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Shortcut to Disaster

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
August 28, 2016 6:00 am

Shortcut to Disaster

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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Well, good morning Summit Church. Our vision of this church is not only to add to people here, to our church here in the Triangle, but also to send out people some of our very best to plant churches in places where the church is not as vibrant or thriving as maybe here.

If you are excited about that vision of multiplication, why don't you show that by putting your hands together at all of our campuses to affirm that. It's an amazing time to be a part of a church that God is doing something in, and we give God thanks for that. Matthew 4, if you have your Bible this weekend, and I hope that you do, I hope you bring it with you every weekend. Matthew 4, Matthew is the first book in the Bible or first book of the New Testament. If you believe we read this passage Monday, Matthew 4, if you're reading the Bible through with us, you would have come to it on Monday. Just out of curiosity, how many of you think that you are going to finish out the year with us reading the New Testament? By the way, I'm not asking if you've been flawless up to this point, but as of today, you are back on the wagon, back in the saddle, and you plan on finishing out the year strong. Would you raise your hand at all of our campuses?

Put it up there. Very good. That is encouraging.

Matthew 4, we pick up on the event in the life of Jesus that happens directly after his baptism, which is, of course, what we looked at last week if you were here, and that event is the temptation of Jesus. And while what we are going to learn today from this passage is going to apply to everybody, I do agree with Andy Stanley, who says that the lessons from this passage are especially pertinent to a certain kind of person, namely those who are uber-driven. And by that, I don't mean you ride around in the popular taxi service. I mean that you are really, really driven. I'm talking about the 13-year-old who, when you ask her what she wants to do with her life, she pulls out a flow chart and she talks for the next 15 minutes. You've known somebody like that?

I have. The man who always finds himself looking back at the end of every day to evaluate what he accomplished that day and how much he accomplished. And did he accomplish enough? He is addicted to progress, to forward motion. He has trouble disconnecting sometimes at dinner. The family will be talking about something and his mind is drifted off to what he's got to do next. The next company, how he's going to get himself or his company to the next level.

Or it's the woman who gave up on corporate America to be a mom, but now tries to dump corporate America into her kids. These kinds of people are usually addicted to efficiency. Everything's got to run on schedule because they've got their day organized to take advantage of all the opportunities for progress.

And I don't want you messing that up. You know some of these people, don't you? They're the kind of people who schedule their downtime and they get stressed out when things don't go according to plan on their downtime because they're not going to be able to accomplish all the things on their downtime they had planned on accomplishing. Some of you this weekend are those people. Some of you are seated next to those people. In fact, point to the person if you know who exactly who I'm talking about. I know exactly who you are, at least in this room, because you're the ones who know where my time clock is and you're the ones who are always checking it saying, I don't feel like that was worth four minutes, that point that he just made. These people are usually supreme. Others of you are like, there's a time clock? What are you talking about? These people are usually supreme multitaskers. Since I began the sermon, you have already sent four emails and paid three bills because you're like, you know, I do want to hear the sermon, but the introduction is usually fluffy and so I just felt like I can get some other stuff done and I'll check back in when you get to the word, brother. Here's what I know about these people. A lot of times, these kinds of people don't really care that much about money.

It's sort of a misunderstanding people have about them. What they love is creating and conquering. What's the next benchmark I can achieve? What's the next company I can turn around? What's the next level that I can get to? They feel driven, almost called, almost called to get to the top.

If that's you this weekend, there are two things that I want you to know right off the bat. First, God created you that way. I would say it's part of the image of God in you because in many ways, God himself was like that. But one day God was like, you know what?

I'm tired of nothing. I'm going to create everything. And he did. And when danger threatened it, he could not rest until he had turned it around. But second thing I want you to know, the second thing I want you to know is being that way comes with some unique challenges. And Jesus, who I believe in many ways was that way himself, shows us in this passage how to address those particular challenges and how to overcome them. I'm going to walk you through this passage and then I'm going to show you the three specific temptations that Satan threw at Jesus and why they're especially pertinent to certain ones of us in here. I will tell you on a personal level, this is one of the most illuminating and helpful passages of scripture because if you did not pick up on it, I am definitely included in that group that I described above. Chapter four, verse one. Then Jesus, then Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And then verse two, which I consider to be maybe the most obvious verse in the entire Bible. And after fasting 40 days and 40 nights, he was hungry. I, you know, when I, I'm just like, I feel like that's self-evident. I don't eat for 40 minutes and I'm hungry.

Of course he was hungry after 40 days and 40 nights. The word then, if you underline stuff in your Bible, I would underline that because it is probably the key to understanding the whole thing. Because it's not just meaning that this happened next, like then this happened. It's showing you that what happens in chapter four is directly connected to what happens in chapter three and that what happens in chapter four flows out of what happens in chapter three.

It's almost an unfortunate place for a chapter break there. And what was that that just happened? Well, Jesus had just been baptized and at the end of his baptism, chapter three, verse 17, the voice of God from heaven had declared, this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Now talk about a spiritual high. God himself from heaven in front of everybody says, you're my boy and I am proud of you and I love you and I'm really pleased with you. That's a spiritual high if there ever was one. Then the devil, because see, this is how Satan works. Spiritual highs are followed by spiritual lows. You hear a voice from heaven that is almost always followed by a voice from hell.

New levels bring new devils. Think of the baptism as a place of celebration and friendship and joy. There is water there, a river, lush vegetation. It's followed by a time of isolation and a dry cracked and parched desert. The area that Jesus is wandering in is called Jeshimone, which literally meant in Hebrew, the devastation.

I heard a guy one time compare Jesus' time in the wilderness to a camping trip and he and his buddies had taken through Yellowstone National Park. That is not at all what is going on here. This would be a horrible place to spend 40 days, six weeks alone without food with the devil and not even some JV demon either like El Diablo himself. Honestly, I could not imagine a worse situation. I hate being alone for long periods of time. I hate not eating. I hate being in the desert. I hate camping out and I hate being alone with Satan. That's like five things in a row. Whenever God does something great in your life, listen to this, you can count on it.

Satan will be right behind him to pull up the seeds that God has planted. Some of you are going through that right now. Some of you are about to go through it and I want you to recognize it for what it is so that you don't panic when it happens.

Then be like, what went wrong? God, you seem so close. Your voice was so clear. Was it all an illusion?

No, no. It's that times of revelation are always followed by times of testing. The voice from heaven is followed by then the devil. The fact that you go through a time of temptation and struggle doesn't mean you're a bad Christian.

Does it mean that what you experienced at the baptism wasn't real after all? Jesus was tempted severely right after this spiritual high and so will you be. In fact, I would say if it's been a while since you've had a head-on collision with Satan, that's more likely that you're going the same direction he is and he just doesn't feel like messing with you. When God starts to do something in your life, you can count on it, then the devil. So if I were you, I would take out a pen. If you haven't done it already and I would star that word, circle it.

If you don't have a pen and tube of lipstick, you can smear it, prick your finger, dab it in blood. Whatever it takes, you need to understand that these kind of spiritual highs are immediately followed up with times of spiritual drought and attack and him coming after you with everything that's in him. Second, notice the reality of Satan. Many people in our culture think it is naive or unsophisticated to believe in Satan. They're like, seriously, man, with the horns and the pitchfork and the red spandex, you really believe in that guy? No, not the horns and the red spandex, but a supernatural being that works in the world for evil and destruction.

I mean, think about it. If we believe there's a God, the idea that there's a supernatural being that also works for evil, that's not that much of a stretch. Jesus certainly did not think it was naive to believe in a devil.

Neither did Peter or Paul or John. Satan is mentioned, in fact, 250 times in the New Testament, which works out to almost once per chapter. I would say that it's actually naive not to believe in Satan. If you think that all that was behind the Holocaust was simply Hitler or all that was behind slavery was just economics and racism, I think you're naive.

If you think that the primary factor in your problem with pornography is that you just got some issues with self-control, I think you're naive. If you think all the distractions at work in your family that make it hard for you guys to keep God at the center and for you to stay involved in a local church, that that all results from a demanding schedule and a very fast-moving culture, I think you're naive. If you think all that's at work in the discord in your small group or the trouble in your marriage is simply conflict between difficult personalities, I think you're naive. If you think the bitterness creeping up in your soul, it just comes from the frustration of being misunderstood, I would say you're naive. Because there is an enemy, Jesus said, whose sole goal is to kill, to steal, and to destroy, that he literally prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Paul said, you don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. And if you don't know who you're fighting against, you're not really going to know how to fight. Satan doesn't care if you believe in him or not.

In the words of Kevin Spacey, the greatest trick that Satan ever played on the human race was to convince us that he didn't exist. You're most vulnerable to an enemy when you won't even acknowledge the existence of that enemy. And Jesus understood it, which affected how he approached the situation.

Watch what the enemy does first. Verse three, the tempter came and said to him, if you are the son of God. Now, if, if, what had just happened at the baptism? Do you remember how the baptism ended? Chapter three, verse 17.

This is my beloved son in whom I'm well pleased. And now Satan's like, if that's true, write this down. Satan puts question marks in your life where God has put periods. Satan's goal, his go-to tactic is to break the hold of the word of God over you.

You can see that from the very beginning, right? The very first situation in the Garden of Eden, how does Satan open up the situation? Did God really say that? Are you sure God has your best interest at heart?

I think God might be holding out on you. Jesus told a story about a farmer who went out to scatter some seed, the seed representing the word of God. And he said that some of the seed falls on soil and before it can take root, this bird comes along. The bird represents Satan and picks up the seed and gets rid of it before it can actually take root in your heart. And what he is saying is that, is that, is that Satan is as much in the distractions that he gives you to the word of God as he is in making you doubt it. You see, he can sometimes not make you doubt it, just makes you forget about it.

C.S. Lewis had a great illustration of this in his book Screwtape Letters. Screwtape Letters is the fictional letters of a junior demon to his senior demon about how he's tempting this guy. And he says, you know, I had a code red because I, the guy hears the word of God and he starts thinking, I need to, I believe in God and I think I need to get him, you know, to get right with him. And he said, I panicked. And so the senior demon says, well, what did you do? Did you give him some arguments as to why, you know, God's irrelevant? He said, no, no, no. I just, I put some pressing business matters on his desk. He goes, and after he had spent a little time on that, he said, you know what?

I got to live in the real world. I don't have time for all this fantastic stuff out there about, about stuff. And the senior demon said, exactly, you can kill more of them through distraction than you can through doubts.

What that means is that it's not always the, the, the, the, the, the, the big difficult questions. Sometimes it's just like to get you to think about something else to make it where it's not a center part of your life. I think about that. I know you'll think this is, I think about it sometimes even while I'm preaching. And if the person next to you has on their phone right now, and they're on Twitter, you grab that thing and you sling it across the room and you yell, David's out. No, don't, don't do that. I can't promise you if you're playing Pokemon Go, you are being possessed by the devil at this very moment. Okay. No, it's, it's, it's, it's what he wants to do is he wants to distract you.

Now, of course, not to be rude. Some of you don't know enough of the word of God to even be distracted. His whole goal is just to keep you separated from the word of God. And he'll do that in whatever way possible doubt, distraction, or ignorance.

It doesn't matter to him. Verse three, if you're the son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread. Now, at last we get to the specific temptations.

Here we go. Number one, but he answered, it is written, man should not live by bread alone, by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Temptation number one is to prioritize the gifts of God over God himself, to prioritize the gifts of God over God himself. There was nothing wrong with bread. God created bread. Bread's a good thing, but it was simply not God's will for Jesus at this time, because God had led Jesus. The spirit had led Jesus into the wilderness to fast. I cannot tell you how significant it is that the first temptation of Satan is not to do something blatantly immoral. It is simply to get Jesus to go after something good that is not in God's plan yet. Satan's not out there in the words of Tim Keller tempting Jesus with, with booze or breast, he's choosing bread.

Satan's primary strategy is to take a good thing, a good thing like bread or a job or marriage or companionship or children or respect, and to make it so important that it drives all your decisions because you think I've got to have this more than anything. So you think, well, I can't be single. I can't be happy being single. And God is just not working fast enough. So I'm going to have to take matters into my own hands. We just got to have more money.

I mean, our family cannot really be happy with this level of income. I got to get ahead and God, you're moving too slowly. I got to have the approval of my friends. I've got to be the best.

I've got to be recognized. And that desire, you almost always a good desire. It begins to dominate your emotions and it begins to control your behavior. What is Jesus's response after 40 days of no bread? He quotes a verse from the book of Deuteronomy, man shall not live by bread alone, but by the word of God. In other words, there's something more important to me than even bread. And that is fellowship with God. Physical bread is good, but my soul finds its completeness in God. There's something more sustaining to me than even physical food. And that is God's declaration over me that I am his beloved son. Yes, I love bread. And at some point I will go back to bread. But right now in this time, if I have to choose between bread and God, then I'll take God because God's word is more sustaining to my soul, even than physical bread. Temptation number one is to prioritize the gifts of God, a good thing over God himself, to turn a good thing into an ultimate thing, to do a God thing and to replace God with it.

You ought to be really personal. I've told you before that I know Satan wants me to be driven, wants me to be driven by being a good preacher or successful pastor. There's nothing wrong with me wanting to be good at what I do, but I know that that means that sometimes he's the first one when I come down off the stage to tell me how good of a sermon that I just preached. Now, if you give me encouragement afterwards, I'm not going to call you Satan. So I understand that there's nothing wrong with encouragement.

We ought to give it to him back and forth to each other. But, but see, he wants me to base my happiness and my identity on how successful I am as a pastor. He wants you to base your identity on how good of a mother you are or how other people look at you or how good you are at your job. And it's a trap because he knows that the next time I preach, if I don't do as well, or just not enough people tell me how good it was, then I will feel unsettled and unhappy, which will make me vulnerable to all the other temptations. See, if you live by success, that means you'll also die by success because success cannot sustain you. Success is not bred for the everlasting soul. But if you have, you live by fellowship with the father, that means when you're in a wilderness or when you're in a time of plenty, your joy will not change because you have a source of joy in life that is never ending.

And it's so much better than physical bread. So the first temptation is to replace the giver with a gift. Verse five, the second one, then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple. Verse six, and said to him, if you're the son of God, there it is again, there's the doubt, throw yourself down as it's written. He will command his angels concerning you. That's a verse from the Psalms.

Oh, and there's one more. And on their hands, they will bear you up lest you strike your foot against the stone. That's a verse from another Psalm, Satan quoting scripture. Listen, y'all, he knows his verses and he knows exactly how to use them. So could I just stop here and say this before I get to the second temptation, just because you find a verse for something doesn't mean you're using the Bible, right?

People have given me over years, the most jacked up interpretations of scripture you could ever imagine. Well, you know, the Bible says that God wants me to be happy somewhere. And this marriage is not making me happy. So clearly it's God's will for me to leave this marriage and go after somebody else and don't argue with me about it. Cause I got a piece about it.

Oh, sorry. You know, I just quit my job and liquidated my retirement and put it all into this magic bean business because Philippians four 13 says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Poor Philippians four 13. I mean, if that verse could come alive, when he gets to heaven, it's going to just like be kicking rear ends and taking that verse has been more abused. You see two wrestlers about to wrestle each other. Both of them have Philippians four 13 tattooed to their back. I'm like, now this is interesting. The power of Jesus versus the power of Jesus.

How's that going to go down? That's not what that verse means is that you can make all your foul shots or you're going to score a touchdown every time. One of the reasons we encourage you to be in small groups here is that you're much less likely to interpret scripture wrongly when you read it in community. When other people can say, I'm pretty not sure that's not what that verse means. The last thing that you want is to end up being Satan to somebody else because you read the Bible in a lazy way, right? So you got to know what it means and not just that you can quote verse seven. Jesus said to him, I'll see your two scriptures and I'll raise you one, but I'll interpret it correctly. You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.

All right, what's going on here? I think the key word here is the word test. Satan is tempting Jesus to test God for God to prove that God will take care of it.

The logic goes like this. You know, Jesus, if you really are the son of God, if that's true, then, then if you did this over here, then he would take care of you. So why don't you do this over here to see if he takes care of you? Because if he does, then you'll actually know that you're his beloved son.

And what does Jesus respond with? Why would I need God to prove what he has already declared? Why would I need to test God to give him some other thing he's got to do to prove he's actually telling the truth? Temptation number two is to interpret God through your circumstances rather than his word.

It is so easy all to succumb to this one. When life goes good, we think, oh, we must have the pleasure of God. But when life goes bad, we think, well, God must be angry at me if, if he exists at all. And so you find yourself looking at heaven saying, God, you said you love me. And this, or we start saying, God, what have I done wrong?

God, why are you punishing me? Sometimes I'm not even sure you exist as if you're paying him back for your disbelief. Y'all look at Jesus. He's the beloved son. He is completely pleasing to God. He is completely in step with the spirit. He is exactly where he is supposed to be, yet he is not shielded from pain.

He is in a desert. Jesus said that for those who follow him, the cross would be the center of their lives. And the cross does not mean you wear a little gold ornament around your neck, or you have it tattooed to your ankle. What the cross means is it means misunderstanding.

It means betrayal by your friends. It means suffering, often unjust suffering and sacrifice. Jesus said the servant's not better than the master. And if the master, if I went through the cross, then you can expect to also. When Jesus said, follow me, he wasn't beckoning us, beckoning us to a barefoot walk through a meadow filled with snuggles and rainbows. He was calling us to pick up the cross where he had gone. When that happens, when that happens, and it surely will happen, when the spirit of God takes you into the desert of financial hardship, the desert of a betrayal by a friend, the desert of an uncooperative spouse, the desert of disrespect or of unappreciative children or of loneliness, what are you going to believe about God in that desert? Are you going to interpret God through your circumstances or are you going to see your circumstances through the promise of God's word? Because y'all listen, we got something even better than Jesus and all the Old Testament prophets had.

They had the promises of God's word in the prophets. We have the demonstration of God's love at the cross. John Oetzen, the Puritan writer used to say, the greatest insult you could ever give to God after the cross is to doubt his love for you.

What else would he have to do to show his steadfast love for you? And then you turn around and say, I need something else beyond that. It reminds me of a hymn we used to sing when I was a kid. And I don't think we sing it anymore because it's got one of these goofy tunes to it, but I need no other argument. I need no other plea. It is enough that Jesus died and that he died for me. Enough for me that Jesus saves. That ends my fear and doubt a sinful soul. I came to him.

He did not cast me out. I need no other argument. I need no other plea. It is enough that Jesus died and that he died for me. Or there's one we sing now that's more current when Satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within upward. I look and see him there who made an end to all my sin. In other words, I am assured of the steadfast love of God, not only because he declared it, which should be enough, but also he demonstrated it through the cross so that I know that whatever valley I'm walking through, if he didn't leave me there, when it was my sin that was crucifying the life out of him, he's not going to leave me now.

And if God raised Jesus from the dead, he is certainly working in my circumstance in front of me. Now let's look at the third temptation. 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 will I give to you if you will fall down and worship me. Then Jesus said to him, be gone, Satan, for it's written, you shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve. Temptation number three is to pursue a good thing in the wrong way.

Let me tell you why this temptation was so powerful. The kingdoms of the world are exactly what Jesus had come for. They are what God had promised to Jesus.

And they are what Jesus believed that he was entitled to. Satan is offering him a chance to have it through a shortcut, to avoid the pain of the cross and the plan of God, to walk on a path parallel to the plan of God, but not in the plan of God. This is the temptation to compromise. You really, really, really want to get here.

And here is a good place. And you think it's what God wants, but God doesn't seem to be getting you here fast enough. And so you say, well, I think I got to get there my own way. I heard a comedian one time say, he said, you know, for years, when I was a kid, I prayed every night that God would give me a bicycle. And then I figured out that God and all of his infinite wisdom wasn't going to work that way.

And so I just stole the bike and asked for forgiveness. That's the temptation to compromise, the temptation to take a shortcut to things that you believe you're entitled to, that are good things. It's the temptation, for example, to sacrifice your integrity or your family responsibilities so that you can get to that next level.

Your wife or your husband tells you you're working too much and your family's suffering and their kids need their dad or their mom. And you're like, yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand, but I really need us to get there. There's such a good place. And once we're there, there, things will be so much easier. And it's not like when I get there, I'm going to be an atheist. I can readopt all my values and I can realign my life and I can get my priorities back in line.

We'll be in such a much better financial position and life will be stable and I'll be able to give more money. And so I'm going to have to shortcut right now, my morality or my responsibilities to my family or my involvement in the local church just a little bit, but it's going to get me there faster. And there is a good place. When you say that you are in the grip of Satan himself. Let me tell you where this lie starts. This lie starts in that moment when you're frustrated with life and you find yourself looking up at the ceiling as you're trying to go to sleep. And you think the problem is your circumstance.

The problem is who you're married to, or the problem is the job that you have and the amount of money that you're making. And you think, well, if I could just get this other thing, this other level, then I'd be happy. But Jesus said, that's not the issue. The issue is not that I don't have the kingdoms of the world. The issue is not that I don't have bread. You see, if you really want to have joy, you need to be able to look up at a dark ceiling in bed at night and know that you're exactly where God wants you to be, doing exactly what God wants you to do, and that you are in fellowship with the father.

That is the only way to have true peace. Jesus wanted fellowship with the father more than he wanted anything. He wanted fellowship with the father more than he wanted to achieve his goals and his dreams. He wanted it even more than he wanted bread. And because of that, he could resist Satan. He could keep his integrity because fellowship with the father was his highest ambition. It was his choice portion. It was his living bread. And because of that, he had all the things in his life in the right order. He wanted his goals and his dreams, and he wanted his bread. But if he had to choose between those and the will of God, he'd take the will of God every single time. And that was the test. What do you choose if you got to choose between the two?

C.S. Lewis had a way of expressing this, and I've shared it with you before, but I think it was a mere Christianity. He said, you know, in life, you're going to find first things and second things. First things are God and his will, seeking God. Second things is everything else. And second things are not bad things, it's good things. Good things like family and good things like career and job and all the friends. All this is over here, second things.

He said, here's the way it works. If you put first things first, put God first, then God will also add to your life an abundance of second things. But if you put second things first, not only will you lose first things, your relationship with God, eventually, he says, you'll lose all the second things.

If for no other reason than that you lose your ability to enjoy them. Let me say that again because that can be a little confusing. In life, there are first things and second things. If you put first things first, God will throw second things in free. But if you put second things first, not only will he lose the first things, you'll also lose the second things.

Does that make more sense? All right, Matthew 633, if you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things will be added to you. He says, you've got to prioritize the giver over the gift. Then the devil left him and behold, angels came and we're ministering them. I get the image here of angels coming down like they're X-wing fighters and Darth Vader, like Satan that's spinning off into the, you know, the universe, like in Star Wars one. But Satan is coming back just like Vader did, both to Jesus and to you. And these three temptations are the core of his strategy to prioritize something good more than you do God, to evaluate how God feels about you by your circumstances and to go around God to get something good. So let me spend our last few moments explaining how the way that Jesus overcame these temptations will give you the ability to overcome yours. And contrary to popular belief, it is not simply that you learn scripture and quote it back to Satan, as important as that is. That's what people always think about this passage. Know the Bible and that's important, but there's something more here. You see Jesus in this chapter is becoming more than just our model. He is our model, but he's becoming more than just our model. He is going to do something that is going to enable us to overcome temptation when we go through it.

Let me explain what that is. I told you last week that at the baptism, Jesus began his ministry of substitution because it was a baptism of repentance and Jesus did not need to repent of his sins. He didn't have any. So he was being baptized in repentance for our sin. And at that moment, Jesus began to live the life that we were supposed to live so that he could die the death that we were condemned to die. So the first thing he does after the baptism, as he is now living a life of substitution, is he goes into the wilderness where he is going to reenact the temptation of mankind so that he can reverse the fall.

You see, think about it, man, the first temptation, Adam and Eve had been in a perfect environment, the Garden of Eden, and Satan had come to him and said essentially these three things. Hey, you need to prioritize the gift over the giver. You need the tree of knowledge more than you need God.

And you know what? God's not really that good to you. You should doubt God because I don't think he's got your best interest in heart. And there's something else that's more important to you than fellowship with God.

This is a better way. And the first man and woman in a perfect environment, they believe Satan's lies, they prioritize the gift over the giver, they doubted the goodness of God, and they compromise God's laws in pursuit of a good thing. Now, you've got Jesus who is the second Adam, by contrast, who rejects Satan's lies, but he's not in the Garden of Eden where all his needs are being met.

He's in the wilderness. He's in the opposite of the Garden of Eden where he is hungry, yet still he prioritizes fellowship with the Father above all and refuses to believe the lies of Satan. All that man did wrong, Jesus is going to do right.

He's going to reverse it so that when it comes time to die, he can bear our condemnation because a perfect life that ends under the condemnation of death can free those under the condemnation of death and restore us to everlasting life so that those of us who are in Christ can say, there is no condemnation that belongs to me because he lived that life and it was put on his head and none of it is applies to me anymore because he was perfect and he substituted. And see what that does, listen, what that does is it assures to me my place with the Father and it gives me therefore the strength to overcome the temptations of Satan because I know that all the things in my life, I'm assured of his love and I'm assured of my position before him. And even more than that, he unites himself to me by his Spirit, which means that the same one who overcame these temptations for me can now overcome them through me. So he's not merely my model, he's actually walking through the temptations and being victorious over them so that his perfect record can be credited to me and so that his resurrection power can live through me. You see, many people interpret the big point in this passage as just meaning that the way we overcome Satan is by knowing more scripture than Satan does.

That's how I think I understood it growing up. It was like, explain to me like it was almost like Jesus was in this, think of it like a Harry Potter type duel with Satan. And Satan's like Lord Voldemort and he throws a, you know, a scripture curse at you and you're like, oh, first Peter three, eight, you know, kind of, you sort of have this moment where your powers are against each other. And so Satan throws out a second one to you and you're like, oh, but I know the genealogy between Eliud and Jehoiachin and Satan's like, oh, and he, I can't resist that. And he goes tumbling off into the atmosphere.

Anybody else think that or was that just me? Listen, Satan always knows more verses than you. He's had several thousand years to memorize all of them. He knows the Bible backwards and forwards. He knows it a whole lot better than you do. And so you reciting the one verse, you know, Philippians 4 13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me back to him is not going to make him slink away and cower in fear.

No, no, no. There's something specific about the word of God that Jesus recalls each time. Something that undergirds every verse he quotes something so powerful that not even Satan can refute it. And that is his identity in the father's eyes. You see, Satan begins every temptation. If you are the son of God, everything Jesus quotes ultimately goes back to the security that he possesses and who he is in God's eyes. People think that Satan's work is like all this weird stuff.

He makes people levitate and foam with the mouth and, you know, kill chickens and do crazy things. That's not Satan's main work. In fact, as I pointed out, Satan's not out with Jesus in the wilderness showing him pictures of porn. Satan's primary work is to try to get Jesus to doubt the goodness of God and to lose touch with the father's identity that the father has declared over him. Because once he does that, he knows that Jesus would be vulnerable to every other temptation he would throw at him.

That's your main temptation. It's the root of all temptations is to establish your identity on something other than God's declaration over you in Christ. To take your eyes off of the gospel and to think that God's evaluation of you is based on how you live, based on your performance, so that it's up one day when you're good and it's down one day when you're bad.

Or to base your understanding of God's love on the circumstances you're in rather than what he demonstrated for you at the cross. But see, the gospel is that Jesus, who is God's own son, came to earth to substitute himself for you, which secures your place before the father. I've often told you that I am as sure of my sonship with God, that he would never leave or forsake me. I am as sure of going to heaven when I die, as if Jesus himself, as if I were Jesus himself.

And that's not because I'm awesome. It's because no longer is my position before the father or my inheritance in heaven based on how I live. It's based on how he lived and the fact that he substituted himself for me. And see, because of that, I got a position before the father because he went through this temptation victoriously and then died for me, who didn't go through it victoriously.

My position is secure. It also assures me of God's steadfast love for me, because I'm like, if he would go through all this for me, can't I trust he'll be the constant present father in my life? That belief is what shatters the power of Satan. Martin Luther, who I talked about last week, who had some interesting ways to counteract El Diablo. Martin Luther talked about this.

In fact, in a song we still sing today, the Prince of Darkness grim. We tremble not for him. One little word will fail him. Not just an avalanche of scripture, one word. And what word was Luther talking about? He was talking about the word of the gospel. He was saying, what shatters Satan's power is the declaration, is the declaration of what God has made me in Christ. It means that yes, I am a sinner and yes, I have messed up, but this is what God has declared about me. This is as far as God has removed my sin from me.

And this is what God has determined to make me. And that shatters Satan's power in a way that Satan won't even touch it. Did you know, I've told you this before, did you know that both Satan and the Holy Spirit will convict you of your sin? And you've got to learn to distinguish between the two of them because they've got very different agendas. But both of them will point out your sin.

Here's how you know the difference. Satan will start with what you did and he will tear down who you are. He will say, you did this, therefore you're a bad person and God doesn't really care about you and you've got no future.

So he uses your actions to tear down your identity. The Holy Spirit, when he convicts you of sin, always does it in a different way. He starts with what God has declared over you in Christ and then begins to rebuild what you did. He begins to say, yes, you are a sinner and yes, you have done some bad things, but if any man is in Christ, he's a new creation. Behold, all things are passed away.

Behold, all things are becoming new. And that includes these things that you did. So I'm going to, from your identity in Christ, I'm going to declare my love and my steadfast acceptance of you. And I'm going to help you rebuild what you did. You can tell the difference between the voice of Satan and the voice of the Holy Spirit based solely on where they start.

Does it start with God's word and what he's declared of you or does it start with your actions and tear down your identity? I think I've told you, I saw this painfully reenacted one time in the life of my kids. I was, it was several years ago, my oldest daughter was six. My second daughter was four. And so we're driving somewhere and it's just me and the two of them in the back seat. And I am looking in the rear view mirror and we were talking about something.

I think it was the fair was coming to town or something. And my oldest daughter is always been a little timid to try new things. You know, I couldn't roller coasters, parachuting. I just can't get her to try anything. And so but seriously, she has like had this kind of, she's always waited to see her younger sister and try it. And so I I'm talking to her and I'm talking about the fair and I see, I start talking about some of the rides at the fair and I see it in her eyes, this fear like, and she kind of drops her head down.

She says, I don't want to the fair. And I said, I said, listen, sweetheart, you're gonna have to try new things if you go anywhere in life. I know some of you were judging me as a parent, but you know what? My identity is in Christ.

So I don't care what you think. You're gonna have to try some new things if you're going to do anything in life. And she says, but daddy, it scares me. And I said, I said, yes, it's scared. Lots of things scare lots of us, but until you learn to face your fears, you're just not, you got to do this. And she drops her head and she's, I just see her in the rear view, I look in the rear view mirror and she says, I know daddy, sometimes I feel like I'm just such a big scaredy cat.

And I said, that's exactly right. And if you are going to be a scaredy cat and you don't stop being a scaredy cat, you're not going to go anywhere in life. It wasn't my finest parenting moment.

I was frustrated though. I mean, it was, and so my four year old at the same time, as I say that I catch her in the rear view mirror, looking at her older sister. And as soon as I said that she goes, Oh no, she says, Karis, you are not a scaredy cat.

You're my big sister and you're brave. And I was like, Oh, I was like my daughter or my four year old is the voice of the Holy spirit. And I am the voice of Satan because Satan starts with what you did. And he tears down who you are.

Holy spirit starts with what God has declared over you. And he begins to rebuild what you have done. Luther would say, Satan, when he speaks to you, doesn't always speak lies. In fact, his better weapon is truth because he points out true things. The accuser of the brethren, he says, it's not that he's telling lies. It's just that he is not telling you the gospel because Satan speaks truth, but Jesus speaks a louder word. And Jesus says, yes, though your sins are as scarlet, I'll make them as white as snow.

Though your life is filled with corruption, I will make all things new. And so the word that shatters the power of Satan in life is the declaration of what God has given you in Christ to believe it. It's why when Paul talks about doing a battle with the enemy, he says, put on the helmet of salvation.

The helmet goes on your head, right? It means learn to think the gospel because the way that you'll withstand the fiery darts of the enemy is by the shield of faith and the gospel and by thinking in the ways that the gospel teaches you to think. Several years ago, I shared with you a prayer that I wrote initially. I wrote it for myself. Eventually I ended up sharing it with you, but I just call it the gospel prayer. Eventually I would turn this into a book that became the book gospel, but it was a prayer that I prayed almost every day to put the helmet of salvation on my head. And it had four phrases in it. And don't try to write them down there.

I'll put them on the, they're on the blog, like as of right this moment, my blog. And if you want to use them, but it goes like this, because I'm in Christ, because I'm in Christ, there's nothing I've done that could make you love me more, nothing I have done that makes you love me less. And every morning I tell myself that God's approval of me was not based anymore on how well I lived or the things that I'd done wrong, that his acceptance to me was a gift that he gave me in Christ and my position before him was secure and that released this weight off of me, this performance mentality. The second thing I would tell myself is because I'm in Christ, you're all I need for everlasting joy. I don't need physical bread. I don't need the approval of people.

I don't need success. Those things are nice, but what I really need for everlasting joy is the declaration of the father that this is my beloved son in whom I'm well pleased. The third thing I tell myself is that because I'm in Christ, as you've been to me, this is how I'm going to be to others. In other words, the way that you've treated me, this is how I want to think about my family.

I want to think about my community as I want to serve them the way that you serve me. So realign my behavior so that it's in line with the gospel. The fourth thing was about faith, because I'm in Christ, because I'm in Christ. But as I pray, I'm going to do so according to the compassion you showed at the cross and the power you demonstrated at the resurrection. And that taught me to begin to see the world through Jesus's eyes. What if Jesus really was as compassionate for people as the cross showed that he was?

What if there was so much power available that you measured it by the resurrection? And so I begin to dream dreams through that lens, through the gospel lens, rather than the lens of what I thought I could accomplish. That also helped me, by the way, when God didn't answer my prayers the way that I thought he should, which happened a lot, I would say, well, that doesn't make me doubt your compassion or your power, because those are settled at the cross. I don't care if you use that prayer, but you ought to use something that puts the helmet of salvation on your head, because the way that you shatter the power of Satan is by bold declaration in the gospel, the prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him.

One little word will fail him, the word of the gospel. Here's what we're going to do. I'm going to put those four phrases back up there in just a second for you. We're going to end this by taking the Lord's table together, the bread and the cup that symbolizes the body and the blood of Jesus Christ. And so in just a moment at all of our campuses, our team's going to come, they're going to start to distribute those elements. What I want you to do is look at these four phrases and I want you to saturate yourself in the gospel as you hold the elements that are represented in your hands. And in just a minute, one of our campus pastors at your campus will come and they'll lead you in the taking of those elements. As they're coming, let me remind you before I put these four things on the screen, let me remind you that if you're not a believer, this is not for you. Jesus in very, very clear terms said that this was something that he wanted only his children to participate in.

In fact, he said it could be harmful for you if you're not a believer and you partook of it. But don't hear that as exclusive because in fact, what these things represent, Jesus is offering to you. He's offering to you himself, his body, his blood. He says the symbol is not for you, the reality is for you. So while other people around you are taking the bread and the cup, you could use this moment to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

It could be the greatest moment. It's not the elements that you need, it's by faith to receive him as your Lord and Savior. So as people around you take these things, maybe that's what you should do. I'll put these four things on the screen and you saturate yourself in the gospel and then one of our pastors will lead you in the taking of the bread and the cup.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-05 19:16:23 / 2023-09-05 19:36:34 / 20

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