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1. And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.
2. Being forty days tempted of the devil, And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
3. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
4. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
5. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
7. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
8. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.
9. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
10. For it is written, He shall give His angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee:
11. And in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.
12. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
13. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
14. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region around about.
15. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
It’s a time, as you very well know, that Satan is fighting against all of us, everyone in the Church who is trying to live for God and be a witness for Him. It seems as if there is a special assault upon leadership and ministry in the Body of Christ. And it is indeed a time when we need to focus attention upon how to be victorious as we face the attacks of Satan. That’s what I want to talk about tonight. I want to talk about the Victorious Christ and His great example in coming up against Satan’s attack and temptation. And then, as we look at Him and His pattern, the way He overcame, that will give us application for our own lives as to the kind of pattern to face the attacks of Satan.
Our lesson commences right after Jesus has gone to the ministry of John the Baptist and has been baptized in water. There, He has acted out a perfect example of obedience to the perfect will of God. As a result of that, the heavens were opened and a dove, the Spirit like a dove, came lighting upon Him and then the divine approval of the Heavenly Father, “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” After that great experience of receiving divine power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, and then the divine approval of the Heavenly Father our text says that “He returned then from Jordan, being full of the Holy Ghost.” I want to say to you immediately in the opening part of this service in this message that here is a keynote that keeps sounding throughout this message. It begins and ends with Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost and power. Before His temptation and afterwards, which is to say that the best prevention to keep from falling into temptation or yielding to the attack of Satan is to be full of the Holy Ghost. We will see in this passage that the Word of God has a tremendous part to play in our equipment of pushing off the attacks of Satan. The power of the Spirit of God and the power of the Word of God working in our lives, these two things in combination will equip any person to overcome the power of Satan. Just as Jesus was the victorious Christ at this temptation. Following His pattern and being full of the Spirit and standing on the Word is the formula, it is the divine prescription that gives us the strength and the ability to withstand the attack of Satan. Sometimes these things seem so simple that they just almost pass us by. But those people who listen to Satan and talk to him and fall into his snares and pay attention to his devious propositions evidently they are not paying enough attention to the Word and they are allowing the fire of the Holy Spirit to burn low. Because you know and I know as Pentecostals that the Holy Ghost is given to us in the mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost to equip us to withstand the very forces of evil in any form that might come against us in these days. I trust that if we don’t get one other thing out of this message tonight that we will think in terms of holding on to the power of the Holy Ghost and staying built squarely on the Word of God in order to overcome the attacks of Satan. What this passage teaches us is that the worst that Satan can come against us with, that we can overcome it through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. I want us to look at it tonight, the very methods that Jesus used in being the Victorious Christ over the power of Satan.
First of all, we can see from this story that Satan attacks us through our physical needs, through the fleshly body. That is one of the reasons why that the Bible is so filled with so many injunctions and instructions, commands, encouragements that teach us that there is more to life than living out a human fleshly animal existence, so to speak. Here, Satan says to Jesus ‘If you are the Son of God, now you ought to prove it by doing a miracle because you haven’t eaten for forty days and you are hungry and your body needs sustenance. It needs to be fed and you need strength and so just command this beautiful – it probably looks like a loaf of bread – command that to be turned into bread because you need to take care of the physical.’ But this great text that Jesus uses to come back in answer to Satan is one of the greatest texts of the whole Bible because it says ‘It is written that man shall not live by bread alone.’ You can’t live just for the flesh. You can’t live just for the physical. You can’t live just by bread. You have to have the Word of God coming into your life that brings eternal life. That’s the only way you really get life in this world.
Now you know and I know that the philosophies of our age and society now lean strongly in that direction because all in the world that this world is looking for, so to speak, is the material – the things that will satisfy the desires, the appetites of the flesh, comforts and food and clothing and all these things. This is the cry on the lips of millions and millions and millions around our world. There have been great philosophies that have said, ‘This is all that’s worthwhile,’ but we have seen Communism, one of the strongest proponents of that, we have seen it crumble because people have become disillusioned and disappointed and said when you live just for the material, something is lacking and it falls apart and it won’t last and it won’t hold together. Some way, some how God expects us to live on a higher plane than just mere animal level that’s looking for dog eat dog type thing to get what I want to satisfy my own physical needs. That’s what Satan was doing. He was trying to reduce Jesus down to that level of not much more than an animal who would show off in order to get bread. But Jesus counters and He says ‘Man cannot live by bread alone.’ You can’t live, friends, by whatever the material things of this world. There has to be some attention given to the spiritual. When people give more attention to the physical and material than they do the spiritual they are headed for disappointment, confusion, spiritual bankruptcy and real trouble in this world. Because, as we have seen, people become absolutely enslaved to things, to food, to the material, to everything about us.
I want to say just a word or two right here. It’s going to sound a little rough, but when you look at the pages of Scripture and the pages of history, you will see that God allowed people to come to a place where they grieved over their position and cried out to Him and then He moved in to deliver them as they began to understand that there’s more to life than the material. We are calling on God to come to really give us life. There is a great sense in which God has to bring judgment upon the peoples of this world to cause them to turn and even face and confront God and to remember there is something beyond this fleshly life, this earthly life. You cannot live by bread alone. You need bread. These are basic human needs that I am talking about, yes. But you cannot live by that alone. There has to be the Word of God coming from the very mouth of God to give real life. The materialist, the humanist and others that are filling our whole world with philosophies, they are just looking for promising some kind of great utopia where everything will just be alright. Even as much respect and admiration as I have for our President, almost everything he talked about how to do with this area of our life last night. It is very, very little said in public places and political circles about morality, about the spiritual, about honoring God even though…perhaps…I don’t know how to comment on it, but because on the one hand I am proud that we had on our money ‘In God we trust,’ but at the same time, you and I know that that might be a mockery as far as God is concerned. Somebody back there in this nation had the idea that you can’t live by bread or money alone, but that in God we trust, and somehow that message has to come back to the hearts and lives of people in our day for them to understand that God is still on the throne and is going to be reckoned with.
The second approach of Satan to the attack of Jesus shows us that Satan attacks us in the areas of our desires for power and glory. Another one of the philosophies of our time now is this grasping for power. Power over other people, power in authority to be recognized as some great leader and what we are seeing in our own time and our own country is the terrible absence of people who have great leadership qualities. Almost every time we have a political campaign like we are about to face, well some of the so-called would-be leaders they are exposed to their lives of immorality. And we look at the people who fill the panels of the Senate to examine somebody else and we wonder ‘Well, what in the world are they doing up there? The pot calling the kettle black, so to speak.’ The desire for power, no matter how you get it, and Satan said there’s a good way for you to do it. I’m going to show you all the kingdoms of this world and that is a sight just in panoramic view, so to speak, in a moment’s time He was able to see all the kingdoms of the Roman empire. Satan said ‘I have been appointed over all of this. I am ready to give this to You and to turn it all over to You if You will do one thing,’ a simple price tag, ‘and that is if You will bow down to me and worship me.’ You see, this is the big lie of Satan. If you pay attention to him you’ll get the power and you’ll get the glory. Some people have bought that message and for a while they thought they were going to get everything and they wound up disillusioned and disappointed and bankrupt and in trouble and absolutely spiritually depleted and they realized that Satan is the big liar and the big cheat that he really is. We all may have some kind of desire for power and for glory. But Jesus’ answer shows us the way to deal with Satan when he comes to us with his schemes to give us some kind of great knowledge and power as he did with Adam and Eve and said ‘You’ll be as gods.’
Can I take just a moment here and sidetrack to preach just a moment? The kind of theology or philosophy that would try to lead you and me to thinking that we are some kind of gods is dangerous and it’s a damnedable kind of heresy. It is the same kind of argument that Satan has put forth to Jesus; you worship me and you will have the power and the glory. The way the Lord Jesus promises power and glory, He says ‘If you suffer with me, you will reign with me. There is a price to pay and you will receive power and glory. You will receive power in my Name, power through the Spirit, power through my Word and you will receive everlasting glory with me.’ Yes. It is promised. It is provided…power and glory. But never in the way Satan offers. And Jesus says ‘It is written thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve.’ Now Satan was smooth enough and sharp enough and sneaky enough not to say to Jesus ‘Now, worship me and then I want you to serve me.’ He didn’t add that second part on. But Jesus knew that when you start worshipping something, it is not long until you are enslaved and you are serving that something you worship. You start bowing down to the altar of Satan and pretty soon, you are totally in his service. On the other hand, you start bowing down before the Throne of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and pretty soon you are joyfully in His service. Real worship is like Isaiah in the temple when he says ‘Here am I, Lord. Send me.’ After he had worshipped and seen the vision of God. When you see a vision of the High and Holy God in His glory and in His power, then you want to bow down in humility because the Scripture teaches that the way down is the way up. The weight of glory and honor is first of all to go through humility. Jesus demonstrated it that night when He washed the disciples’ feet and He said ‘If you really want to be on my right hand, gird yourself with the power of service and wash your brother’s feet and serve him and serve God and that is the way you will rise in glory.’
You see, everything that the Bible teaches about glory and power is almost completely opposite to the philosophies of this world. That’s the reason why people step on everybody else to get to the top and even before they even know it, they are getting tromped on and torn to pieces and they’re falling and someone else is riding over them. But, oh thank God for the glory and the power that comes through worshipping God and humbling our hearts before Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Hallelujah! I feel His presence here. Let’s take a moment and praise Him. We love you, Lord Jesus. We love you, Lord Jesus. We want to bow our hearts and worship You, and You only. We want to serve You, Lord. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Satan promises power and glory but he really gives nothing, and it’s a horrible price a person pays to wind up with nothing.
The third method of Satan’s attack when Jesus shows us that Satan attacks us and tempts us through our own self ego needs. We’re hearing a whole lot about this. Psychology, television, talk shows, all these kinds of things, it seems as if people are just absolutely obsessed with developing the self and strengthening and helping the ego. I grant you that most of us need a whole lot of that kind of encouragement and help. I would not discredit that. But when it comes in the form of the way Satan talks to you about it, then it gets to be scary…dangerous. Because he wants us to do something spectacular in order to be recognized and to be seen as some great one.
I never will forget my wife and I had just moved over into Alabama and we were in evangelist work, preaching revivals in churches. We went to open a new church in Ft. Payne, Alabama. We started that church and built the first little church almost with our own hands. I was at the ripe old age of 19! It was something! But there were some people who were building a reputation for themselves in radio ministry and they traveled every Saturday in particular to the different towns and there were about 4 or 5 different radio preachers who came at a certain time. They had it all coordinated and organized. Different ones would come into Ft. Payne on a little park square there where there was little platform raised where you could plug in a loud speaker, and it was church nearly all day long. One of these groups we came to know fairly well, but I remember one day, one of the women in the group said …she was talking about Aimee Semple McPherson. She said ‘Oh, I want to do something big for God so bad I don’t know what to do.’ It struck me kind of funny then, and it is still sounds kind of funny. It sounds like ‘I want to get the glory. I want to be recognized. I want to get the honor. I want to be great. I want to build myself up.’ And that group came to a very bad end shortly after that. Satan said to Jesus, ‘Now look, you need to let me be your PR person. You’re so great. You’ve got such great claims, if you’re the Son of God now, what you need to be doing is really shining out here where people will take notice of you and see you for what you really are. You’re hiding yourself.’ See? That’s the way Satan talks to you. He says ‘Oh look, you’re hiding yourself away. Nobody is going to appreciate your talents and your abilities if you stay hid like you are and stay in this background. You need to project yourself and get out there and do the spectacular and get in the limelight.’ I read a long time ago about a wise man. He said preachers especially have the temptation first of all, to whine or shine. It’s always one or the other. They are always grumbling and complaining on the one hand or else they want to shine in the limelight and get the glory. I’ve seen it that pastors didn’t want anybody to be healed in the homes of the members where they prayed very much. They wanted them to wait until they got to church and turned the spotlight on and when they laid their hands on them, then send out the reports and advertisements ‘This is the place where people get healed!’
The Victorious Christ and His great example in coming up against Satan’s attack and temptation.
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