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136 - Devilish Desert Deceptions

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
The Truth Network Radio
March 4, 2023 1:00 pm

136 - Devilish Desert Deceptions

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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March 4, 2023 1:00 pm

Episode 136 - Devilish Desert Deceptions (4 Mar 2023) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City


You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, so last time we were together, Jesus gets baptized and boom, he's off on public ministry. What would you expect to happen next? Oh man, wouldn't he go do something splashy and flashy, attract a crowd and make sure they know he's here? Yeah, something really big, but that's not what happens, is it?

No, he goes alone for a month. Hmm, we'll look at that today. On More Than Ink. Well, good morning. This is Jim.

And this is Dorothy. And we're glad that you've come back with us. We are going through the adventure of the story of the life of Jesus in Matthew, the Gospel of Matthew. And we haven't gotten very far, so if you're just joining us, you haven't missed much so far. Last time, where were we last time in chapter three? Well, last time we just got introduced to Jesus. We were introduced to John the Baptist, and where we left off was with the baptism of Jesus, where Jesus came and said, or John said, well, I need to be baptized by you.

And Jesus said, no, we need to do this to fulfill all righteousness. So we're gonna talk about that a little bit more, I think, in a few minutes. And then God the Father validates who this one is by sin of voice speaking, this is my beloved son, and the visible representation of the Holy Spirit coming and resting on him. So a lot of stuff happening.

A lot of stuff happening. So we're clearly, clearly right at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, the three years of public ministry that he did, and he starts off by this baptism with John the Baptist. Yeah, which is public identification. Public identification, yeah. So people should be aware that there's something special going on with this guy. So we turn the page into chapter four today, and Jesus starts his big ministry, starting with, you know, I would start it with a big lecture on the hill.

Well, isn't it interesting that immediately following the baptism, and I had a thought about this as being part of fulfilling all righteousness, that the Spirit impels him into the wilderness in order to be tempted by Satan. Very interesting. Right at the get-go. At the get-go, from the top. So let's look at that today.

You've probably heard silly things about it, perhaps, but let's just look at the source and see what goes on. Well, yeah, and I do think it connects to this necessity of fulfilling all righteousness, because Hebrews says that he was tempted in all ways like we are, and so this is part of that whole picture of being fully identified as a human being in all the things that we face. Yeah, yeah. So let's do it. Chapter four, we're reading out of the ESV version, so if you want to follow with us, go to chapter four, verse one, and Dorothy, the lovely, will read right now. Thank you.

Okay. Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, and after fasting 40 days and 40 nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, if you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.

But he answered, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Shall we get all three of them in view? You want to do all three and then we'll come back? Yeah. Let's do all three of them.

Yeah, because I think it's important to observe all three, I think. So we start with loaves of bread, and then we go to? So then, verse 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 are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it's written, he will command his angels concerning you, and on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, again it is written, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test. Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and he said to him, all these I will give you if you fall down and worship me. Then Jesus said to him, be gone, Satan, for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and serve him only. Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Okay. So Jesus goes off into the wilderness, and if you've been in Israel, there's lots of wilderness. Lots of wilderness.

I mean, it's just rocky and barren and stuff like that. And he's fasting for 40 days, 40 nights. That's a long time not to eat. In fact, one commentator I was reading says that when you fast for that long, and we've experienced this, when you first start to fast. But I'm not 40 days worth.

Well, no, we haven't done 40 days. But you lose the sense of hunger pretty quickly. I mean, when you first start, you feel it because your body's saying, hey, you ate at this time yesterday, why aren't you eating today at this time?

But that goes away. But then at the end, when death is coming close to starving to death, then hunger comes back again. So a lot of commentators have said 40 days and then he was hungry is not an understatement. It's a statement of the end of the process. That he's gone hungry to the point of desperation.

So knowing that this is the desperation, so Satan comes to him and says, hey, you can make your own bread, can't you? Yeah, so I wanted to read all three of these together because it occurs to me that we very often stop short and talk about one. But there are some common characteristics here. And so if we're wanting to encourage people to make careful observations, that's just a good rule of thumb.

Read the whole thing before you go back and start parsing it up. It just gives us a clear view, right? Satan is trying a bunch of different tactics. Yes. And they're all tactics aligned around Satan's accurate understanding that this is the Son of God.

Right. I mean, so these are not temptations that we would necessarily have. They're all appealing to Jesus' divinity. Well, they're also appealing to his humanity. And his humanity. That's the whole point here.

They're doing both. And I wonder, and I've heard it said by someone that Satan, not being omniscient, really didn't know exactly what it meant that he was God in the flesh. And so here he is kind of testing it out.

What is this God man, what is he capable of? Yeah, yeah. And it's been said, too, when you draw back like this, I noticed this for the first time when I just read it today.

These three, Paul talks about the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life. Actually, that's James, actually. Oh, that's James. Yeah. Sorry, that's right. Yeah. James says that. You could actually categorize these three in those categories. I know.

I had the same thought. Yeah. And so this first one, in a sense, is the lust of the flesh. The flesh is an appetite. Right.

Needs to eat. And so Satan comes to him and says, well, you are fully qualified to do this yourself, so why don't you just do that? Right. And what would be wrong with that?

Satisfy yourself. Right, right. And in fact, it's a similar taunt you hear when you go to the scene of the cross, we'll see much later in Matthew 27, when they said basically, look, if you are the Son of God, we'll come down from the cross. So these are both things that he's very capable of doing, but doesn't for a really good reason. Yeah.

And then he comes back, you know, Jesus, being the Son of God, could have just put his hand out and rebuked Satan and said, you know, get out of here, whatever. But he chooses deliberately to combat this by quoting scriptures. Well – That's important. That's important, I think, because of his identification with us as a human being. Yes. So that when we are facing these similar temptations, where do we go? To the rock solid Word of God. To the Word of God.

The unchanging thing that we stand on. Yes. And I'm saying that when Jesus quotes, he's quoting Deuteronomy 8.3 here, but he only quotes part of the passage because God says, now I took you into the wilderness and I let you be hungry. I let you be hungry.

In order that you would know what's in your heart. Yes. Yes.

So now we know that Jesus was pure in heart, but for our sake as a human being, he went out there and became hungry in order to experience that temptation. Right. Yeah. For his benefit.

Not for his. Exactly. Well, yeah. And if you think about it, this whole account that we're looking at right here, Jesus must have come back and told the apostles this happened.

I mean – Right. Because they weren't there. How did they know?

They weren't there. Yeah. So he's clearly – what he's doing here, he's clearly doing for our instruction as well. So in a real sense, when he quotes scriptures to combat Satan, even though Satan is correct in a way, and we'll see this in a second, you can combat Satan with scriptures. Don't try and combat Satan by using logic to overrule him. Satan is an incredible deceiver. No, he's smarter than we are. Incredible deceiver. And a master of lies. And so even though he's appealing to Jesus' natural sense of hunger, he hasn't eaten for 40 days, he's appealing to that natural sense of hunger.

Jesus comes back and quotes what Moses said when he made his commentary about the whole manna thing. Right. Right. And he says, you know, you don't understand. Food is essential. But man actually lives by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

And that's the critical, necessary, essential thing that you consume that life comes from. And Jesus totally overrules him. He doesn't say to Satan, no, I'm not really hungry or I could do this.

He says, you don't understand. I'm out here by the command of God. It's God's word that I live by.

That brings me life, not bread. And so it's a perfect comeback. It's a perfect comeback when he quotes Moses that way.

Well, and I just had this thought while you were talking, you know, that man lives by every word that comes through the mouth of God. That goes all the way back to Genesis. Way back. Yeah, yeah, yeah. How did human beings come into being? Right?

How did the whole universe come into being? God said and it was. Yeah. Right? So from the very get-go, from the very foundation of who we are, it's God speaking that gives us life.

God speaks and universes come into existence. Yeah. And I want to add too, you know, it's this hunger thing. When you're really hungry, you know, it's the first and only thing on your mind. It's clearly the first thing on your agenda every day.

It's at the top of your list. And so in a way, what Moses is trying to tell us and Jesus is reinforcing here is the fact that is God's word on the top of your list every day like hunger is? For many of us, it's not. It's actually an adjunct.

It's sort of like side desserts or it's munchies. It's not really the center of the essential thing in the morning. Yeah, yeah. Well, let's move on to the next one.

So unless you had something else. No, no, no. Let's go on.

Okay, okay. So he takes him to the pinnacle of the temple. That's actually probably the highest corner of the Temple Mount area.

It's about 200 feet probably the fall. And he says, look, if you're the son of God, throw yourself down because it's written. So Satan comes back with it. It's a written thing. And he quotes from Psalm 91 verses 11 through 12.

However, Bible study students. Go and look that up. Go look that up. Look that up because in looking that up and comparing it here to what Satan quotes, you'll find that Satan did not quote a piece of this section.

And I'm just going to leave that for you to take a look. So write it down, Psalm 91 verses 11 and 12. And you compare this to what Satan. So here's Satan actually using scripture because Jesus says it's written. So Satan says, well, it's also written that.

And he says this. And basically, now the interesting thing about this is that what is he appealing to from a temptation to sin kind of perspective? Why would this be an attractive thing to us? Because Satan is in the business of deceiving us. And he's very good at deceiving us.

And he deceives us with stuff that we want. What is it that Jesus would want based on this kind of temptation? Well, we get a clue to that based on his answer when Jesus says in verse 7, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test. So Satan is presenting him the opportunity to make God prove himself. Yes.

It's a test. Yes. So he say, if you are the son of God, prove yourself or force God to prove himself. Right. Twisting God's arm.

So that passage that Jesus quotes comes from Deuteronomy, but it's a reference to the nation of Israel at Massa and Maribah, which is where they said, we were better off in Egypt. God give us water. If you don't give us water, you're not God. Yeah. Right. Jesus says don't. Which is putting God to the test. Don't test God.

Don't demand that he prove himself to you. Right. Or even in this particular case, since we're early in Jesus' ministry, it could be also a partial temptation to say, look, you're starting ministry, you're moving yourself into trying to create a following, I guess, a listening so you can teach the people. You know, what bigger splash could you make them to go up on the pinnacle of the temple and proclaim in loud voice and say, see, I am the Messiah, I thrust myself off and God protects me. Yeah. And then come floating down like an angel. Exactly.

Wouldn't that be the coolest thing ever? So in a way, Satan's also saying, here's your quick way into getting this kind of recognition. Right. Okay. So these temptations all do deal with shortcuts of one kind or another.

They're all shortcuts. Right. And that's really how Satan comes after us, doesn't he? He says, you know, you can get there without going through the hard stuff.

Without going through the cross. Well, exactly. And that's going to become apparent in the next one. That's right. In the next temptation, Satan takes him to a high mountain and says, I showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and said, all these I'll give to you if you fall down and worship me. Well, the question that first arose in my mind was, was that Satan's to offer? Well. Well. Yes.

Yes. Now, you Bible study students, look into that. I'll give you a verse to look at. Okay. 2 Corinthians 4, 4, go read that and see.

Okay. 2 Corinthians 4, 4, I'll just drop that out there. By the way, that's probably, well, not probably, it may be a verse that's in your center reference or side reference in your Bible.

They might actually have flagged that verse to go take a look at as a kind of a verse that helps you understand whether he really has the authority to offer these things. But that's just an interesting one to take a look at. And that will lead you other places. And it'll take you other places. So that's a good place to start. Yeah, those center references or column reference of verses, they're your friends.

When they have little notes, they go chase those babies down because there's some interesting things. Okay. But the temptation is, I will allow you to have all this glory.

Well, we know that Jesus is destined for all the glory. Yes. Anyway.

He already has all the glory. Right. Right. So this is a shortcut. This is a shortcut. You don't have to go through the cross. Do this now. Yep. Don't go the hard way, go the easy way.

I can give this to you right now. And isn't it interesting that central to what feeds Satan, what he really wants, he wants not only Jesus, but us to fall down and worship him. In a sense, he wants to take the place of God himself.

Yeah, he wants to usurp God. Right. And Isaiah 14 has a great passage that is attributed to Satan speaking. And in Isaiah 14, 14, he says, this is Satan speaking presumably, he says, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds and I will make myself like the most high.

Right. And well, there's only one who's worthy of our worship, but he wants to be it. And there's only one most high.

And there's only one most high. But he's under this thinking that he can get there. So he wants not only the Son of God, but all of us to fall down and worship him.

That's what he wants. So Jesus counters that, begone Satan, it's written. And this comes from Isaiah 14.

No, no, no. No, Deuteronomy 6. Deuteronomy 6.

Yeah, you shall work. I just messed up my notes here. Yeah, you shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve. It's interesting the responses come out of early Deuteronomy, which I think is interesting.

Yeah, I think chapter 6 and chapter 8. And you'll only serve him. So then the devil left him and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. And so what the angels brought to Jesus in terms of food was the same thing that Jesus himself could have made, but he decides to wait on the Father to minister him and to do that. So that's what he's done. So he just enters fully into the experience of these temptations. Right. Right.

As a human man. Yeah, and fully trusting that God's in control and we quote this a lot. James 4.7, which is where I was going to go, it says, resist the devil and he'll flee from you.

And that's what happens right here. But he precedes that phrase, resist the devil and he'll flee from you by saying something very important, submit yourselves therefore to God. And here Jesus is submitting himself to God and then he resists the devil and he flees. And in full submission, Jesus does not lose his life from fasting.

He's tended to by the angels. So God's in control all the way through this. And so later on, presumably Jesus tells the story to his apostles and uses this as a model to say this, this is how you do spiritual warfare right here. And beware, Satan's very clever.

He's a clever liar and he'll even use scriptures to lie to you. So that's our admonition to you to say, look, you need to be up to speed on what's going on in the Bible and what's in the word because they can be misinterpreted. People can pull verses out of context.

Right, in a fragmentary manner or twisted by juxtaposing different things that don't go together. And they'll use them in wrong ways and you need to be aware of what's going on. And if you're blindsided by one of these verses that are shazam, they're thrown out from out of nowhere, just say, wait, I need to go back and take a look at the context of this and see what this says and gain some understanding. Which is why I said go back and look at Psalm 91 verses 11 through 12. Clearly he's leaving out something quite important and using this against God's purposes, God's word against God's purposes. So just be aware, you gotta watch out. And again, if you are blindsided and confused by people throwing verses at you and it doesn't seem like this is a godly direction they're going, just say, hold on, let me read that verse and I'll get back to you.

That's the mature way to do it. Well, let's push on. What do you say?

Sure. Okay, so Jesus begins his ministry. I'll read from here. So verse 12. Now when he heard, when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee and leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled.

Here's his quote. The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light.

And for those dwelling in the region in the shadow of death, on them a light has dawned. And from that time on, Jesus began to preach, saying, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. So he's moved the venue away from his hometown of Nazareth into Capernaum, and it makes us remember that scene where he does go into the synagogue at Nazareth, opens up the scroll, reads Isaiah 61.

Well, that's in Luke 4, and then they get so mad because these are his hometown people, they drag him to the edge of the cliff like they're going to throw him off. Yeah, and there's some good cliffs in Nazareth. We're done in Nazareth. So he relocates from Nazareth, he's not honored in his own hometown.

This is very clear. And he goes not too far away, actually down to the shore of the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum. And it looks like he sets up his ministry up there. But what's interesting is that Matthew, when he's writing this, since Matthew's a good Jew, he remembers that there is kind of a verse in Isaiah 9 that talks about. It's not kind of.

It's verbatim. Well, I was going to say kind of Capernaum, but literally Galilee. The whole region. The whole region as being kind of honored. It was sort of spoken badly of, and now something great's going to come out of it. And that's what Jesus is. He's bringing that kind of greatness, some notoriety to it, because that's where he actually sent it. And you'll notice it says Galilee of the Gentiles.

And I looked this up. There was actually a very sizable Gentile population in Galilee at the time. And so probably because of the return of the exiles from the Assyrians. Well, as I understand it, also there was a Roman route that traveled right through there. Very famous. So there was a lot of traffic going through Galilee.

They didn't necessarily settle there, but a lot of Gentile people travel through. And he mentions that through way. It's right there. There's that the way to the sea. The way to the sea. And if you know what we're talking about, present day, if you go from the Mediterranean. They still call it the way of the sea, don't they?

Yeah. Because it's how you get from the Jordan River Valley out to the Mediterranean is right through this area. So yeah, it brings great glory to that area. So isn't it interesting that right at the beginning of his ministry, what he says is repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. That is exactly how John the Baptist began his own ministry. We saw that last time.

Turn and go a different direction. The kingdom is near. And John was saying the king is coming. And here's Jesus saying, ah, the king is here. Yeah. And I remind you, when the kingdom of heaven is at hand, it means it's within reach. It's that close.

Right here. So your initial reaction to that news has got to be repent. Repent. Yeah. Then deal with your sins. Well, let's push on. We're running short on time.

Okay. So it says in verse 18, while walking by the Sea of Galilee, well, we know from the previous verses that he had been in Galilee for a little while and says he had kind of settled in Capernaum. We don't know exactly where he was living at this point. But he was walking by the Sea of Galilee. He saw two brothers, Simon, who's called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the sea for their fishermen. And he said to them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there, he saw two others, James, the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother, in the boat, with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. And he called them.

Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. It's probably important at this point for you Bible study students to look at the other Gospels and what they have to say about the calling of these early disciples. Because this is not the first time Jesus has seen Peter.

No. Look in Luke 5, 1 to 11, we get a little back story here. And it's possible that the whole event where Jesus preaching from the boat, from Peter's boat, takes place before he actually called Peter to follow him. And then in John 1, 35 to 42, that's where we get the part about Andrew actually having been a disciple of John the Baptist, who then John the Baptist says, now there's the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And Andrew runs and finds Peter and says, I found him.

So it's very important to put all the Gospels together here. Otherwise you might think that, oh, Jesus was just walking on the beach one day. He saw these guys and said, hey, drop what you're doing and follow me. They probably already knew one another. Yeah, because you would read just this Matthew account and think, oh, what a miraculous thing. He just says this one thing to them, boom, they just leave everything behind. Well, not exactly. So what he's saying to them here is now's the time you've seen me, you've heard me, you know what I'm about.

Turn from that and follow me. And so this whole process that you have been talking about is what we call harmonizing the Gospels, where you try to harmonize what the different accounts say. And they're not in conflict. The accounts just don't cover every aspect of the history right here. Well, they're from different points of view.

Different points of view. And so you need to stitch them together. And that's when the great delight to reading the Gospels is to stitch them together.

It's really something. So go do that yourself. Go to Luke 5. Go to John 1 and see if you can see where Peter and Andrew have already been involved with Jesus before this happens. Oh, and you'll make some good discoveries.

Yeah, it's really fun. Okay, well, let's finish this off. Verse 23. I'll take it from here.

Okay. And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom, healing every disease, every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria. Syria.

And they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis and from Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. That's a huge region. It's a gigantic region. Okay, you students, get a map. Get a map. Get a map.

Because you will be astonished. This is a huge, it's like a circumference that's being called out here. And remember, he's doing this locally in Galilee. Think about the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee and then look at this region and see how big it is. All Syria things surprised me. I'd forgotten.

I don't remember reading that ever before. Well, and this reference to the Decapolis, those were largely Gentile cities over on the east side. The east side of the Sea of Galilee. So it's fascinating that all of the people that were drawn to him from Jews and Gentiles alike. Yeah. The Decapolis is like present-day Jordan and Syria is present-day Syria.

Hey, what a surprise that is. So get a map, utilize a map. When you're reading the Gospels, when a place is named, pull up a map. Now, you may even have them in the back of your Bible. You don't have to go very far. Yep. It's a habit I do all the time when I read a place.

I do too. And if I can't remember where the place is, I say, well, I'm not reading anymore until I find out where this place is. Because he's telling you the geography for a reason. It doesn't just say, well, there are lots of crowds and they came from all over the place. He's very specific about what all over the place means.

It's huge. And it earns him a right to sit down and say, let me teach you about something. I have something to tell you. So for Jesus, his primary concern at this point in his ministry is bringing an understanding about the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, and his Messiah, the King. He says, I need to tell you what's going on when I say repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Let me tell you about the Kingdom of Heaven. Because it's not what you thought. It's not what you... It's not what we are expecting. Surprise.

It's not what you were expecting. And so that's our teaser for next time because he's going to sit down and he's going to teach us and it's just going to change everything. But how did he assemble the crowd? Right here. They just came.

They came because of his healings throughout the gigantic region and people came from Judea and Samaria and Syria. So anyway, we're out of time. And we're glad you joined us. If you want to read ahead, read in chapter four, chapter five.

What am I saying? We just finished chapter four. Read chapter five and we'll look at this beautiful sermon and we're just going to start it. So come back with us next time on More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website, And while you're there, take a moment to drop us a note. Remember the Bible is God's love letter to you. Pick it up and read it for yourself and you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. Oh, you know, uh, no, nevermind. This has been a production of Main Street Church of Rhythm City.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-04 14:17:03 / 2023-03-04 14:30:29 / 13

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