February 25, 2007 –
INTRODUCTION – Review of Jan. 28th sermon
I John 2:13,14
If you and I are going to be overcomers of all the fiery darts thrown at us by Satan and his demons I. We must never test God concerning the fulfillment of His promises. Vs. 5-7 A. The Setting of the Temptation – vs. 5 1. Somehow the devil physically took Jesus from the wilderness into Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple. Because Satan cannot make Jesus do anything, we have to assume Jesus willingly went there with him.
As to the significance of taking Jesus to this place before he tempted him, Dr. Stan Touisaint has some helpful insight. P. 76 – “Satan had a very evident purpose in placing the Lord at this scene for this temptation. According to a rabbinic tradition, the coming of the Messiah to mark the deliverance of Israel would be indicated by His appearance on the temple roof. Edersheim quotes a rabbi as saying, “Our Rabbis give this traditions: in the hour when King Messiah cometh, He standeth upon the roof of the Sanctuary.” For Jesus to leap unhurt from the place the Messiah was to appear would certainly identify Him as the King of Israel. John 6:30 shows the Jews anticipated the Messiah would manifest Himself with such a sign as this.”
B. The Temptation – vs. 6 “eis” translated “if” or “since” Since you are the Son of God, whom the Father has promised to protect by His holy angels, and since everyone needs a sign or attesting miracle to prove that you are the Son of God… give them a demonstration.”
This quotation of course comes from Psalm 91:11,12 minus the phrase “to guard you in all your ways.” By leaving that phrase out, Satan was able to make the emphasis of the passage “bearing you up..”
What does this teach us about Satan and the word of God? He knows it well. He is very skilled at twisting it. We need to know it better, and we need to know it with a tender submissive heart.
What is his scheme this time? Satan wanted Jesus to in his own way and own timing, since he was the Son of God and people needed to be convinced of that, to give them that proof. Now He was the Son of God, and the people did need a certain degree of evidence of that. Not only that but there might have been a certain expectation among the Jews that the Messiah would do such a thing. Malachi 3:1 says, “And the Lord whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; “ It’s very possible that Satan was trying to get Jesus to do what the people expected the Messiah would do.
But it was not up to Jesus to decide when and how that should happen. That was the Father’s prerogative. Jesus said many times that “He only did what He saw the Father doing. And that He did nothing on His own initiative.”
Another thing I see here, is if Satan cannot keep us from trying to accomplish God’s purposes, He will then try to get us to do it in an illegitimate way. You see Satan is the inventor of the maxim: “The end justifies the means.” He is a master at getting us to focus on the legitimacy of the end, and overlooking the illegitimacy of the means.
Jesus knew He was the Son of God. He knew the people needed to be convinced of that.
But He never took that into His own hands.
Thus His response to the evil one C. Jesus Response to the temptation – vs. 7
Deut. 6:16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.” How did the Hebrews test God at Massah? Ex. 17:1-7 (read it) Complaining; reacting in fear; unbelief; doubting God’s promises; reacting to circumstances instead of standing on God’s word;
Psalm 95:8-11 (read it) They tried God’s patience and mercy, when even though they had seen God’s work, they still didn’t believe or trust Him.
Heb. 3:7-11 quotes Psalm 95 as motivation to obey the command in vs. 6 “…if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” God really expects us to believe Him and not complain and fear and grovel in anxiety.
So why did Jesus’s mind go to Deut. 5:16 & Ex. 17:1-7??? Perhaps because Jesus knew that Satan was trying to get Jesus to worry about how the people were going to figure out He was the Son of God, and how they were going to find the motivation to follow Him. God the Father had promised and assured Him in many ways over the last 30 years that He would vindicate Him and lead Him and provide for Him. He had revealed to Jesus that He would bring salvation and healing and deliverance to all. But the Father’s way was the way of the cross. The Psalmist in Psalm 95 as he spoke of the sin of those assembled at Massah noted that they are a people who err in their hearts, and that they did not know God’s ways. God’s way is interesting: On the one hand, He tells us that He has great plans and purposes for us, and that He intends to use us to heal the sick, cast out demons, save the lost, set free the captives and disciple the nations. But on the other hand He allows health problems, and relational problems, and financial problems and training and educational inadequacies, and a host of other problems and difficulties – – so that one might wonder if perhaps we need to take things into our own hands. And it is at the height often of our weakness that Satan comes in like a roaring lion – reminding us that we are God’s instrument, we have a job to do, so let’s get on with it using his devious methods.
D. What this means for us today Well as each of us grows in our knowledge of God and His purposes and intentions and specific will for us, we are going to discover sooner or later that it is not doable in our own strength and wisdom. We’re going to find that we need more influence, more money, more education, more wisdom, more patience, more power, ….
Satan and his demons are going to come along – usually at a point of significant weakness, and remind us of our job and then try to get us to doubt God’s sufficiency and timing and faithfulness, and then get us to do things in our own way, sufficiency and timing. Let me give you some examples:
1. Randy, you’re the pastor of this church. They expect you to keep up with them. They pay you to help them with their problems. The Bible says, “Shepherd the flock of God among you,…” Prayer and Bible study and fasting and meditation, and leading and building with your family and building with your leaders can all wait. Get out there with the sheep now!!
Now you see there is some truth in what he is saying. But he is leaving out lots of other scriptures that deal with a pastors’s priorities and job description.
2. Joe, you’re the provider for your family. It’s your job to make sure all those bills get paid, the kids have adequate clothes, your family has nice cars to get around in, your house is respectable and in good shape, you have money for retirement, and your kids’ college education. The Bible says, “children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.” And “..if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” You need to work longer hours, ask for more overtime, tell your wife with a stern face to quit spending money, and let the wealthy folk pay the church’s bills. You can tithe when you get a raise. And ease up on accounting for every ounce of income to the IRS. They are just a bunch of covetous government employees anyway.
Now the bible does say that, and there is the general expectation in scripture that men will work and help pay the bills for their family. But men or dads are not the providers. God is the provider. And the end of needing more money or provision never justifies the means of treating your wife unkindly, neglecting your families, withholding what belongs to God, worrying, etc.
3. Brenda, you are the mother of that child.