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Undefeated -Triumph Over Temptation



"And he led Him to Jerusalem and 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, for it is written, He will command His angels concerning You to guard You,’ and, On their hands they will bear You up, Lest You strike Your foot against a stone.’" And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is said, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’" And when the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.
Good Morning my beloved,

We extend a warm welcome to you as we come together to worship in the name of the Father and our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is truly a privilege to have you with us today. We are thankful for those who have been actively sharing our ministry's website with their friends, neighbors and loved ones. Your commitment and dedication to spreading the Gospel message has led to remarkable outcomes, it is such a joy to see how God is using this ministry to impact the lives of many, 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. 

Those of us who are redeemed, those of us who have been transformed, are engaged in spiritual warfare, a constant battle with the sin that so easily besets us. I believe that it is essential for us to confront it head-on, dealing with it severely in our hearts and minds, where it originates so that we won't spend our lives aimlessly wandering in darkness that seeks to entangles us in wrongdoing. So, I want to talk about dealing with sin in the heart, because as Christians, we’re required to set the example, we are called to be the role models of the Truth, in fact, I believe that we have to demand it from the leaders who are preaching in the pulpits as well as those who are seated in the pews. I want us to contemplate our own sinfulness and recognize that we are all still sinners, in that we are all still prone to sin, which calls for a serious self-examination of our own heart. Sin is not just in our physical body, it permeates our minds, its pervasive in our nature, it is our will to sin, because it's woven into the very fiber of our being. It's like a deadly spiritual cancer that lives deep within our soul, you can superficially treat it on the outside but in order to defeat its corrupting influences, it must be dealt with on the inside. We are tempted to sin because the problem is within us, that is a frightening thought, isn't it? But if we’re going to effectively deal with sin, we cannot afford to think of it any other way.  We are really the problem, not the world, although the world produces the things that tempt us, ultimately we are carried away and enticed by our own lust. (c.f. James 1:14)  It's the sin inside that shows up on the outside, so if we don’t deal with what’s going on in our heart, we have no hope of ever be able to stop its corrupting influence on the outside. Jesus said in Matthew 15, it’s not what goes into the man that defiles him, but what comes out of him.

Tragically, we live in a society that has completely disregarded any concept of sin, therefore, no one is condemned for sinfulness of sin, even in today’s church, there is a lack of recognition of the profound vileness of sin, we seem to be more concerned that people feel good rather than whether or not they
do good. This failure to acknowledge the wretchedness of sin has led to a lack of accountability for one's sinful behavior which has resulted in many Christians never even entertaining the concept that sin is actually that evil or destructive. Sin first begins in the heart, and then it engages the mind, now there are several ways in which this occurs, one way is by remembering a cherished sinful memory of the past. By bringing to mind a sinful memory from the past, you're going to trigger those sinful feelings of pleasure associated with that sin to induce those desires all over again. Over the years, I’ve spoken with many people who have had a wonderful, successful marriages in Christ for years, then all of the sudden memories of their sinful pasts, things that have been long ago forgotten, comes rushing back to mind, endeavoring to have its corrupting influence in their lives and the destructive cycle began again. That’s why you better be careful about the experiences you allow and engage in your youth, because it can have a devastating impact on your life. In the quietness of the night, while you're lying in bed, those lurid images creep into your thoughts and temptation stirs the darkness in your soul, speaking to ungodliness within your heart, leading you to devise your plans for future iniquity. That's why Jesus said in Matthew 5, "Everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." It’s destructive to entertain anything that potentially leads you toward sin. Numbers 32:23 says, "Behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out." Believe me, the world has a knack for leading people astray, its very good at elevating sin in the heart, by generating lust, corrupting morals, tearing families apart and destroying careers. 

Since sin is an internal problem, you need to know external means, those things done outside the body, aren’t going to accomplish anything to get to the heart of the problem unless you work on the problem in the heart. If you don’t get to the heart, all of your efforts are worthless. Oh, you may be able to suppress those sinful desires for a time, but eventually, they’re going to break free because all the stuff that deals with the outside is ineffective for killing sin on the inside. If you’re going to stop sinning, that can only be accomplished through are the Word of God and the Spirit of God. You’ll never be able to stop if you keep making provision for it. You have to get rid of the victim mentality that has become so popular today, which assumes that since you're never going to be able to get over this sin, so just learn to live with it.
Churches have become distracted from our calling, which is to proclaim the Gospel, the Truth of God to a lost and unredeemed world. Instead of proclaiming the life changing Truth to a culture who wants to label themselves as all kind of things, it is pretty remarkable that the church has chosen to embrace sinners by validating them, affirming their sin, rather than telling them the Truth, considering Christ came to rescue sinners. It is the responsibility of the church, who is to be the pillar of Truth, to not only confront sin but to urge believers to abstain from cultivating sin desires in the heart, which assumes that you have the God given capability to stop, right? You’re responsible for your actions, not somebody else, so stop doing it! 
In John 8, when Jesus spoke to the woman caught in adultery, He said "From now on sin no more," in other words quit repeating the same sinful actions. He didn't say, "This is going to be very difficult, you might have an addiction and need to get therapy to deal with this." No, He said Stop! You can't stop sinning if you keep exposing yourself to those things that appeal to your desires of  the flesh. You have to purify yourself by renewing your mind, meditating on the Word of God, keeping focused on Christ, becoming completely consumed with Him, because you can’t be focused on Christ and accommodate the lusts of the flesh at the same time. Fill your heart with the Word of God. David said in Psalm 119:11, "Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You." And, in verse 133, "Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me." Pray without ceasing, "Lord, protect me from sin," so that you may not enter into temptation. The next thing is discipline, you have to exercise self-control, that's true for all of life in general, it's not healthy to give your body everything it desires. Paul says it like this in 1 Corinthians 9, "I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." If you're going to be under the control of something, let it be the Holy Spirit, that's how you conquer sin and live a holy life. Most people don't kill the sin in their lives, they just bury, cover it up so other people don’t know it’s there, it's not dead. It's still there growing on the inside, getting stronger and stronger. That’s not progress just because people don’t know it’s there. You can only push it down for so long before it finally breaks loose and it’s more formidable than ever. It's only a matter of time. 

You’re never going to gain entrance into the kingdom of God based on your efforts to improve yourself, because you try to be a better person, or by simply going through the motions of religious practices, all of it is for nothing unless you're truly born again. True salvation comes through a genuine rebirth through faith in Jesus Christ, it is the only way. Salvation, by the way, means to be rescued from something, it's actually a negative term that emphasizes we have ceased to be, we are no longer the same after being delivered, righteous is what we become after having been delivered from sin. It's like two sides of the same coin. The problem with many professing Christians, that has been largely overlooked, is they think that salvation is simply a matter of believing in God, or believing in Jesus. James said, "You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder." I've spoken with a lot of people who believe that Jesus Christ is indeed the Savior, but they've never committed their life to Him as Lord. When you confess in your mouth, Jesus as Lord, you are affirming His authority and His sovereignty and His Lordship, that means that you’re no longer in charge of your life, He is in charge. 
You don't receive grace by being proud. Proud people are a certain kind of sinner, unregenerate, a term used to refer to non-Christians, who disregard God's will, even though they may be religious, go to church regularly, identify as Christian and are often involved in the church, but they're religious but unsaved or what James calls in chapter 4:8, "double-minded." If you are double-minded, you’re lost and you’re the enemy of God. You can't have it both ways, straddling the fence. In John 14, Jesus said "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." When you submit your life to God, you change Masters, severing your relationship with Satan and the desires of the world, bringing your life under the control of the Holy Spirit's perfecting work, to be controlled by the Spirit is a remarkable experience, you must yield to His instruction. You can’t follow His instruction if you don't know the orders. You've got to draw nearer to God, then He will draw nearer to you. (c.f. James 4:8) That's how you win the battle against sin on the inside.
There are a lot of people in the church who believe they’re Christians, they're real busy doing a lot of nothing, it's just a bunch of religiosity, because they're not controlled by the Holy Spirit. It's easy to get sidetracked by a bunch of things that don’t matter, things that have no kingdom value. There’s got to be a longing for personal communion, a compulsion for loving worship, a longing for intimacy with Christ. That has to be the priority. The church has become preoccupied with the notion that to reach the world, the church has to become like the world, to conform to the world, to adapt to the world's expectations, to be what the world wants the church to be, that's how you change the world. That's what happens when you're running ahead of the Holy Spirit with your own ideas, I know I've been there at various times in my life, it's very frustrating. You'll never change the world by becoming like the world I'll tell you that, you can only change the world by doing everything you can to teach the Word of God, preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ every opportunity you get, by the church being what it ought to be, flooding the world with the Word and prayer, that's how you make a difference.

Let's pray
Heavenly Father,
Father, thank You for Word, it is the greatest treasure in the world, there is nothing else that even comes close. Everything Your Word teaches reminds us that a heart and mind filled with Christ, has no room for Satan, because You and Satan cannot simultaneously occupy the same space. Lord, we pray for those who profess Christ, yet live in darkness, bowing down to Satan, have mercy on them and grant them the gift of repentance, offering forgiveness. Help us all to deal with the sin in our hearts and fix our eyes on Christ, meditating on Your Word so we will be filled with Your Spirit and become more like Him for Your glory.
In His precious name we ask and pray
Today's Message: Undefeated -Triumph Over Temptation
Open you Bibles with me, if you would and turn them to Luke chapter 4. I trust that you will follow along with me read these four verses to you, to set it in our minds as we open our hearts and listen for the voice of our Lord. Luke 4:9-13.

"And he led Him to Jerusalem and 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, for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You,’ and, ‘On their hands they will bear You up, Lest You strike Your foot against a stone.’" And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is said, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’" And when the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time."
Let's look at verse 9, "And he led Him to Jerusalem and 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." Satan's theology is orthodox, he knows that Jesus was the Son of God, this was not an attempt to compel Jesus to demonstrate His Sonship, but rather the intention was to prompt Him to act independently of the Father's will and the Holy Spirit's power, potentially causing a breach within the Trinity. 'It is important to remember, though Jesus is still God, He willingly set aside the independent use of all of His divine powers and abilities, yielding to the Holy Spirit under the will of the Father.
The term Son of God is a widely used term for Jesus in the New Testament, in fact it's used around eighty times. Jesus not only called God His Father, but in John 10:30, He went so far as to say "I and the Father are one." Such an utterance was deemed to be a blasphemous statement to the Jew, due to its divergence from their monotheistic understanding of God. Deuteronomy 6:4, says "The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!" At the southeastern corner of the temple, where the Royal Portico and Solomon's Porch met overlooking the Kidron Valley where the Kedron stream flows through, there is a steep drop of 450 feet to the ground, if Jesus would have thrown Himself from the pinnacle of the temple in the full view of the people, it would immediately identified Him as the Messiah. By the way, according to Eusebius of Caesarea, known as the "father of church history," James, the brother of our Lord and  leader of the Jerusalem Council, was thrown from that corner and stoned to death.  

Verses 10-11, "for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You,’ and, ‘On their hands they will bear You up, Lest You strike Your foot against a stone.’" Notice that having been defeated two times already by Jesus quoting Scripture, Satan now decides to quote Psalm 91:11-12 himself, for his own wicked purposes, which says "For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone." Satan knows the Old Testament very well but he chose not to quote it accurately, he knows that as a man, Jesus could not survive such a fall making it impossible for Him to go to the cross and die by crucifixion, which was essential to bring salvation to the world. Satan wanted Jesus dead, but not by way of the cross, so he's is essentially saying, "Fine, if You want to go by Scripture, if You only want to trust and obey God, let's just put God to the test and see if He keeps His Word; throw Yourself off and give God an opportunity to rescue You, confirming the truth of the messianic Psalm and at the same time, You can prove to everybody that You are the Messiah. It's a win win situation!" By the way, he also misquoted God and told Eve, "You surely will not die!," in Genesis 3 but she did.

Verse 12, "And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’" I love that Jesus refuses to force God's hand by acting independently. That's not the plan. I'm telling you, it's only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that we can be empowered to faithfully follow God's divine plan to the letter. More often than not in Christian circles, rather than to wait on God's timing, we're tempted to rush God's plan, taking matters into our own hands only to point our finger at God when things get all fouled up. We can only know victory over Satan when we yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Listen to me, the end does not justify the means! Paul says in Ephesians 6:10, "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." Christ came to give us victory over the enemy and everything we need for the Christian life. 1 John 4, "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." This is very important to realize, our victory depends on personal commitment to the principles of holiness. I can rebuke the sin in your life, but you have to deal with it yourself, I can't do it for you. In 1 Corinthians 11 Paul says, "A man must examine himself." And, he goes on to say "if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged."

That brings us to verse 13, "And when the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time." After he finished assaulting Jesus with every temptation, he left a defeated foe, but his departure was only temporarily, we know he came back again and again and again through many different circumstances. We too can expect Satan to return to tempt us at different points in our spiritual journey, tempting is what he does, he is not sovereign, he can't make us do anything. And, if temptation is all there is, its not a sin. Satan often presents himself as the "helpful friend who comes along side us and pretends he has nothing to gain. I hasten to say, some of the worst counsel you will ever receive will be from well-meaning friends.  
In Matthew 16, Peter was a well-meaning friend when he rebuked Jesus for talking about His death on the cross, but Jesus quickly made it clear where Peter’s well intended counsel was coming from, none other than Satan himself, when He said to Peter, "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's worth noting, this came on the heels of Jesus saying "you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." So, watch out for those "mountain top" moments, when you've reached a high point in your life, you're liable to get hit with a strong temptation that could potentially bring you crashing down. Also, watch out for those who manipulate the Scripture to justify their personal opinions. As a footnote, if Satan is unsuccessful in his efforts to manipulate us, he then transitions from the role of tempter to the role of  "the accuser" of the brethren. 
Jesus understood to start His ministry by acting independently, contrary to the will of God would be to test God. Jesus refused to take this shortcut. The lesson here is Satan's strategy is to tempt us to run ahead of God, to doubt God's love for us or distrust God's plan to challenge our loyalty to God and, he continues to tempt us until we yield, ultimately giving in to sin, acting out in disobedience. If Christ is not with us, we will not succeed. The emphasis in the church today tends to revolves around reciting a prayer, seeking the forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ, and joining the church as a newly converted Christian. Only God can know the heart of someone reciting such a prayer, except for the Holy Spirit bearing witness with their spirit that they are indeed children of God. In John 3, Jesus told Nicodemus, an impressive teacher among the Pharisees, knowing he wanted to see the kingdom of God, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Jesus didn’t tell Nicodemus he needed to pray a prayer, He charged him to believe. Jesus' words alluded to the nature of new covenant regeneration, which guarantees the promise of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit goes beyond mere forgiveness of sins; it involves a changed nature, a transformed life, resulting in righteousness and obedience through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit Who secures our eternal salvation by freeing us from sin, enabling us to obey God. Let us pray for the wisdom and courage to follow the path that God has set before us, knowing that with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish great things. May we be vessels of the Spirit, sharing God's love and grace with all whom we encounter.

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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