Sunday, February 14, 2016, 8:38 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “In Holiness.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Luke 4:1-15 (ESV).

Led by the Spirit (vv. 1-2a)

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.

Jesus Christ, God the Son, when he walked the face of this earth, was fully God yet fully man, so he was subject to temptation as we are, yet he was without sin.

Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, who is the third person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where he was tempted of Satan for forty days. God does not tempt us to sin, yet he may lead us into situations where he knows we will be faced with temptation, in order to test and to strengthen us in our faith.

God is completely sovereign over all that he has made, and over all powers and authorities. He allowed Satan to live, even after he rebelled against God, along with a third of the angels in heaven. He allowed him to tempt Adam and Eve, knowing that they would sin, and that he would have to put a curse on them, and that all humankind would thus be born into sin, without God, without hope, and destined to spend eternity in hell. And, he still allows Satan to roam this earth like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, for a time.

Yet, God has made a way of escape for us from the temptation of Satan. Jesus Christ took the sins of the entire world upon him when they hung him on that cross to die. He became sin for us, who knew no sin, so that he might put sin to death with him on the cross. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Through faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). We are empowered with the Holy Spirit and are given the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us. In the power of the Spirit, we can say “NO!” to sin! Amen!

By Bread Alone (vv. 2b-4)

And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”

Satan loves to tempt us when we are at our weakest points, like when we are sick, hurting, lonely, hungry, tired, and sad, etc. One of his biggest weapons against us is his lies. He likes to try to get us to doubt God and to question who we are in Christ, by faith, if truly we are in Christ via death to sin and through new birth into a living hope, by the Spirit of God. He also attempts to convince us that we have to solve our own problems, i.e. that we must take matters into our own hands, and fear if we do not, that things will go bad for us. He will try to convince us that God just doesn’t care, that he is not paying attention, and/or that he lacks the power and authority to do anything about our circumstances. He will also try to make us believe that if we do not have much in the way of material possessions, wealth, and an abundance of provisions stockpiled for the future, etc., that we will be without resources when things do get bad. Yet, we need to believe God’s word. He says that he will supply all that we need, so we are not to worry about what we will eat or wear.

Serve Him Only! (vv. 5-8)

And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’”

Satan will try every which way to get us to bow to him and to serve him as our master, rather than us serving God. He is very stealthy and subtle, though. He doesn’t usually tempt us so boldly as he did Jesus in the sense that he let Jesus know exactly his goal. Yet, he did try to convince Jesus that he (Satan) was the all-powerful one, and that if Jesus would just bow to him, that all the kingdoms of the world would belong to Jesus. Yet, they already belonged to Jesus. It is just not his time yet to set up his reign on the earth.

The kingdom of heaven belongs to those of us who have trusted in Jesus Christ, yet Satan will try to convince us that we are missing out on something that only he can supply. He will attempt to persuade us that we need to make our own way in this life, and that we have to build our own castles, if we are to be successful. He has convinced much of the church to follow human-based philosophy on how to grow their churches man’s way, using man’s methods and marketing schemes, as though God is not capable of growing his own church his way, using his own methods. He has persuaded the church that they must immerse themselves in the culture of their day, and use worldly means and methods to attract the world to the church. In so doing, many are actually following Satan instead of God. Yet, God is the only one we are to bow to, and we are to serve him only.

Don’t Test God (vv. 9-15)

And he took him to Jerusalem and set him 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,’

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

Satan will also use the word of God against us. He will twist it to his advantage to try to convince us that we need to toot our own horns, or that we must do things to draw attention to ourselves or to gain fame for ourselves, i.e. that we have to market ourselves or our ministries using human methods if we want people to listen to us, to like us and to approve us. In other words, he will try to get us to test God by us not trusting God with our lives, and by us not relying on the power of the Spirit, but by us thinking we have to manipulate our circumstances so that they go the way we think they ought to go.

But, God doesn’t need our help, i.e. he doesn’t need us to augment his work, as though his work is not enough. He doesn’t need all our marketing schemes and gimmicks. He just wants people sold out to him, submitted to his will, walking in the Spirit, and by the Spirit putting to death the deeds of the flesh. He wants people who will obey him, and who will follow his lead, who are empowered of and submitted to the Spirit of God, who will allow the Holy Spirit to do his work through them for the glory of God, not for the glory of man. It is the power and working of the Spirit of God which changes human hearts and turns them from darkness (sin) to the light (righteousness), and from the power of Satan to God, to walk in the ways of the Lord. This is the way God grows his church.

In Holiness / An Original Work
February 1, 2016

Praise the Lord all you saints!
Worship God in holiness.
Trust in Him! Do not faint!
Believe in His righteousness.

God is faithful in all things.
He delivered you from sin.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Witness daily. His words heed.

Trust in Him! He is truth!
He has not forsaken you.
Rest in Him! Let Him lead!
He will meet all of your needs.

When you go through trials deep,
He’ll be with you. He’ll not sleep.
Walk with Him throughout your day.
Read your Bible. Kneel and pray.

Give to God all your heart!
From His mercy ne’er depart.
Jesus died for your sin!
Walk in vict’ry. Live in Him.

Jesus paid the debt we owe.
From our lives His love should flow,
Living for Him ev’ry day,
Loving others, His words say.