Summary: A sermon for the First Sunday of Lent about the temptation of Jesus and the implications for your life.

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• The first Sunday of Lent for 19 centuries on the church calendar has focused on the temptation by the devil of Jesus.

• Much of the symbolism of Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness comes from the Hebrew Scripture story of the Exodus (vv. 1 and 2).

• Discussion of the historical images of the Devil. Down through the Ages, artists and writers have given us many different images of Satan. For example, from the chronicles of the Spanish Inquisition comes this picture:

The devil had large, round, inflamed eyes, the beard of a goat, a black face, the body of a man and a goat combined. His fingers were hooked like talons, his toes webbed.

whether we depict angels with wings or devils with long tails, it is not the imagery in itself, but what it represents that really matters.

You can call this power of evil by any name that you want. You can call him devil, Satan, Be-Beelzebub, or Lucifer. You may not like the biblical language like devil, Satan and Lucifer, so you may use contemporary language like the power of evil, The Force e.g. in the movie Star Wars, or The Shadow e.g. in the psychology of Carl Jung.

Call Satan by any name you will, but there is this evil at work in this world

Jesus retreats alone into the desert to prepare for His public ministry. But, spiritually, He is not alone. With Him are fighting for His soul-the classic confrontation between the Forces of Good and Evil. In other words, Jesus is being tempted.

“If you are the Son of God,” the devil taunts Jesus three times. Jesus does not bite all three times.


1--Devil: "Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread."

Jesus: "It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth."

2—Devil: "Since you are God’s Son, jump." The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: "He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone."

Jesus: "Don’t you dare test the Lord your God."

3—Devil-- He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, "They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours."

Jesus: "Beat it, Satan!" He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: "Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness."

CONCLUSION: LENT REMINDS US THAT WE HAVE A CHOICE: Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5.

Have this mind in you-- fill the space in your life with God and, with Jesus, embrace your mission. Confident that the devil, as he did in the Galilean wilderness, will surely give up and walk away. No longer will it be the Devil’s Sunday. Today and every Sunday is Jesus Sunday. Today records the story where Jesus resisted temptation.

Other Worship Info 02.10.08:

CALL TO WORSHIP (Based on The Message version of Psalm 32)

Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be— you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky—GOD holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from him.

When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up.

Then I let it all out; I said, "I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to GOD." Suddenly the pressure was gone— my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared.

GOD’s my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore, throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.

God-defiers are always in trouble; GOD-affirmers find themselves loved every time they turn around.

Celebrate GOD. Sing together—everyone! All you honest hearts, raise the roof!

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