Summary: A sermon about finding your identity in Christ.
“What Does it Mean to Be a Christian?”
A friend of mine’s son—a gregarious little kid just shy of 4 years old—learned this Passage in Sunday school one morning.
Later that day he asked his mother, “Hey mom, what do you know about the devil?”
A little caught off guard, she turned the question back on him: “What do you know about the devil?”
“Well,” be began, “the devil talked to Jesus and the devil was mean.”
Then, leaning in close to her, he dropped his voice to a loud whisper, “If we were at a store, and you and dad were in one aisle, and I was in another aisle, and there was candy the devil would say, ‘You should take some.’”
Impressed that her little boy seemed to understand so many points about the story she asked him: “Honey, if we were at a store, and Dad and I were in one aisle, and you were in another aisle, and there was candy, and the devil said, ‘You should take some!’
What would you say back to the devil?”
A genuine grin lit up the boy’s entire face and without hesitation he replied, “Oh! I would say thank you!”
It’s not surprising that a 3-year-old missed the point, but lots of us miss the point all the time, do we not?
Last week we talked about Jesus’ baptism and how when Jesus was baptized “heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Jesus’ baptism signaled the beginning of His earthly ministry.
In the Gospel of John, we are told that when John the Baptist saw Jesus walking toward him he announced: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world…”
…and then he said: “I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
Now, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returns from the Jordan and [is] led by the Spirit into the desert, where for forty days he [is] tempted by the devil.”
The appearance of the Holy Spirit at Jesus’ baptism has answered the question as to whether or not Jesus is God’s Son.
John the Baptist has testified to seeing “The Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and rest on” Jesus.
The question now is what kind of Son will Jesus be?
I think it’s safe to say that most of us here this morning have been baptized.
Most of us have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
And, perhaps, most or many of us have had an experience of taking time away from our busy lives in order to attend to our souls.
Some of us here have probably been on a “Walk to Emmaus” weekend.
Or perhaps we have gone on some other highly-spiritual retreat.
Others have been to Resurrection—a weekend retreat that our Youth will be taking next weekend.
We often emerge from these times “full of the Spirit.”
It’s awesome, isn’t it?
How many of you know what I’m talking about?
We feel radiant, full of joy and great intentions.
But as time passes, we find that living lives “full of the Spirit” is not as easy as we might have hoped.
At the very time when it seems that we have risen to new spiritual heights, something often seems to conspire to bring us back down.
Other voices start to try and lure us away from our identity as baptized children of God.
And so, our Scripture passage for this morning is not really all that surprising in many ways, is it?
I mean, even little old me can relate to it.
I remember the night I finally decided to give my life to Jesus Christ—once and for all.
And it was pretty radical.
Up to that point I had been a fairly rebellious teenager.
And I thought that I had finally MADE IT—I HAD ARRIVED.
I had been instantly sanctified!!!
I would never sin again.
I knew every answer to every question in the universe.
And of course, everyone I spoke with would understand what was going on and rejoice, and those who hadn’t yet given their lives to Jesus would do so immediately.
How couldn’t they?
Why wouldn’t they?
It made so much sense.
And so, I immediately started calling my family and friends, telling them what I had done and explaining the Gospel in whatever way I understood it.
The reception was not exactly what I had expected.
And it brought me back down to earth real fast.
It didn’t stop me, but it did knock me off my high horse a bit.
So, the fact that Jesus is tested just when He is as filled with the Holy Spirit as anyone can be comes as no surprise.