Summary: 2013 will bring many challenges to believers faith and they must realize the testing of that faith is what will strengthen them.
2013: Stay the Course
As I have prayed and thought about the New Year of 2013, I feel in my heart that the Lord is saying this will be a year of testing
A testing of our faith in God; our relationship with God; our dependence upon God; our understanding of God
We will be tested in our relationship with each other and our love for each other
Sometimes, may be most of the time, it won’t seem to make sense but we will have to choose to stay the course
Things are going to start getting tough for those that call themselves Christians… that is, for those who are real and stay the course
As we look at our passage today, I want us to see what Jesus was presented and how He was tested
But more how He stayed the course and did not waiver
Read passage / Pray
Trans: Notice here that the very first thing it tells us is that Jesus was…
1. Filled with & Led by the Holy Spirit
In order for you and I to endure what’s coming…we must be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit
You cannot live a successful Christian life without the Holy Spirit
Notice I didn’t say…you cannot live a Christian life…I said a successful one
If we look back at Luke 3:21-22, we see that the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus
This is a fulfillment of what John tells those He is baptizing in Luke 3:16 (look)
Notice the separation that John makes from baptism with water and baptism with the Holy Spirit!
In order to be led by the Holy Spirit you and I must be filled with the Holy Spirit
Now, the second thing I want us to see is that the Holy Spirit led Jesus…
2. Into the Wilderness
This word wilderness also is called desert in some other translations
Notice, the Spirit led Jesus INTO THE WILDERNESS
Sometimes, the Spirit will need to lead us into places that seem like wilderness
There are times in your walk where you will feel like you are in the wilderness
Why? To be tested…by whom…the devil!
Luke 22:31 Jesus tells Peter that Satan desires to sift him as wheat
The word “sift” here literally means to “shake in a sieve” and “by inward agitation to try one’s faith to the verge of overthrow”
Satan desires nothing more than to “overthrow” you and me and to shake our faith
And notice, God will allow and even let us be led into that time of testing
Have you ever tried to take a test with a bunch of Chaos around you?
Notice, in the wilderness, that is removed…no excuses
Listen, Jesus is the very Son of God Who was led into the wilderness to be tested by the devil
Notice too, that the temptation or testing is directed at what Satan feels is the weakest points in your life
Look at vs. 3 (Jesus hadn’t eaten anything for 40 days and vs 2 says He was hungry – Expound on this) – sell soul for food
Notice in vs 5, the devil tries to tempt Jesus with “wordly success” (Expound)
Lastly, notice in vs 9, the devil challenges Jesus’ divine nature as the Son of God (Expound)
Why would we think that it won’t happen to us?
In 2013 and in the years to come, it could be one of the most trying times of your Christian walk
Trans: What’s the key then to overcoming this testing…follow the pattern of Jesus and…
3. Cling to His Word
Satan here is throwing his best at Jesus – WHO, by the way is GOD IN THE FLESH
And what does Jesus do? He quotes the Word to Satan…IT IS WRITTEN
Let’s not forget, that Satan used to be in heaven, not only that but he was one of the most beautiful angels in heaven
Now, let me also say, please don’t confuse Satan as some weak, don’t know anything type of being that you can take lightly
He is very intelligent and cunning…and oh yes…he knows the word of God too!
Notice in vs 10, Satan actually quotes Psa 91:11-12 and he also says IT IS WRITTEN
Satan knows scripture and his question will be DO YOU KNOW IT? He will turn it and twist it and see if you know
Remember we talked about taking a test…I have always hated tests (Can I get a witness!)
But you know what I have found…if I study before the test…I usually do pretty well…it’s when I don’t study that I usually do poorly or fail.
The same is true with our faith in God – we must study to pass the tests that will come
Turn to 2 Tim 2:15 “Be diligent” which literally means “constant in effort to accomplish something; pursued with persevering attention; painstaking”