Ephesians 6:17; The Lord Jesus using the sword of the Spirit – resisting our hunger.
length: 84:57 - taught on Jun, 26 2022
Sunday June 26,2022
The Lord Jesus using the sword of the Spirit
The gifts given by the Holy Spirit to the believer will be the same as was given to the Lord. I don’t mean our particular spiritual gift that is given for our individual ministries in the body of Christ, but gifts in general, though they are far from ordinary. In ISA 11:1-2 it is prophesied that the Spirit would rest on the Messiah and He would be to Him the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
In that same prophetic passage, combined with ISA 49:2, the sword of the Spirit would come from the Messiah’s mouth. True to the word used by Paul in our passage, the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God would be a spoken word used to dispel false gospels, protect our souls and the souls of others from the schemes of the devil.
Jesus had a full-time ministry from the Holy Spirit because He submitted His will to the Father’s, and thus the Spirit’s. We will later see Him slay the devil and his antichrist with His sword of the Spirit at His second coming. Until that time, we are given front row seats to see our Lord in action against the temptations from the devil which are designed to incapacitate our spiritual lives.
The Son of God, creator of the heavens and earth, used to the word of God to convincingly defeat His foe.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." 4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'" 5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written,
'He will give His angels charge concerning You';
'On their hands they will bear You up,
Lest You strike Your foot against a stone.'"
7 Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" 8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, "All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'" 11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
Christ tempted - He lacked nothing that was truly and essentially human.
The very fact that Christ was subject to temptation is immensely significant, both as regards his nature and life and as regards our experience of temptation.
We have a unique and wonderful picture of Christ. He is denied essential nutrients for forty days. He languishes in a harsh wilderness. He is called to face His enemy when He is weak and his enemy strong. Here He appears very different from the Christ seated at the right hand of the majesty on high. Some remarkable features of His nature and work are unveiled for us.
His is perfect humanity. Plainly Jesus was a Man. He lacked nothing that is truly and essentially human. He had a human soul to be tempted, as well as a human body to suffer hunger.
In the temptation He comes down to the level of our poor, toiling, fighting humanity.
All the grandeur of His Divinity does not remove anything from the completeness of His humanity.
This was His apprenticeship to His office of High Priest. He understands our battle with evil, and He threw Himself into the same battle in order to show us the way of victory and to weaken our foe while strengthening us.
Christ came to overthrow the works of the devil through the cross - His redeeming work. He began by facing and conquering the spirit of evil himself. Satan had never been completely vanquished before. The utter rout of his forces in this battle in the wilderness must have left him weakened for all future encounters.
The Lord Jesus was pure in victory. He did not fall nor sin.
Christ was tempted, yet he did not fall. He came out of the ordeal tested and revealed in his sinless strength. Now it cannot be said that the goodness of Christ is only perfect because he lacked an opportunity to do wrong. He was met by the strongest possible inducements to sin. Yet he resisted them. The result was all gain. It was good for Christ to be tempted. Therefore he was led by the Spirit to the wilderness. It is good for us to be tempted. The Holy Spirit will also lead us into realms where He will allow us to be tempted. We are not to go looking for it ourselves (asceticism). God made us new for many reasons, and one of them is to enjoy life. Pleasure will disperse for a time when we are tempted, that is not joyful, but we are to remain content and hopeful, waiting for our deliverance from the Lord while we cling to His word.
The revelation of temptation - sometimes from within, sometimes from without.
Temptation will come from within. James shows (JAM 1:13-14) how it often springs up in our own hearts from the evil lurking there. Old sins shed seeds which spring up as new sins. But this is not the only way in which temptations arise, or the first man could not have been tempted, nor could Christ from within. Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent, and Christ was tempted by the devil.
A spiritually mature believer is not to expect to be free from temptation.
Temptation is not a sign of sin. The tempted need not accuse themselves of guilt in their being liable to temptation. Sin only begins when we yield to temptation in our own wills.
Temptation lays hold of innocent desires. Christ was tempted by sinful appeals to what was innocent within Him. He was tempted to gratify natural desires - hunger, etc., but in a wrong way. He had not our indwelling sins to urge Him to evil, but He had greater powers to keep in control. He had by that time obviously known the incredible power in His grasp to perform mighty miracles. At His baptism, just days before this, His earthly ministry began, and in His divine power nothing upon earth would be hard for Him to do and anything could be easily accomplished or taken for Himself - if He had taken up the sword of His own Deity. But He would never use His Deity to overcome any difficulty, cut any corner, remove any temptation. When it came to trials and daily living, He was all human. His temptations were inducements to abuse that power for selfish ends.
Every new acquisition is a new ground for temptation and fresh possibilities of evil.
Every increase in spiritual growth, every step of maturity carries with it temptation to use particular powers that do not fit the circumstance. Paul said that to the weak he was weak, that he might win some. He denied himself certain words, even certain scriptures, and limited himself in humility to what was necessary for the betterment of his fellow men. I have often seen, and regrettably seen it in myself, the fresh arrogance that comes with greater knowledge of the truth. I have seen people use the truth for the purpose of impressing people of their own elevation, which becomes an instant descent into the abyss of self-worship. I have seen believers use new found truth to judge others, verbally bully others. Jesus denied Himself the expression of His deity. God is entreating us to deny ourselves of the use of our pride, which in our fallen, sinful minds, feels to us in the moment, like deity.
There are therefore, dangers with spiritual growth and increase in wisdom and strength, but if the evil is resisted, there is the guarantee of greater good.
The temptation of hunger - the devil is most persevering; only persevering resistance can hope to overcome him.
And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
This was a serious encounter. One rebuff will not be sufficient to drive off the tempter. The devil is most persevering; only persevering resistance can hope to overcome him. The successive temptations were varied in form. The tempter is wily and subtle. If he does not succeed in one way he will try another. Each temptation has its own features; yet there is a common character running through them all. In every case Jesus was urged to use his miraculous powers and Messianic privileges for his own advantage. The great conflict raged round one central position - the life-work of Jesus as the Christ. Should this be degraded to selfish ends or should it be carried on in self-sacrifice for its highest purposes?
Is this not a temptation for us? It most definitely is. Though we cannot turn stones into bread, we can try in our minds. Let me explain. We can either be self-serving or serving of God and others. That doesn’t mean that we never serve ourselves, but when the two come into conflict, we can so easily ignore our spiritual obligation, which presently calls for our self-denial, and in essence turn what should be stones (not time for feeding ourselves just now) into bread (feeding ourselves now). We in essence throw off our life-work in divine ministry and calling to satisfy ourselves. You see, though we are not deity, and though we can’t perform the miracle, we can do what Satan asks the Lord to do here.
He humbled you and let you be hungry … that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
“Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about … My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.”
Let us consider some of the specifics of the first temptation of hunger.
The tempter waited for his opportunity.
For forty days Jesus fasted in the wilderness. All this while the tempter delayed, like a wild beast crouching in the bush and waiting for a favorable moment to pounce on his prey.