Summary: Satan often seeks to strike from a hidden position. Whether hidden and concealed or hidden in plain sight Satan seeks to ambush us. We can only be victorious through Jesus Christ.
Text: Luke 4:1 – 13
As a student pastor, I had my first confirmands for a confirmation class. We were having a session, imitating how some of the very first Christians lived with the threat of persecution, one of the leaders jumped in the door and said with a scary voice, “Are you Christians?” The exercise was done to be a surprise. What was even more surprising was that some of the kids reacted differently than one might have anticipated. Some of the ones you thought would have been tempted to answer that question with denial actually affirmed that "Yes, they were Christians". There were also some who acted as if they were too scared to answer the question at first.
When you think about Jesus’ time of being tempted in the wilderness, we cannot help but to see that in that wilderness Jesus conquered the things that would have conquered us. Satan sought to ambush Jesus while He was weak and vulnerable. Satan seeks to do the same thing to us.
Satan often seeks to strike from a hidden position. Whether hidden and concealed or hidden in plain sight Satan seeks to ambush us. We can only be victorious through Jesus Christ.
What makes us vulnerable in our spiritual lives? How many traits that could make us vulnerable would you put on a list? How many of you would put pride on the top that list? Pride makes us swell within. According to the Encarta Dictionary the word “swell” is described as “something, larger, fuller, or rounder, or expand in size or shape, usually as a result of pressure within.” Pride can makes us swell when we are “full of ourselves”. Pride can makes us swell to the point that we get “too big for our britches”. My oldest sister used to use that expression on me when as child when she thought I was getting too proud and cocky.
What did excessive pride do to Lucifer?
1) Spoiler: It (pride) became a stumbling block.
2) Defiant: Satan’s pride became a stumbling block to him because he was disobedient.
3) Banishing result: Satan’s name before his fall was Lucifer which means carrier of light. Satan, led a rebellion in heaven before he was cast out of heaven. ") I Kings 15:23 says that “Rebellion against him is as bad as witchcraft, and arrogance is as sinful as idolatry. Because you rejected the LORD's command …” (GNB). Revelation 12:9 describes the banishment: “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (ESV).
4) Deception: Genesis 3:5 hints at Satan’s rebellion in his suggestion of mixing the truth with what is false. Satan is always involved in what John Wesley called "mixing truth and falsehood together … " (John Wesley. Sermon 57. "On The Fall Of Man”). Satan’s arrogance caused him to rebel and become idolatrous.
Are we vulnerable in our choices like Eve was in the Garden of Eden?
1) Easy choices: Easy choice are not always the best choices! Choices impact the path or paths we take along our Christian journey. We avoid and evade difficult paths. Nevertheless, we cannot avoid all decisions. As someone (Sharon H. Ringe) has said “… most of us are slow deliberately to choose the path of discipline. …. We must be tested, often by being led to places of hunger and despair. Only then do we learn dependence on God, who graciously provides for all of our needs”. (David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor. eds. Sharon H. Ringe. “Exegetical Perspective”. Feasting On The Word. Year C. Volume 2. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2009, p. 44).
2) Hard choices: Jesus definitely took the road less traveled when he went into the wilderness. Jesus remained obedient in the wilderness even though he was extremely weak and vulnerable.
Where do we lack discipline? Do we lack discipline in our complacency?
1) Challenges: Did Peter prefer his comfort zone because he did not like to be tested? Our complacency is another place where Satan aka the father of lies (John 8:44) seeks to ambush us. An ambush is a surprise attack from a seemingly secure location.
2) Smooth Masquerader: Satan can masquerade as an angle of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Satan laughs at us when we think of him as a hideous and horned figure looking dressed in red with a pitch fork in one hand and a pointy tail.
3) Spiritual Warfare: Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit to remind us of what Jesus taught us (John 14:26) we are prone to being deceived by Satan. Billy Graham once said “If our eyes could see, we would probably see the air filled with demons who are the enemies of Christ”. (Billy Graham. Angels Innumerable. Minneapolis: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1971, Revised 2000. [pamphlet]). This is why our prayer life is so important. How many times do we see Jesus praying in the New Testament? Jesus prayed often and stayed focused on His mission and so should we!