Summary: Part 1 of 4 in our Lenten teaching series, "Survivorman." For more info, please visit www.newsongs.org
“Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.”
:: Teaching Series
This morning we begin a new teaching series, “Survivorman.” This series sets the tone for the upcoming weeks as we observe the season of Lent and prepare for Holy Week.
:: First Sunday of Lent
This morning we observe the first Sunday in the season of Lent.
• During this time we recall the journey of Jesus, beginning with his experience in the wilderness for forty days.
• We take time to absorb its meaning; we use the season as a time of reflection, self-examination and preparation for the encounters that are to come.
• We take time to evaluate our lives as disciples of Jesus, examining our attitudes and actions and the areas of our lives that need transformation.
• Today we are invited into the wilderness with Jesus, to walk with him and learn from him so that we can grow spiritually and deepen our relationship with God.
:: Keep the Moment
“ Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River.”
• Jesus had been in Jordan to be baptized by John
• It was during his baptism that the Holy Spirit came to him and God the Father spoke to Him:
“When all the people had been baptized, Jesus, too, was baptized. While he was praying, heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “You are my Son, whom I love. I am pleased with you!”
• The writer John tells us that John the Baptizer also witnessed this event and shared the news with his followers.
• Wouldn’t we want to stop the story at this point?
• We could live knowing that we were at the top of our spiritual game, with everyone loving and respecting us, leaders are encouraging us, others are following us, our ministry is effective and powerful.
• But God never intends us to “keep the moment” and try to stay where we are
• He will often allow us to go through periods of spiritual testing in order to grow and develop us
• He will often lead us into the wilderness, through circumstances that either have the potential to induce spiritual barrenness or to inspire spiritual growth
:: Welcome to the Wilderness
“He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness…”
• The Journey to the Wilderness (physically & spiritually)
o Physically: the wilderness is an arid environment; wasteland; desert
o It is devoid of life; scorching heat in the day, frigid cold at night
o Spiritually: The wilderness is a place of spiritual testing and challenge.
o Either way, it seems like the last place a person would go to willingly
o So why would Jesus be brought to such a place?
o Because, though the wilderness represents a place of great challenge, it is also a place where we can experience God powerfully and be transformed spiritually.
• The Effect of the Wilderness
o But we often misunderstand the point of the wilderness