01 March 2020
Who is this man going to the cross?
“I am the Son of God”
The power to overcome temptation as Jesus has an Encounter with Satan: victory
Father, through our observance of Lent, help us to understand the meaning of Your Son’s death and resurrection, and teach us to reflect it in our lives. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
Today we find ourselves in a 40 day time - period - called the season of Lent. For the next four Sundays we will be asking the question, “Who is this man going to the cross?” Jesus will answer this question Himself with convincing proof as we see that He is the Son of God.
As we come to know Him we will receive power to overcome temptation as Jesus has an encounter with Satan. What does He offer? He offers victory over temptation.
Few people today stop to think about temptation. Some may not recognize temptation when it comes to them. People today are in need of knowledge and understanding about this whole issue concerning temptation. Our Gospel lesson for this morning tells us all we need to know about the whole topic of temptation. The point of our text is clear. If we know about temptation, we will be equipped to confront it. As we examine Jesus’ confrontation with the Devil and His dealing with temptation we will know all we need to know about the subject of temptation.
What you need to know about temptation.
I. Who tempts you? — “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” (V.1)
A. It is the Devil himself who tempts you. He is known as the father of lies.
1. He puts a little truth in every lie. Consider the temptations he offered the Savior. He tempted the Savior, “After all, you are the Son of God! Turn these stones into bread.” The temptations continue. “Jump from the summit of the temple” – The final temptation – “fall down and worship me.”
2. He puts many lies in every truth. On the surface they appear to satisfy. Notice how his lies are deceiving. His promises ring hollow. Jesus could have lived for the moment. He could have taken His kingdom by force and enjoy instant success. He could have exchanged His soul. Yet in so doing the hope of every man and every woman every boy and every girl would be lost eternally.
B. His desire is to trip you up and lead you astray. His methods are numerous.
1. In the beginning he tempts you to think, “This is nothing…” He tempts us to think that our sins are but a trifle. For example, we’re all heard that little phrase, “find a penny pick it up all day long you’ll have good luck” Is that true? That penny which you found. Is it yours? Did you earn it? No, you picked it up. You took it. It wasn’t yours. You took possession of it – at the expense of your neighbor. But some might argue. “It’s just a penny!” and besides, “finders keepers…losers weepers” But should you take advantage of your neighbor? At what cost? At what price? Even if it is “just a penny”, or “just an e-mail”, or “just an off handed comment”, or “just a little white lie”, or “just an innocent kiss”. See how he is so good at minimizing sin.
2. Satan will go at great lengths to minimize and diminish our sin. In the end he tries to convince you, “the Father won’t forgive!” Judas Iscariot is the prime example. He confessed his faults. He returned the thirty pieces of silver, and vowed in his heart never to act in such a matter. Yet the Devil had convinced him that he could never be forgiven. How sad! How terribly sad! He was so close only to lose everything. He lost his soul. What burdens, what pains, what afflictions, are people today carrying by themselves thinking that the Father could not or will not forgive them? In this world in which “anything goes” seems to be the common phrase we need to hear the severity of the Law. Yet, at the same time, we need to hear the clear message of the Gospel that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself not counting our sins against us and has given us this message of reconciliation.”
II. What tempts you? —
A. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (V.3) Jesus is the Son of God, so why not take the easy way out – forget the spiritual struggle – focus on temporal needs, live for the moment.
B. Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ (5-6) Take Your kingdom by force Jesus. They will be impressed and applaud such a feat. Then nothing will be beyond Your capability. You’ll have instant success.
C. Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” (8-9) Buy into the Devil’s tricks and illusions. Give him his due – what’s to loose – after all, you still are the Son of God – nothing’s changed, or has it?
III. How you can overcome it? —
A. Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ (V.4) The only thing the Savior has at His disposal is the Word. The only thing He can used to defeat the Devil are the promises the Father has spoken clearly through His Word.
B Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ (V.7) As the Son of God Jesus can speak to the Devil with much authority. We are not looking at two equal forces at work against each other. As the Son of God Jesus speaks with authority – authority He received from His Father. As He addresses His enemy the Devil must submit to the Savior.
C. Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ (V.10) If Jesus were to give homage to the Devil your salvation would be lost. His work would be in vein and you would still be lost in sin. Jesus will not buy into the Devil’s lies.
IV. Why are you tempted — God our heavenly Father allows temptation as a test of our faith and love for Him.
A. “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” (V.1) The Spirit drove Jesus into the desert to be tempted. As He is confronted the Savior enters the fray and the war begins.
So likewise when you are tempted you are engaging in this same battle. How will you fare? By yourself you cannot win. You will but fail. That is why we look to Christ and Christ alone to give us the strength in the midst of temptation to resist the Devil.
This is why we pray, “And lead us not into temptation.” “God indeed tempts no one. But we pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory!” [Explanation to the 6th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer from Luther’s Small Catechism]
B. Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ (V.10) By your own reason or strength you cannot overcome the Devil. So we pray “But deliver us [Lord] from evil. We pray, in summary, that our Father in heaven would rescue us from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation, and finally, when our last hour comes, give us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven. [Explanation to the 7th and final petition of the Lord’s Prayer from Luther’s Small Catechism]
Our victory over temptation leaves us stronger with angels ministering to us. There is only one tool left for us to use – the Word of the Lord. Use it well for we struggle not against flesh and blood but against principalities… Put on the full armor of God that you might be able to fight against the Devil and his agents.________________
Words – 1,495
Passive Sentences –5%
Reading Level – 5.2
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