Chapter 4 Part 4 Temptation #1

Lust of the Flesh

 

            Matt. 4:3 "And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

 

            The desire for food is essential to the health of man.  However, for many of us we do not eat just to satisfy our body's requirements for health, but rather to satisfy the way eating food makes us feel.  In the case of Jesus who had fasted for forty days and forty nights, the body would have a natural craving for food just to satisfy the health of the body.  It was in this situation that the Devil approached Jesus to tempt him.

 

            One of the devices of Satan is to call in question the word of God and the authority of God.  The phrase "if thou be" is a phrase attempting to make one doubt.  Notice how often Satan through his lieutenants used the phrase calling in question the Son-ship of Jesus:

 

            1.  Matt. 4:6 "And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone."

            2.  Matt. 27:40 "And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross."

            3.  Lk. 23:37 "And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself."

            4.  Lk. 23:39 "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us."

            5.  John 10:24 "Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me."

 

            Satan also uses this device on us to cause us to doubt.  Some examples of this type of calling in question are:


            1.  If you are a child of God then why are you sick?

            2.  If you are a child of God, then why do you not just trust in God rather than take medicine?

            3.  If you are a preacher, then why do you have doubts?

            4.  If you just have enough faith, then your spouse will be cured of that incurable disease.

 

            Christ answered the temptations of the devil with the phrase, "It is written."  He successfully quenched the fiery darts of Satan with the shield of faith.  "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."  This was a quotation from the Old Testament: Deu. 8:3 "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live." 

           

           A part of the armor of God we are to put on is faith: Eph. 6:16 "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."  Faith is more than just trusting in God, it also involves trusting his word.  How can we trust his word, however, if we are not familiar with his word?  David said in Ps. 119:11 "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."  Job said, "I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food."  We cannot hide God's word in our heart until we have it in our mind.  We need to give attendance to reading that we may gain knowledge of God's word.  Then we need to "study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" that we may gain understanding of God's word.  Next, we need to meditate on the word of God that we may have it in our heart.  Finally, we need to answer the enticements to the lust of the flesh with "it is written." 

 

 

Chapter 4 Part 5 Temptation #2

Pride of Life

 

            Matt. 4:5 "Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."  In this temptation, the Devil appealed to the pride of the flesh in attempting to tempt Christ.  Man is proud of whom he is and what he has done or else he seeks to become somebody or to do something in order to get recognition.

 

            In essence, the devil said unto Jesus that as the Son of God stationed upon the very pinnacle (topmost point) of the temple (place of where God is worshipped) that if he threw himself down the angels would come and keep him from hurting himself.  Furthermore, he quoted scripture in an attempt to prove this.

 

            Again we are confronted with the devices of Satan.  When he quotes scripture, but he does one or more of four things:

 

            1.  He misapplies scripture.

            2.  He misquotes scripture.

            3.  He adds to the scripture.

            4.  He leaves out part of the scripture.

 

            The scripture the devil quoted is found in Ps. 91:11: "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone."  By comparing this scripture with the devil's quotation we notice the following:

 

            1.  He changed "charge concerning thee" from "charge over thee."  The charge of the angels was not just concerning Jesus but was a charge over Jesus, "to keep thee in all thy ways."

 

            2.  He left out "to keep thee in all thy ways."  With the change that the devil made above and by leaving out "to keep thee in all thy ways" the devil reversed the meaning of the scripture quoted. 

 

            3.  He added "at any time."  This addition reinforces the reversal in meaning of the quoted scripture.

 

            4.  Thus the devil misapplied the scripture by the changes, addition, and subtraction.

 

            We are not immune from changes today: some changes people have made today in worship services include communion service crackers and grape juice v unleavened bread and wine; sprinkling v. immersion; missionism v. true evangelism.

 

            Examples of leaving out parts of scripture:

 

            1.  John 1:11 "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."  Most preachers of most religious denominations in quoting the above leave out verse 13.  This results in a complete reversal of application.

 

            2.  Things that are left out today in most denominations worship include the washing of the saints' feet in the communion service and the government of members.

 

            Things added today that are not found in the scripture include: Sunday schools; salaried ministry; instrumental music; preachers schools; auxiliaries; mission boards; hierarchal church structure; women preachers; choirs; and entertainment centers.

 

            Again, the Lord quenched the Devil's fiery dart with "it is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." 

 

 

Chapter 4 Part 6 Temptation # 3

Lust of the Eyes

 

            Matt. 4:8 "Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." 

 

            When man sees something he likes, he wants it.  Advertising is based on this principle.  Ad agencies know that if they can associate some product with what man likes and can dress it up so that it looks pleasing, then they have a good opportunity to make a sale.

 

            Eve saw that the tree was pleasant to the eyes.  Who would want a piece of furniture or a curtain or a wall hanging or a car or a house that was not pleasing to the eyes?  David had a problem one time with the lust of the eyes: 2 Sam. 11:2 "And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon."  David's eye lust conceived with the idea that he was king and he could have whatever he pleased, and it resulted in David committing adultery with Bathsheba, and in the subsequent cover-up David had her husband put to death in battle.

 

            David suffered much because of his sins and it taught him to be careful about what he looked at.  Ps. 101:3 "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes." 

 

            The Devil had showed Christ all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them.  Then using another one of his devices, he attempted to bargain with the Lord.  The bargain was you worship me and I will give you all these kingdoms. 

 

            How many times have people succumbed to the bargains of the devil?  You do this, which is immoral, and you will get what you have lusted after with your eyes.

 

            The above subject verses also teach us that the devil also has desires.  One of those desires is that he wants to be worshipped.  Is. 14:12 "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."  This passage of scripture sets forth the five "I wills" of Satan:

 

            1.  I will ascend into heaven.  This teaches us that Satan believes that by an act of the creature that he can ascend into heaven.

 

            2.  I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.  This teaches us that Satan desires to rule over man-kind and especially the children of God (stars).

 

            3.  I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.  This teaches us that Satan desires to be worshipped by the Lord's church.

            4.  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.  This teaches us that Satan desires to have more glory than God.

 

            5.  I will be like the most High.  This teaches us that Satan desires to be like God.  Since he cannot be like God in that God is good and righteous, he employs the mirror image approach in that he tries to be exactly opposite of God.

 

            Once again in this third temptation, the Lord used the "it is written" to quench the fiery dart of Satan.  We note that the scriptures teach us that Christ could not be tempted with evil.  There was no possibility that Christ could succumb to the temptations of the Devil.  However, he can and do succumb to them, and we need to learn what the Lord has taught us here, and quench the fiery darts of Satan with the "it is written" defense.

 

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