From Blessing to Testing, Part 1 (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign, Day 81 / Day 448 since Jan. 1, 2016)
TEXT: Matthew 4:1-4:
1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
After preaching the Gospel every day for 367 days straight throughout the 2016 presidential campaign season, I am preaching the Gospel every day throughout the first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s term. If you think a new president being in office is the only thing needed to save America and ‘make America great again’, you are woefully deceived. The church must follow through and “keep the main thing the main thing: and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to ‘pray without ceasing’ for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders.” So, we encourage you to pray for the new president, but not to get caught up in the political happenings like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord. And that is what this campaign is all about.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 80, day 447 since Jan. 1, 2016.
Henry Ward Beecher said, “All men are tempted. There is no man that lives that can’t be broken down, provided it is the right temptation, put in the right spot.”
Warren Wiersbe said, “From the high and holy experience of blessing at the Jordan, Jesus was led into the wilderness for testing. Jesus was not tempted so that the Father could learn anything about His Son, for the Father had already given Jesus His divine approval. Jesus was tempted so that every creature in heaven, on earth, or under the earth might know that Jesus Christ is the Conqueror. He exposed Satan and his tactics, and He defeated Satan. Because of His victory, we can have victory over the tempter. Just as the first Adam met Satan, so the Last Adam met the enemy. Adam met Satan in a beautiful Garden, but Jesus met him in a terrible wilderness. Adam had everything he needed, but Jesus was hungry after forty days of fasting. Adam lost the battle and plunged humanity into sin and death. But Jesus won the battle and went on to defeat Satan in more battles, culminating in His final victory on the cross.”
After being announced to the world as the beloved Son of God, a strange thing happened to Jesus. He left the public eye and went into the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil. This passage is of special importance to believers because, as we look at how the Lord handled temptation, it provides us the best insight possible on how we ought to handle temptation ourselves. Jesus, of course, never sinned but, apparently, as a man in a flesh and blood body, He could be tempted, and He always chose to say no to the temptation. Craig S. Keener wrote, “This narrative underlines the biblical principle that God’s called must be tested. The Spirit, having empowered Jesus for his mission as God’s Son, now is the one who leads him into the wilderness where his call must be tested. Like most of his heroic predecessors in biblical history (Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Job), Jesus had to pass a period of testing before beginning his public ministry. Some of his predecessors almost snapped under pressure, restrained only by God’s favor, but our Lord Jesus provides the perfect model for triumphing over temptation.” His example is instructive to us today.
First, notice that Jesus’ temptation came when He was doing His Father’s will. The Bible says, “Jesus was led of the spirit into the wilderness.” Jesus didn’t go into the wilderness with the intention of being tempted; He went to fast and pray for forty days and forty nights. But, while He was doing this good work in preparation for His ministry, the devil came to tempt Him, and that is what He does to us as well. We may not expect it, but when we are most engaged in doing what God has called us to do, that is when the devil will try to take us down.
Second, we see that Jesus knew ahead of time that He would be tempted. Matthew tells us that “the Spirit” led him into the wilderness “to be tempted.” Of course, being God and knowing all things, Jesus was not surprised. He expected it. But we know that temptation will happen to us as well because God has told us so in His Word. The Bible tells us to expect “divers [that is, many and varied] temptations,” temptations of all kinds. Second Corinthians 2:11 says we should not let “Satan get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” If you are not aware of his devices, then you need to start reading your Bible. We ought not to be shocked when we are tempted. If it happened to Jesus, it most certainly will happen to us.
Third, we see that the devil often strikes when we are at a weak point emotionally, mentally, or physically. The tempter came to Jesus “when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.”
Warren Wiersbe said, “The Lord quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to defeat Satan. Feeding on and obeying God’s Word is more important than consuming physical food. In fact, it is our food.”
The devil didn’t come to Jesus at the high point of the baptism; he came when Jesus was at a weak point physically. And he will often do the same to us. He will exploit illness, depression, financial strain, marital problems, or the loss of a loved one. He will try to tell us, ‘If you did it my way, you wouldn’t have any problems.’ Or, he will say, ‘Look at what you get for serving God. How’s that working out for you?’ Many Christians have fallen on the battlefield, simply because Satan kicked them when they were already down.
Those of us who are followers of Christ already have the tools we need to triumph over temptation. We must take heed to His example and refuse to let the devil trick us into bending to his will.
Herman G. Stuempfle wrote:
Jesus, tempted in the desert, lonely, hungry, filled with dread;
“Use thy power,” the tempter tells him; “Turn these barren rocks to bread!”
“Not alone by bread,” he answers, “Can the human heart be filled.
Only by the Word that calls us is our deepest hunger stilled!”
Jesus, tempted at the temple, high above its ancient wall:
“Throw yourself from lofty turret; angels wait to break your fall!”
Jesus shuns such empty marvels, feats that fickle crowds request;
God, whose grace protects, preserves us, we must never vainly test.”
Jesus, tempted on the mountain by the lure of vast domain:
“Fall before me! Be my servant! Glory, fame, you’re sure to gain!”
Jesus sees the dazzling vision, turns his eyes another way:
“God alone deserves our homage! God alone will I obey!”
When we face temptation’s power, lonely, struggling, filled with dread,
Christ, who knew the tempter’s hour, come and be our living bread.
By your grace, protect, preserve us lest we fall, your trust betray.
Yours, above all other voices, be the Word we hear, obey.
If you are ready to be empowered to resist temptation by placing your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how:
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.