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February 12, 2021 7:00 am
If you grew up attending church. You probably have experience memorizing Scripture verses because in addition to singing songs and eating animal crackers reciting Bible verses is a staple activity in any good children's church program on this broadcast of the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce will explain why Scripture memorization is much more than just a fun activity for kids to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly. The Bible promises that life as a Christian will be a spiritual battle, so we should not be surprised when we face temptation at every turn. However, in Matthew chapter 4 we have the ultimate example of how to resist temptation and defeat Satan. I called this study Jesus on the devil. But I could just as easily on bribes better of call that God or the devil, because that's the issue.
This is the story of the temptation of Jesus Christ and the issue is the choice between God and his why was Jesus going to follow that go in the way that his father had set before him, even if it meant suffering and eventually the death of the cross or was he going to go Satan's way and seek the glory and the sheep or his without the cross getting it easy. Also an important way of looking at it because that's exactly the question that you and I face every day of our lives are we going to do it God's way as he lays it out for us in the Bible which involves not always things that are easy quite often suffering, or persecution, or abuse, and certainly temptation or are we going to go the devil's way and try to get our pleasures without God. I want to start with a question and the question has to do with the identity of Jesus Christ and simply this, who is a way out.
I have some idea on the answer to that by now because they were thinking of that in the context of Matthew's gospel. We've already had a number of significant answers.
We go back to the first chapter, we find the genealogy in which Jesus is introduced as the son of David and the son of Abraham. The genealogy is brought in. In order to prove that particular heritage and lineage. The kind of Jesus birth reveals him as one of will save his people from their sentence is what the angel said he also given the name of Manuel which means God with this. The second chapter of Matthew, the Gentile wisemen or Magi come from the east to find him, who they call the King of the Jewish I find them. They fall down and they worship him as God. In chapter 3 John the Baptist identifies him as the messianic King and then most impressive of all, after the baptism of Jesus comes out on the water of voice from heaven is heard saying this is my son, whom I love with him. I am well pleased. Now that's an awful lot of answers, son of David, son of Abraham Manuel God with us King of the Jews Messiah son of God and impressive list of titles does race the question is Jesus really the Messiah is Jesus really the son of God. What we find the story reported now in the fourth chapter is that indeed he is and the temptation proves it is worthwhile asking that question because, of course.
Even John the Baptist asked that little bit further on in Matthew's gospel when we got to the 11th chapter to find the John had his doubts. Jesus wasn't performing exactly the way John thought he should've performed and so he sent his disciples from prison to Jesus to ask the question argue the one who should, or should we look for another, what we find here in the fourth chapter written by Matthew recording this live through it all in the discovered himself personally, as had the other early Christians that Jesus was indeed the one who should, did fulfill the Scriptures we find in the fourth chapter is evidence and proof of this in temptation how the temptation originates with God and it's important that we understand that because it gives us a way of understanding what temptation is all about. Use that word temptation usually in our mind signifies tempting to do wrong, or trying to get someone to sin. Sometimes the ancient words meant that they can always mean that either in Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek meant more what we would indicate by the word test or testing that were cast out the course test somebody trying to get them to do wrong. You don't have to do that and in the case of God's testing of the Lord Jesus Christ wasn't to get them to do wrong because were told elsewhere in the Bible God doesn't tempt anybody to do wrong, but it was a testing to show that he really was the one whom the voice from heaven had cleared him to be. It was what we would call a weeding out of doubt or dispersal of the other options Jesus by standing firm proved that he was indeed's godson and that he would follow the path God had for right now that's only from God's point of view testing from the devil's point of view is quite something else on the devil's point of view, the temptation really was a temptation because what he was trying to do was get Jesus to disobey his father in heaven and go in the devil's way of asking just by way of introduction how we went about it. Was this actually the physical appearance of Satan dealing with physical observable things or was it somehow spiritual it's worth asking that because there is evidence that you would see perhaps on either side of the question.
One of it does seem to be very physical. Turning the stones to bread.
For example, let's physical temptation and the way the language appears almost see as if Satan suggested or gestured to the stones what he said is that these styles that you can almost see him sign by to pick up some of the stones that is very, very physical and when you get to the second temptation, which is the temptation for Jesus to throw himself down from the temple so float the ground miraculously delivered by God that only makes sense if it's an actual physical thing on the other hand, he got to the third of these three temptations and you read that they are the devil took him up to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. There is no mountain in Palestine where you could possibly see all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
Nor is there about like that anywhere in the world that seems to suggest something spiritual may be a vision passing before their eyes. Something of that nature. At any rate, the important thing is that it was a real temptation, and God was involved. See, when the devil came to Jesus.
He tempted him from best way to say it is from outside himself was nothing inside Jesus so inclined.
The temptation is not the way it is with us. We read in the liturgy of the church were tempted by the world the flesh and the devil the flesh is our own sinful human nature is when the devil floats a temptation BIOS or something within us that naturally responds to that on the world floats its pastime.
The simple as they may be by our eyes or something in us that inclines that wife wasn't true in the case of Jesus Christ was no sin in him. There was no inclination to sin.
So all these temptations, as it were from outside. That's why we read the devil came to Jesus and took Jesus to the holy city and took him up to a very high mountain. Jesus wasn't putting himself in the way of these temptations in any form. Now when we look at this and begin to understand something of the setting. Jesus, having fasted now in the desert for 40 days.
We can't help but think back to the first account of the temptation by the double back there at the start of the Old Testament, just as this account is at the start of the New Testament is comparing the testing of Jesus with the temptation of Adam and Eve. Think of the difference in their circumstances. Adam and Eve were in paradise. Everything provided for them.
Jesus was in the wilderness, desolate area.
Adam and Eve were physically content and satisfied, so they had no physical once all Jesus was hungry having fasted for 40 days and 40 nights and Monday were together, they had each other for support and encourage one another as I went through hard times. Jesus was absolutely alone and Adam and Eve very quickly succumbed to Satan's wiles carrying the entire human race in the sin and misery destruction in both physical and spiritual death, Jesus, for his part, on the other hand, stood firm is the Savior who would bring life and salvation of the race, we turn to the temptations themselves were three of them temptation to turn stones into bread. The temptation to throw himself down from a pinnacle of the temple and then the final most blatant one of all fall down and worship Satan in order to avoid the cross to seal each of these as we look at them is that they are related in each case, and one waiter another to what Jesus had just heard from heaven at the baptism voice from heaven at the baptism said that Jesus is God's son, with whom the father was well pleased when we looked at that last week we saw the first part of it comes from Psalm two and the second part from the suffering servant songs in Isaiah.
Second, Saul says you are my son, this day have I begotten you. It's a prophetic messianic song so the declaration that Jesus was the son of God comes from their then the phrase with whom I am well pleased. Is an echo back in introduction. Early on, the suffering servant Psalm so we were told something about the person of Christ is the son of God, a divine Messiah. And then secondly were told something about his work is work was to go to the cross as the suffering servant did atoning for the sin of the race. Here's an interesting quotation are BG Tasker is one of the good commentators on Matthew's gospel and he puts it nicely. Christ temptations in the wilderness were temptations to rely upon. The first part of that message spoken by the heavenly voice at his baptism.
You are my son, my love, to such an extent that he might be able to avoid treading the way marked out for him in the second part which was a way of suffering. Let's see how that works out.
First of all temptation one if you are the son of God tell these stones to become bread. Most of the commentators on Matthew, I have to acknowledge and assume that Satan is really not challenging Christ deity they wouldn't translate that word if, as if it were if they wouldn't say if you are the son of God, they would translate it since courses possible since you're the son of God, since you have all this power.
Why don't you turn the stones into bread when I would be a real temptation. It would be a temptation to misuse his power. Oh, you have to press a little bit beyond the story to explain why that's a misuse of his power. Jesus later use that power to feed the multitudes after read more into the story that is there, but it would be a real temptation, I think, on the other hand, RC Sproul is right when he suggests the God is really being challenged at this point in terms of his declaration that Jesus was the son.
In other words, read like this.
If you're the son of God really, why don't we prove it by a small miracle and burn the stones in the bread.
Now that connects with what happened back in Genesis because back in Genesis. The temptation that faced Adam and Eve, was to doubt the word of God.
God told him that they would die if they ate of the forbidden fruit and they did eat of it and they did die. Satan challenge them to get them to do it by a blatant contradiction of the word of God things that you will not surely die. So the issue joined in Genesis was who is to be trusted. Are we to believe God who always speaks the truth or can you trust Satan instead.
That's what has come to Jesus in a similar manner.
Satan is suggesting that Jesus may not actually be God's son or that if he is the other settle the matter once for all.
By doing the miracle so it was a temptation to question the express word of God, hidden under what seemed to be a concern for Jesus physical hunger. Jesus had no trouble answering Satan he did it by quoting from the eighth chapter of Deuteronomy verse three man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God that were only a temptation to misuse his supernatural power of the quotation. It seems to me isn't directly to the point, but it were to doubt the word of God by testing it in the response being, that's it doesn't really matter much whether I physical bread to eat since God's going to preserve my life as long as he wants to so I can do what he wants I can trust him and that but what does matter is whether I believe God's word implicitly or not. By God's word even for a moment everything is lost. Essentially, Jesus responded that way on the second temptation has to do with Jesus throwing himself down from a pinnacle of the temple when it strikes me that it follows very directly upon.
We just seem to be the meaning of the first one.
Jesus is responded to Satan by drawing the issue at the word of God.
If God says that I believe it is what he says is true. Satan gets into the act. At this point. He says something like this, all I see you been studying the Bible. During these first 30 years were you're getting ready for your ministry. I just want you to know lets you have some kind of miss under unit.
Satan is a bad rap.
I would like you to know that I am a student of the Bible true after all. I don't spend all my time wandering up and down on the earth testing and tempting people. Sometimes I have my Bible study always, but I do it quite often in the morning and that is a matter of I just this morning when I was reading my Bible I came across a very interesting person.
Psalm 9191 verses 11 and 12 say this, he will command his angels concerning you and they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You believe that I think you want to believe that because you just said that you believe the word of God. You're not going to test them in this matter at your deity well if you believe it. I believe it is put into the task I think would be a good thing to do, what we could do is go up to the temple and you could jump off you believe this God will keep you from falling will bear you up so you come down likely it will be a miracle. Everybody will see it, it will get your mission off to a riproaring start that acts temptation we see an awful lot of the day because what that means is let's do God's work in the worldly ways began doing it the way God has told you to do it. Let's do it in a way that will impress people that all this is the modern age and I got to get people today simply by standing up and preaching at a stupid thing to do, don't you delete the age of verbal communication has passed.
This is the age of television. This is the age of the spectacular job to do some signs and wonders.
That's how they get evangelism done but you have to concentrate on his entertainment because people want to be made to feel good so that's what you have to. That's exactly what were facing an evangelical church in America today. Signs and wonders big time entertainment. That's the way the got the work of God done you know it. Jesus replied again. Deuteronomy not deviating one iota from his plan, he says, look, we're going to carry this out by the block were going to do it by the word of God and it does say in Deuteronomy. I suggest that you read the chapter Mr. Satan what it says in Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 13 is do not put the Lord your God test what he meant by that is Satan you want me to put God to the test project understand is not God is here to be tested. One is here to be tempted.
That's what God led me out in the wilderness for so is my responsibility not to challenge him but to trust him and obey his word. Let me point out that in answering as he did by the quotation from Deuteronomy 613, the Lord was introducing a very important principle of Bible study is the principle of allowing one passage of Scripture to explain and amplify the other welcomed passages of the Bible that we don't easily understand the way to get to understand them is to take other passages that speak more clearly the Protestant reformers called the analogy of faith express dipped in Latin Latin phrases. Scripture astutely in prepress.
It means Scripture interpreting itself what they matters of the Bible will explain it to you if you just go on and explain and study the Bible. Westminster divines express that this way in the confession of faith, the infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself. Therefore there's a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture which is not manifold but one must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly. All that really means is that God is the author of Scripture really doesn't contradict himself. The more we study the Bible, the more harmonious it will seem we come to one passage of the Bible that doesn't seem to make sense or contradicts another passage of the Bible as we understand it either. We are misunderstanding the first passage or misunderstanding. The second passage are misunderstanding both. We have to do is study them in order to find the right answer when the Bible is taken as a whole. It will always provide for a consistent and God trusting way of life and that's what Jesus was doing now we come to the third temptation here is the boldest of all because Satan just throws off all subtlety and Jesus for Jesus. Worship shows in the kingdoms of the world and their glory in some way and then he offers them all.
If only Jesus will bow down and worship him. Now that's the only temptation of the three dozen have a direct reference to the words you are my son and get there in the background. As I said they come from Psalm to distinction your minds's what we have and that's all here's a Psalm in which the father promises precisely these kingdoms to the Messiah versus go like this. He said to me you are my son, today I have become your father asked of me and I will make the nations your inheritance ends of the earth your possession. That's exactly what Satan was offering to Jesus. What in the world why it is by an alliance with himself and with sin rather than by trusting the father bought it promised the kingdoms of the world. The Jesus we read in Revelation 1115. That is happened the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ and he will reign forever and ever at the pathway that triumph was through the cross. That's what Satan wanted Lord Jesus Christ to avoid Henry IV of the bar who lived in the latter 1500s and end of the 17th century compromised his Protestant faith in order to be crowned king of France had a famous saying that went with it. He said Paris is well worth the mass for Jesus. All the kingdoms of the world were not worth a single genuflection of Jesus replied to them, by quoting from Deuteronomy again away from you Satan for its written worship the Lord your God and serve him only so the temptation and three versus all of them from Deuteronomy in Scripture, there is no better example of the power of specific passages of Scripture to turn Satan away and deliver the one tempted than we have here in the account of Satan's temptation of Jesus Christ now should be evident from everything I've said that there's a direct application of this to ourselves because it's not here merely to tell us about Jesus or to give us some evidence from a bygone age as to who he was. There also to tell us that we face those temptations and we are to face and resist them, overcoming them and exactly the same way, let me leave you with these three final statements. First of all, we are in the same battle I often point out when I talk about the devil that the devil is not a spiritual equivalent for God, except ones on the side of good ones in the side of bad the devil is not an eternal omnipresence omnipotent being. He's a creature is not everywhere at all times is God is one thing that means of these probably never tempted you to many other big fish out there to worry about, rather than worrying about ourselves, but it doesn't mean just because the devil maybe has not tempted you personally that you're not in the battle because Paul when he was writing to the Christians in Ephesus said that we are in a battle and described it this way, our struggle, he said, is not merely against flesh and blood that we have a struggle at that level to, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. These battles are so fierce that what Paul says in that passage is that we need to be armed against him using God's armor so we talked about the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, he says were to have our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. So you and I face that battle. We are in it. We have it every single day. Here's a second point, we have the same choice by Jesus and his temptations, we have the choice of trusting God and sticking to the path that he sets before us a path of discipleship or distrusting God and seeking to win victories for God or ourselves and the world's way that's a question will obey God's way or will it be the devil's way. Follow the teaching of Scripture or will you follow your own corrupted judgments number. What Joshua said to the people of his day challenged him saying shows for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living is for me.
My house we will serve the Lord. So were in the same battle face the same choices as the third and final point, we have the same weapon Bible says is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful. He will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also provide a way of escape. You may be able to bear it well enough we say, but what is the way escape. How do we conquer temptation. The answer is in the story. It comes in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who said it is written, it is written, it is written, what Paul told the Ephesians. The only offense of weapon we have spiritual warfare is the sword of the spirit which is the word of God when he faces battles. Let's remember the example of Jesus Christ. Remember this way, here is Jesus holy son of the Almighty God. One was perfectly pleasing to his father, in whom neither Satan or man could find anything wrong or accuse of even the tiniest bit of wrongdoing. Jesus eyes were always on the glory of his father.
He lived in the closest possible union with him but give Jesus as your Lord and Savior needed to know Scripture in order to resist Satan again a spiritual victory. How much more you and I needed in order to win corresponding victory. We need to know it. We need to know what specifically many times indeed.
Most often we need to know it word for word you say.
Well I have a general idea of what the Bible is about, that's the starting point, but is not good enough. You need to be able to do was bring Scripture to bear upon the specific temptation. The only way you will ever do that by memorizing and getting it into your heart and your mind remember some years ago when I was preaching on the six chapter of Ephesians.
I got to that image of the sword sword of the spirit which is the word of God. I reflected on all the swords I've seen my dad. I suppose hundreds of sorts, mostly in British Museum. All kinds of sorts on the big summer small. Many of them belong very important people kingdoms and others of the past. I've enjoyed looking at them, but they never done me any good because her all locked up in Museum's are not mine I can hold my were in a bottle. I couldn't wield swords in order for them to be of any good to believe they'd have to become mine, I'd have to be able to take them up and use so it is with the words of God.
Their wonderful works, but to become useful to us specially in matters of temptation.
I have to become ours. Personally after memorized after study that we have to meditate upon them because only the word of God will be useful to us in overcoming temptation on winning the battles. We very much after with prayer father. We are thankful for the example of our Lord Jesus Christ submitting this kind of a test order that by his example seeing how he responded to the devil we might be instructed how we are to win similar spiritual battles in our day.
Grant us the grace to do that, and the perseverance designer to study hand meditates upon and also memorize your word. We pray in the name of our Savior Jesus.
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