Friday, April 06, 2007

Sermon Notes from March 25, 2007

Matthew 4:1-11 tells us how the devil tried to tempt Jesus. The temptation of Jesus occurred after He was baptized and began His public ministry. The reason for the devil's temptations -- He wanted to render Jesus ineffective. Satan tempts Christians because he doesn't want them to be an effective witness for Christ. The devil finds a Christian's weakness and tries to use it against God's child.

Just as God has a plan for each of His children lives, the devil has a plan for them too, but unlike God, the devil wants to destory all Christians because he hates them and what they stand for and believe in. The devil is every Christian's enemy. The devil may cause Christians trouble on this earth and he may even hurt their earthly bodies, but he can never touch their souls because their souls belong to and are protected by their Heavenly Father.

When facing any enemy, it is important to know your opponent and his strategies. Satan tried to tempt Jesus three times and the devil will try to attack us in the very same ways.

In the devil's first attempt to tempt Jesus (Matthew 4:3) was to get Jesus to turn stones into bread. What Satan was asking of Jesus was not too difficult for Christ and he could have easily had done it, but it would have been for the wrong reasons. The devil was trying to tempt Jesus by using doubt --- doubt that God would not provide food for His Son while He was in the wilderness for forty days. Like Jesus, never doubt that God will provide for you.

The second attempt to tempt Jesus (Matthew 4:5-6) Satan wanted Jesus to jump from a cliff and have God's angels rescue him. Again this was a doable thing, but it was also wrong. Satan was trying to get Jesus to make a bad decision and engage in reckless behavior.

The third attempt to tempt Jesus (Matthew 4:8-9) Satan told Jesus he would give Jesus everything Jesus saw as His kingdom, if only Jesus would bow down and worship the devil. Satan tried to use pride to get Jesus to sin.

Each time Satan tempted the Lord, Jesus responded by quoting Scripture from the Old Testament. God's Word was Jesus' sword in His spiritual battle with the devil. Likewise Christians should memorize Scriptures so when temptations come (and they will come, often when you least except them), they will be prepared for the spiritual warfare.

We can be overcomers (overcoming this world and the evil that resides in it which includes the devil) by being a believer, having God's love in our hearts and being obedient to God's commands. 1 John 5:1-4

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