Faithlife Sermons

Matthew 4:1-11

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4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,
‘One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’ ”
11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
“I not only want you to see Jesus as a historical figure of the past; I want you to learn how to follow him in Word and Works in the present. I not only want to show you his ministry, I want to show you yours in his name.
1-4 the first temptation - stone to bread
“Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted for forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the Tempter came up to him and said to him, ‘If you really are the Son of God, then tell these stones here to become bread.’ Then Jesus responded by saying, ‘It is in writing, “A human being will not live by bread alone, but by every single Word that comes pouring out of God’s mouth.” ’ ”
-The Spirit led him out into the wilderness for this season. He was being established in prayer and fasting for the ministry that was about to happen.
-to fulfill his own desires.
-and to get what he needs in his own power.
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“Since you are the Son of God, tell these stones, etc.,” and thus be a temptation for Jesus not to doubt but to rely on his Sonship “in self-serving ways,”
-trust yourself and your own self sufficiency. The other side of that coin is to doubt God. (Doubting God is not new. we live int he age of skepticism, but since the fall we have leaned toward doubt and suspicion over trust. )
Jesus has just been baptized and heard the words that he is the beloved son. But now he is 40days into a trial. Why god? are you really good? Did my baptism really take. am i really a beloved child? Maybe I don’t need to live in God’s house but can seek what I can and what I want in my own power.
So the temptation is trust yourself. Trust yourself. Be self-sufficient. Jesus can think - wait, I’m jesus. i can actually do some amazing things - I can get my own bread even from stones. Imagine having that power? And not using it? He could use to help himself and probably help a lot of other people too.
he comes to him in his weakness and in his hunger.
american middle class folks - we are a prideful self-sufficient lot. I am, I pride myself on being able to take care of myself. We want to say we built that. We think we are the ones responsible for all our achievements. We want to earn our keep. We rely on ouselves.
Here is the the bittersweet truth. We are not as strong as we think we are. We face a tempation to believe that we can meet all of our needs in our own power. This pandemic should show us otherwise. Our illusion of self-sufficiency is breaking down.
There is a temptation within our church to say - ok we can figure this out. If we come up with the right way to do this and the right way to do that and get this idea going and make it look like this and what are other churches doing and then TADA - our church will be great.
Jesus says no to that temptation. Jesus says no to the temptation of self-sufficiency. Man does not live on bread alone. Mankind, men women, church family we do not live by the strength of our own hands.
Jesus then says here is what we live by - by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Our life is entirely dependant upon what flows from God. He is our sufficiency and satisfaction. To fall into the temptation that we have strength apart from him cuts us off from him and in that space we will shrink and die. We will discover that we can’t even feed ourselves.
-We live not be bread alone. We live not be the basics of life that we think we can get for ourselves. But by every word that comes from God’s mouth. the word of God speaks creation and our very existence into being. The breath of God is what has filled our lungs and allows us to breath. Jesus taught his followers to pray - give us this day our daily bread. What a strange prayer for us american christians -we can get our own bread - we are fools no we can not.
There will be a temptation in this season to say, “ok we got this. Maybe it doesn’t look so bad as we socially distance. Maybe a vaccine seems promising. And we slip bakc into thinking we can take care of things. We got things.
NO NO NO NO NO. Whatever the world does or whatever america does let the church say no to this temptation - Let us repent and say, “we are not as strong as we think we are. Lord forive us of our pride. Let us say with Jesus - we do not live by bread alone but we live and we find our life and sustenance by what comes from the mouth of God.
Lets us be a people who seek his word and seek his faith to provide us our daily bread and provision.
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HS comments
-the spirit is free to lead us not only into good things, but into confrontation with bad things as well. He led
We are permitted by our text to believe that the devil operates mainly with words, thus by suggestion and argument, by introducing ideas, thoughts, and possibilities into the mind. The focus of all three temptations is words or thoughts (which are quiet words).
-the tempters operated with words, thoughts that come to man.
there is a not physical battle with one in front of you. There are whispers, thoughts, words that present themselves to you. (take captive every thought)
-the satan, the tempter has the aim to split people off from from the word, power and work of God.
-the tempter doesn’t need you to go do a horrible thing - he just has to get you detached from God. If he can cut your branch of from the tree that’s enough. The rest will take care of itself. (maybe a section on noticing the aims of the tempter, or the satan, the adversary)
Notice also that Jesus, like the baptized Christian who follows Jesus, lives “between two spirits,” between two “by’s”: “Jesus was led by (hypo) the Spirit to be tempted by (hypo) the devil.”
CLOSING CALL TO PRAYER AND FASTING
-JESUS IS THE VICTORIOUS ONE. ADAM HAD FAILED, ISRAEL IN THE WILDERNESS FAILED. MOSES FAILED. BUT IN CHRIST WE FIND THE MAN WHO DOES NOT FAIL, but triumphs over every temptations. He eve triumphs over the great temptation that is the cross. Does not despise the cross (to redeem the whole creation and to reconcile the lost, . . . he did not despise the cross)
-This is a season where we are isolated. this is a season of testing and temptations - but it is also a season of great preparation. Many of us only have the Holy Spirit and a few others or just the holy spirit and one other person or just the holy Spirit.
see what happens in the church - the trying wilderness and then battle and the promise land. The tying wilderness for jesus and the Holy Spirit unleashes him to powerfully proclaim the kingdom in word and deed And then the trying cross and glorious resurrection and Renewal.
And this his church - the trying season of jesus leaving. They are scared fo what will happen to them. So they huddle up and hide in a room. And in that trying huddled praying space. In that trying huddled seeking and dependence upon God space - The Holy Spirit sets them on fire and that spirit blows them out into the city to proclaim the good news and to live as a beautiful community, committed to being together and to the word of jesus and the scriptures, and breaking bread and prayer.
We are in wilderness space, A trying space, but also a preparation space. We can succeed or fail. the scriptures are pretty clear about that. If we cling to the who ares a victor from the dark domain - if we cling to Jesus we will not fail. The opportunity now is to enter this preparing season with total dependence of the Holy Spirit. it is the season to let go of our self-sufficienty, our trust in the show and entertainment, our trust in human leadership and kingdoms and like Christ to seek the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. Like the first followers to huddle and pray and seek adn depend and empty and move to our our true state where we live by what is given to us by the mouth and hand of God - to live by his spirit and then wait and see what he will with his people when they catch his the mighty wind and fire of his spirit. John said - i baptize with water but one is coming who baptizes with Spirit and fire -
Go to the father go to Jesus in prayer plead, contend seek his face and his spirit.
2nd tempation
-the show, the spectacle
-church wants this.
-can we get a church service open again - and can we make it bigger and better than ever. or if we can’t can we move the show online!
-If we can a big enough thing - can we generate some signs and wonders then the rest of the world will see and believe. that might even be an act of faith - we will put ourselves out their and take a leap of faith - god will catch us people will be wowed!
If we are the church lets do something big and let the whole world see that God protects us as his children.
Jesus says that’s testing God. We do not do that.
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