We all will face temptation of some sort in our lives. How we deal with it will be a test of our faith and determination to always be obedient to the word of God. In today’s market place with so many people facing poverty, and their faith being tested by the devil daily from lack of the basic necessities of life, such as not enough food to eat, unable to pay their mortgages and car notes, not being able to find a job, the prices of everything continues to rise and the income of so many people remain unchanged.
In our quest to rise from the jaws of defeat and grow in God’s grace by living a righteous life and not subsuming to Satan’s temptation, we will do well to learn how Jesus took Satin on in open combat and defeated him. After Jesus baptism, he left the Jordan River to go out into the wilderness. Jesus then took the offensive against his enemy, the Devil, by going into the wilderness to face temptation. Now I ask you, would you put yourself in the same situation, knowing today how cunning the Devil is?
Now let us be under no false elusion concerning the Devil. He is a real being, a created yet rebellious fallen angel, and not a symbol or an idea. He constantly fights against God and those who follow and obey God. Satan is not omnipresent, nor is he all powerful. Through the evil spirits under his dominion, Satan works everywhere attempting to draw people away from God and into his own darkness.
It was the Holy Spirit that compelled Jesus into the wilderness where God put Jesus to the test not to see if Jesus was ready, but to show that he was ready for his mission. Satan, however, had other plans; he hoped to thwart Jesus mission by tempting him to do evil. Why was it necessary for Jesus to be tempted? Temptation is part of the human experience. For Jesus to be fully human, he had to face temptation. Jesus had to undo Adam’s work. Adam, though created perfect, gave in to temptation and passed sin on to the whole human race. Jesus, by contrast, resisted Satan. His victory offers salvation to Adam’s descendants.
We can assume from our studies that during those forty days, Jesus ate nothing; therefore at the end he was very hungry. Jesus status as God’s Son did not make this fast any easier; his physical body suffered the severe hunger and pain of going without sustenance. The three temptations recorded in the scriptures which we will now discuss here was at his most a physically weakened state.
Now let us look at the first temptation, what was said and how Jesus handled it. The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread. “Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to really live.” (Luke 4:3-4 AMP) On the surface, this might seem to be a fairly harmless act, even a compassionate suggestion. Jesus was very hungry, so why not use the resources at his command and change a stone into a loaf of bread? In this case, however, the sin was not in the act but in the reason behind it. The Devil was trying to get Jesus to take a shortcut, to solve his immediate problem at the expense of his long range goals, to seek comfort at the sacrifice of his discipline. Satan often works that way—persuading people to take action, even right action, for the wrong reason or at the wrong time. The fact that something is not wrong in itself does not mean that it is good for someone at a given time. Many people sin by attempting to fulfill legitimate desires outside of God’s will or ahead of his timetable.
As we stated in the beginning of this lesson, “we will all face some sort of temptation at some point in our lives, how we deal with them at the moment we are confronted with it will be the test of whether we fail are if we endure to fight another day. Jesus understood that obedience to the Father’s mission was more important than food. Making himself bread would have shown that he had not quite set aside all his powers, had not humbled himself, and had not identified completely with the human race. But Jesus refuse, showing that he would use his powers only in submission to God’s plan.
For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, “They’re yours in their entire splendor to serve your pleasure. I’m in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they’re yours, the whole works.” (Luke 4:5-7 AMP). Now the Devil truly does have his game face on, and by offering Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth, he figures he has him right where he wants him and Jesus seeing that the Devil can offer him the world that was once his, Jesus will more than jump for this grand offer.
The Devil’s grand plan was to succeed in his rebellion against God by diverting Jesus from his mission and winning his worship. Satan tempted Jesus to take the world as an earthly Kingdom right hen, without carrying out the plan to save the world from sin. For Jesus, that meant obtaining his promised dominion over the world without experiencing the suffering and death of the cross. Satan offered a painless shortcut. But Satan didn’t understand that suffering, and death were a part of God’s plan that Jesus had chosen to obey.
The fact that Jesus could see all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time supports the view that this experience was visionary. The focus is not on the mountain, but on those kingdoms that were (and are) under Satan’s dominion (John 12:3). Satan offered to give dominion over the world to Jesus. This challenged Jesus obedience to God’s timing and will. Satan’s temptation was, in essence, “Why wait? I can give this to you now!” Of course, the offer had a catch: “If you will bow down and worship me.”
We know Jesus was not about to do this, so what was he to do? Jesus once again following scripture, backed his refusal with Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.” For Jesus to gain rule over the world by worshiping Satan would not only be a contradiction (Satan would still be in control), but it would also break the first commandment, “You must worship the Lord your God; serve only him: (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, 13). To accomplish his mission of bringing salvation to the world, Jesus would take the path of submission to God.
Now as we come into the home stretch of Satan trying to out for nest the master, scripture says this, “For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, “If you are God’s Son, jump. It’s written, isn’t it, that ‘he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone’?” (Luke 4:9-11 AMP).
Whether the Devil physically took Jesus to Jerusalem, or whether this occurred in a vision is unclear. In any case, Satan was setting the stage for his next temptation. Jesus had quoted Scripture in response to ‘Satan’s other temptations. Here Satan tried the same tactic with Jesus: he used Scripture to try to convince Jesus to sin! Satan was quoting from Psalm 91:11-12 to support his request. The psalm describes God’s protection for those who trust him. Obviously Satan was misinterpreting Scripture, making it sound as though God protests even through sin, removing the natural consequences of sinful acts. Jumping from the roof in order to test God’s protection for those who, while being in his will and serving him, find themselves in danger. It does not promise protection for artificially created crises in which Christians call to God in order to test his love and care.
An artificially created crisis is what we as the people of America and the world find ourselves in today with our government leaders. This is causing hardship on many people, providing Satan with powers to set us up for destruction and disobedient of God’s will, but Jesus would have none of this and we as faithful servant’s should study Jesus mode of face to face combat with this powerful enemy, and perhaps we could learn a thing or two in how we can face Satin down when he attacks us.
Remember, the Bible clearly teaches us, to study in order that we may gain the knowledge to activate the powers God has already provided to us in order that we may fight Satin with the same tools as Jesus did.
Now this is how Jesus handles Satan’s third and final attach at this time. He said, “ [The Scripture] says, You shall not tempt (try,test exceedingly) the Lord your God. (Luke 4:12 AMP). Jesus used the Scripture with an understanding of the true meaning. The facts were that while God promises to protect his people, he also requires that they not test him. In the passage in Deuteronomy 6:16, Moses was referring to an incident during Israel’s wilderness wanderings, recorded in Exodus 17:1-7. The people were thirsty and ready to commit mutiny against Moses and return to Egypt if he did not provide them with water. Jesus knew that for him to jump from the pinnacle of the Temple, would have been a ridiculous test of God’s power, and it would have been out of God’s will. Jesus knew that his Father could protect him; he also understood that all his actions were to be focused on fulfilling his Father’s mission.
Jesus remains to this day obedient to his Father’s will and not to Satin’s temptation. Now my question is to each one of you again, how would you have handled Satin’s attempts to provide you with money, fame and power over the world in light of your present situation?
We encourage you, to be obedient to God, and do not allow Satin to take you out of God’s will. It is the only will that can provide you with eternal life. So please stop taking it for granted. The choice is clearly yours to make. No one forces you to do wrong. So chose this day, whom you will serve. We minister to you from a position of peace, purpose, power and prosperity. I remain your brother in CHRIST, PASTOR DAVIS/MASTER TEACHER!