This message was preached by Colin D cruz at Word of Grace Church Pune, on the 16th of March 2014 . You can listen/clicking here. to the audio by
What is something that we all face in common? How do we deal with it? How do we stay on top of it and not get defeated?
I want to share something that I face and each and everyone of us face. Its temptation. To be human is to face temptation.We live in a world that bombards us with temptation all the time. But today let’s look at how Jesus handles temptation. He lays down a pattern for us to follow.
In Matthew 4- How can ordinary mortals like us with the power of the Holy Spirit handle temptation.Jesus portrays to us, how we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit resist and overcome the different kinds of temptations we face.
Before this, in Matthew 3: 13 Jesus came to Galilee to be baptized. He did not need to, but he identified himself with man and laid the pattern in which men to live in.
v 16- The heavens were opened and Holy Spirit came down and a resounding affirmation from the Father on Jesus' baptism. And as the spirit descended He led Him into the desert to be tempted by the devil. This was a preparatory time for Jesus.
Temptation comes to us not because we are sinners but because we are human. Jesus was not a sinner yet he was tempted. To be tempted is not a sin- its you do with it, that can result in sin. Temptation is an invitation to sin but we have to resist and fight it.
The temptations of Jesus:
1. Jesus was hungry 40 days of fasting in the desert. In that physical weakness, the devil comes to him and says, “if you are the son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Was Jesus the son of God? Yes, but the first temptation was to cast doubt on God’s love. He was essentially saying, if God loved you, He would have provided for you.
The devil casts doubts on the character and motives of God. Even in the Garden of Eden, this was the strategy he used- “Did God really say...”
Jesus could easily turn the stones into bread. Later in his ministry he did multiply 5 loaves and 2 fish, he turned water into wine. Jesus could have done ti and there would be no sin in doing it, It was not a sinful thing to eat bread.So there was no sin in the temptation but the sin was in doubting God’s love, His provision and care and trying to fulfill this need through another means.
Instead, what was His response? In verse 4 He says, “It is written..” This is a key phrase! The way we fight the devil is by learning the Word of God. Jesus probably meditated and memorized scripture.
Then he goes on to say, “Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” In our materialistic world, we only believe and trust in the things we see, touch or feel.
People including christian and consumed with the material. But Jesus says that our sustenance comes not just from food etc from the spiritual things. SO the lesson is this if you are a Christ follower know that Hie cares for you and loves you and He will provide for you.He is in control! Trust in His word. The way we fortify our belief is by storing the Word in us.
2. The second temptation- “Throw yourself down. For it is written:…” The devil is cunning. He uses the scripture to tempt Jesus in the area of testing God’s love. We are not called to test God.
In Mark 16:18, Jesus says that “they will pick up snakes with their hands, and when they drink deadly poison, it doesn't hurt them at all” etc. it is a sign of God’s anointing and protection, but not an invitation for us to test Him. Sometimes people can say, if you do something for me, I will believe you. Don’t!
Jesus in response says, “it is also written:..” we need to know what is also written- a holistic theory. Because the devil can twist scriptures. He quotes Psalm 91 but mis- uses it. We better know scripture to counter his cunning.
so here the temptation is to test God's love. However we are called not to test God. Deut 6:16. Paul was protected from a poisonous snake but he did not go looking for it. Don't jump off a building and expect to be saved. That is not faith but presumption.
Some say "I'll believe in you if you do this" don't test God. We are called to believe by faith not by testing God.
What is testing God? We should take precautions eg" Wearing a helmet, a seat belt is taking pre caution and not testing God. Lord I believe you will look after me but I will not put you to the test.
The only place we are asked to test God is in one place.Malachi 3:10 is the only place where God says, “ test me and see if I will not open the floodgates of heaven.” We acknowledge that all we have is from God and we are only bringing a portion of it.
The storehouse is the local church that you belong to not your church back home.There is blessing and prevention from damage.If you are facing a financial lack ask yourself if you are honoring God by bringing your tithe into the store house.
3. Matthew 4:8 Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth in their Splendor. And Satan says bow down and worship me and all of this is yours.Jesus had come as a man to lead a sinless life and suffer at the cross. Only through the cross could our sins be forgiven.
Jesus would only go to glory through his suffering. Satan was trying to short circuit that. He was trying to subordinate God’s love. WE are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart soul mind and strength.
Today people want fame, money comfort etc.Whatever you want today, the devil can give you these things, but it is temporary. He has power but its limited and its a fools paradise. Only Jesus can give you something that lasts forever.
IS GOD FIRST IN YOUR LIFE?
We will all say yes, we don;t worship idols. What is it to put God first. My fulfillment, desires and contentment is in doing God's will. That does not happen with two hours on a Sunday. Lets not kid ourselves. Many people give time to worship their Gods. Is God the focus and priority of your life? Are you seeking the kingdom first in everything? We don't need to have an idol to have another God. Just ask yourself what is your life pre occupied with, what preoccupies your thoughts?
Satan is tempting each one of us in all these 3 areas.
But God gives us help in responding to them:
· 1 Cor 10:13- everyone is facing the same thing. We’re in it together. But the promise is that when we are tempted, He will show us a way out.
· Hebrews 2:18 says that because He himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Later, in Hebrews 4:15 it says that he is able to sympathize with us.
Some practical ways of handling temptation:
> Psalm 119-11- ‘hidden your word in my heart’. Memorize scripture. If you have a particular temptation, see what the word of God has to say about it, and repeat it to yourself when you are being tempted.
> Matt 6:13- Pray; Matt 26:41- watch out and pray.
> 1 Peter 5:8- the devil is looking to see who is available to devour. Make you are not caught aloof.
> 1 Peter 5:19- Resist.
> 2 Timothy 2:22- Flee. There is a time when you flee temptation and pursue righteousness. If you are running from temptation, run into righteousness and not into another temptation or sin.Shall we then, by the power of Holy Spirit that is alive in us, overcome temptation? Amen.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log ontowww.wordofgracechurch.org.
English Language Service Sundays at 10am. Please check google maps for directions!