Summary: Second Sermon in my series The Bitter Cup. Jesus wants us to be ready to partake of the Bitter cup!
Bitter Cup (Part-2)
THE CUP OF TESTING:-
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward a hungered. ~Matthew 4:1, 2
Jesus went out alone into the wilderness and began to seek His Father. He began to let the Baptism of the Holy Ghost take hold that He might go forth to accomplish the purpose His Father had in sending Him.
Jesus had a visitor out there in the wilderness. He found He wasn't alone with His Father out there. The devil came to pay a visit to tempt Jesus.
Has the enemy ever paid you a visit? Just about the time you think you've got the victory, about the time everything seems to be running smoothly — just about then — the devil stops by for a visit.
This was a proving ground between Jesus and the devil. If there were going to be signs, wonders and miracles, Jesus would have to pass this test.
How many have come to such a place of being tested and tried, only to give in? "I can't take these pressures any longer!"
The baptism Jesus was baptized with will put the spiritual fight in you. It will put determination within.
As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you: The Father sent Jesus out there to be tried for a season. And Jesus will send us out to be tried too. The farther we go down the road of serving Him, the more we'll find we are tried.
THE CUP OF SELF-DENIAL:-
And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. ~Luke 9:23
There's a limit to what most people are willing to deny themselves of. Yet, Jesus was willing to completely deny Himself for our sake. He denied Himself a place in His heavenly home for over 33 years. He denied Himself food for 40 days and 40 nights.
Now, Jesus said we'd be baptized with the baptism He was baptized with. This baptism is able to bring us to the place of saying "no" to temptation.
When we have this same baptism that Jesus was baptized with, we are well equipped for a successful warfare.
This wilderness temptation was like a boxing match with a knock-out in the third round! Jesus withstood, and then:
. . . the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him. ~Matthew 4:11
If you want the power of Acts 1:8, separate yourself to seek the Lord. God may not ask you to fast for forty days, but He does ask His children to have times of fasting.
THE CUP OF FASTING AND PRAYER:-
And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bride chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. ~Mark 2:19, 20
One of the greatest times of temptation for a Christian is when they set themselves apart to fast and pray. The devil knows how important such times are. And he will do all he can to keep us from this because he knows this is where the power is gained.
God isn't going to anoint you with power from on high unless you seek it out. The real power of Pentecost is loosed when we consecrate ourselves to seek it out.
Jesus told the disciples to tarry until they were endued with power from on high. They went to an upper room and began to earnestly seek the Lord with fasting and prayer — and, after ten days, the power came!
But a lot of folks just go far enough to speak in tongues, and then they sit back to enjoy their experience. We must hunger in these last days for the power to be effective witnesses. The only thing that will bring us through to victory is our determination to receive the power we need. We may get tempted to give up, but that's no reason to give in to the whims of the devil.
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through the entire region round about. ~Luke 4:14
What happened out there in the wilderness? From that day on, everything mentioned in the Word about Jesus shows how much He set Himself apart to do the will of His Father.
THE CUP OF A SURRENDERED WILL:-
When Jesus was at the conclusion of His ministry here on earth, He faced another time of severe