Summary: armor of God. Link inc. to formatted text, audio.
Sword of the Spirit
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
It has all been defensive gear thus far. Now, how about an offensive weapon...in more ways than one, for many are offended by the Word of God and consider it be offensive!
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
In Matthew 4 we see Jesus use His sword. It is the best illustration we could consider.
v. 1 The language of Mk. 1:12 is even stronger, “Immediately the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness.”
God arranged for this temptation. Why?
1. To prepare Him to become our High Priest.
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
He's been there and not done that.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Jesus has compassion and understanding for us, remembering we are made of dust, and because He knows exactly how it feels to be tempted! And yet without sin.
"Jesus knows all about our struggles..."
2. To expose Satan's devices.
The devil prefers to lurk in the darkness and spring out in a surprise attack. The devil doesn't want us to know his tactics and methods, but Jesus flushed them out on that day. "We are not ignorant of his devices", thanks to Jesus.
3. To teach us how our Sword works.
Just because Jesus was the Son of God doesn't mean His temptations weren't real. He had laid aside His divine powers. He faced Satan as a man in human in flesh...using the Sword of the Spirit!
And all His quotations that day were from Deuteronomy 6 and 8. Could it be that the Lord’s meditation that morning had been in this portion of God’s Word?
Good thing He didn't try to win using human reason, like we do. [debate thru intellect / willpower] Jesus used the same Sword that I can use!
Now, let's expose Satan's strategies:
1. To satisfy a right desire in a wrong way.
vv. 2-3 With a real body, He got very hungry in 40 days. He had a natural appetite. His taste buds would water with the thought of food. Jesus could have satisfied a legitimate desire, but in an illegitimate way.
So Satan tempted Him to use His power to produce instant food. That is something we are quite used to today. Put food in a microwave for a minute or two, and you have a hot meal. Or pull into the closest fast food place, and you can get a meal pretty quickly. And in the case of Jesus, He
could turn desert stones into bread. After all, John had said that God could turn stones into sons of Abraham, and if Jesus is God’s Son, then surely He could turn stones into bread, a lesser miracle.
Later He would demonstrate that He could change water into wine, and multiply a few loaves and fishes and feed thousands. Oh, He had the power. And why not use it? The desire for food was innocent but strong, the need was imperative, and He had the power to secure instant relief.
So, the bait is skillfully wound over the barbed hook.
Jesus' response: v. 4
There's power in the Word...it is a Sword that fights against Satan. It's sharp edges cut at him. It's blunt handle crushes his head. It's pointed tip runs him thru, and it matters not if you are right or left handed, highly trained or new to this, Satan cannot compete against God's offensive weapon!
How about you? You have God given desires.
Sexual desires: They are normal and natural. But God made them to be with the right species, right gender, and within the bounds of marriage. You're not just an animal, roaming the countryside sowing your seed where you may.
Satan attempts to turn that normal desire into adultery and fornication.
Ambition: I wish more expressed this natural desire to work and improve oneself.
Satan turns ambition into covetousness, greed, and selfishness.
Sleep and rest: I'm an addict...I do it every day!
Satan urges us to take it to the extreme of laziness and slothfulness.
Eat: Yes we need food, but we do not meet the need for food by stealing. That would be satisfying a right desire in a wrong way.