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January 23, 2022 1:00 am
Sometimes you can go directly from great blessing to times of great trial. That’s what happened to Jesus when the Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. When He was most vulnerable, Jesus stood firm against Satan by using the Word of God. The devil can use people, events, health, wealth, guilt, injustice, and even the Word of God to bring out the worst in you. In this message, you’ll be prepared for temptation. When the devil comes to remind you of your past, you can use the Word of God and the work of Jesus to remind him of his future.Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
Sometimes we go directly from great blessing to times of great trial. That's what happened to Jesus.
He was led by God into the wilderness and found himself tempted to sin by the devil, hungry and thirsty. He was very vulnerable but father of Satan by using the word of God today lessons we can learn from 40 days in the life of Jesus from Chicago.
This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching with pastor Erwin Blitzer. Today we continue a seven part series on famines, deserts and other hard places after the music of worship. Erwin Blitzer will bring the message of the desert, the devil, and you Pastor Lutzer comes now to open our service.
Father we pray that you might get much glory as a result of our meeting and we asked also that you shall meet our needs in unexpected ways. Grant us faith. All father give his ears that are open eyes that are open to your truth and if necessary, we pray that those who are discouraged and those who are even dead in their trespasses and sins will be raised grant is that Lord today because we expect these miracles because we've come in a strong and powerful name of Jesus, about whom we now sing on and I invite you to follow along with me in your bulletin as we read together 46. Please read aloud with me on the bold print.
This is God's holy word. God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not way he moved into the high know why there are so though the mountains tremble welding there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the most high God in the midst of her she shall not be moved. God will help her when morning John, the nations rage the kingdoms totter voice, the earth mouth the Lord is the God of Jacob is our fortress, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolation on the year. He makes war fees to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, he burns the chariots with fire.
Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord is in will the purpose of this series of messages is to prepare us for hard times. But some are already there in the next two messages I'm going to be speaking more about the global issues of the economy and all those things.
But today it's 121 I'm talking to you and I'm speaking to myself. I have a friend that I've known for many years. He is not a member of Moody Church, nor does he attend here, I walk with them through some very dark times especially in the last three years we meet somewhat regularly. In fact, I met with him last week.
What I'm going to share with you as to what is going through is done with his come permission. You know that I would never share a story like this unless he signed off on all the details, so here goes.
What is happened in his life. In the last three years.
He was unjustly fired from a job, a Christian man offered him the job and benefited from him. But then he was let go. He said far-reaching betrayals by close friends and business associates. Secondly, went through a nasty and difficult second divorce, complete with false accusations of abuse which were later proved to be false, loss of health insurance and near loss of life due to cancer as a result of having no life insurance.
Although his physical needs are now being met. Thankfully, financial ruin, unable to pay his mortgage for two years, a bright spot is he does continue to live in the house, which is not yet totally foreclosed daily oppression from creditors harassing phone calls. He said I know I owe them money, but I've nothing to pay them complete reliance on food stamps. A food pantry and the generosity of families and friends, bank accounts, his in one of his children illegally zeroed out without warning. Both parents died in the last three years and because his bank account was zeroed out he was not able to visit his mother the week before she died. Continual oppression from the legal system.
One thing after another injustice piled upon injustice. His son experienced a terrifying physical assault resulting in stitches in my head. Someone jumped on him someone hiding behind the bushes and so this is being investigated terrifying mistaken SWAT team raid of the outside of the house SWAT team doing a lot of damage and then the worst and what I'm to share with you now is worse than the others that I already gave a son addicted to drugs. Presently incarcerated, not helped by rehab. So when I met with him this past week I said to him, my friend, my brother after all this every time I get an email I almost know in advance what is happening now can't ever some good things happen to him. I said, do you still trust God.
So this is what he said Word for Word. My faith is not only been strengthened as a result of this difficult.
My experience of seeing God so faithfully work in my life has given me more confidence to extend my faith in ways that I would not of had the courage to do previously. I've seen my children and others in my life respond favorably to Jesus Christ as a result of observing my faith despite the circumstances and I have seen how God can use hardships to open doors to develop new relationships as a result of my brokenness and humility. I now better understand the nature of God and the love of Jesus, and I want to say wow and thank you you say today will Pastor Lutzer what is God up to his one trial enough does it have to be multiple trials. One thing after another. The loss of a job, injustice, mistreatment by Christians when does the list ever and will in this message. I'm glad you asked. I'm going to explain to you from God's word and exactly what's happening and what the deal is and what God is doing and what the devil is doing.
Thanks for joining me on this journey. The passage of Scripture is actually the fourth chapter the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and I do hope that you turn to it. It's always so important to see you there in the word of God. Jesus is tested by the devil, but we can't understand the fourth chapter, unless we go back a couple of verses at the last part of the third chapter, Jesus is being baptized by John the Baptist to later on is beheaded this past week I was speaking at a conference where somebody said that it a man. You know sometimes we have people who are marginal in some ways he came to the platform and said I'm John the Baptist I want to speak and the pastor said you're not John the Baptist.
The man said how do you know and the pastor said because you still have your head on.
I guess that would be one way to go that he was, not John the Baptist will this was when John still had his head on. He baptized Jesus and then it says in verse 16 and when Jesus was bad sized team immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a job and coming to rest on him, behold a voice from heaven said this is my beloved son, with whom I am well please. And then the Bible says, then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. In fact, it's the gospel of Mark uses immediately Jesus was led to the desert to be tempted of the devil.
Why immediately, what's the rush. Jesus had just heard from the father, thou art my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Those words had just come from heaven and now the question is, will Jesus cleave to those words and believe those words. No matter what God puts him through. That's the issue that needs to be settled. So Jesus is driven by the spirit into the wilderness.
Now there are purposes for temptation.
There are purposes the devil has his purpose.
And what is the devil's purpose. What the devil wants to do is to take the fabric of God's love toward Jesus and ^ he wants to put daylight between the words of the father and the experience of Jesus to get Jesus to doubt whether the father spoke truth, you're my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.
The devil Diablo loss is called the accuser he is an accuser. If you use the other word. The word polygon means destroyer so he's out to destroy this past week I listen to a message by a man by the name of Jim Greer a very good message in which he called the devil, the splitter and I love that the splitter what he wants to do is to split Jesus from the will of the father and that's exactly what he wants to do in my life and your life is to make sure that we are not in fellowship with Christ, so that's the devil's intention in the whole issue of temptation and at what is God's issue.
What is God, after God wants to prove that there are some people who will believe him.
Even though when you look around. There is no reason at all to believe that he's on your side but you still believe that he is as good as his promises and he will be with us, even when the evidence for that is somewhat hard to find the bottom line is, the devil tempts us to bring out the worst in us. God tests us to bring out the best and that contest means that it is oftentimes played out in the desert. In the case of Israel. It was played out in the desert.
Now, in the case of Jesus it's played out here in a bland of barrenness on ending sand, no water or bread in the site so there are purposes for these temptations. Let me say also that there are diverse temptations, diverse, and will look at the text in a moment when Satan tempts us. He doesn't come to us like he does Jesus, he doesn't show up in a fury and say I'm here, I'm the devil we would be terrified. So with us.
He works it very differently. He works at like cat.
We might use a trap to catch a mouse in our first apartment that Rebecca and I had we had some nice were living along with us and we soon learned that they cannot be caught when you're sitting there they see you. I remember one scurrying across the floor and it was a very slippery floor and he is having such difficulty gaining traction. I still see it in my mind, but we learned that you could have a trap so that even when we weren't there, they would be caught and they were in the devil never comes saying I'm the devil. He comes with a trap. With the lure and he has many different lures and he does not announce his coming. But behind the trap is a trapper and behind the lie is the liar and what he does is he puts ideas in our minds that we think are our own, with the intention of doing two things. First of all making sin look good to us and secondly convincing us that we can manage the consequences very well.
And so, like Ananias and Sapphire, who were sitting there and who decided to be dishonest and later on Peter says, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit. They did not know that their thoughts had actually come from the devil.
So that's the way he comes to us make sin look good and lets us think that we can manage it very well. Thank you. We can handle the consequences one out to the temptations. You'll notice that the devil comes to him and says them. If you are the son of God than most people who translated say that it could be translated if you are is not necessarily debating whether Jesus is the son of God is as if you are off. Turn these stones into bread. Your hungry turn the stones into bread. Nothing wrong with that later on.
Jesus is going to feed 5000 people by his word, but what the devil wants to do is this.
He wants to say to Jesus also. This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased relate, then why are you hungry if you mean so much to God. If God loves you as much as God says he does explain your hunger to me that God is on your side. Create bread right now Jesus won't fall for the bait.
What Jesus is saying is if my heavenly father has mapped out a difficult road for me. I would rather starve here in the desert then do one single thing to somehow have my own way.
So Jesus comes back at the devil and that quotes from the book of Deuteronomy and says clearly man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. That quotation comes from a time in Israel's history when people were angry with God because they were hungry and God says I let you go hungry, that you might know that man doesn't live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. That's the context and what the people were really saying is this, we prefer bread to your word and God says in this temptation to Jesus.
Are you going to be willing to believe my bare word or does bread mean more to you than my promises. That's really what's at stake. Parenthesis you and I don't really, really live by every word that comes out of the mouth of God doing. We only live by those words that we like. We only live by our favorites.
But Jesus quoted a verse here, and the devil says, in effect being very clever pieces you quoted a verse I can play your game.
All quote 12. I'll take a verse out of Psalm 91 so he takes them to the pinnacle of the temple. The eastern wall. The pinnacle there that falls off into the Kidron Valley and says to him that cast yourself down because it says in Psalm 91, he shall give his angels charge concerning the and in their by hand they shall bear the up last outcast afoot against the stone. If you believe every word that comes out of the mouth of God prove this one. And furthermore, you'd be a hero falling from the temple and not dying, but you would also have proof and vindication that you are God's beloved son after all because you need to confirm God's word with the miracle and so jumped down from the temple and will catch you, Jesus does whatever a good theologian does what Jesus does is he corrects the devil's theology with another verse he doesn't say what you know you're misquoting the personnel because he wasn't really misquoting it, but he was saying you need to balance this over here to put it in context. There's something going on over here. Another parenthesis there are so many false teachers in the airwaves today and I spoke about the recently. I can just imagine some of them coming across a promise like in Psalm 91 and say you know the Lord to show me something we could just jump out of an airplane. We could just do all this and he catches hallelujah Jesus. Jesus said them. You need to balance and buy another one and the other one is it you shall not test the Lord your God again. He quotes Deuteronomy and the context is this the people were upset because they were hungry and thirsty and if you look at the context what they were basically saying that was this they were saying if you don't provide food and water and do a miracle were not going to believe you anymore.
Who can trust a God who allows people to be hungry in first so they tested God give us a miracle. Or else Jesus said never do that. Never put God in a box.
Never be presumptuous and say oh here's a promise from the pinnacle of the temple and you've got to catch me. Thou shall not put the Lord thy God to the test, sit Jesus and Jesus is saying I don't even need a miracle like that to believe that I am God's beloved son in whom he is well. Please.
So Jesus passes that test and by the way the devil can indeed quote Scripture, but now he comes to the biggie in the biggie has to do with the possessions and the ownership of the world, the devil being a scholar in the sense that he reads the Bible. He's read Psalm two where it says that someday Jesus is going to sit on the throne, and God is going to give them the kingdoms of this world so the devil comes to Jesus and says well Jesus I'll tell you that if he shows them the kingdoms of this world. We don't know how it happened. Maybe it was some kind of a vision. But we can imagine that all of the opulence that was in existence at that time was seen by Jesus in the company of the devil. I'm thinking for example of the great pyramids of Egypt, which already were centuries-old. By that time maybe they saw the Acropolis in Athens and they saw the great buildings in the city of Rome and as Satan says that Jesus, if you bow and worship me. I'll give them all to you how to give a multiview worship me and I will give you the kingdom. Not a question of course is them. Did he have a right to do that theologians debated. After all, he is the God of this world. Some people say and they say it was a legitimate offer that he was making to, but if you think of this theologically putting all of the things together.
I think that there's something else going on here in the text and that is I think that the devil was laughing if Jesus had bowed down Jesus would not have received the kingdoms of this world because sure he's the God of this world. But remember, he's the God of this world on God's terms, and moment by moment, is subject to God and so he could not have given Jesus that right. But what he's doing is this the same Jesus, there's an easier way to get the kingdom than to die and be on across because you can take a shortcut and if you take a shortcut you can be wealthy, you can own the kingdoms of this world and you can be powerful so you don't have to do it with integrity.
You don't have to do it following the father's plan. No, you simply go ahead and do it worship me and I'll give you of course Jesus said no to that. And he made the statement, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test and then he says, begone, the Satan, for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God only, and him only shall you serve. While what he's saying is no another parenthesis giving you plenty of them today. Aren't I will. Satan never get this. Will he ever be worshiped. Absolutely perfect in one of the messages I'm going to talk about whether or not we would have enough faith to trust him even if we were to live in the tribulation.
But the Bible says there Satan's puppet antichrist. All that dwell upon the face of the earth shall worship him, except those whose names are written from before the foundation of the world in the Lamb's book of life.
He'll get his worship 008 is going to be so short because it will be interrupted by the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ to the Mount of olives in triumph and in power and the glory will all be his and his alone. So Jesus passes the test, Jesus says, I believe that I am God's beloved son in me. He is well pleased, and I can believe that without any evidence without any miracle without any shortcut to somehow get possessions and money. I can believe it, with integrity, because all that matters to me is that I please the father.
I find it interesting that it says here in verse 11. Now that this temptation was over. By the way. In Luke it says and Satan departed waiting for more opportune time. Sometimes new Christians think that if you encounter Satan and you are victorious. Once you've got it made no he will be back in a more opportune time. But in verse 11 it says and angels came and ministered to him. God sent angels and the angels.
I'm sure said to Jesus, we're not here to catch you, though they'd been glad to do it.
If so ordered were not here to catch you but we are here to bless you were here to bless you. Who knows, maybe we'll find out someday. Speculation is fast, was over after 40 days and 40 nights.
Maybe they even laid the table for him and they had a banquet. We don't know. But God is the one who sent angels and said an affected Jesus when you are most desperate when you are most hungry when you pass the test. I will be there for you with these kinds of blessings.
I began this message by telling you I was going to tell you what's really going on in the spirit world in your life and in mind. So here it is, and you've already picked up on it. The devil is saying, in effect, as he did in the book of Job.
Do you see someone so they hold fast their integrity. They go to church, but if you take something away from them. If you take their children. If you take their possessions they will curse you to your face God is saying wait a moment when I have people who are going to believe every word that comes out of my mouth. And if you're here today as a Christian, or your listening by whatever means, whether it's on the media, the Internet, whether it's by radio, listen to me very carefully.
If you're a believer. God says I love you today that you are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter and in you. I am very well pleased that I can't be what it says in the book of Ephesians we have been graced in the beloved one.
You see, God loves us and he loves us and it's independent of performance that hears what the devil does in our lives.
He has two different major ways to get at us. One his circumstances. Injustice fired from a job, unable to make ends meet. As my friend indicated humbling us going through times of distress. Personal conflicts God takes us through that and that's one way that the devil tries to get us to disbelieve that we are still precious to God. After all-you are precious to God he do something for you wouldn't be we let this go on just year after year after year. That's one thing the devil uses and then for us to uses something else that he could have never used for Jesus, but he uses it for us and that is guilt you see is the accuser of the brethren then went as he accuses during the day and during the night and this is what happens. Christian falls into sin their soul is sullied to their soul is defiled and then on to what to do.
They say to themselves you know God must be so mad at me is no use me really connecting with God because I may do the same thing again and so not properly understanding the gospel. They are led to despair and the devil win because he has separated your soul from the father.
There is no fellowship when you have a defiled soul. I've learned that long ago.
How can you look into the eyes of your heavenly father and tell him how much you love him and how much you appreciate his grace and forgiveness of all that you have in your mind. Their memories of impurity and and sins that you've committed you just say I don't even want to go there and so you may come to church and sing the right songs and listen to the right prayers you leave unchanged.
How should we handle that. Should we say will devil you know why I just want clarify one thing I'm not as bad as so-and-so you know if you really want to compare people you go into my bosom, and you find something good and then you presented to Jesus in the devil's is great and he has you for lunch, dinner, supper and dessert is not the way you handle it the way you handle it as you go back to the gospel that says that we are accepted in Jesus and there is nothing that I can do to make God love me less and nothing that I can do to make him love me some Dale Pridgen entire message on that for you unbelievers who didn't clap very loud.
John 17 that was 11 AM as thou hast loved me, you belong to Christ, you are permanently and totally loved and so you come back to Christ and you come back to him and you rely on the work that he did on the cross and don't you dare pull something nice out of your bosom and say what you know.
I did have my devotions this morning so I'm not that bad it's not the basis. The basis is what Jesus did for us, and because he won. We win even when we fail, that is the good message of the Goss. So how do we counteract the devil.
The word of God. It is written, what is written, and I look in your eyes. We all look at me for just a moment pretend I'm not saying this, but God is your my beloved son, in your by beloved daughter, in whom I am very well pleased. Hunger no miracles, no way to confirm the faith by some dramatic event, but you live by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God. And when Satan comes and remind you of your past you remind him of his future. I have often quoted Romans eight in my own life.
Begone, Satan I say, for it is written, who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect. It is God who justifies.
Who is he that condemns it is Christ that died, gave, rather, that is risen again, who is even now on the right hand of the throne of God also maketh intercession for us. You can't corner me on this guilt thing. I am a sinner and I did wrong. But Jesus cries blood and sacrifice is great enough and wonderful enough to set me free word of God. But we also use the work of God. Colossians chapter 2 says that when Jesus Christ died on the cross.
It says that he disarmed all principalities and all powers and made a show of them openly triumphing over them in it you sale Pastor Lutzer I am so weary. I am so weary of the stress.
I am so weary of the pressures.
I am so weary physically, mentally and emotionally I can't fight the devil anymore, but hear me when I tell you, you don't have to Jesus did and he won. So we lay hold of the fact that Jesus is the winner in the context but then there's also the people of God you say.
Well Pastor Lutzer Jesus but the devil alone in the desert I can fight my own demons along well. Like I say, newsflash, you're not Jesus, but also think of this when Jesus was in his most difficult temptation when Jesus was assaulted emotionally in a way that he was never assaulted in the temptation in the desert when he was there in the garden of Gethsemane, sweating as it were great drops of blood. When Jesus was there. Then what happened. He asked the disciples and said come and watch with me, watch me help me bear my burden. Even Jesus needed others in a moment of it as special grief and heartache and agony. Who are we that we think we can do without the prayers of others, and the commitment of other people.
We can't some time ago I was watching what I think is one of the best channels on television. It's the animal channel is sale.
Pastor Lutzer just use your zapper and go through there a lot of channels out there that might in some sense be described that way by going too fast for some of what I'm talking about the real animal channel and I saw something I said while I hope I can draw the picture for you. Wish we could flesh it on the screen but it's a little too gruesome anyway. But I'll describe here you have a herd of buffalo may be I don't know I'll say hundred 200 out of and here are five or six lions who noticed that one of the buffalo is just away from the word may be two or 300 feet, maybe a little farther to lions. Actually, all of them run toward this buffalo. Two of them take one takes one back leg.
The other takes the other back leg and they hang on for dear life in this massive beast begins to slow down soon as he slows down other liens happen is back, others begin the process in his underbelly, and you can just begin to visualize what happened. Now, one lion doesn't understand buffalo very well. He goes for the buffalo's head. Bad idea. The buffalo puts his head down like this and just up with his horns and he threw that lion in the air, probably six or 8 feet in fact, the commentator said the lion died the next day you never want to tackle buffalo at the horns now. What interested me is what about the other buffalo. They were all standing. No one is grazing there just staring, just staring, I don't know what or not. Buffalo can think never been one never talk to one. But if they can think they're probably thinking this, I'm sure glad that's not me. What a picture of Satan's the splitter. The splitter first of all he wants to split people from the church and from other believers. I'll tell you how he does it he does it, primarily through anger and bitterness. You've been hurt in church.
Other Christians of hurt you.
Other Christians have not appreciated you. In fact, things have been done and you've experienced injustice at the hand of Christian and so you say to yourself. So much for believers enough to have anything to do with those hypocrites. The lion who is trying to devour us licks his chop sentences right. I got them split from the herd and he wants to use that bitterness in your life and that anger and that disposition to do it and then he does it and then he begins to attack you in other ways you know once you're cut off from the herd, you're vulnerable to all kinds of other things in.
Unfortunately, sometimes Christians hear about it. Or maybe they even say it and say oh you know what so-and-so is going through.
I I'm sure glad it's not happening to me. Listen, if those buffalo had decided as a herd to take on those liens and thundered toward them.
The liens would have fled with all that they possibly word because the lions were no match at all for a herd of buffalo with our horns blazing taking care of those liens we need one another in the church you're going through a trial and God is saying to you, you need to share that request with someone you need somebody to help you bear your burdens. I've been through it. I know what some of you are going through your going through times when you don't even have enough faith for yourself because you been so assaulted by the devil.
Somebody else has to believe and trust with you and that's why today here at The Moody Church. We have prayer partners and I can ask them right now to stand in the aisles and if you're in the balcony. If you go up the stairs in the atrium area you're going to find prayer partners. There because in a few moments were going to be singing a hymn together and I want you to share your need with a prayer partner will not only pray today but promised to pray for you all week. This is not an opportunity to receive counsel. It's an opportunity to in a sentence or two to say my heart is heavy today because of ABCD. Would you lift me up in prayer. If you see that there are some lines that are long, go anyway because we have other prayer partners will step in.
Let me say also.
Some of you couples I speak to the man you should be a leader. Take your wife's hand and say were going for prayer together because the devil is splitting us, splitting us from God, splitting us from other people and splitting us from each other. The splitter cannot win. We will not let the splitter split.
We will hang in to every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. And if you're Christian, God says I love you and Jesus died for you.
If you're not a believer in Christ today you come forward to tell somebody. I want to be saved in these prayer partners will help you. Let us pray together. Father take these words, we thank you that Jesus triumphed were Adam failed Adam in a beautiful garden, Jesus in a desert conquered and for that we are deeply grateful.
Now we ask that the Holy Spirit is been given to the church may speak to all of us. Our hearts and remind us that we all need prayer, one with another, may many people today respond and say we come we want the devil to win.
We want Jesus to try bring us all back into fellowship with the father we pray in Jesus name, amen. So on today's Moody Church. Our pastor looks or continue to series on famines, deserts and other hard places as he spoke on the desert, the devil, and you next week. Part five in this series, and a message on preparing for the day of calamity. This seven part series can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount that The Moody Church. Our call 1-800-215-5001. Let us know you'd like to support Moody Church's ministry are think you will be a set of CDs designed to help us prepare for the hard times may be coming. Just call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at Moody Church media 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 mention famines, deserts and other hard places when you write or call online go to Moody offeror.com that's Moody offeror.com. Join us next time for another Moody Church. Our with pastor Erwin lutes are in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago.
This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church