Angelic Conflict part 245: The fight of the believer – Mat 4:1-11; 1Pe 1:11; Psa 2:8; 22:27-28; Mar 3:20-27.
length: 62:54 - taught on Jan, 28 2014
The temptation of Jesus: This is how our Lord's ministry begins.
MAT 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
MAT 4:2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.
MAT 4:3 And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
MAT 4:5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,
MAT 4:6 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.'"
MAT 4:7 Jesus said to him, "On the other hand [again], it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
"It is again [palin] written..."
You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah. [EXO 17:7 - Israel had no water and complained bitterly]
Moses is summarizing the event that took place in the wilderness of Sin when the Jews were running low on water.
And he named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the Lord, saying, "Is the Lord among us, or not?"
Note carefully our Lord's reply. "It is written AGAIN". We must never divorce one part of Scripture from another, but we must always compare scripture and diligently search out the truth of the word of God. Scripture is seamless, and so “again” is better here because it reveals that Christ is using the wisdom of God the Father again, as if it was any different from the last time. He doesn't switch to another text or another philosophy, but remains with the truth of scripture. We can prove almost anything by the Bible if we isolate texts from the contexts and turn them into pretexts, or false truths that hide the real truth.
Satan had cleverly omitted the phrase "in all your ways" when he quoted from Psa 91. When the child of God is in the will of God, not sinless (God has never commanded that), the Father will protect him.
God's will is clearly written in His word. There is no need to tempt Him or to test Him to prove anything.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
If we lack faith, doubt, or are ignorant of solutions, that is not God's fault but ours.
It is up to us to continue to increase understanding and through hearing, faith will increase.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
MAT 4:8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory [Luke adds, "in a moment of time"];
And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
MAT 4:9 and he said to Him, "All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me."
And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
This is an offer not to fight and so not to suffer and switch sides in the conflict.
He has even fashioned a religious Christianity light for those who don't want to suffer unjustly from world hatred. It is a religious Christianity that has absorbed the world's systems so that their followers are not unlike the world.
The very thought of such an offer is going to offend Christ so much that He will rebuke satan in His victorious authority. He said that He came to serve and to seek and to save those who are lost, or prisoners, and so there is no chance He would take this offer. It's a last ditch effort by satan and a gross insult to our Lord.
Yet it does reveal much of the reason for the evil in this world.
satan can distribute power and wealth as he pleases to whomever serves his interests, both believer and unbeliever.
Jesus did not deny his claim of dominion over the earth. It is sad that a believer, set free from satan's domain, continues to serve him.
But, satan can do nothing with someone who is content in God alone.
Obviously Christ is not yet resurrected in Mat 4, so the victory isn't accomplished yet, but soon will be. Now that the victory is history, satan is defeated and dethroned, but is allowed to hold that position for a time, until the Lord's second coming. Until then he is still able to tempt mankind with riches, earthly power, and promotion. There is no such thing as selling your soul to the devil. The issue is priority, who are you a student of?
MAT 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'"
MAT 4:11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
In Luke's account he lists this temptation second and gives us a little more insight. Luke only uses the conjunction "and" so he does not suggest an order but just a list.
The devil offered Jesus a shortcut to His kingdom. Jesus knew that He would suffer and die before He entered into His glory.
From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.
"Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"
seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed
If He bowed down and worshiped Satan just once (this is the force of the Greek verb), He could enjoy all the glory without enduring the suffering.
Satan has always wanted worship, because Satan has always wanted to be God (ISA 14:12-14). Worshiping the creature instead of the Creator is the policy of satan who rules our world today (ROM 1:24-25).
There are no shortcuts to the will of God. If we want to share in the glory, we must also share in the suffering to the extent decreed for each of us.
The NT everywhere indicates that the Church would be a time of suffering upon the positive believer. Everything is intensified after the cross. No one could suffer as Christ did before Christ. We have been called to share in His sufferings when the time is decreed for it.
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.
And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
As the prince of this world, Satan could offer these kingdoms to Christ. But Jesus did not need Satan's offer.
The Father had already promised Jesus the kingdom!
'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.
Do you think it is better to receive blessing directly from God or from satan or the world system?
You find the same promise in PSA 22:27-28, and this is the psalm of the cross.
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations will worship before Thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's, And He rules over the nations.
MAT 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, "Begone [command], Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'"
This is the most amazing of the three temptations. That the Son of God should fall down and give homage to the prince of darkness, God's adversary, and that He should not continue to worship His Father, Almighty God, of whom He is coequal and coeternal. So in this temptation the tempter is met with a stern rebuke. A command to depart from Him.
Due to the astounding implication of this third temptation, Jesus gives a stern rebuke to satan and only He is able to do so.
He can command satan because He is the Lord. This is not an exercise of His deity, but an exercise of His certain victory. At any time during His ministry He could ask His Father to unleash all of heaven's elect angels, who outnumber the fallen angels by two to one, and ended the whole conflict at that moment. This was His prerogative alone.
"Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? "How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen this way?"
Yet our Lord loved the scripture and the scripture already put forth the plan of God for the defeat of His adversary. The seed of the woman would die in sacrifice for all mankind thus robbing satan of his rule and power and returning all that was lost to man thus removing any claim against God's righteousness and justice.
No believer is told to cast out satan but rather to hold his ground against satan's attacks.
Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
When our Lord replied with DEU 6:13, He connected worship and service. Satan had said nothing about service, but Jesus knew that whatever we worship, we will serve.
MAT 4:10 reveals that worship and service must go together. Whatever we worship we will serve. Conscience dictates actions.
A conscience must be transformed by something greater than itself. This is why self-will doesn't usually enact changes in conscience. A strong man can only be bound by a stronger man. The word of God is stronger than any conscience, and though it will take time in inculcation, the word of God will transform the conscience.
Satan slunk away, a defeated foe; but he did not cease to tempt Jesus.
MAT 4:11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
And when the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time [suitable season].
We could translate LUK 4:13, "And when the devil had ended every possible kind of temptation, he stood off from Him until a suitable season."
One victory never guarantees freedom from further temptation. If anything, each victory we experience only makes satan try harder.
This was true in Job's case. The second attack on Job was against his body and against his soul through the complete abandonment of all his friends, servants, and family.
After Jesus Christ had defeated Satan, He was ready to begin His ministry. No man has a right to call others to obey who has not obeyed himself. Our Lord proved Himself to be the perfect King whose sovereignty is worthy of our respect and obedience.
Though the cosmic warfare motif occurs throughout the OT, it never takes center stage. Whether it is portrayed as Leviathan, Rahab, Yamm, Behemoth, hostile waters, wayward rebellious angels (Prince of Persia, Prince of Greece), Baal, Chemosh, Marduk, Dagon, and a host of other false deities (demons), and the fall of satan and his desire to be like the most high, the OT clearly assumes that something profoundly sinister has entered God's good creation and now perpetually threatens the world. Not all is well in creation.
The mediating angelic authority that God had set up at creation had gone bad at the very top. Hence everything in the universe was affected. Fallen angels (1/3) of all, could use their God given authority and ability to wage war against God and infest the world with a satanic government in which the free will of man would follow. God set free these human captives one at a time through faith in the Savior, but the evil of the system perpetuated and many were and are trapped within its deception and lies.
God's heavenly council of angels turned into a sinister war that ended up holding man and the earth captive. But then came Christ.
Even the believers of the OT were held captive after death within the earth. But then came Christ.