Journey through the Desert
Matthew 4:1-11 (NCV)
4 Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 Jesus ate nothing for forty days and nights. After this, he was very hungry. 3 The devil came to Jesus to tempt him, saying, “If you are the Son of God, tell these rocks to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written in the Scriptures, ‘A person does not live by eating only bread, but by everything God says.’ ” a
5 Then the devil led Jesus to the holy city of Jerusalem and put him on a high place of the Temple. 6 The devil said, “If you are the Son of God, jump down, because it is written in the Scriptures:
‘He has put his angels in charge of you.
They will catch you in their hands
so that you will not hit your foot on a rock.’ ” Psalm 91:11-12
7 Jesus answered him, “It also says in the Scriptures, ‘Do not test the Lord your God.’ ” b
8 Then the devil led Jesus to the top of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and all their splendor. 9 The devil said, “If you will bow down and worship me, I will give you all these things.”
10 Jesus said to the devil, “Go away from me, Satan! It is written in the Scriptures, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’ ” c
11 So the devil left Jesus, and angels came and took care of him.
We all are tempted – even Jesus
There is not a one of us who has not been tempted to do something we know we shouldn’t – From sneaking a cookie to sneaking cash. From birth to death we will always be hounded by temptations but that doesn’t mean we have to give in.
Today we look at the example of Jesus as He was tempted and found victory in the process.
Paul wrote in Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.”
We can like Jesus become victorious over the temptations of life.
His temptation stands as an example to each of us that yes, we will be tempted, and in the process, we can be victorious just like Jesus. Today, lets look at the example of Jesus.
Now, let’s be real. We won’t be victorious all of the time. Be we can begin to be victorious some of the time.
We are in Matthew 4. The first verses offer us insight into life itself
Temptation comes as “Desire”
It all starts with desire:
Weight Loss Clinic instructor
One night at a weight loss clinic the instructor held up an apple and then a candy bar. "What is the nutritional value of this apple," she asked, "and how would it relate to your diet?" "Low in calories", “natural” and "lots of fiber" were among the answers. She then went on the explain what was wrong with eating candy, and concluded with, "Apples are not only more healthful but also less expensive. You can buy this apple for about thirty cents. Do you know I paid eighty-five cents for this candy bar?" Everyone just stared at the forbidden treat, and from the back of the room someone blurted out: "I’ll give you two dollars for it."
For Jesus it was “Bread”
Verses 1, 2: THEN JESUS was led (guided) by the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness (desert) to be tempted (tested and tried) by the devil. And He went without food for forty days and forty nights, and later He was hungry
3And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made loaves of] bread. 4But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
He was 40 days without food
That makes any hunk of bread look pretty much like a church potluck dinner in the eyes of a college student who’s been eating in the dorm cafeteria!
The prior verse stated Jesus had been without food for 40 days and he was hungry. Along comes the devil and challenges his ability with the desire for food he has. Turn these stones into bread. Could He have done it? Of course!
But to this temptation and each of the others, Jesus responds with Scripture explaining why He will not.
What is it for you?
It might be bread, or a cappuccino and cinnamon roll with maple frosting. (That’s my morning thing). It might be desire for fame, for personal pleasure, or financial security.
Whatever it is IT is not the issue…
Bread is not the issue. God’s word is the issue…
What sustains us in life is the word of God
It is not just a meal made from stones that last until we are hungry again. The word of God teaches life so we can have our needs taken care of forever. Pleasure lasts only a moment – and often is followed with regret, guilt, and sorrow. Financial security lasts only as long as the local economy does – and we all know how unstable that can be!
When you get the Word down in your heart it will uplift you in your time of temptation – why because it teaches you about the source of real joy, incomparable peace, and pure contentment.
In other words, the word of God is the source for life~
Where does your sustenance in life come from?
The Village that lives by the Bible
by Clarence W. Hall
It was early in 1945 when, as a war correspondent on Okinawa, I first came upon Shimabuku, the strangest and most inspiring community I ever saw. Huddled beneath its groves of banyan and twisted pine trees, this remote village of some 1000 souls was in the path of the American advance and so received a severe shelling.
But when an advance patrol swept up to the village compound, the GI’s stopped dead in their tracks. Barring their way were two little old men; they bowed low and began to speak. The battle-hardened sergeant, wary of tricks, held up his hand, summoned an interpreter.
The interpreter shook his head. "I don’t get it. Seems we’re being welcomed as ‘fellow Christians’. One says he’s the mayor of the village, the other’s the schoolmaster. That’s a Bible the older one has in his hand..."
Guided by the two old men - Mojun Nakamura the mayor and Shosei Kina the schoolmaster - we cautiously toured the compound. We’d seen other Okinawan villages, uniformly down-at-the-heels and despairing; by contrast, this one shone like a diamond in a dung heap. Everywhere we were greeted by smiles and dignified bows.
Proudly the two old men showed us their spotless homes, their terraced fields, fertile and neat, their storehouses and granaries, their prized sugar mill.
Gravely the old men talked on, and the interpreter said, "They’ve met only one American before, long ago. Because he was a Christian they assume we are, too - though they can’t quite understand why we came in shooting."
Piecemeal, the incredible story came out. Thirty years before, an American missionary on his way to Japan had paused at Shimabuku. He’d stayed only long enough to make a pair of converts (these same two men), teach them a couple of hymns, leave them a Japanese translation of the Bible and exhort them to live by it. They’d had no contact with any Christian since. Yet during those 30 years, guided by the Bible, they had managed to create a Christian democracy at its purest.
How had it happened? Picking their way through the Bible, the two converts had found not only an inspiring "Person" on whom to pattern a life, but sound precepts on which to base their society. They’d adopted the Ten Commandments as Shimabuku’s legal code; the Sermon on the Mount as their guide to social conduct. In Kina’s school the Bible was the chief literature; it was read daily by all students, and major passages were memorised. In Nakamura’s village government the precepts of the Bible were law.
Nurtured on this Book, a whole generation of Shimabukans had drawn from it their ideas of human dignity and of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The result was plain to see. Shimabuku for years had had no jail, no brothel, no drunkenness, no divorce; there was a high level of health and happiness.
Next day, the tide of battle swept us on. But a few days later, during a lull, I requisitioned a jeep and a Japanese speaking driver and went back to Shimabuku. Over the winding roads outside the village, huge truck convoys and endless lines of American troops moved dustily; behind them lumbered armoured tanks, heavy artillery. But inside, Shimabuku was an oasis of serenity.
Once again I strolled through the quiet village streets, soaking up Shimabuku’s calm. There was a sound of singing. We followed it and came to Nakamura’s house, where a curious religious service was under way. Having no knowledge of churchly forms or ritual, the Shimabukans had developed their own. There was much Bible reading by Kina, repeated in singsong fashion by the worshipers. Then came hymn singing. The tunes of the two hymns the missionary had taught -"Fairest Lord Jesus" and "All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name" - had naturally suffered some changes, but they were recognisable.
Swept up in the spirit of "All Hail the Power," we joined in. After many prayers, voiced spontaneously by people in the crowd, there was a discussion of community problems. With each question, Kina turned quickly to some Bible passage to find the answer. The book’s imitation-leather cover was cracked and worn, its pages stained and dog-eared from 30 years’ constant use. Kina held it with the reverent care one would use in handling the original Magna Carta.
The service over, we waited as the crowd moved out, and my driver whispered hoarsely, "So this is what comes out of only a Bible and a couple of old guys who wanted to live like Jesus!’, then, with a glance at a shell-hole, he murmured, "Maybe we’re using the wrong kind of weapons."
Time had dimmed the Shimabukans’ memory of the missionary; neither Kina nor Nakamura could recall his name. They did remember his parting statement. As expressed by Nakamura, it was: "Study this Book well. It will give you strong faith. And when faith is strong, everything is strong."
(Clarence W. Hall, "Together" Magazine, October 1960)
Temptation induces you to test God
“Then the devil took Him into the holy city and placed Him on a turret (pinnacle, gable) of the temple sanctuary And he said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will give His angels charge over you, and they will bear you up on their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone Jesus said to him, On the other hand, it is written also, You shall not tempt, test thoroughly, or try exceedingly the Lord your God”
God has 3 wills for your life
There is God’s “Desired Will” for you. This is no secret. These are not hidden things. I’m going to go real fast through these today…
Saved – 1 Tim 2:3-4
Spirit Led – Eph 5:18
Sanctified – 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4
To Government – Romans 13
To Church Leaders – Hebrews 13:17
One another in marriage – Ephesians 5:21
Suffer, if need be for doing right – 1 Peter3:17
There is also God’s “Permitted Will” for you.
It is here where we want to test God
If it is not my time to die, than if I stand on the train tracks, God will send an angel to pull me away.
What is more likely is not this but living with the intent of seeing how much can I get away with! “Look I can cuss, swear, party, and do what ever I want – nothing happens! God won’t do anything!”
Listen, God permits Satan to run freely over this earth.
He has limited to his power over those who are inhabited by the spirit of God. He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world.
But only for a time! Yes, we can do what we like – but only for a time.
You see, there is finally God’s “Ultimate Will”.
There is a day coming – all will acknowledge Jesus as Lord of all the universe. It will come!
At times we walk a fine line between wanting to know God’s will and trying to have our way. Don’t tempt God – trust Him instead.
Don’t test God – Trust God
Live for him and In his time He will have his way on the earth
In His time; In His way; According to His purposes
I find that doing the will of God leaves me with no time for disputing about His plans.
Temptation counterfeits substance
“Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory (the splendor, magnificence, preeminence, and excellence) of them. And he said to Him, These things, all taken together, I will give You, if You will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage and worship me.
Then Jesus said to him, Begone, Satan! For it has been written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve.
The devil is always trying to give you something similar now to what God has stored for you in eternity
In Jesus case, the devil offered him the kingdoms of the world. In truth, Jesus always owns it all and it comes to him as part of worship.
Satan offered without suffering. No pain. No hardship. No rejection. No cross. Here it is! You can have it right now!!!
Why shouldn’t we have what we think is coming to us now! After all we deserve it! So the credit card beckons and says… Don’t worry about what it costs later… Do it now for you – you deserve it. The businessman listens to the siren call of the insider trading which says… no one is getting hurt – not really – you’ve worked hard long enough to get where you are… just take it now… You deserve it.
The spotlight of fame shines and we think there is something special about us… We deserve the accolades and the excitement… It is all a sham…
Cary Grant once said, “Everyone one wants to be Cary Grant. I even want to be Cary Grant!”
Wait on God
All things work out to good for those who serve the Lord
Be patient and wait on Him.
Be an Overcomer
“Then the devil departed from Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”
1) Rest in His word
2) Trust Him
3) Be Patient for His timing
Do these things – and you will overcome temptation
Not all the time by more and more as time goes by…
For the times you fail rest in God’s grace and mercy.
Romans 7:25… Thanks be to God…