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The Devil Made Me Do It



"Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was being led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had finished, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’"
Good Morning my beloved,

We extend a warm welcome to you as we gather to worship in the name of God the Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is truly an honor to have you join us today. We are thankful for those who have been actively sharing our ministry's website with their friends, neighbors and loved ones. Your dedication in helping to spread the message of God has been yielding extraordinary results, with many souls being touched by His Word, particularly in regions that have not been reached previously. We humbly ask for your continued prayers, so that we may proclaim the truth boldly despite the difficulties we face as we continue to work with a number of countries, in Europe, the Middle-East, North Africa and Asia, these people are so hungry to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the road ahead may be long and challenging, but with God's grace, I am confident that we will persevere for His glory.
Sin isn’t something a lot of people in our society like to talk about, in fact, many pastors have managed to rationalize sin out of existence, but not in terms of God’s Word. I believe it’s essential for us to understand that God’s attitude towards sin hasn't changed, and if we are ever have the right attitude toward sin, we must understand what God's attitude toward sin is. You really don’t have to be very observant to realize that sin pervades the universe. That's why God has used the church to deal with sin by confronting it, and if necessary, disciplining it. When the world was created, it was paradise because there wasn’t any sin. And since the existence of sin, there has been no paradise, instead there has been pain and suffering, sadness and tears, fighting and war, discord and unrest, and fear, worry, and anxiety and sickness, disease and death; and all of these are because of sin. In fact, because sin is the lord of the soul, it rules in every heart, it disrupts and ultimately destroys every human relationship that exists. When you really begin to understand what sin does, what devastating impact it has on man’s existence, you could compare sin to the poisonous venom of snakes, cancer to the body or the stench of a rotting corpse. That's why God calls sin the accursed thing. However, Satan has become so successful at selling sin to our society, that even the church now claims that sin isn’t actually as bad as God says it is. Sin is so bad, it would take years for us to get a clear biblical understanding of how vile and filthy sin is, so obviously we're not going to be able to do that in one message. In Romans 14:23, Paul says "...whatever is not from faith is sin."
Since the fall of man, Satan is the god of this present age, the prince of power of the air, and the ruler of the earth. Because we’ve all come from the loins of Adam, through the corruption of his seed being passed on to every human, all have sinned. Sin and temptation is something that every person on the planet experiences. You can read more about the origin of sin and its impact in Genesis chapter 3 to enrich your understanding.
Most people don't stop to realize that Satan is aggressively involved in our lives in a very personal way, in fact, even many Christians give very little thought to just how much Satan is really involved in the church and in the lives of believers, endeavoring to distract you, derail you from serving Christ and destroy your testimony, rendering it ineffective and if you understand nothing else about sin, I pray that you will comprehend that because it's very important to understand the enemy's strategy and never underestimate his intentions to kill, steal and destroy, he didn't even halt his plans with Jesus; he never paints a picture as it is, its always sugar coated. The Bible never underestimates Satan's power and neither should we. That said, only God is sovereign and once you understand that only He is in control of everything, and nothing in life that happens is outside His purpose, it will completely change your life. I know some people who spend their entire lives running around rebuking Satan and trying to bind him, thinking that everything that has ever gone wrong in the world was basically because of him. That's not biblical. (c.f. 1 John 4:4) It has always been my experience that when Satan strikes, it often immediately follows a high point, or what I like to call a mountaintop moment, those moments of joy, excitement, and exhilaration, that can make us feel particularly alive and connected to God. I believe it is the most dangerous period of time, because it's in that moment of victory we are most susceptible to the defeat. Much like Peter, who went from confessing Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God to being told by Jesus, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.
It was in I Kings 18, Elijah experienced a thrilling moment of victory, when he defeated all the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Then, in chap­ter 19 he's running as fast as his old legs will carry him, he's crying "Jezebel is after me! God, I want to die."  A man who was just fearlessly defeated four hundred and fifty men, and it didn't phase him, but now, one woman makes him want to die. I believe there's a great lesson there somewhere.
Luke has already established His identity as the Son of God, he's already proved that He is the awaited Messiah, and the Savior of the world. Because the world has a sin problem, both Christian, and non-Christians struggle with sin and temptation, sin has continued to damn all humanity to eternal hell, He must be able to demonstrate that He is immune to sin, by overcoming the influence of sin, and that He has the ability to break the power of sin, conquer evil and defeat Satan in order to redeem sinners. Is Jesus able to free sinners from Satan's grasp? That is what ultimately has to be known and it’s precisely what Luke intends to prove in our text today. If Jesus Christ is indeed the true King He must be able to demonstrate His power and authority over the current usurper. If Satan, His adversary, proves to be more powerful than He is, then Jesus Christ, Who claims to be King cannot be truly Sovereign. On the other hand if He triumphs over sin, and able to resist temptation then He truly is the Sovereign, Savior King He claims to be, and is not only able to rescue sinners from the kingdom of darkness, but has the ability to deliver them out of the clutches of death and empower them to overcome their future challenges with sin and temptation, enabling them to live a life free from the bondage of sin. Statistics show that people who actively incorporate their faith into their efforts often experience a much greater success rate in overcoming their battles with temptation than those who do not, the Holy Spirit has the powerful resources to enable you to conquer sin, to live a life of purity and possess eternal life, the key is that you must be willing to participate.
Immediately following Christ's baptism and the divine affirmation the Holy Spirit and the voice from heaven when the Spirit of God led Him into the wilderness to be confronted with Satan. The ongoing conflict between God and Satan is a battle being fought in the life of every person every born until Christ finally returns and puts the battle to an end and casts him into the lake of fire and brimstone, where he will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Only Jesus can deal with mankind's greatest problem, sin. Sinners need to know there’s hope, through His death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins! But first, they need to know they’re sinners. Our mission is to proclaim the Gospel to the lost, to give the blessed hope to a fallen world.

Let's pray

Heavenly Father,

Father, we thank You for Your Word. Whenever Your Word is proclaimed, it does not return void, it will always accomplish what You intend it to do. Lord, it is with confidence in that promise that we proclaim Your Word today and ask that You would work mightily in every heart that You have prepared and deliver them from sin to righteousness.

Today's Message: The Devil Made Me Do It

Open you Bibles with me, if you would and turn them to Luke chapter 4. I trust that you will be following along with me read the text to you, to set it in our minds as we open our hearts and listen for the voice of our Lord. Luke 4:1-4.  
"Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was being led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had finished, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’"
As we mentioned earlier, this conflict between Jesus and Satan occurs fast on the heels of the greatest victory He had known up to this point in His life, His baptism, and immediately following that monumental event comes the greatest trial. That's the way Satan works, he is well aware that if he is able to create the right environment to distract us from realizing his true identity as well as his intentions, he can create a conducive atmosphere to propagate his filth, and persuade individuals to yield to temptation and engage in unrighteous behavior, given our inherently corrupted nature. Let me tell you something, there's nothing that Satan loves more than to take someone who is in a key position in the church and tempt them into any kind of sin that will ruin their reputation, divide the congregation or destroy the church. Don't ever forget that Satan prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. That's why we must consistently pray with and for one another, edify one another to keep the church pure.
This trial, spanning forty days is crucial in establishing His authority, His sovereignty if He is if to redeem to His people and reign over them as King, and it is equally essential in demonstrating how Jesus confronted and resisted temptation, setting a valuable example for all individuals who face the same struggles with sin, because every person experiences the temptation to sin. In order to prove that He's not merely another Adam, who was once undefiled but proved to be just as prone to sin and death as we are, He must showcase His ability to conquer sin, overpower Satan and triumph over death and Hell.
This is the final assessment, the ultimate test that Jesus must endure and pass before He actually begins His public ministry. It's in these critical moments, when we least expect it, that we often learn we're the most vulnerable. Although He is the Son of God, it's important to remember that He set aside the use of His deity and submitted to the power of the Holy Spirit to work through Him. He is truly a son of Adam, which means in His humanness, He was at all points tempted just like we are, but unlike Adam, He was perfect and incapable of sinning. I find it interesting that some theologians actually question whether Jesus could have sinned or not, if He had the capacity to sin, He would have. It is covetousness, or the desire to possess something that allows one to indulge in thoughts that ultimately lead to the act of sin. Jesus did not have the capacity to internalize temptation and turn it into sin, and because Adam did, we all die, whereas in Christ, we live.
The contrasts between Adam and Jesus don't stop there; Adam had everything, he lived in a beautiful garden without sin and yielded to the first temptation that was presented to him, whereas Jesus had nothing, He lived in a corrupt world surrounded by sin, yet stood firm against thirty years of temptation, unwavering in His steadfast commitment to please His Father despite external influences. And now He will subjected to forty days and forty nights in the most dreadful circumstances imaginable, to face temptations that are strategic and personal, intended to break down His resistance, absolutely critical to the issue of salvation that we would never have to face, furthermore, these temptations did not arise due to His sinful desires. That certainly doesn't mean the temptations that faced Jesus weren't real as some have suggested, you and I both face a variety of temptations every day, hopefully we don't give in to them. As a pastor, I am constantly being baited to respond in a specific way, a manner that is ungodly, just because I am able to resist and overcome those urges doesn't mean I am any less aware of their presence. Temptation itself is not a sin.
Let's take a look at verse 1, "Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was being led around by the Spirit in the wilderness." Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, this statement was true of Jesus from the time that He was born. I know there has been a great deal of debate over the deity of Jesus, and whether or not it actually occurred when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him at His baptism, it was symbolic of the fact that the Spirit of God was resting on Him all these thirty years of His life and now the He has reached the fullness of manhood, He is described as "full" or completely saturated, controlled by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. It's a way of saying everything has completed, He's been baptized, He's been presented by John as the Lamb of God, now He's ready to begin His ministry. To be fully controlled by the Holy Spirit is something that every true Christian should strive for, the problem is it's not something that is constant for fallen people like us, so we have to keep pursuing it, or as Paul says in Ephesians 5:18, " filled with the Spirit." It is the power and presence of the Holy Spirit residing in us that enables us to speak and conduct ourselves in a way that is pleasing to God. It's the key to living a righteous life of obedience, something that is extremely necessary for the day in which we live.
You cannot lead someone else to righteousness, if you’re not a purifying influence and in order to do that, you must be righteous yourself. And, if your own heart is impure, you will very likely lead others into sin. There's a multitude of ways in which you can tempt somebody to sin, you can invite someone to sin against the laws of God by direct solicitation, or you can indirectly encourage someone to engage in ungodly activities by setting a poor example. That's why it's so important for us to deal with our own sin, so that we don't lead someone else into sin. In Matthew 18, Jesus says "whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea." As Christians, we must be very, very careful of the example that we set, we have to be intentional in encouraging one another to do good, just because we don't think people are watching, doesn't mean they aren't. 
Then, at the end of verse 1, Luke writes that He "returned from the Jordan and was being led around by the Spirit in the wilderness " Jesus is not just aimlessly wandering around through the Jordan valley making some bad decisions, He's being led by the Holy Spirit, exactly where God wants Him, into the wilderness in absolute isolation to test His physical, spiritual, and moral strength. We are tempted by "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." (c.f. 1 John 2:16) Satan is not attacking His vulnerability to sin, he's attacking His holiness and purity, His obedience to God to become the sin-bearer.
Before we go too much further, I believe we need to address something about the wilderness where Jesus is being led, God never entices us to sin. There are some who think that God sent Jesus in the wilderness for Satan to find Him, actually quite the opposite is true, Jesus was led by the Spirit to find Satan to demonstrate that He is undeniably worthy to be the Savior King, so that we may be protected from the hands of Satan. Jesus was intentionally led into the wilderness created by sin to battle His way back to the paradise of Eden by crushing the head of the serpent and through His death, resurrection, and ascension, ultimately to glory. In other words, to undo what Adam had done in the garden in an all-out war, one of the most intense  one on one battles that has ever taken place on this planet, making Him all the more worthy of our adoration, worship and obedience, a reality that I believe is often overlooked by many who have decidedly brought Christ down to our level.
The word wilderness is the Greek word "érēmos," which means an unpopulated, solitary place that certainly offers complete privacy. It could also be used to symbolize the hopelessness of Israel at the time of Christ. The area referred to as the wilderness is about a thirty-five mile by fifteen mile wide area, located between the Dead Sea and Jerusalem, it is one of the most God-forsaken places on earth, inhabited only by snakes, scorpions, and a few species of birds. In the Old Testament it is called Jeshimon, a Hebrew word meaning desolate waste, its an utterly waterless place where no vegetation can exist. It was the perfect environment for Jesus to be able to be alone. If He needed assistance to defeat Satan, then heaven will be empty and we're left to face some pretty grave circumstances. If you find yourself in the wilderness, consider it one of God's mercies, it's often in those moments of spiritual weakness in our lives when He exposes the hidden desires of our heart, and the sinful appetites of our former life, a stark reminder that if we don't depend God's divine strength, we will surely lose the ongoing battle with temptation.
Verse 2, "For forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had finished, He was hungry." So, for forty days, Satan Jesus relentlessly hammered by trying to get Him to sin, without success. Can you imagine forty days and forty nights of being continuously assaulted by Satan being tempted to sin? Most of us can't last fifteen minutes without being successfully led into sin. If we are to triumph over sin and temptation, we need to learn as much as we can about Satan's strategies, and there are some very practical lessons to be learned in these first thirteen verse of Luke chapter 4, that if applied, can have a tremendous impact on all of our lives in overcoming our own struggles with temptation and sin. Because we are inherently sinful to begin with, the temptation to commit sin is something every human being experiences, first of all, we need a Savior Who able to deliver us from this relentless assaults from the enemy of all righteousness.

I've often heard people say, "He must have eaten something, no one can go forty days without food." I believe that when Scripture says He ate nothing during those forty days Jesus didn't eat anything, because that's exactly what it says. And, if we interpret Exodus 34:28 literally, which says that Moses was there with Yahweh forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments, it's safe to assume that Jesus having a divine nature could certainly do the same. We have experience hunger, some of you had breakfast and are hungry already, the question is are you in control of your appetite or does your appetite control you? I don't know about you, but there have been times in my life when I have been so consumed with what I am involved in, that it's not until I stop that I realize that I haven't eaten, so I believe this is exactly what happened with Jesus at the end of this intense battle. And when the forty days were finished, He was hungry. Have you ever noticed that he loves to attack at the greatest point of weakness? Now, Satan thinks Jesus is vulnerable, He's exhausted, weak and hungry, he's about to do what he does best, unleash his assault of deception to create doubt in our minds causing us to question God. If we're being honest, I don't believe there's a person on this planet who hasn't experienced this feeling at one time or another, "If God really loved me, I wouldn't be going through (fill in the blank)!, for some it's financial circumstances or relational difficulties, for others it's an illness or disease. The same thing he's been doing since Genesis 3, twist God's Word to get us to do the wrong thing for what we think is the right reason.

We are constantly being told to embrace everything and everyone, just throw our arms around everybody, and ask no questions, no matter what they advocate, because tolerance is the spirit of the age, and its found its way into the church, under Satan's disguise of love your neighbor, because of the lack of sound doctrine and discernment. That's not what the Bible teaches, its actually what Jesus taught against. You don't get to interpret Scripture by whatever terms you want, creating your own version of Christianity. You may become a friend of the world but you'll become an enemy of God! (c.f. James 4:4) We can't just get rid of everything that's offensive to everybody, without any regard for people's Salvation. There seems to be a great indifference toward preaching a Gospel message that demands people turn away from sin and there's even a hostility toward the issue of repentance because the doctrine of repentance has been under assault for decades, and if you dare to preach and teach repentance you’re derided for somehow invalidating the freedoms of grace. Although when you come to the New Testament, it's only a few chapters before you arrive at the last Old Testament preacher, John the Baptist who preached a message of repentance. And, when Jesus came He began to preach "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Peter called sinners to repentance on the day of Pentecost. Therefore, it would seem to me that repentance is at the very heart of Gospel message for salvation, but I digress.

Verse 3, "And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." Satan isn't questioning the deity of Jesus by saying, he is assuming it to be true, Satan knew that Jesus set aside His deity, restricting Himself to doing only His Father's will through the Holy Spirit, which is why he tried to tempt Him to prove Who He is by acting on His own, rather than obeying God. In fact, according to both Matthew 8:29 and Luke 8:28 even the demons know who Jesus is. The only people that ever question the deity of Jesus are those who have been deceived by demonic counterfeit religions because Satan disguises himself as an angel of light; Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism,  Mysticism or any religion that has an inaccurate view of the Word of God teaches. I've often been asked how satisfying your hunger with bread can be a temptation, eating bread isn't the issue here, it's effectively choosing our own will over God's. Satan continues to employ the same strategy today, enticing us to follow our own desires instead of following God's plan for us. Unfortunately, many professing Christians have fallen prey to false teachers, under the influence of Satan, are being tempted to embrace their sin lifestyle as their true identity rather than recognizing its who they once were having been corrupted by sin. It's the same sinful attitude that got Satan kicked out of heaven, "It's what I want, Me, me, me, I, I, I." In spite of what's often being taught today, God is not indifferent toward sin!

That brings us to verse 4, "And Jesus answered him, "It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone." I love that Jesus always take an issue back to God's Word every time, quoting from Scripture, using "It is written," and "Have you not read." ‘Man shall not live on bread alone,’ is from Deuteronomy 8, which says "All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your forefathers. You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord." God is saying, "If you obey My law, I'll make sure you have everything you need." I believe that the church has suffered horribly from an inadequate understanding of the doctrine, especially as it relates sin, sanctification and obedience. There a lot of unsanctified people in the church today, in both the pews and the pulpits. Salvation and sanctification are inextricably linked, that's the whole point of regeneration, to become a new creation, it's impossible to be a Christian and not manifest being born again into the life of God. Satan's strategy has always been the same, to promote deception, dishonesty, and disobedience leading to destruction in every way possible.

Those who are Christ, do not continue in sin repeatedly. If you're giving into temptation again and again, succumbing to your lusts and desires, you are practicing lawlessness and are of absolutely no use to God, in fact, Scripture teaches you actually belong to Satan and not God. (c.f. 1 John 3:8-9) I find it interesting that the Spirit led Jesus into the desert just as it had led the children of Israel into the desert, both times food was a significant issue, only the children of Israel failed the test and they all died in the wilderness, Jesus, of course prevailed. Your is not sustained simply because you eat, but rather by the divine will of the Father that bestows upon you the gift of life. If you are obedient to God and trust Him, He'll not only provide your physical needs but your spiritual needs as well. 

In Mark 14:38, Jesus warned the disciples "Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Satan tempts us at the point of our strengths, for example,  if you have charisma, Satan will tempt you to use your charisma to get what you want. If you have a way with words, he will tempt you to talk people into what you want. Temptation begins when we think we're strong, then in a moment of weakness, Satan pushes us right over the edge. If you don't think Satan is real, just go and visit Martin Luther's room in the castle at Wartburg, Germany. One night, Luther was fighting with the Satan and he threw his ink bottle at him. To this day, there's an ink stain on the wall, that's how real Satan was to Martin Luther. 

No one really ever anticipates the reality they will one day leave this life abruptly, many unsaved, with plans that will never be completed. Some choices will have eternal consequences, salvation is one of them. Saving faith is more than just believing certain things are true, many believe but remain unsaved, because you can’t be saved until you believe the right message. Today, we have the greatest potential to spread the Gospel to the world that the church has never known, and many have taken to preaching a powerless, synthetic message that is incapable of producing salvation because it’s not the truth. God's solution to sin does not come by blaming others, instead it elicits a confession and repentance from the sinners. Nothing has changed since Jesus' first message, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." We all face temptation in this life, but thankfully when we are tempted, God has provided a way out, Jesus Christ is the way.

May it be so..

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 lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name


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