Thursday, October 10, 2013

Matthew 4

Matthew 4:1-11 - The Temptation of Jesus

Jesus had been given super national powers at His baptism, but was still human.  The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert where there it was dry, wild animals, and there He fasted for 40 days.  He was exhausted and hungry.  Satan took advantage of Jesus’ situation and tempted Him over and over.  Jesus used what He had in His human body to resist.  He used God’s Word.  He trusted God’s Word.  Satan’s purpose was to cause Him to sin against God’s will.  He was trying to get Jesus to sin by denying truths about God – God’s provision, God’s plan, and God’s preeminence. 

God also had a purpose in allowing Jesus to be tempted.  It was to prove the Lord was perfect and was without sin from the beginning.  It positioned Him as the author of our salvation.  Being tempted allowed Him to appreciate and understand our suffering.  God needed us to see this perfect example of Jesus.  God allowed Satan to tempt, but one day He will not.

Satan's purpose for tempting Jesus was to cause Him to turn away from God's plan, which would ultimately be the suffering of the cross. 

Satan wants us to deny God’s truths in the same way.  We have the same Word of God available to us.  Satan accuses us to God.  He masquerades around as beauty and comes in many forms.  He’s not red with a long tail.  Satan says to us, “You need it.  You deserve it.” 

In Hebrews 2:17-18 it tells us why Jesus had to be tempted.  “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he make atonement for sins of people.  Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” 

Jesus’ attitude is found in Matt. 4:4“It is written: Man does not live by bread alone, on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  He was very weary, but strengthened by the Word of God.  We should resist in the same way and rely on the Holy Spirit to give us strength to resist the temptation to deny God.  Know His Word and remember:  “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” -  1 cor. 10:13

The devil is real and God’s Word helps believers to resist temptation.
God calls us to depend on His Spirit not our own strength.
Faith in God's Word empowers believers to resist temptation.

How have you experienced similar temptations like Christ?
Do you know the Word of God? 
Do you use it so it can give you strength?

Who is Satan?  He is called “the prince of this world” in John 12:31; 14:30, “the evil one” in Matt. 13:19, 38, “the devil” in Matt. 25:41; Luke 8:12; John 8:44.  He is the “father of lies”, “a murderer”, “the deceiver”.  He is a spiritual, invisible being.  He is extremely powerful whose influence and whose invisible evil angels attack all the earth.  He is God’s powerful adversary.  The devil was created by God among angelic beings, but his heart was overcome with the sin of pride, which led him to exalt himself against God.  As a result of his rebellion, he was banished from God’s presence and took with him other spiritual beings called demons.  God allowed him to rule in “the kingdom of darkness"   He exercises his evil authority by leading his fallen spirits and his dominion over all of lost humanity.  “The whole world is under the control of the evil one.” - 1 John 5:19. 

Jesus’ main work was to destroy him who holds the power of death – that is the devil and free all those who live under the devil’s control.  Christ has delivered us from the fear of Satan’s power and the temptation to sin.  God promised we can resist Satan by faith in Jesus and he will flee from us.  Satan’s power over us was defeated at the Cross.

The story of Jesus’ temptation ends with “then the devil left him”.  Angels then came and attended Jesus.  It is not known exactly what they did, but I am sure they brought food and met all his physical needs.  We receive comfort that in every victory over temptation, God will  provide for us.

Matthew 4:12-25 – Jesus Begins His Ministry

Jesus began to preach the call to repentance.  “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is near.” Matt. 4:17.  He called 4 men fishermen to be His first disciples - Peter, Andrew, James and John.  He said, “Come, follow me…I will make you fisher of men”. Matt. 4:19.  In calling them, He was calling them to help share the good news of the Gospel, to be soul winners.  They immediately left and followed Him.  Notice they did not hesitate.  This is a great example for us.

Do you want to be a soul winner?  Many of us want to witness before we follow the command of Jesus – “Follow Me”!  A follower is a disciple and a disciple is a learner.  A committed disciple of Christ will be the most effective witness.  To truly follow Jesus involves salvation, sacrifice, and being a learner.  Jesus’ disciples spent lots of time with Him.  They ate with Him, worked with Him, listened, learned from Him, and submitted to Him.  They saw miracles and what He was like in His private times when the world was not watching.

How will you learn from Jesus today?  You first need to learn to love and read His Word.  Then you need to communicate with Him through prayer.  Jesus calls it abiding or remaining.  “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” John 15:7.  Then you need to be disciple by being godly followers. “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” – Eph. 4:11-12.

Jesus said it simply.  “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15.  “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:21. 

Do you know now that He is the Messiah?
Are you a follower of Jesus?
What blessing have you received as a result of following Jesus?

Prayer is very important to Jesus and should be important to us.  He started His day with prayer.  He sets the example for us.  He needed to pray for the busy day that was ahead.  We need to pray for our busy day ahead.  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”Mark 1:35.

Have you established a habit of early morning prayer?
Or do you give God your leftovers of the day?

Matt. 4:23-25 summarizes Jesus’ ministry of teaching, preaching, and working of miracles.  Jesus did 9 miracles.  His ability to heal all different kinds of diseases demonstrates He has authentic power over sickness, over demons and over all creation.  Great multitudes followed Him as He taught and healed.  

God's power in us draws others to Him.

Maybe through His power you can forgive someone.  People are drawn to Jesus in us.  Let it shine in you.  No one was there to see Jesus being tempted.  It's private obedience that draws us to Him.
Join me next week when we study Matthew 5

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