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Stronger: A Come Back Story - Part Two

"Then Jesus returned from the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, He was hungry. The Devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
But Jesus answered him, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone.
So he took Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. The Devil said to Him, “I will give You their splendor and all this authority, because it has been given over to me, and I can give it to anyone I want. If You, then, will worship me, all will be Yours.”
And Jesus answered him, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.So he took Him to Jerusalem, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you, 11 and they will support you with their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said: Do not test the Lord your God. 13 After the Devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him for a time.

14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, being acclaimed by everyone."
Luke 4:1-15

Good Morning Beloved,

You may recall, last time, we talked about how Jesus survived a 40 day quarantine and came out stronger. We learned He realized that God was in complete control, we learned how Jesus relentlessly resisted the temptations of Satan. Today, as we continue in our study of the Word of God. It is, I believe, the high point in worshiping the Lord in Spirit and in Truth, we are so blessed, that the Word opens that up for us. In our text, Luke 4, we're going to learn the other two keys to His being able to come out stronger on the other end of His self-imposed 40 day quarantine in the wilderness of Judea.

But first, let’s bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly and Loving Father,

Thank You, for the gift of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You, Christ, for coming. Thank You for being our Lord and Savior, though we are so unworthy and undeserving. Yet, You gave Your all, Your life for us. Lord, I pray that this message is not lost among the hearers, may Your truth penetrate their hearts, bringing them to salvation.
May those of us, who know Christ, always being obedient; never distrust in Your plans for us, may we always be content, even to suffer as we wait to see all our needs met and our glory unfold. We thank You Father, for our Savior, Jesus Christ, as a victor over sin, death and Satan. Lord, be as our a model for us to follow You, as we persevere in our own struggles.  
In Jesus name we pray 

Have you ever been so weak that you didn’t know how you were going to make it? Maybe it was weakness from a surgery. I remember when my appendix ruptured, when I was eight or nine years old, it was my birthday. My parents took me out for dinner, they had just brought over the cake and voila! I vomited everywhere the poison went through my body and almost killed me. I was in the hospital for several weeks, they pumped the poison and gangrene of my body, hoping I would live. I remember waking up feeling so weak, seeing my mom at my hospital bedside. She smiled, held my hand, but the look on her face said, they didn’t know if I was going to make it.

Or maybe it was a sickness that devastated you. Maybe for some of you, it was the Coronavirus. Some who have survived this pandemic have only had mild symptoms. While others have struggled tremendously to breath, as though water had filled their lungs and then virus begins to shut their body down.

While most of us, have been extremely blessed and haven’t experienced the Coronavirus, or lost our loved ones to its clutches, all of us have had some sort of flu or virus. I remember just several years ago, having what I had thought to be the flu. It so bad that even standing up to make my way toward the bathroom felt like reaching the end of a marathon or finishing a mountain climb, I was physically exhausted and completely depleted. At one point, I was so weak, I was unable to even hold a spoon or fork, to feed myself. I later found out, it was due to the later stages of colon cancer.

But, my point is, I imagine, this must have been how Jesus felt at the end of 40 days without food. He had been without food for 40 days when Satan came and tempted him. He must have felt so physically weak that he cold barely stand.

Yes, Jesus, Who was fully God, but sometimes I think we really underestimate His humanity. He was fully God, but also fully human. He got just as hungry, thirsty and as mentally and physically exhausted as we do.

In the words of Dr. Dann Spader, who is the founder and director on Sonlife Ministries, and currently serves as a consultant to more than eighteen denominations, developing youth and church leadership. He is said to be an expert on the life and ministry of Jesus, "Jesus didn’t use His God card." Jesus was fully God and fully human but, as a man, He lived fully dependent upon God. So, when the Bible says that he was hungry, he was hungry! And that’s when Satan tempted Him.

So, how did Jesus survive that temptation? That leads us to the third way that Jesus survived his 40 day quarantine to come out stronger…

He fully relied on God’s Spirit and Word during His times of weakness. In verse 2, it says "He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, He was hungry.”
Now, I don't know about you, but when I get hungry, and I have no access to food, I get "hangry" especially after four or five hours with out food, let alone forty days! So, how did Jesus do it?

First of all, Scripture teaches us that Jesus was "full of the Holy Spirit" during this temptation.
Remember, at the beginning of our text, it says in Luke 4:1-2, "Then Jesus returned from the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the Devil"

Jesus was full of the Spirit and led by the Spirit. This simply means that He allowed the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, to take the reigns of His life. He was yielding to him and depending on him. In doing so, he allowed the power of God to control His every action. Instead of trusting in His own human strength, He rested in God’s divine power.

Think of it like the difference between jumper cables and an electrical outlet. Often times we are what I like to call, "Jumper Cable Christians." We go to church, Bible study, listen to that worship music or podcast and that gets us spiritually energized. But over time, like a battery, we begin to lose power. So we go back again and hook our jumper cables up to another sermon or worship song to get charged back up, then before you know it, we run out of energy. And so we keep repeating the cycle again and again and again. Never becoming fully charged. We get just enough.

But to "full of the Spirit” like Jesus, is more like plugging into an electrical outlet than getting a jolt from a jumper cable. As we “plug into” the Holy Spirit in us, the steady flow of God’s power runs through us and gives us the divine energy to face any trial or temptation. The Great Christian theologian, philosopher, and pastor Francis August Schaeffer, used to call it a moment by moment dependence on the Spirit of God.

In the same way that Jesus was full of the Spirit, we can be too! Ephesians 5:18, tells us, "And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit...."

During this global pandemic, though we may feel "locked down" to a degree, we must learn however, to be like Jesus, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. We must learn to live in a moment by moment declaration of dependence on Him. Trust Him to give us the steady current of His divine power to make it through stronger, just like Jesus did.

Jesus depended on the Holy Spirit. But Jesus also depended on God’s Word during this time.
Jesus answered every temptation with “It is written.”
Three times Satan tempted Jesus and three times Jesus answered back, “It is written…” before quoting an Old Testament verse.
By the way, Jesus had to memorize verses of Scripture like everyone else. He wasn’t born with the Old Testament memorized. But there’s a good chance he memorized all or most of the Old Testament as a kid growing up in Synagogue school.

I’m so thankful for the verses my Sunday school teachers and youth leaders made me memorize growing up. By the way, how many Bible verses do you have memorized? But sadly, most Christians don’t have hardly any memorized beyond The Lord’s prayer and John 3:16.

Ephesians 6:17, teaches us that we are to fight Satan by taking "...the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word." That word "word" in this passage is not the typical word used in the Greek, logos, which means "written word." It’s "rhema," which means "spoken word." So, in other words, the sword of the Spirit, is the spoken word of God. These are the verses of Scripture that we have memorized, committed to our hearts, and can quote out loud of times of trial and temptation.

So are you fighting Satan with a pocket knife or a sword of the Spirit? Let me help you out, if you only have one or two verses memorized, then you are fighting Satan with a pocket knife.
So how do you begin to memorize Scripture? You can go by way of old school, using 3 by 5 index cards, writing the verse on one side and the reference on the other, quizzing yourself until you get it down.

But, for those of you who do everything on your phone, by far the best app I have seen for verse memory is called Verses. You can find it in your App Store. It will cost you a few dollars but it is worth it. If you use it, you’ll learn how to swing the broad sword of multiple passages against Satan, instead of a little pocket knife.

Are you walking in a daily declaration of dependence on the Holy Spirit? Do you have enough Bible verses memorized that you can ward off an attack from Satan by saying "It is written…."
Jesus fought off Satan’s attacks by a dependency on the Spirit and a knowledge of God’s Word.
So what’s the last key to coming out on the other side of this quarantine stronger like Jesus?
He readied himself to advance the Gospel effectively after the 40 days was over.

Luke 4:13-14, "When the devil had finished all this tempting, He left him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside."

God often uses extended periods of time to prepare His people for something great. He used 400 plus years of captivity to grow His people of Israel from 70 people to 2.5 million. He used 40 years in the Desert with Moses to prepare him to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. He used 40 days in the wilderness with Jesus to prepare Him for the three and a half years of ministry that would change the world forever. God used these 40 days in the wilderness to help Jesus learn obedience.

Hebrews 5:7-8, says, "During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered."

We automatically go to Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane when we read this passage and, of course, the Hebrews passage includes that. But I believe it characterizes, not just his prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane, but his entire earthly ministry. Jesus was learning obedience to the Father, starting in the Wilderness when he was tempted by the Devil, continuing through his earthly ministry and culminating in the Garden of Gethsemane and the cross.

I want to teach you a theological term. It’s called "The Hypostatic Union." The meaning of hypostatic union is much easier than the term sounds, but the concept is as profound as anything in theology.
Our English adjective hypostatic comes from the Greek word hupostasis. The word only appears four times in the New Testament, maybe most memorably in Hebrews 1:3, where Jesus is said to be "the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature." Here the author of Hebrews uses the word in reference to the oneness of God. Both the Father and the Son are of the same “nature.” Jesus is "the exact imprint of his nature." It simply means, "He was the combination of divine and human natures in the single person of Christ."

As I previously stated, Jesus was both fully God and fully human. This means that He had a divine nature and a human one. However, do not misunderstand what I'm saying, Jesus did not have a sinful nature, though he had a human one. Like Adam before the Fall, Jesus was fully human.

How did Christ's divine nature and human nature interact? This is somewhat of a mystery but, as a human with a human nature, He needed to learn obedience. His divine nature was supernaturally subservient to the Father but His human nature was tested and strengthened here. He learned obedience. Like the forging of steel, it was strong to begin with and was strengthened even more under the white hot heat of trial.

Are you allowing God to use this time to help you learn obedience like Jesus? Beloved, I believe that this pandemic is a test, to strengthen our faith in human natures. And, unlike Jesus, we most certainly do have a sinful nature, therefore it’s easy for us to give in to the temptation of sin. It is imperative, that we must allow God to use this time to strengthen us and teach us to learn obedience.
Jesus learned obedience and then…

God unleashed Jesus to preach the Gospel with passion and compassion.
Luke 4:14-15 says, "Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity. He was teaching in their synagogues, being acclaimed by everyone."

Immediately after Jesus left the wilderness, He traveled and preached the Gospel. From here He started a movement that would forever change the world. I believe God prepared Jesus for something big during His self imposed quarantine.

Much in the same way, I believe, that God is preparing us for something big! And, unlike Jesus, I don’t think we have to wait until this quarantine is over. For us it’s not a full quarantine. I’ve seen more neighbors in the last few weeks, out walking their dogs and out with their families, than I’ve probably seen in the last 30 months! And people are having more conversations from six feet away.

Do you want to know something? It is entirely possible, to share the message of Gospel from six feet away! You can also share the Gospel online. While so many are freaking out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as Christians,  we can be the voice of calm. We can use this opportunity to point people to Jesus!!

By the way, Dare 2 Share Ministries International, Inc. has developed, what I believe is an amazing app that is now "pandemic proof." It’s called Life in 6 Words. You can share the Gospel face to face or, in keeping with social distancing, you can record your audio story and send it to a friend, a neighbor, classmate or co-worker, or anyone you want during this pandemic. It’s a really great way to share the 6 Words of the Gospel. I encourage you to check it out, and its free!

What are those 6 words? God. Our. Sins. Paying. Everyone. Life.
Now, some of you may have figured this out, but if you all of these words vertically, they spell out GOSPEL and have a deeper meaning. God created us to be with Him. It is our sins separate us from God. Sins cannot be removed by good deeds. Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.

In Closing...

Everyone who trusts in Christ alone will have eternal life. A new life with Jesus can start now and lasts forever.

So, if you’ve never placed your faith in Jesus alone, to forgive you of all your sins, I would like to encourage you to do that right now. Simply believe He died for all your sins and on the third day, rose from the dead. Then trust in Him alone to forgive you for all your sins and give you eternal life.
I pray that you will use this opportunity to respond to Jesus, in faith!

If you’ve already put your faith in Jesus then I challenge you to go to your App store right now and download the Life in 6 Words app. It’s free and available on the App Store, and for those of you who are android users, guess what? Its also in the Google Play Store. If you’re technologically challenged, and I know that some of you over a certain age are, just hand your phone to the youngest person around you and ask them if they will download it for you.

Now here comes the challenge part. Will you send an audio story from the app to at least one person who doesn’t know Jesus? Will you commit to doing  it in the next 48 hours? Why 48 hours you ask? Because studies have shown,  if you don’t do what you learn right away then the chances are you’ll never do it!

If you had the cure to the Coronavirus, wouldn't you share it with everyone you knew? Well, you have the cure to something far worse than the Coronavirus and your friends that have it are headed toward something infinitely worse than death. So, today, because I am only one man, and one ministry, I'd like to challenge you to share the cure with them. Won't you join me in sharing the message of the Gospel? Won't you help me introduce someone to Jesus Christ today!

Together, may we stand and roar our victory in Jesus Christ! May we be like Jesus, fighting off the attacks of the enemy and escaping to save the lost in this world!

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make his face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you

The Lord life up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus name
Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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