The Temptation of Christ

Miscellaneous Sermons
The Temptation of Christ
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References: Matthew 4:1-11

We had various different veterans from various generations, I guess it was. Stand I think on this July 4th weekend, it would be good to recognize those of you who have served in our armed services for the United States in various branches and in various different times throughout the last century or wherever. Stand up just a minute. Let us see who you are.
Some here on this floor and I know some up above. Thank you very much. Thank you.
We appreciate your service and then on a weekend when we remember again our freedoms, we don’t take it for granted either. I am speaking from Matthew chapter 4, continuing some thoughts that I have there and I hope that this is the passage that the Holy Spirit wants you to hear today. Matthew chapter 4, as Ray read, is the temptation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the first things we find happening to Jesus in his life was that he was baptized and we find that at the end of chapter 3 in Matthew as an adult as he presented himself to Israel being about 30 years of old of age and then immediately after his baptism he is led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Notice that he is led by the Spirit. This is God’s will. This is what the Holy Spirit of course wants for him. Immediately after this, according to the book of Luke, he will go back to Nazareth and he will go into his hometown to the synagogue there. He will stand up, open the book of Isaiah and say, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me and truly the Spirit of the Lord was upon him. These things are displaying for us that this is God’s Son, the Spirit of God is upon him and who he is is the king of Israel and Israel should recognize that. It’s an amazing thing when we read in this fourth chapter that in verse 2 he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.
Isn’t that amazing? And notice afterward he was hungry. Not dearing, but afterward.
No doubt speaking of a great constitution that he had, but also the fact that he was so one with the Spirit and with the Father that in these times when he was dedicating himself to the Lord and to his service, his physical needs did not matter to him and did not affect him that much. It was afterward and of course Satan knows what to do. He waits until we are hungry. He waits until our flesh does desire something. And that is when the temptation comes. And so we find in verse 3 that Satan did come to him.
Spoken of here as the tempter. This is Satan of course. We are often surprised by Satan’s abilities and even by what God allows him to do in the Scripture. Satan is a fallen angel. He was Lucifer the son of the morning. He had one of the highest places in heaven among God’s created beings and yet he fell and became Satan, became the tempter of the brethren. But I want you to know Satan is still powerful and we see it in this passage that he is very powerful. He is called the tempter and here he tempts Jesus Christ himself. He is a roaring lion. He seeks whom he may devour. He is spoken of as a dragon with great power. And he is the tempter of the brethren, isn’t he?
Remember Job 1.6? Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan came also among them. Before God to accuse God about Job. First Chronicles 21.1, Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel.
In Revelation 12.10, I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ. And the accuser, for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And Satan does that in this age of grace, accuses us before the Father day and night. Often we think, well how can Satan, a sinful and fallen creature of course like that, come before the presence of God even to accuse the brethren? And I think we, it not to confuse us, of course God is omnipresent, isn’t it? There’s nowhere even Satan can go to flee from God’s presence.
You can’t descend into hell and flee from God’s presence nor ascend into heaven. And yet I think if we thought of it like this, that if, you know, in our White House there are those who are invited to come once a month, maybe the press corps. And you might have a press pass, you might be invited to come and come to the outer places around the White House and listen and ask a question and then you must leave.
And then there are those who would be like the chief of staff who are invited there every day and are in on every decision. And Satan is like the press corps to heaven. He is like those who are allowed to come and say a few things and then must leave. And of course he does and he accuses the brethren. We find in 2 Corinthians, Paul said of the church at Corinth, I fear less by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. And Satan is going about to do that. Satan does it through asking doubting questions. Before Eve he said, now has God really said this?
Did God say you can’t eat of every tree of the garden? And he will come to Christ and he will say, now if you are the Son of God then let me propose this. He’s very subtle in what he does and he comes to us and accuses us before God the Father because he has come to us and asked us these subtle questions.
And at the end of the day when we’re on our knees and we’re confessing our sins before him, through our mind goes all of those things that Satan has had his victory even in our lives. Now we ought not be surprised at Christ and at his mission and what he is doing here in Matthew chapter 4. Let me remind you of a few things about Christ. He is the God-man. He has a divine nature as well as a human nature. The scripture calls him the second Adam. Adam of course did not have a divine nature, only a human.
But Adam failed in his test when Satan tempted him. Christ will not fail. He is the God-man. Now as the God-man, Jesus Christ is what we say impeccable. That is, he is not able to sin. There are those who do believe he was able to sin.
But I take it like this. He had two natures. He had a divine nature and a human nature.
But the human nature was always controlled by the divine nature. It would be impossible for him as God to sin. And yet as human he is temptable. Satan can tempt his human side, but his divine side will so control the human side that he will not sin. In fact, he could not sin.
And so we say he’s impeccable. That’s why we call him folks the God-man and not the man-God. Because his human nature is totally controlled by the divine nature. In these temptations he must remain God’s ideal son in order to die for our sins.
And at the same time he must remain man’s ideal brother in order to die for our sins. He must be both. He must be the God-man. And then he can as God die for us because he has no sins of his own to die for.
And yet he can die for us because being human he has never sinned. He succeeded where Adam failed. He succeeds where we fail. We ought to remember also that Jesus Christ is king. He is the king of the Jews.
He is their messiah. They should have recognized that. They should have accepted him as that. And so coming as their messiah as the rightful king who will one day come back to Jerusalem and reign on David’s throne rightfully so, he has become also our high priest. And you remember Hebrews 4 says, seeing then that we have a great high priest that has passed into the heavens.
Jesus the son of God let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin. Had he sinned he would not be our high priest. He would not be Israel’s messiah.
He would not be our savior. Now when it comes to us however we would have failed this test and we do fail this test. If it had been us in the Garden of Eden we would have done the same thing Adam and Eve did and perhaps worse. If this had been us out in the wilderness of Judea when Satan came we would have failed on the first temptation.
We wouldn’t have made it 40 days and 40 nights much less fail in the temptation. You remember that Romans said, wherefore as by one man Adam sin entered into the world and death by sin so that death passed upon all men for that what? All have sinned. You and I have already given into the temptations. You and I have already fallen in our nature and need a savior like this. Not only that James said every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed and when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death.
Now folks we are all sinners and human beings need a savior. Human beings need direction. We need conviction of the Holy Spirit and direction by God and if we would admit that as human beings life would make a lot more sense in this world you know. The reason we need a rule of law as we speak about it even in our country is because we realize we are sinners and left to ourselves will make a mess of everything and so we know that we have failed in these things. But as Christians Christians, you and I face this world and it’s God, small G, that is Satan, with a big brother. We face this world with a brother, a joint heir, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, and he fights our battles for us.
He does that for us. Did you have a big brother growing up? I both had a big brother and was a big brother since I’m the middle of three boys, and it’s nice to have a brother that’s five years older, right? That’s older enough than your peers to take care of any problems you have, you know? And then your pesky little brother, you know, always running to you wanting him to take care of his problems. It’s nice to have a big brother who will fight our battles for us.
It’s nice to have a savior who was successful in all of his temptations and therefore can help us in all of our temptations. Someone might say, well, that’s not fair. You know, as if, you know, you had a little scuffle with a friend of yours and your big brother came in, you know, and took care of it, they may say, well, that’s not fair.
But you know what? When you are in a fight to the death, you don’t want fair. You want victory. You want what is needful when it comes to a fight to the death.
And folks, you and I are in a fight to the death, an eternal death without a savior. And we don’t want something that is fair. We want something that is victorious.
We want someone who has won the battle for us. Now as we begin to look at these three things, let me remind you again, the Holy Spirit led the Lord Jesus Christ into the wilderness. Do you know that the Holy Spirit desires clean vessels? He even desired that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself would be tried by Satan Himself so that out of this temptation will come the powerful Son of God, mighty in spirit.
A wonderful thing. I don’t think there was ever a human nature, of course, that was so powerful in its spirit than that human nature that resided in Christ. Imagine, if you will, the victories that Jesus Christ had with the Holy Spirit in Him because of the sinless nature that existed in Him. And the Holy Spirit desires for you and for me, sinlessness, desires that we be holy, desires that we have victory over sin, though we will not always. And we are fallen creatures, but the more we will give ourselves to the Spirit, the less we will have this hindrance in our lives too. Now first of all, as we then come to verse 3, as the tempter comes to Him, we find the temptation of the senses, the temptation of the flesh. If John, when he said, all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, then this surely is the temptation of the flesh, the temptation of the senses. Eve saw the tree that it was good for food.
And so in verse 3, he says, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. I always wondered why this temptation first, because the senses seem to always come first. We’re always tempted in that way first. Now bread seems innocent to me.
We all eat bread and Jesus ate bread. So what’s the temptation? What would be the problem with Him doing this? We all hunger, and when we’re hungry, God made us that way so that we would eat.
What is wrong with that? Well, is our purpose in this world gratification or glorification? Are we made before God just to gratify every desire that comes to us in our fallen nature, or are we made to bring God glory with the very body and the flesh that we live in? Jesus understood this. We are not the center of the universe. God is the center of the universe. And Adam failed when God’s will for him became secondary to the gratification of his flesh. I don’t know, I don’t care what God said about these trees.
I don’t care what He said to us about not doing it. I want it. It’s good for food, and therefore I will take it. Jesus faced this kind of temptation without fault. Jesus, as the perfect man, must use His human flesh for its intended purpose, or He would not qualify to be our Savior.
Even in the book of Hebrews, we find again that He was our great high priest, and He passed this test in order to die for our sins. Now, let me ask you about the sin of gluttony. Why is there such a sin of gluttony? Why is it that we eat food but there comes a time when eating food would become a sin to us? Because God made this body to do a certain thing, but at a certain point we are doing it for our own gratification rather than saying, God what do you want for this body?
God what do you want me to do with this and how do you want me to live in it so that I can bring glory to you and serve you best? And there’s a point where we leave off serving God and we just do it for ourselves. Fornication of course is the best example. God made us sexual beings and there is a place for that and a place God created us to be that, but there’s an obvious place where that is a sin before God.
The very same thing, the very same action is a sin before God because at that point we stop doing it for God’s will and we start doing it for our gratification. I happen to think that the human body itself is made for God and God made us this way. We’re to be covered and when we uncover this body though that’s the way the body is, we are sending before God because we’re violating his word. I think this body will suffer marks in its life and scars and wrinkles and broken bones, but when we begin to do those marks on this body it is displeasing to God because that is against his will.
The same body, the same marks. Notice the reply by the way that Jesus gives now in verse 4 he said, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that precedeth out of the mouth of God. Someone might say, well I can live by bread alone. You know I went to a picnic Friday, it was a family reunion, I felt like I was living by bread alone. You know how those days are when you eat so much you figure I can’t eat anymore, but by every word that precedes out of the mouth of God. What is Jesus saying here? He is saying that God’s commands supersede everything else and God’s commands supersede what even your body may think it wants and what your physical existence sometimes desires because you are not made simply for gratification of the flesh.
You’re not an animal. You are made to follow your creator and your creator will speak to you in his word and when he speaks that to you that’s what you will do and so you might have somebody who, a couple who is living together and they’re living as man and wife pretending, setting up house, playing house like children I think and they are not married and they say but we’re doing the same thing and we love each other so this must be alright with God. It’s not alright with God and I’ll tell you why because God said it wasn’t and you don’t live by bread alone, you live by every word of God and when God said that union in this context is wrong and against me then it is wrong.
I don’t care what you feel about it or how you go about to justify it. We don’t live by bread alone, we live by every word of God in the same way. Why do we attend church and come together with God’s people and encourage one another and sing songs and pray together even some days when we don’t feel like it and some days we might even think it was boring, it’s pretty boring today you know and why do we do it because God tells us this is what we need as believers and we ought to do it. I know those who have said to me I’m going to do this thing, something that is absolutely contrary to God but I’ve prayed about it and I think this is God’s will for me, I think this is what God wants. I show him in the Word of God but the Bible says this, well I’ve prayed about it and I think that’s what God’s want. I’ve got news for you, the Holy Spirit will not contradict what he’s written no matter how you feel about it and so Jesus is reminding us here when it comes to the temptation of the senses and of this body we live in we are to honor what God says first and foremost even if we don’t feel like it even if we would have done something else to gratify this flesh we are here first and foremost to glorify God and He’s given us this space this body to do it in. Now secondly there’s the temptation of let me say the imagination in verses 5 through 7 that then the devil taketh him up into the holy city and seteth him on a pinnacle of the temple. The pinnacle of the temple was that southeastern corner that jutted out over the valley of Kidron and if you fell off into that valley you would fall hundreds and hundreds of feet down into the valley bottom that’s where they threw Pastor James when they martyred him they threw him off the pinnacle of the temple he did not die so they took clubs and beat him to death after he fell and Jesus is up on that and even into the temple if you descend into the temple it’s quite a ways from the pinnacle of the temple and so verse 6 if thou be the son of God you see the same question again cast thyself down for it is written and now he quotes from Psalm 91 a beautiful Psalm by the way a Psalm of protection a Psalm where David talks about how God will take care of you in all things in this life don’t worry God will be your helper and it’s 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. And so now he says, descend if you will into the temple. Wouldn’t it be great if the Messiah jumped off the pinnacle of the temple and instead of landing on the stone below, he would descend and land on his feet and say, I’m here to save you and all the Jewish people would go, oh, you’re so wonderful, we think we’ll follow you. So why don’t you do that into the same area where not long after this, Jesus will drive out the money changers and say, don’t make my house a house of merchandise.
This is a house of prayer. And here’s Satan tempting him to do that. Do a miracle for miracles sake.
Do it, you know, you’re exempt from natural law. Are you the son of God? Can’t you do miracles? Can’t you walk on water? Can’t you raise the dead?
Then just descend here, show everybody what you are, and it’ll be a wonderful thing. You know what he’s asking Jesus to do? You put God to the test. God said in his Psalm that he will give his angels charge concerning you, all right? Then cast yourself down and say, all right, Lord, I am the son of God, I’m going to prove it to Satan.
So here, you catch me and I will descend into the temple this way, simply for your benefit. Do you know we test those that we don’t trust, don’t we? Do you ever think about that when you put somebody to the test is because you don’t trust them, not because you do trust them.
I don’t trust you so I’ll do it. But what does love say? Love says it rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth, beareth all things, believeeth all things, hopeeth all things, endureth all things. Now let’s look at this reply again as Jesus replies again from the book of Deuteronomy, again from God’s word, and says in verse seven, it is written simply, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
You don’t tempt God with his own gifts and blessings. You know, there was a man in the book of Acts named Simon, they called him Simon the sorcerer. And when Peter came to Samaria and he laid his hands on the believers, the Holy Spirit came upon those believers and they spoke with tongues and other things. And Simon was a magician before he made profession of a faith in Christ.
He worked tricks and did things before people and they ooed and awe after Simon. Now he watches Peter come up there and Peter lays his hands on the believers and truly because of apostolic power, the Holy Spirit did come in visible form and those people were baptized by the Holy Spirit. Something that happens to us by the way, the day that we get saved and does not repeat itself after the moment of our salvation because we’re always then sealed by the Spirit of God. But Simon sees this, sees this apostolic power and says, give me also this power that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
Here is Simon doing the very thing Satan was tempting Jesus to do. Use, give me power because I want people to oo and awe. I want to show people how great I am.
I want them to look at me and say, oh, you’re some wonderful person. Do you know folks, I think that even the church of Jesus Christ has made this mistake in many ways in our day and age. There’s this health, wealth and prosperity gospel. You know, there are those who go around and say, well, I will teach you how to get things from God. I’ll teach you how to pray this secret prayer or do this secret formula. And when you do, the blessings of God will have to come. He’ll have to bless you and make you rich.
He’ll have to give you these things. The reason you don’t have them is you don’t know the trick. You don’t know how to do it. But if you knew how, you would know how to get these things from God doing the same thing. Using God’s gifts and blessings to tempt God to do things.
I think it is a shame that we demand things. And worse than that, we sin that grace may abound. We say, well, I’m saved by grace. I’m always saved by grace. And I believe that and I know that to be a true doctrine.
But because we are, we say, well, look, I will go out and do what I want and live as I want. And God will have to spread His grace upon me, which He does because He’s a faithful God. But do you think that we are doing God’s will by doing that? In Romans 3, Paul said, he’s putting words in an objector’s mouth. And the objector says, if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, that is, if I go out and sin as a believer, God still saves me, right? Yes, Paul would say that is right. Then my unrighteousness shows how great God’s grace is. Paul says, I speak as a man. God forbid.
Let me back up a sentence. If God’s unright, is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? If God then takes vengeance on me, He would be unrighteous because His grace has saved me forever. I speak as a man, Paul says, God forbid, how then shall God judge the world? If the truth of God hath abounded through my lie unto His glory, why am I judged as a sinner, the objector says?
says. And I think that we have people living in this age because the pendulum has swung that way in our generation, folks, because we understand the grace of God. We understand our theology in justification. And so we are living however we want to, even as children of God saying, well, God has saved me. God will always save me. I can do as I please. Watch God save me.
Watch God bear me up. That is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ today. I think its favorite verse is Romans 5, 20. Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound and where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. And in abuse of that verse and of that context, we do this very thing. We have cussing preachers. We have, and you Google that and see how many there are on there who preach and swear as they preach because it gets people’s attention and then they can preach about the grace of God and how those things really don’t matter to God. God still wants to work with us anyway. Mark Driscoll is the leader of that. Preaches the gospel otherwise. But here he is swearing and talking dirty and other things.
I’ve read some of the text of what he’s preached. And here we are, casting ourselves down into the temple saying, God hold me up and everyone will oo and awe about this. The temptation of the imagination is not this the lust of the eyes. If we have the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, this is surely it, a tree desired to make one wise and pleasant to the eyes. Now there’s one more temptation and that is the temptation of the will in verses eight through 10.
Our will and what we will decide to do in this life. Again, the devil take it them up into an exceeding high mountain and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them and sayeth unto him, all these will I give thee, if thou will fall down and worship me. Luke says, in a moment of time, he took him and showed him this. You think the devil’s not powerful?
In a moment of time, he transports him to a high mountain and then he shows them in a moment of time all the kingdoms of the world, not just this kingdom, all the kingdoms of the world. The scripture says, Satan is the God of this world, small G. There’s absolutely an accurate description. He is the God of this world. This world is controlled by him and his minions and his powers and principalities and powers. He controls these things. He showed him all the kingdoms of the world.
You know what? Satan would give it all for ultimate praise and he did. He gave up his place in heaven, didn’t he?
He gave up what God had given him in heaven just for a chance to be praised by other people. I want to be in the position of God. I want the angels to bow down and worship me. Here is Satan still wanting this from the angels and from even the Son of God himself. I will give you all the kingdoms of the world.
Don’t let that pass easily. Jesus Christ came to bring his kingdom to this world and one day he will. He will return. He will sit on David’s throne. He will set up his kingdom for a thousand years and he will reign over this world in righteousness and folks, we will be there and if you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these other things are going to be added under you and so he had a right to it but he would not get there if he bypassed the cross. You cannot have that kingdom and not be the sacrificial lamb that takes away the sin of the world. You can’t have a sinless world full of forgiven people who are blood-bought and blood washed people unless you’ve gone to the cross and shed your blood to forgive them of their sin and Christ knew that and yet here is Satan saying take the easy way. I’ll give you the broad road, the avenue right to the kingdoms of the world.
You can have them and there’s only one catch. I want you to bow down and worship me. That’s all. Now notice what Jesus says by the way in reply this time from Deuteronomy chapter 6. Jesus said in verse 10, Get the hence Satan it is written Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve. Notice how that worshiping and serving are connected. You don’t worship God without serving him and you don’t serve God without worshiping him and yet I think that that is what many people are trying to do. You can’t worship God without serving him.
Isn’t that the biblical doctrine of grace and works? We have Christian hypocrites who say well I worship God but no I have nothing to do with the search. I don’t have anything to do with the scriptures. I don’t follow those things. I don’t pray no but I’m a Christian. Can you worship God without serving God? And then there’s a world full of people who try to serve God without worshiping him. Oh no I don’t do all of that kind of thing but you know God’s always pleased with me and you know I just worship with the trees and I worship with the animals but I don’t worship God but you know I serve him.
No you you don’t. Jesus said you worship and you serve together or you do neither. You don’t come together on Sunday morning folks and sing the songs that we’ve sung and and go through the motions of what we’re doing here today and then not serve God the other six days of the week. If you’re going to worship Him you’re going to serve Him. Could Jesus be king and pay homage to Satan? Could He do that?
No. If He is going to worship God He is going to serve God only. You cannot serve God and mammon Jesus said.
You can’t have two masters but that is always the temptation. You know there’s coming a day when a man that we call the Antichrist and we know in biblical prophecy as the Antichrist will accept this invitation from Satan. The invitation that Jesus here denies.
There is coming a man who will say good give me the kingdoms of this world. I want it even if it’s for a short time. I want the praise and the adulation of this world.
I want all that I can get in this life. I will take it from you and He will sell His soul so to speak to the devil in a very real way. He will sell His soul to the devil for a short time of ruling this world.
Though maybe He thinks it’ll be a longer time. I don’t know. Folks the world is full of people who do this and maybe we do it to some degree. You think a man like Adolf Hitler did not do this?
Did not say I will give my soul for the world. Give me the kingdoms of the world. Give me the power. Let people praise me. Let people fall down to me.
That will be great and Satan you can have my soul if you exist. Sure He did. Ahab and Jezebel did the same thing in the Old Testament. Sodom is saying and how many could we say that way? In my opinion Michael Jackson did the same thing and many more people like that who say I will give anything I have for the praise of people, for the money that is involved, for the stage, for the lights.
Just let me have that and anything else can go by the boards. People do that all the time. Go back in the generations. You think an actress like Marilyn Monroe didn’t sell her soul to the devil for what she could get out of it. You think a Babe Ruth didn’t do the same thing and on and on we could go. And I asked myself can a Christian do this? Can a Christian who knows the Lord Jesus Christ when Satan comes to us and says I will give you this path in life and I will let you have these things and let me tell you he’s powerful and he can open doors and he can bring you praise and a Christian looks at that and a Christian says shall I go that way?
I said to myself I think often it happens. As a matter of fact I thought to myself maybe all Christian young people, all of them at one time or another in their life are going to have to answer Satan’s question here because there comes a time in every one of our lives though we are children of God we have to live in this world you know. We have to live with what is here and there are many Christian young people that at a time in their life say I will take what Satan is offering me even if it’s just for this life and I’ll suffer the consequences later. If I can have the money, if I can have the praise or if I can have the gratification, if I can just have the freedom to do what I want, I’ll accept that path and I will sell my stewardship that I have before God and I’ll answer to God somehow at the end of my life. I don’t know how but I know that I’m saved so I’ll be okay. And folks I think every young person has to answer that question and has to face that temptation.
You can’t do it for them, you can train them, you can help them, you can prepare them but they’re going to have to answer that question. And I think we live in a generation where there are so many lights and the broad way is so broad and there are so many allurements in this world and now we have even a church of Jesus Christ who is telling our young people it’s okay go that way God doesn’t really mind. And we sell the one stewardship we have of serving him in this life for the things of this world. Yeah this is an old an old temptation and it comes off in faith without works or works without faith. Now a beautiful passage is in Revelation chapter chapter five and I’ll read it to you or you’re welcome to turn there.
When it’s all said and done Jesus is in heaven the rapture has happened and the tribulation has begun. There’s a book in heaven and it’s written on both sides chapter five and verse one says and it’s sealed with seven seals and verse two says I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof. Verse three no man in heaven nor in earth neither under the earth was able to open the book neither to look there on and I wept much because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book neither to look there on. John crying in heaven because of salvation is up to any human being that has ever lived in heaven or in earth there is no salvation and he has reason to weep for this. I I am glad that I didn’t have to succeed in this temptation, but Jesus did.
I am glad that I don’t have to go out for 40 days and 40 nights, then face Satan personally, and succeed in that in order to have eternal life, because he is worthy. When God looked in all of creation, none of us are worthy. None of us could have done it.
None of us would have qualified as the friend of God and the friend of man, and been able to die for anyone else’s sin. But then, verse 5, it says, One of the elders saith unto me, Weep not behold the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David. Notice these words, hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereon. And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders stood a lamb as it had been slain. Having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God, sent forth unto all the world. He came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and the four and twenty elders fell down before the lamb, having every one of them harps and vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints, and they sung a new song saying, Thou art worthy, we sing that chorus, Thou art worthy, O Lord. Did he shortcut that by taking Satan’s temptation? Did he shortcut that? No, the scene never would have happened had he given into that. But he prevailed. He prevailed in his life.
He prevailed in his temptation. He prevailed in everything because you and I did not prevail. And we could not have been there. We could not have succeeded.
He succeeded for us. And then what is the grace of God? Christian brother and sister, what is the grace of God then?
It is thankfulness. When I consider such a thing, when I consider that I would deserve hell, that I would not be able to stand before God, that I am not worthy, do I dare then offend a righteous God knowingly and willingly, just because I know Jesus died for me? No, I fall down at his face, at his feet and say, thank you for saving me.
How can I give my life to you in service? That’s what it ought to be, and that’s what God asks of us. And so here we are faced with our own temptation in our own life. And Satan daily accusing us before the Father, and daily coming to us and tempting us, what are we going to do? First, we need to cast ourself at the feet of Jesus and say, you save me for Jesus’s sake. You save me because you prevailed and your blood can cleanse me from all sin.
And then as believers, we can give ourselves to him in trust and service and serve him while we have time on this earth. I want you to stand now with me, if you will. While we’re standing, we’re going to open our song books in just a moment. Before we do, let’s go to him in prayer and let’s ask his help in this song as we sing it.
Now, Father, we read these great passages of Scripture, and we know we need the help of the Holy Spirit to do your work. He wrote this book. He desires to use it in our hearts and our lives. Yet, Father, you’ve written it for us that we might read it and understand it, and we know that Jesus died for us, and we praise you and will praise you eternally for his sacrifice for us. We know, Father, that Satan tempts us, and we know that we have failed many times, and if it were not for the blood of Jesus Christ, we would be lost forever.
And yet, we have this bigger brother, an advocate before the Father. Jesus Christ the righteous, and we thank you for that. And Father, help us as your children to serve you. Help us to put away these things in our lives that Satan has victory in. Help us to confess those before you today and leave those at this altar. And then, Father, there may be someone here that doesn’t know Christ to Savior, who has never accepted him, who doesn’t have forgiveness through the blood of Christ. May the Holy Spirit use these words to convict that heart. May that person come and accept Christ today.
Father, whatever you desire in us, however we should change, whatever we should think about in our hearts and our minds, do that for us through your spirit and through your word. May you receive honor and glory for it. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
We’re going to sing page 297, the song, Only Trust Him. And here’s my invitation to you as we turn to that. You may come as we’re singing this song. And believer, if you would like, come and kneel here at the front and pray before the Lord.
You’re welcome to do that. Howard is here at the front, and we have personal workers waiting for you. If you would like to come and say, I need to know Christ is my Savior. I need someone to show me from the word of God how to be saved. You come and let someone take you to a private place where they can show you from the scripture how to be saved.
Maybe it’s baptism, maybe it’s church membership, maybe it’s something else that God has been dealing with you. If you need someone to help you, you come and say, I need someone to help me from the word of God. All right, we’re going to sing this song. You do what the Lord wants you to do. 297, let’s sing it together.

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