Series “The Red Letters” #1: It Is Written

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Matthew 4:4 But {Jesus} answered and said, It is written…

The Great Commission our Lord Jesus gave His Church is:

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:

As I read and preached those words last Sunday the Lord touched my heart. Today we’re starting a new series of sermons called The Red Letters. We are going to do as the Commission commands: To teach you to observe (to do) all things that our Lord and Savior has commanded us to do.

Our opening text today is in Matthew 4:1-11,
with it’s parallel text in Luke 4:1-13.

Jesus Was Tempted As We Are, Yet Without Sin

We are told in Hebrews 4:15 {that Jesus} was in all points tempted (like we are}, yet without sin. How do we know this? Because the Bible tells us so. Jesus has just been baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River (Matthew 3:13-17). Following His act of obedience to righteousness we read …

Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness TO BE TEMPTED OF THE DEVIL.

Both Matthew and Luke tell us Jesus was led by the Spirit, though Mark tells us “the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness”. The Holy Spirit caused Jesus to go into an isolated place called “the wilderness”, not for rest and recreation, but for testing (πειράζω peirázō, pronounced pi-rad’-zo) or proving. The Bible tells us:

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted (tested/ proved – peirázō), I am tempted (tested/ proved – peirázō) of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man.

Our God cannot do evil. The Word says, God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). God cannot tempt to evil, for there is no evil in God. But it was in the eternal Will of God that we see how our Lord Jesus Christ responded to temptation.

Jesus is God Incarnate, God become flesh. Our Jesus is the viable Image of the Invisible God.

Colossians 1:16-17 For by {Jesus} were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist {are held together}.

God became flesh – perfect Man – so that we could be shown how to handle evil. In our world today we handle evil poorly. We handle evil often by responding in the flesh, using the same tactics that the evil have done. The Scripture is adamant, you cannot overcome evil by doing evil:

Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Oh, how we are all tempted to overcome evil with evil! Someone cuts us off in traffic, then lays into the horn, cursing us with that extended beeeeeeeeeeep! The old man in us says “given them the horn too! Give them something else, perhaps a gesture, or roll down the window and exercise your lungs.” Oh Beloved, this is a fool’s game.

Light does not overcome darkness by becoming darkness.
Light overcomes darkness by becoming MORE light, MORE Jesus.

So the Lord Jesus was “driven” into the wilderness. Why did God send Him Who is God the Son into the wilderness? To be tempted of the devil. So we’re going to see how the Son of God defeated the devil when He was tempted. We are going to see this so that we as sons of God by faith in Christ can also defeat the devil, just as our Lord Jesus did.

Matthew 4:2-3 And when {Jesus} had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 and when the tempter came to Him …

We see something now about the nature of the devil. Jesus fasted forty days and nights. Luke (4:2) tells us “And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.”

The devil watched Jesus fasting – going without food – for forty days and forty nights. Forty days and nights are significant in Scripture. During the days of Noah God caused it to rain forty days and forty nights, destroying all life on the earth (Genesis 7:4, 12, 17).

Sin was purged from humanity by 40/40.

When Moses received the Law on Sinai, he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights (Exodus 34:28).

Righteous Law was given by 40/40.

When Elijah went to Mount Horeb God strengthened him to travel forty days and forty nights (1 Kings 19:8).

Refreshing from God was given by 40/40.

Jesus was tried by the devil, but only after the Lord fasted and prayed for forty days and forty nights. Jesus was at His weakest moment physically. Some of you can barely make it through a Church service – especially if it goes a little past 12 noon. Imagine going forty days and forty nights without food. Jesus drank water. But no food? At the end of this wonderful time of dedication and focus we are told:

Matthew 4:2 … He was afterward an hungered ..

Jesus was not hungry for the forty days and nights, for His focus was on the Lord. But following this period Jesus was hungry – and rightly so! At Christ’s lowest physical moment

Matthew 4:3 … the tempter came and said to {Jesus} ..

That’s when the devil comes – at our weakest moment.

The devil and his henchmen watch the sons of God. Evil cannot read our minds, but evil has eyes and can see. The devil sees Jesus is hungry. And so he strikes.

Matthew 4:3 … If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

How Did Jesus Defeat The Devil?

When the devil comes to Jesus to tempt our Lord, I want you to notice how reasonable that fallen angel is. Jesus hasn’t eaten for forty days and forty nights. Jesus is hungry. Hunger is not a sin, but a sign from your body that you need nourishment. If you do not eat – especially after being without food for forty days and forty nights – you could die. So the devil comes to Jesus.

“IF”You are the Son of God, command these stones to turn into bread!

The temptation Jesus faced was two fold. Satan is calling into question our Lord’s Position. Are you really the Messiah, the Christ? Well, if you are, show me. The devil loves this tactic. He uses this tactic often with God’s people. If you are really a Christian, then do this or that. The Pharisees and Sadducees did the same thing with Jesus. We are told in:

Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry to this point He had shown many signs.

Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11)
Jesus healed people (John 4:46-54; 5:1-15)
Jesus fed 5000 men with a child’s lunch (John 6:5-14)
Jesus walked on water (John 6:16-24) and calmed storms.

Jesus told the Pharisees A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 16:4). Jesus was not about to give these unbelievers a sign, for they asked in faithlessness. Under His ministry “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5). They had already seen signs. So had the devil.

The devil knew that Jesus was the Christ. He knew Christ as the One of Whom Scripture says:

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The devil knew Jesus as the Son of God. I have seen the devil many times in my walk with Christ, and if you are Christ’s child by faith I know you have, too. The devil challenges us. “If you’re really saved, then dance to my tune”. No Beloved, that is a fool’s game. We are never to wrestle with the devil, but to put on the full armor of God – and to stand.

How do we stand against “the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11)? How did Jesus stand? Did He use reason? Did He attack back in His own power? No. Notice what Jesus did to stop the devil.

Matthew 4:4 {Jesus} 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.

Three words. It. Is. Written. This defeats Satan!

It is written! Written in what? Written in the Jerusalem Times? In the Reader’s Digest? On the bathroom wall? In your Journal of feelings and thoughts? It is written. Jesus Christ is the Word become flesh who dwelt among us (John 1:14). What is Almighty God become Perfect Man quoting?

He is quoting the Bible, and specifically the Old Testament Scriptures. When Jesus was attacked by the devil the Church did not have a New Testament. The New Testament was written by Holy Men of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). The New Testament was not gathered and bound into the text we have today for several hundred years after this point in time. Jesus was quoting Old Testament Scripture, the Scripture that is still just as valid today as it ever was. Our Lord quoted from the Law,

Deuteronomy 8:3 And {God} humbled thee {dear Israel}, and {allowed} thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that {God} 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.

Jesus quoted the Old Testament. Listen Beloved, the entire Bible is God inspired, written by God and affirming Jesus as the Christ. The Bible is true in all that it affirms. The Bible is God’s Shield to us who love Him.

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

The Devil Knows The Bible, Too. He Can Twist The Book If You Do Not Know The Book.

Round 1 goes to Jesus. The devil tempted and tested, but Jesus countered and defeated him with “It is written”. So the devil quits. Right? Wrong! The devil now goes into attack number two:

Matthew 4:5-6 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.

The devil not only knows that Jesus is the Christ, but the devil also knows the Scripture. Not too long ago a politician made a remark that Jesus would have been pro choice (or abortion minded) because babies are not really persons until they are born. That’s nonsense, but I’m not going to debate this – other than to read one Scripture:

Luke 1:41-44 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

Enough said. If you can’t understand that, then you need to ask God to open your mind. Beloved, the devil knows Scripture. He knows it.

Through Biblical misquotes Satan deceives the world.

Influenced the “holy war” called the Crusades,
killing many innocent Arabs;

Influenced our founding fathers to fight for freedom
while supporting slavery and mass murder of native Americans.
Influenced the execution of the innocent in the Salem Witch trials;
Influenced Hitler to kill 6 million Jews;
Influenced the founding of the Ku Klux Klan
and the lynching of Americans.

And the devil is good at twisting the Scripture. He quotes:

Psalms 91:11-12 For {God} shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

But Jesus knows the Scripture – and why not? For He wrote it! Jesus parries the devil’s misuse by:

Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

This is a direct quote from:

Deuteronomy 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

The goal of God’s Word is to honor God, to save souls, to teach of Christ, and to build the Kingdom of God. None of these things are being done if Jesus were to cast Himself off of the pinnacle of the Temple. Jesus would not follow Satan, but molded His earth life based on “It is written”.

Three Strikes, Satan, and YOU Are OUT!

Defeated twice, now Satan throws everything at Jesus.

Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth 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.

If you want power, worship Satan!

The devil has used this tactic many times in human history. Every celebrity of Hollywood, stage, or screen, has been offered the same deal. We see a little more detail in Luke’s account:

Luke 4:5-7 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.

Who “delivered all these things” to Satan? It was Adam. Why did Adam eat the forbidden. Because the serpent promised power. When you eat of it, you will be like God!

When God made Adam and placed him in the Garden it was so he and Eve could have dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:27-28). God gave Adam everything but the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:16-17). When Adam sinned the Bible says:

Romans 5:12 … by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

God in His grace gave earth to humanity. But we rejected the Word of God, and in so doing the devil took over. The world is the devil’s at this time. This is why sin reigns. This is why school children are taught godlessness, and are shot dead by assassins. This is why evil people creep into the assembly of the righteous, seeking to kill the children of God. This is why cartels manufacture and import drugs that ensnare our citizens, adding to the crime wave. This is why evil people destroy buildings in our major cities, flying aircraft into towers and the Pentagon.

Satan spoke truly. Though this is our Father’s world, and God created it, Satan won it in the Garden. So he rightly tells Jesus,

Fall down and worship me.
If You worship me, this will all be yours!

Oh, so many have heard this, and have given themselves over the Satan. Oh Beloved, let this not be you. Know God’s Word. Read God’s Word. Hear God’s Word. Do God’s Word. Jesus told Satan:

Matthew 4:10 … Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

“Get behind Me, Satan”! Jesus then quotes:

Deuteronomy 10:20 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.

His words remind is that if we want to be blessed, we will worship the Lord our God only. Him only shalt thou serve. Jesus put it another way:

Matthew 6:33 … seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

C.S. Lewis said one time, “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth thrown in: aim at earth and you will get neither.” Too many people today are worshiping false gods and goddesses, chasing an empty promise of greater blessing. There is no greater blessing than to know the Word of God. There is no greater blessing than to come to Jesus believing, and believing receive Him to be your Lord and Savior. That is the only way of life worth living.

After this final challenge the Bible says:

Luke 4:13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from {Jesus} for a season.

The devil would come back, again and again, to try and derail Jesus in His ministry. But each time he came Jesus sent him packing. How? It. Is. Written. If Jesus required the Word of God to bless and keep Him, how much more do we who are but mere mortals need it. We need God’s Word. Daily. Moment by moment. Only by reading, hearing, and DOING His Word can we find the eternal blessings of God.

May God the Holy Spirit and His Word touch your lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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