teacher of the Word basically told the people that God loved them, that He was concerned for them, and that He was working in the world to help and deliver them
o He didn’t teach like so many religious people do that God’s mad at them and they’re not doing enough for Him!
o He didn’t come down on them, didn’t preach at them, didn’t lay a guilt trip on them because they just weren’t “doing enough for Jesus…”
· Although a walk with the Lord – what my life looks like if I’m truly saved – changes and I do grow in holiness and Christlikeness as I walk with Him, the emphasis in Scripture is always on what God has done for you, not on what you need to do for Him.
…filled with wrath…throw Him down…
· Jesus really could learn from some of the seminars put on by these new Church Growth Gurus® going around the country today, eh?
· This is more than a little bit whacked sort of response to a simple Bible study, here! Their reaction is way out of proportion to anything Jesus said!
o But there’s more than meets the eye here:
§ First, the crowd’s reacting badly because Jesus just threw their sacred cow under the bus
· Remember that at this point in their history, the Israelites taught that the Gentiles existed pretty much to “stoke the fires of hell”
· …and here’s Jesus saying that God loves the Gentiles, too
o In fact, He’s saying that God visited the Gentiles while passing over His own people!
§ (there’s a lesson there; several, actually. One of which, though, is that God is no respecter of persons, and that He comes to and responds to those who are open and willing – and He’s not going to be obligated by anybody)
§ Second – and this is probably the more foundational reason why they’re so furious – Jesus basically told them, “no.”
· God always answers prayer.
· But He doesn’t always answer prayer with a “yes.”
· And sometimes, when we don’t get our way – when He sovereignly and lovingly answers our prayers with a “maybe” or a “later” – or even a “no” – we get angry at Him, too, and in effect try to throw Him over the cliff in our own hearts.
“Let us alone!”
· That’s how it’s rendered in the KJV/NKJV; the NASB and NIV and other modern translations render it much more correctly as “Ha!”
o Not “ha” as in “hah-hah, oh so funny…” but as in “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!”
o It’s a cry of terror.
o Think: shrieking like a terrified little child at the sight of the big bad wolf…only this is at the sight of the big good Jesus.
…Jesus of Nazareth…
· I find it really ironic that the demons readily recognized Jesus for Who He is…but His own people didn’t.
…rebuked the fever…
· Jesus recognized that this fever was something that needed to be “rebuked”
o It’s probable that what isn’t directly mentioned here by Dr. Luke, but which is nonetheless implicit in what Jesus did and how He did it here, that what was going on was something more than just a simple flu bug.
o The fever here was possibly – probably – just the physical manifestation of a more fundamental thing going on in the spirit-realm – the fever may have been an aspect of spiritual warfare.
When the sun was setting…
· We reckon days from midnight to midnight; following God’s pattern laid out in Genesis 1, the Jews reckon days from sunset to sunset.
o Being that it was the Sabbath day, and because the religious leaders of the people had added their own interpretations of the Bible to the Bible, and therefore injected their own prejudices and hangups, and laid them on the people…those who desperately needed Jesus were prevented from coming to Him until the Sabbath was over – at sunset.
· There is no command in the Bible that says you can’t travel on the Sabbath, or heal on the Sabbath, or anything like that – only that you couldn’t work on the Sabbath.
o It was supposed to be a day of rest – but religion had turned it into another burden as those who really wanted to draw near to God felt they had to follow all these hundreds of ridiculous man-made rules that the religious leaders taught as if they were really God’s rules.
· Religion prevents people from drawing near to God – it puts barriers in their way that God never put up – in fact, that Jesus came to knock down.
o [Daniel] Religion prevents man from ever meeting God. Religion teaches that man must obey a set of rules to appease an angry God. And many of those rules actually keep men away from God.
§ God doesn't want the religion of man - God wants a relationship with man.
· Jesus “retreated”
o He needed to retreat often because He needed to seek His Father, to gain direction and strength for the task ahead of Him
· If Jesus – the perfect Son of the Father – needed to regularly get alone with the Father, and desired to regularly draw His disciples away from the bustle and business of everyday life to fellowship apart from the world together and with the Father, how much more we, fallen, imperfect, messed-up, whacked-out, adopted sons of the Father…?
· Again note the emphasis on preaching and teaching.
o This was the main thing that Jesus was all about in His mission on earth
§ Not healings & miracles – though those naturally followed the teaching of the Word
§ Not feeding the hungry and clothing the poor – though that naturally followed as well, when God’s people began to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Word
§ Not political activism, and not pushing any agenda other than the simple, profound teaching of God’s Word to whoever would hear it.
· That’s why here at Calvary Chapel, we place great emphasis on things like worship and fellowship…but the number one emphasis is on the systematic, verse-by-verse, cover-to-cover teaching of God’s Word to God’s kids so that they grow in grace and become equipped for all that God desires and has for them.
o Although we believe in doing good, helping people, justice, and all that…although we believe that the gifts of the Spirit – all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit – are for and available to believers today, our emphasis is the same as Jesus’: teaching the Word so that God’s people grow.
§ There’s a lot of emphasis in parts of the church today on social justice & such…
§ …and there’s a lot of emphasis in other parts of the church on the Holy Spirit Himself.
o The way you can always tell – without fail – whether Jesus has showed up at a church is that the emphasis, the focus is on Him and His Word.