Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Temptation Of Jesus - Light To The Gentiles - The Call of God

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”   How does one “run into a name?”

Psalm 32:7 provides the answer: “Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.”

From the scriptures:
God is a pillar we can lean on; His Word is powerful; His name is holy; our lives are hid in Him; in His name, and in His Word. The list goes on and on concerning His name and His Word. They are powerful!

There is power in the name of Jesus in the New Testament, just as there was power in the name of Jehovah God in the Old Testament. The reasoning is simple: Jesus is God; He is Jehovah in the flesh of a man. He is God’s promised Anointed One, the perfect One for the sacrifice that is required under the Levitical Law for the remission of sin. How gracious the Father was to send His only begotten Son to pay a price that WE could not afford!

Today, we see Jesus, fresh from His baptism, is led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of Satan. [That’s always the way. From our faith-based mountain-top experiences, we go directly to be challenged by Satan, and often by our peers.] And God allows it.

He does not want us just basking in the glow of fellowship with Him, but He wants us to be humble before Him in all things, even in our interpersonal relationships.

How did Satan tempt Jesus? By speaking things contrary to the scriptures, and appealing to the flesh! And Satan already knew Who it was that he was tempting, and he also knows the weakness of the flesh. And on every temptation, Jesus used the written Word of God to defeat Satan’s temptations.

Jesus, being the Word of God that was made flesh and dwelt among us offers us the perfect example of how we will be tested, and how we are to respond. Nothing will defeat His Word, except the flesh when WE allow it.
“Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.”  Proverbs 30:5

Today's Audio Messages: Matthew 4 (Parts 1,2,3)

Matthew 4:1-11 (Part1) - "The Temptation of Jesus"
This week we are in chapter 4 of Matthew’s Gospel. In this first part of Matthew 4 we will find that the subject matter is temptation. Jesus is led out to the wilderness by the Holy Spirit where He would be confronted by the Devil himself. He prepares for this time of testing by fasting 40 days and 40 nights. The denial of our flesh, being refreshed by His Spirit, and the Sword of God’s Word deep within our hearts and minds will conquer our evil foe. 

It is no accident that Jesus winds up in the wilderness after his baptism. He is not lost, He has been led by the Holy Spirit right into combat with Satan, and there is a specific plan and purpose for this. While everyone is tempted to sin, almost daily, if not hourly, there is something uniquely different about what is going on here. Jesus, at the outset of His ministry, is confronted by the devil with all his power, and He does not sin! What a contrast to the very first temptation that took place in the garden with Adam and Eve. Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

Where Adam sinned, Jesus did not. The first temptation plunged the human race into sin, but the second is clearly part of God’s plan of redemption for mankind - and complete victory over Satan. It is at the temptation of Jesus that Satan realized that he could not ruin Jesus as he had the parents of the human race, and therefore that he could not stop God’s plan of redemption.

We learn from Jesus' response to the temptations exactly how we are to respond - with Scripture. The forces of evil come to us with a myriad of temptations, but all have the same three things at their core: lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. We can only recognize and combat these temptations by saturating our hearts and minds with the Truth. The armor of a Christian soldier in the spiritual battle of life includes only one offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Knowing the bible intimately will put the Sword in our hands and enable us to be victorious over temptations.

Matthew 4:12-17 (Part 2) - "Light to the Gentiles"
Matthew records that our Lord’s public ministry is about to begin just as John the Baptist had been arrested. Jesus makes his way to the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, west of the Sea of Galilee. It’s not where you would expect Jesus to start His ministry, and some speculate that this area was safe in light of John’s arrest and turmoil in Jerusalem. The significance however is more straightforward. Jesus began His ministry in this area because God said He would (Isaiah 9:1,2), thus fulfilling prophecy.

This region is the land of the Gentiles, steeped in paganism, deep spiritual darkness and death. It is here that Jesus is seen as the sunrise from a deep and long night. Jesus the light of the world has come and is about to shine his light in a dark world. It’s as if God picked the darkest place there was and shinned His light bold and bright on those people. The Messiah has come and He begins preaching in those hopeless and dark places, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Matthew 4:18-25 (Part 3) - "The Call of God"
Come Follow Me. Jesus called all the disciples in the same manner, “Come, follow me.” This was more than an invitation to take a walk somewhere together, it was an invitation to a lifetime commitment of becoming His disciple.

A disciple is immensely more than praying a prayer, Jesus said, “Follow me.” When Jesus called these men, they were busy about their everyday lives, their normal routine. They were fishermen, and so they were casting their nets and mending others. Yet when Jesus called them they “immediately left their nets and followed Him” (Matt 4:20).

The call of Christ comes with the requirement to leave our old lives behind and begin a new life with Him. It is here that our Lord tells them that they will be “fishers of men.”

What a beautiful picture of a true disciple. He is not double minded. He does not have one foot in the world, and one foot in Christ. A discipleis one who happily makes a life changing decision to forsake all and follow Jesus.

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