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March 6, 2022 1:00 am
We often are tempted to believe the lie that God must not love us, especially when we have unfulfilled desires. Some people think that God always leads His children in easy pathways of blessing when in reality, God often leads His people into the wilderness. That was the case with Jesus, who fasted for forty days only to then face the onslaught of Satan’s attacks, all while in the center of God’s loving will. How does Jesus’ temptation prepare us for what we face?Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
Some people think God always leads those children using pathways of blessing.
In reality, God often leads his people into the wilderness.
That was the case with Jesus, who first fasted for 40 days and then faced the onslaught of Satan's attacks, all while in the center of God's will. Why was Jesus tempted of the devil. Stay with us from Chicago.
This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching with pastor Erwin Blitzer. Today we continue our series on come and see Jesus pictures of the Savior that teach us about his mission on earth later in our broadcast Erwin Blitzer will speak on. Come and see his temptation. Also today will be joined by the incredible ring of fire handle ensemble from Hillsboro, Oregon, under the direction of Jason Wells, Pastor Lutzer comes now to open our service in a moment were going to have the opportunity of singing number 59. I sing the mighty power of God, please take your hymnals and turn to number 59. Our Scripture reading today is by Mary Whelchel, the director of our women's ministries. Father we ask in the name of Jesus, help us to worship you acceptably today.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen. Finally strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes for hours and evil in their put on the armor of God so you may be able to your grand you have done everything stand firm with the belt of truth around your waist with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of in addition to all the shield with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil take the helmet of salvation.
Which is the word of God and pray in the Spirit on all with all of prayers and requests. With all all him and him and him will will and a reminder of the fact that if we really do trust him. Our fears can be laid aside thank you so much choir. Thank you Chicago last time we had the chance to play here. Worship with you Sunday morning and the kid said telling anyone else here three years ago in Kelly's eye all new kid with quite a turnover in Kelly's and we going back to such a special time. So thank you for welcoming us again, but this is just east of Riccio Sheriff is beginning this piece. I imagine angels around the throne of God in this incredible moment worship space in the middle. Imagine the same angels looking down as Christ is hanging on the cross and the horror of that moment. I think you sense that in the piece we doesn't leave it there and the good news of the resurrection explodes in a celebration chassis. I can't even begin to think of the practice. That's what I was that it would take to be able to play that way to get it all right to know which bill to pick up and when and how hard to ring how hard it is a marvelous example not only of gorgeous music of cooperation and coordination and that certainly is something that is an amazing wonder what young people can do today there smarter than they were when I was when I mentioned the word temptation. I think that all of you would agree that we intuitively understand what it is and all of us at times have fallen into temptation temptation of one kind or another. When I was in high school I had a friend who always said that there's only one thing I can't resist. And that is temptation.
What is temptation will temptation is the opportunity for us to pursue and to fulfill what might be a legitimate need to do so illegitimately and wrong way. That's what temptation is nothing wrong with you, desiring to get a good grade in school, but if you get that good grade and cheat you fallen into 10 patient nothing wrong with loving being the love and wanting to be loved nothing wrong with that box. If we have wrong relationships or fulfill those desires with the wrong person. Then of course we sin we fallen into temptation.
Nothing wrong with wanting to earn money, but agreed to send was Martin Luther who said that we can't prevent birds from flying overhead. But we can prevent them from making a nest in our care what he meant was temptation itself may not be wrong. It's not the problem. In fact is we shall see today.
We are led into temptation, but succumbing to temptation the wrong decision in temptation. That's another story. Are you troubled by the fact that the Bible says in chapter 4 verse one of Matthew and that's our text today. By the way please turn to it.
Are you troubled it says in Matthew chapter 4 verse one then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. You just heard the wonderful words you are my beloved son in whom I will please those beautiful words had been said, the baptism and then there is the word the spirit drives. Christ, it's even stronger than led the spirit drives Christ into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil disabled God doesn't tempt anybody that is true. He does not solicit anyone to evil, but God does test us and furthermore it wasn't God soliciting Jesus to evil. Here it was Satan but God brought Jesus to the place up. Temptation does he bring you sometimes to the place of temptation do temptations come your way. Jesus is known in the Bible. First Corinthians chapter 15 as the last Adam, or the second Adam, the first Adam was in a gorgeous paradise with all of his needs met and he send Jesus the second Adam is in a wilderness where none of his needs are met and he overcomes the serpent, the devil first.
Adam is in a place where he has everything going for him.
The second Adam is in a place where nothing is in his favor and yet he stands against the devil first Adam became the head of a whole new race and everyone now who participates and is born into the kingdom of the first Adam is born into the kingdom as a loser. Jesus also stands at the head of a brand-new race born again people, and whoever becomes a member of that kingdom becomes a winner.
Thanks to Jesus. So here in the desert, God places Jesus in a place where Jesus and the devil are going to tough it out couple of facts that we should know about this temptation. First of all temptation. Of course has a purpose.
Jesus was led up the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. What is the purpose first: would you be the devil's purpose and then I'm going to give you, God's purpose. The devil's purpose in temptation always is to draw us away from God. It is to cut our fellowship off from God and the devil does that with sin and what he wants to do is to bring out the worst in us. He wants to draw us into a situation where that which is the worst comes out where we believe that we are too far gone for God to care about us or to love us so that we keep on going.
The devil's direction and that's why he is called the Diablo loss, which means the accuser because he even accuses us about sins that have been forgiven, but also he is called Apollyon. And that word Apollyon means the destroyer he comes to destroy way to do evil. That's his purpose God has an entirely different purpose, God's purpose in temptation is to bring out the best in us and to give us an opportunity that we love God more than our passions. We love God more than having our needs mapped.
We love God so supremely that we will choose in his favor. When we are faced with that decision and we will make a tough choice even if it hurts, and does not seem in the short run to be profitable when we are faced with temptation and if we make the right choice. If we make God's choice. God is glorified. Jesus receives on her character is built in the cause of Christ is advanced that's God's intention. Why do you think it says in Genesis, God did tempt Abraham. The Hebrew word actually means God tested Abraham.
God's is Abraham sacrifice your son what God was saying as I know that you really love Isaac you are absolutely in love with this boy but you love him more than you love me. God is asking God's is a minute test yet to see where your loyalties lie. Temptation has a purpose. Secondly, temptations are diverse, they are diverse they come in many different forms at the bottom line is Satan's desire is always always to make sin, to look good to us and what he'll do is he'll make it look good to us and if he can make it to look good to us, our minds begin to rationalize so that sin not only looks good but write to us so we say this is the right thing to do and we in case our actions with all kinds of rationalization, usually looking at other people and saying, look at what they've done. This isn't too bad, and what Satan does is he uses lures because he himself always must remain hidden if he came to us in a fury would be terrified.
But as long as he's not there as long as he uses disguise. We do not fear him.
It's very important to him. Hunters will tell you this is true about animals in the first apartment, but Rebecca and I lived. We learned early on when we had a mouse problem that we did not solve it. When the mice saw us won't go into detail but what we needed to do is to get a trap and would be there whether we were physically present or not and what we needed to do for the mouse is to put some cheese on that truck. That's all we wanted him to want and desire is the cheese because we knew that he didn't understand all this business of springs and would steal and we turned out to be right. He didn't understand when you want to kill a bear.
What you do you use a trap you yourself get away and you let the trap do the work you Satan has as many lures as there are interests among Americans accept that what he does is he concentrates on a few that he knows are most successful. But listen to me carefully behind the trap is the trapper and behind the lie is the liar what he wants to do is to put ideas in our minds that we think are our own so that we won't fear them.
You heard me say that when Ananias and Safari were having breakfast and eating their bagel and the ideal occurred to them to lie about the price of the land. If Satan had come into their kitchen, they would have been terrified, a native told the truth, but because they talked about it and because they thought it was there I hear they thought that this deceit need not be feared.
That's what the devil wants us to do.
He wants us to think that the consequences are controllable in their in our hands. Well, what kind of temptations did he give to Jesus.
You'll notice that the first of all, Jesus says fasted for 40 days and nights and is hungry and the tempter comes to in verse four and said if you're the son of God command these stones to become lobes of red. You must understand the Greek scholars tell us that it's not as if Satan is doubting that Jesus is the son of God, the ideas if you are the son of God, and you are then command these stones to be bread. Satan was not questioning whether Jesus was the son of God what he wanted Jesus to do is to fulfill a legitimate need illegitimately is anything wrong with Jesus creating the brand no later on.
He's going to do it for 5000 people in one stretch, but this was not God's time to eat and this was not the way he was to satisfy his desires.
So Satan says now I'm questioning God's love. You say that God loves you have, God loves you.
Why are you hung tell me that comes to us and says if God loves you.
Why are you single. If God loves you.
Why didn't that workout look at the love of God. What does the love of God mean when you're starting in a desert and there's no food.
Satan comes that way and you'll notice that he's using now the desires of the body, the lust of the flesh. And Jesus says to him, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds of the mouth of God is the devil.
So, you win. Jesus one verse of Scripture and I am out of here know you know he says you're going to quote Scripture I can play your game to all quoted to comes to an adverse five then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, if you're the son of God, throw yourself down. You quoted verse one.
He will command his angels concerning you in on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. There is a verse for you geez's so he comes is with a Scripture. It was customary in those days for false messiahs to do something spectacular like that say that I'm going to jump down or I'm going to do this new saying if you're the Messiah I'm appealing to your pride.
Now everybody will see you jump down and live in they'll say that you're the Messiah doing Jesus and I need to pause here and throw in a parenthesis.
We live in a time when there is so much heresy on television by many television evangelists. Not all of them but some of them who are receiving these special words from heaven verses of Scripture taken out of context.
Can't you almost see somebody saying the Lord showed me, showed me that based on Psalm 91, you know, we could jump from the pinnacle of not knowing that scripture out of context unbalanced rested out of its proper hermeneutical context can be heresy, so the devil comes and says you're using the Bible Jesus will use the Bible ask you something today has the Bible ever been used to justify foolish, silly sayings, including sin answers yes of course it's been you. Some people say what he misquoted Scripture he left out a phrase he will keep you quote in all your ways I thought about that. I'm not so convinced as others that the devil here deliberately did that he may have just his memory might have skipped a cog there and he missed a phrase something like school student sometimes do when they're quoting Scripture. Maybe their significance there, but my point is he's using the Bible to safe Jesus do something spectacular. But Jesus would have no part in cheap sensationalism to try to glorify himself and to do something spectacular was in it in the one of the musicals words as if you're the son of God, you know, walk across pilot swimming pool Jesus isn't into that kind of silliness. So then the devil Jesus says to him again verse seven. Underline the word again.
Again Jesus keeps quoting Scripture to you shall not put the Lord your God to the test, you know you're not going to ask Jesus to act presumptuously based on a text taken out of context. Verse eight, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and all their glory, and he said to him, all these I will give you if you fall down and worship me takes your breath away. Jesus said to him, be gone. Satan, for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God only and him also. Only you shall serve. I can imagine the devil say I'm not asking about service. I'm asking about worship and Jesus is saying whoever you serve, you do worship you know I don't know how the devil did this but it's possible that he actually in some way was able to show Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth. Maybe the pyramids of Egypt may be the Acropolis, which was of course already standing in Athens, the glories of Rome. He says all these things I will give you just worship me and you can have them.
You see, the devil understood Psalm two very well because in Psalm two.
God says I'm going to take my son. I'm going to make him son over the kingdoms he shall rule over the nations, and so the devil is saying what you need to do is not to go to the cross. Take a shortcut to worship me and you can have it all now. Don't worry about the future future has too much pain. It is too much hurt. You can get it at this moment just worship me if Jesus had succumbed to this temptation. Of course instead redeeming the world he would've ended up joining the world and you and I would not be redeemed if Jesus had done, but what Satan says to us today.
In this last temptation is in a sense a culmination of all of them what he's saying is what you can do is you can have it today day and don't worry about tomorrow. One day I was counseling a man who was leaving his wife for another woman. I warned him of the consequences. And he said I'll have what I want today and deal with the devil tomorrow while alright so you will so you will, and tomorrow is going to be dark and bleak and damning.
About six weeks ago, a Christian man left his wife to be with another one. Another woman and I happen to be privy to some of the things that are going on thanks to the Internet. I received some email from this man's counselor and because I know that you have no clue who this person is elicited an entirely different part of the United States of America. I've been listening to what this counselors been saying and I agree with the counselors all give you a little bit of the a little bit here of what is going on and then I'm going to get my own summary of the situation. Basically what the man is saying is this for 21 years I have had a loveless marriage. I've been serving the Lord.
I've been teaching the word and I am unfulfilled now suddenly I find somebody a soulmate, with whom I have that sense of connection and fulfillment and joy and exhilaration and euphoria, and I basically had been in a desert I find an oasis. And now you tell me to go back into that desert. Even his children. This is brings tears to my eyes.
His children have gone to him and said dad please come back home but you said this.
How do I choose between lack of fulfillment over here serving Jesus like I did for 21 years and I'm not fulfilled and and fulfillment over here. You only go around once in life.
If I miss this opportunity will be forever missed.
That's his argument. You know I think it's time that somebody stood up and said this, we in the Christian faith sometimes give people the illusion that if you follow Jesus you're always going to be fulfilled and everything is always better turn out good as some of us project that because for some of us it is true. I thank God today that I am fulfilled in my marriage and I am fulfilled in my ministry, but thank you I wake up every morning excited about what I have two and how I thank God for my wife Rebecca who stands with me but listen to me carefully. It's time somebody said this for some people, following the will of God may be a desert for Jesus. It was a desert and it is better for you to be in the desert without food and a hunger where there is endless land, then to fulfill your self illegitimately outside of the will of God because I think that what Satan does is this he takes 10 years and he makes that 10 years sounds like an eternity then he takes eternity. He tries to shrink it down into maybe one year and have now and what we need to say is it is better to be in the desert in the will of God and to be in paradise outside of the will of God. You might not get it now, but eternity is coming. There is a heaven to be gained.
There are rewards and there is faithfulness and I'll tell you what will happen to that man. His fulfillment and his wonderful experience will last for a year or two and then all of the bills are going to start to come doing all of the dominoes are going to fall in all of the influences going to be great among his children.
Among those who knew him and future generations are going to be affected by his sin, but he can't see that now because what he's saying is I want it now we are talking to Jesus.
Jesus would say you know when you when you follow the will of God. It might not just be a long desert, where your needs aren't met. Who knows it might also be across it might be dying in a place where you are misunderstood and misinterpreted and where you're spat upon and where you go through all that. Sometimes that is the will of God, and you don't get it now but you remain faithful because you know that eternity is coming, the devil says to Jesus have it now some of you listening to this needed this message today.
You may be contemplating to make a decision that is sinful, but you say I have needs.
I have desires and I need it now know you don't. If it is sinful. You don't need it now.
Jesus proves you don't need it now. Be faithful, even in a desert without food but how do we overcome the devil temptation is resistible very quickly today. First of all, the word of God.
It is written, devil comes back saying it is written, you keep saying it is written is not just quoting a verse.
This is proof of the fact that you can quote a verse of the devil and he is necessarily going to flee, and I'll tell you why.
If there sin in your life. He's going to say who are you to tell me what the Bible says the power of the word is that when we ourselves are under the authority of the word.
Then we can exercise the power of the word.
Then we can say be gone. The Satan some of you if he said you said to him, be gone. Satan hates a gal what about all this in your life and what about all that your life-giving I'm gonna run when I got so much of you, but certainly the word of God is absolutely necessary and listen to me carefully.
You know it's not if you're not learning the word of God and reading the word of God regularly you can be ready for the devil when he comes anyway. You know you When the devil comes to console you know where is a concord find a verse. Jesus had all of this in his heart and he was able to say be gone for it is written. I've often had to do that and sometimes I've had to repeat a verse many many many times before peace came to my heart and I was convinced that the devil finally left you notices in the gospel of Luke very same story in Luke chapter 4 it says that Jesus is the devil left him catch this waiting for a more opportune time. Don't ever think this was the end of it and angels minister to him. Sometimes you know we make light of angels, but there are angels.
I think that we should not speak about them disrespectfully and some of us have done that. I think I've been guilty that I received a letter about two weeks ago and I don't know whether not this person is here that he wanted me to know that when he was crossing Clark Street.
It was as if a presence just to commend pushed him away from an oncoming car and he said Pastor Lutzer, I just want you to know that there are angels out there guarding the people come to Moody Church. While it's certainly possible is net art.
They ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those who are heirs of salvation and only heaven will reveal the number of times angels of minister to us in our need to first of all, the word of God. Secondly, the work of God should be absolutely convinced of the triumph of Jesus over the enemy.
It says in Colossians that he disarmed all principalities and powers. I love that that's actually what the Greek says he disarmed them. He rendered them neutral. If you say will the devil certainly not neutral today.
Yes, he's out on bail. He's only out on bail and doing a lot of trouble, but his and is absolutely certain. And the thing. The reason he hates us so much is because we're gonna be exalted above the realm over which he ones is very clear were going to be above the Angels.
We have to be because they can't be brothers of Christ years ago.
You know, I preached a series of messages on Satan which are in the book entitled the serpent to paradise where that was explained soaked so he has this fury, but we have to be convinced that when Jesus Christ triumphed over him. It was a genuine triumph, and all things are now under his feet, and that when Jesus died on the cross.
It was as if he took that serpent and just took his heel and just ground his head into the dirt. That's what Jesus did on the cross for you convinced of that today. You have to believe it can act on it so that we can attack them from the standpoint of strength. And third, there is the people of God. We can't get out of these things alone, especially once Satan has ravished us and he's had his day with us and there are certain habits send sins and addictions. We need the people of God to pray for us to hold us accountable and to help us because the warfare is intense, and you've heard me say it before that it's possible for you to slip into a pit without anyone's help. But maybe you can't get out alone so you have the body of Christ.
Finally, we also have the purposes of God in this now, let's think back over the passage that we just looked at especially temptation number three catch this now. Satan is talking to Jesus and he saying Jesus if you bow down and worship me. I will give you the kingdoms of this world. I have to look at the text and ask myself this question. Did he really have a right to give Jesus the kingdoms of this world. I don't think so use it well you know he is the God of this world, yet he is the God of this world, but I want you to know today that whatever he does.
He does only by the supervision and direct intervention of God it was not his right to give Jesus the kingdom you've come today as a visitor. Some of you come far away as you know when you've often wonder to yourself how strong is the devil. Thank God that you are here today because you're going to finally hear an answer to that question.
Aren't you glad you came. I'll tell you exactly how strong he is he is as strong as God allows them to be and not one whit more so strong.
I think he was bluffing God who has the right to give the kingdoms of this world to whomever he will end up. Satan is the god of this world.
He rules under God's authority and God says to him go this far, but not that far and ultimately he knew that the kingdoms of the world were not is to give listen to me when he comes to us with temptation. He insulates the value of what he can give us. So you know, if you follow this deal deal of these desires fulfilled. You'll have this you'll have this enjoyment and and he and he makes that to be such a big thing. Listen true enjoyments of the world are not for his to give to anybody.
Many years ago JB Phillips wrote a book entitled, your God is too small. I think somebody ought to write a book entitled, your Satan is too big because there are some people you make Satan out to be some kind of a almost equal with God that you don't quite know in your own life. Well who's got a winner who has the capacity to which we give them too much credit we give them too much authority because of the way in which we speak about them. Yes, he is powerful, but he is his power is limited by the authority and the power and the dynamism and the purposes all God, and let's hear that as many of you know I more than simply passing interest in Reformation in Europe. I've been in the Coburg Castle which is where Luther was hold up you know during the time of the Augsburg confession was being written, and he couldn't go because he was a fugitive and he paced back and forth wondering whether or not Melanchthon was going to do the right thing and there's some debate as to whether or not Melanchthon did the right thing. We've also been of course in the Wartburg Castle is those huge Castle. I'll tell you the Coburg's shoe, which acres and acres in Akers. It's in it's in that kind of a context that Luther wrote him a mighty Fortress is our God will love the him in a moment were going to be singing the hymn, but listen to me carefully. I love that third stanza.
I love it and go this world, with devils failed or should threaten to undo us.
We will not fear for God have the will hold his truth to triumph through us. The Prince of darkness grim, we tremble not from him is a rage we can endure furlough. His doom is sure one little word shall fell him in that little word is J the ass.
You pass that wonderful as we go through our lives.
In the days ahead. Confess your sins come clean before God don't give the devil a foothold stand in the authority of Christ. And when we do his rage we can endure when he reminds you of your past that's been forgiven.
Remind him of his future. His rage we can endure furlough. His doom is sure one little word shall fell him. Let's pray father we ask in the name of Jesus you will help us to understand and beware of the wiles of the devil, because he walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour her. Some people listening to this message is, who have already been devoured and are being devoured. Father, we rebuke that in the name of Jesus in some Lord who were going through a time of deep distress in the devil is somehow involved. All that we stand against all of his schemes.
All of his intentions all of his desires against us and against this church. Help us to walk in the victory of the triumphant one, and some of you who've never received Christ as Savior, as I'm speaking to you now you know that you can embrace him is yours, the triumphant one who died on the cross and was raised again is your very own and then you're on the winning side of the devil's conflict because all that to happen.
Father we pray in your grace. In Jesus name, amen, amen. Let's turn to him. Number 26 Linda let's sing all the stanzas and sing it like we've never sung it before, a mighty Fortress is our God. Let's all stand to sing faster looser rather message on come and see his temptation. The second to make pictures of the life of Christ in a series entitled come and see Jesus next week will see how Jesus called the men who would follow him for three years. Join us for Dr. looser's message.
Come and see his disciples are eight part series on come and see Jesus can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount Moody Church. Our our thank you to you will be a set of eight messages, you can hear and then pass on to others. Just call us at 1-800-215-5001. Let us know you'd like to support Moody Churches ministry, call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at Moody Church media 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614. Mention the series come and see Jesus when you write or call online go to moodyoffer.com that's moodyoffer.com join us next time for another Moody Church. Our with pastor Erwin looser in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago.
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