Sermons

Summary: Learning the strategy and intentions behind Satan’s temptations placed on Jesus.

IT HAS HUMOROUSLY BEEN SAID THAT, "IT’S EASIER TO ASK FOR FORGIVENESS THAN IT IS TO ASK FOR PERMISSION."

WHEN IT COMES TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE THIS IS DANGEROUS.

DANGEROUS, BECAUSE IT IMPLIES THAT ONE WOULD RATHER GO ON JUSTIFYING LIVING WRONG THAN FACE THE ACCOUNTABILITY OF ADJUSTING THEIR LIVES TO THE TRUTH.

WE FACE A NEW DILEMMA THESE DAYS WITH FINDING WAYS TO JUSTIFY OUR SINFULNESS. WE HAVE GOTTEN "SLOPPY" WHEN IT COMES TO DEALING WITH TEMPTATION.

WE USE EVERY EXCUSE FROM "THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT" ALL THE WAY TO THE BRAZEN CRY OF, "I CAN’T HELP IT."

WHATEVER EXCUSE IS USED IT IS STILL A REFUSAL TO DEAL WITH THE ISSUE OF TEMPTATION.

JESUS SHOWS US NOT ONLY THE IMPORTANCE OF HOW TO DEAL WITH TEMPTATION, BUT WHOM WE ARE DEALING WITH WHEN WE ARE BEING TEMPTED AND ENTICED TO TURN AWAY FROM THE WAYS OF GOD.

JESUS ALSO PROVES TO US THAT WHEN DEALING WITH TEMPTATION IT IS TO BE A TIME OF STRATEGIC COMBAT AND WARFARE NOT A TIME TO COWARDLY BACK OFF INTO A PASSIVE STATE OF EXCUSE MAKING.

THE REASON FOR ALL OF THE PRECAUTION IS DUE TO THE POWERFUL FORCE THAT IS BEHIND TEMPTATION WHICH IS SATAN HIMSELF! SATAN IS ALWAYS SEEKING FOR AN OPPORTUNE TIME TO TEMPT US.

HE WANTS NOTHING MORE THAN TO TAKE US AWAY FROM GOD, TO LIVE BROKEN, DEFEATED AND POWERLESS LIVES IN BONDAGE TO SIN. LIVES THAT ARE TOTALLY DISPLEASING AND UNFRUITFUL FOR GOD THE FATHER.

THE EASIEST WAYS TO DO THIS IS NOT TO GET US TO FALL INTO SIN, BUT TO GET US TO STAY IN SIN BY JUSTIFYING OUR ACTIONS AS IF THEY WEREN’T SINS AT ALL. SATAN USED THIS TACTIC WITH JESUS IN THE WILDERNESS TEMPTATIONS.

SATAN USED THIS SELFISH TACTIC BY TRYING TO GET JESUS TO JUSTIFY MEETING HIS OWN NEEDS IN HIS OWN WAY TO OBTAIN BREAD, AUTHORITY AND PROTECTION.

WE WILL NEVER BE TEMPTED IN THESE UNIQUE WAYS, SINCE WE ARE NOT THE SON OF GOD, BUT WE MUST BE PREPARED SINCE WE’LL BE CHALLENGED BY THE SAME KEY ISSUE THAT FUELS TEMPTATION: FAITHFULNESS!

SATAN’S PRIMARY USE FOR TEMPTATION IS TO DESTROY OUR FAITHFUL ALLEGIANCE TO ALMIGHTY GOD. ONE OF THE EASIEST WAYS HE DOES THIS IS BY OFFERING US SHORTCUTS TO SPIRITUALITY! "DO-IT-YOURSELF" SPIRITUALITY!

THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT JESUS DIDN’T FALL FOR THEM, AND NEITHER SHOULD WE! LET’S LOOK AT WHAT IS BEHIND THE THREE TEMPTATIONS JESUS BATTLED AGAINST.

THE FIRST TEMPTATION WAS FOR JESUS TO TURN A STONE INTO A PIECE OF BREAD. THIS TEST OF FAITHFULNESS WAS FOR JESUS TO "FEED HIMSELF" AND PROVIDE HIS BASIC NEEDS WITHOUT ANY OF GOD’S HELP.

THIS TEST WAS AN OBVIOUS TACTIC FOR JESUS TO USE HIS SONSHIP IN A WAY INCONSISTENT WITH HIS GOD-ORDAINED MISSION.

SATAN DIDN’T WANT JESUS TO DIE FOR US, BUT TO BRIBE US INTO FOLLOWING HIM BY USING HIS POWERS TO PROVIDE US WITH BASIC NEEDS AND MATERIAL POSSESSIONS.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT SATAN HAS TEMPTED US IN THIS WAY? BY GETTING CHURCHES TO DEPEND MORE UPON THEIR FINANCES. BY GETTING CHURCHES TO DETERMINE WHAT THEY WILL/WILL NOT DO BASED ON THOSE FINANCES.

BY TRICKING US INTO THINKING THAT THE CHURCH MUST OFFER US INCENTIVES TO GET US TO ATTEND…MAKING US THINK WE NEED A SOCIAL SETTING INSTEAD OF A SAVIOR!

THE FACT IS THAT IS HAS NEVER BEEN "WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME" BUT RATHER ASKING OURSELVES HOW WE CAN BOTH RELATIONALLY AND SPIRITUALLY DRAW CLOSER TO GOD TO KNOW HIM PERSONALLY SO WE CAN DO HIS WILL!

JESUS FIGHTS THIS TEMPTATION, AS SHOULD WE, BY QUOTING DEUTERONOMY 8:3 TO SIGNIFY THAT EVERYONE MUST RECOGNIZE THEIR UTTER DEPENDENCE ON GOD’S WORD.

THE SECOND TEMPTATION OF FAITHFULNESS DEALS WITH ACHIEVING POWER BY TAKING SHORT-CUTS. SATAN IS CLAIMING TO POSSES THE WORLD. SATAN THEREFORE OFFERS JESUS THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD AND ALL ITS SPLENDOR WITHOUT SHOWING ITS SIN.

BECAUSE JESUS CAME TO REMOVE THAT SIN THIS TEMPTATION BECOMES A TEST TO ACHIEVE POWER BY TAKING A “SHORT-CUT.”

IN OTHER WORDS: SIDE-STEPPING THE CROSS AND INTRODUCING IDOLATRY. SATAN WANTS JESUS TO AVOID THE CROSS WHICH IS HIS DOOM!

SATAN WAS TELLING JESUS "DON’T SET YOUR STANDARDS SO HIGH! STRIKE A BARGAIN WITH ME. JUST COMPROMISE A LITTLE WITH EVIL AND PEOPLE WILL FOLLOW YOU!"

JESUS QUOTES DEUTERONOMY 6:13, THAT STATES TO WORSHIP ONLY GOD. HAD JESUS ACCEPTED SATAN’S OFFER SALVATION WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE!

OUR LESSON FOR THIS TEMPTATION IS THAT GOD IS GOD, RIGHT IS RIGHT, AND WRONG IS WRONG. THERE CAN BE NO COMPROMISE IN THE WAR ON EVIL!

EVIL SEES THINGS AS GRAY! BUT AS CHRISTIANS WE MUST SEE THINGS IN TERMS OF BLACK AND WHITE! SATAN LOVES MORE THAN ANYTHING TO HEAR CHRISTIANS SAY, "IT CAN’T HURT ANYTHING…IT’S JUST HARMLESS FUN!"

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