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Jesus Resists The Devil
Luke 4:1-13
Sunday Morning, February 10, 2019
From Luke 3:21 through Luke 4:13, Luke, the physician and historian, has been documenting specific steps leading up to the public ministry of Jesus Christ to the people of Israel. Luke noted the ministry of John the Baptist and showed us that Jesus came to the Jordan River to be baptized by John as part of the process of setting Himself apart for ministry. As Jesus prayed at His baptism, both God the Father and the Holy Spirit affirmed and endorsed the inauguration of Jesus’ work of redemption for the human race. God the Father declared that Jesus was His beloved Son, thus showing that the entire divine Trinity was focused on the ministry of the virgin-born, God-man. This was all part of God’s plan.

Luke then compiled Jesus’ genealogical record to prove that Jesus was in fact a man who had descended all the way from Adam. Jesus’ pedigree included descent from King David through whom God promised the Messiah and Savior. Jesus’ ancestors also included the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah thus connecting Him with all of the promises and covenants God made with Israel in the past. As Jesus stepped on the stage of public ministry in Israel, He was Israel’s king and messiah and He alone could bring salvation. No one else could do what Jesus did.

There was another matter of great importance. God created mankind in innocence, that is, without sin. At the beginning, Adam and Eve lived in a world that did not know corruption, evil or sin. Eden was an idyllic paradise through which God provided for all their needs. In His infinite wisdom, God created Even and Adam with the capacity to think, reason, and make independent decision governing their lives. They could have chosen to remain faithfully obedient to God, but they fell into sin because of the devil’s deception through temptation. Adam was tempted and he failed and through his failure, he plunged the human race and the world around it into sin and corruption.

It is important to see the steps of this decline into sin. In Genesis 3:6, as Eve is about to make her choice, the Bible records that when she “saw the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” The Bible clearly reveals to us a three-fold strategy used by Satan to deceive Adam and Eve.

This three-fold strategy would show up again in the first epistle of John. In 1John 2:16, these three aspects of Satanic deception are called, “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life.” In referring back to the verse in Genesis 3:6 we find correlation with these three steps of the falling into sin: Eve “saw that the tree was good for food” (Lust of the flesh), “it was a delight to the eyes” (lust of the eyes) and “was desirable to make one wise” (pride of life).

The fall into sin proved that the human race failed to maintain righteousness and purity. All people for all time became sinners since all descended from the two original sinners. All were corrupted with a sinful nature and all were condemned to eternal punishment because of their sinful ways. There would never be any hope of forgiveness and restoration unless a Person could be found who could withstand the same attack of deception from the same deceiver and remain holy, virtuous and victorious. That Person is Jesus Christ, and Luke now proceeds to tell us how Jesus did what Adam and Eve could not do: defeat the devil.

Today, we will look at the three-fold strategy used by the devil to try to deceive Jesus. They are the same three he used on Adam and Eve and the same three he uses on all of us. We must remember that the devil creates doubts and deceives. We make the volitional choice to sin. In these verses, we will find that Christ was victorious and that in Him and only in Him can we share in His victory.

THE DEVIL’S TEMPTATION OF JESUS. (Luke 4:1-2)

The Reality of Satan. The Bible always refers to the devil as a real being that was originally created by God. Many Bible students believe that the devil (as well as all angels) was created before the human race. We find the fall of the devil written about in Isaiah 14:12-16. There Scripture teaches that the devil was originally created in holiness and purity and God called him the “star of the morning” and “son of the dawn” because of the amazing splendor God had given him. Yet, sin entered into the devil’s mind when he thought, “I will make myself like the Most High.” He chose foolish pride over humble wisdom.

The word “devil” means slanderer or accuser. He is also known as Satan, which means adversary. He was originally a holy angel and possibly the highest of all created beings. When he chose sin or righteousness, he deceived one third of all the holy angels to join him in his rebellion and created his unholy order bent on the destruction of all God had created. He wants to be worshiped instead of God.

He has an unholy hatred for the human race. Jesus called him a murderer. Peter believed in the reality of Satan, telling us that the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking to destroy Christians through deception. He is known as the dragon, serpent, the evil one, the god of this world, the blinder of the minds of unbelievers, the prince of the power of the air and the tempter.

The Devil’s Temporary Ownership. The Bible speaks of the global conspiracy of satanic influence in our world. We know from Job, Chapters 1 and 2, that Satan is continually accusing believers of sin in God’s presence. Satan manipulates events in an attempt to control the human race. When Jesus told His disciples that He would have to go to Jerusalem to die, Peter rebuked Him. Jesus recognized that Peter was being manipulated by Satan and Jesus told him, “Get behind Me, Satan” while addressing Peter.

The apostle John wrote in his first epistle that the “whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19) Clearly, this sin-cursed world is temporarily under Satan’s control. Paul called Satan, “the prince of the power of the air.” (Ephesians 2:2)

In describing the satanic grip on present world systems, in Ephesians 6:11, Paul calls upon Christians to “put on the full armor of God so that {we} will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” When Jesus Christ comes back, this will all end. Jesus will be in control of all the earth.

The Nature of Temptation.  To be tempted by the devil, Jesus left the Jordan River and traveled to a desolate wilderness in the Judean desert. Alone and among wild animals, Jesus ate nothing for forty days. He was hungry! We note a two-fold reference to the Holy Spirit. First, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. That is, Jesus chose to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the divine Trinity and He led Him into this conflict. Luke also tells us that this was a rigorous journey of forty days walking through this barren wilderness. For over a month without food, Jesus was obviously hungry. In this weakened state, the devil makes his appearance.

THE TEMPTATION TO DOUBT GOD’S PROVISION. (Luke 4:3-4)

If You Are The Son of God.  I believe there is much sarcasm in Satan’s sneering accusation. In Luke 3:22, God, in an audible voice, called Jesus His beloved Son. Luke then presents an extensive genealogy to validate Christ’s ministry.

Now Satan attempts to create doubt. If He were really God’s Son, would God allow Him to starve to death? Is God not the Great Provider? Did He not provide food for Israel’s forty years of wilderness wandering? Why doesn’t He provide for You? Could it be that You are not really His Son? Maybe God had abandoned the incarnate Christ and left Him to look out for Himself. Do you ever wonder if God really cares for you? Where do you think those doubts come from?

Turn This Stone Into Bread.  If Jesus were the Creator-God, then changing a stone into bread would be a piece of cake. Just say, “Stone turn into bread,” and Your hunger will be over. But that would mean acting selfishly and independently from God. That would be sin. If Jesus had succumbed to the devil’s temptation and made bread, He would be guilty of sin and would therefore be disqualified to be our Savior. Then all of us would die in our sins and come under God’s wrathful judgment.

Man Shall Not Live By Bread Alone. But Jesus did not fall for Satan’s lie. He was God’s Son and God would provide for Him, in His own time and in His own way. How did Jesus defeat Satan’s attack? He did so by quoting from God’s Word. In this, He appealed to a higher principle. He quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3 and used it to establish that faithful obedience to God is more important than food. Jesus responded to Satan in His human nature–not as a super hero with super powers. Knowing God’s Word and applying God’s Word to our lives is what the Christian life is all about.

THE TEMPTATION TO DOUBT GOD’S POWER. (Luke 4:5-8)

I Will Give You All This… The temptation to turn a stone into bread is the lust of the flesh–an appeal to use divine powers to satisfy hunger apart from God’s will. This temptation is based on the lust of the eyes.

Satan showed Him all the kingdoms of the world. God does not reveal how Satan did this, but he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. In that time that would have included the Roman Empire, African nations to the south, Asian nations to the east and civilizations in North and South America to the west. We must carefully note that Satan said all those kingdoms, “have been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.” That is actually true. When Adam chose to obey Satan rather than God, God transferred temporary ownership of this world to Satan. All people are consequently “under the domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13) and Jesus must endure in order to provide eternal salvation for those who believe.

Jesus will reign over all the nations of the earth. But for that to happen, He must endure the agony of the cross, be subject to death and be raised from the dead.

If You Worship Before Me. By calling for Christ’s worship, Satan wanted Jesus to acknowledge him as the supreme power in the universe; that the devil and not God was the true Sovereign of all. To worship Satan means to give all allegiance to him. To “worship before me” meant he wanted Christ to bow down before him and worship him. There are multitudes in our world that have made the choice to bow before this unholy deceiver, but they will pay the price of eternal condemnation.

You Shall Worship the Lord Your God and Serve Him Only. Again, Jesus defeated Satan by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:13. Jesus will rule over all the kingdoms of the earth-but His authority will come from God and not from Satan. Jesus was tempted to doubt God’s power and authority. Ultimately, who is in charge in your life?                                                                                                                       

THE TEMPTATION TO DOUBT GOD’S PROTECTION. (Luke 4:9-12)

Throw Yourself Down From Here.  Satan led Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem. Overlooking the Kidron Valley was a temple wall that was almost 400 feet from the valley floor. Again, Satan used sarcasm to cast doubt on Jesus’ relationship with the Father. If He really were God’s Son, certainly He would protect Jesus from falling to His death. Satan questions whether God really cares for His own.

God’s Angels Will Protect You.  It surprises us that Satan knows the Bible. Although he perverts and corrupts it, still he knows what it says. Here he uses a verse from Psalms 91 to try to back Jesus into a corner. Notice, the devil uses a literal approach to interpreting the Bible.

Jesus had quoted from the Bible. Now Satan does, attempting to force Jesus to obey him. If Jesus does this, He will be living outside of God’s will and challenging God to protect Him. This would be a sin of presumption. Jesus would disqualify Himself.

You Shall Not Put The Lord Your God To The Test. Again, Jesus appealed to God’s Word and again from Deuteronomy 6. Jesus knew He would die, not by falling from a height, but on the cross. He knew this was the wrong time and place. He knew God was not a mystical genie, granting whimsical wishes of people. God is sovereign and we are compelled to obey Him–not test Him.

THE DEVIL’S TEMPTATION DEFEATED. (Luke 4:13)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The Devil Left Him.  Jesus succeeded where Adam had failed. He was tempted in all points and did not sin. This time the devil had to withdraw in complete defeat. Jesus proved that He is the completely holy and sinless Son of God. He lived in the same world we do, with all of its temptations, and did not sin.

Resist The Devil and He Will Flee. James tells us that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. (James 4:7) We do not have to conquer Satan-Jesus already has. All we need to do is live in Christ. (Romans 8:37-39)

We find that Satan uses the same schemes to tempt believers that he used on Christ. He attempts to get them to distrust God’s provision and love, doubt His plan and authority and presume on Him, even twisting Scripture in the process. We are called upon to remember that along with watchfulness and prayer, knowing the Bible is the essential weapon Christians must use to defeat temptation.

Since only Jesus defeated the devil, only Jesus is qualified to be the Savior. And, since Jesus alone can save our souls, may I ask you a question? Have you received Jesus as your Master and Savior? If not, will you trust Him today?                                                                           
Updated by Pastor Vernon Welkner, 2/18/2019