Today we will be discussing:
Luke 4: 1-13
In today’s post we will be looking at the temptation of Jesus and how the devil tempts us using this tactic everyday. All he need’s to do, is to get our attention off the cross. He is more effective at this than you might think. Let’s open our Bibles and dive in together.
Woe to Those Who are Deceived
After Jesus’ baptism He, full of the Holy Spirit, was led into the desert for a 40 day fast. Here Satan has an opportunity to succeed in his second round; after all if he was successful in misleading the first Adam, so he might be with this second Adam. Even more to sweeten the deal would be to succeed in luring Jesus away from the Father. Yet, he fails. He throws everything at Jesus, he is sincere and seems caring of Jesus. He doesn’t seem to come off as the “bad guy, with horns and a pitchfork who wants to demonize you” as in the ever popular “Exorcist” movie, or any other movies like it. No, Satan actually seems like a decent caring angel. “Jesus, you have no food let me feed you”, “Jesus, your Father hasn’t provided you with a Kingdom, here have mine”, and “Jesus, How do you know if the Father truly cares for you, test Him“. Yes, these are paraphrases however we get the point. Why doesn’t Satan resemble “the bad angel” that we tend to think of? It even seems as if Jesus is being rude to this “nice guy” by claiming that this “nice guy” is lying in God’s name. It is even appealing to side with Satan in this matter.
So, it is even today. Satan uses the same old tactics to lead us astray and to blind us to what is so obvious. He truly disguises himself as an angel of light and a sheep, yet inwardly is pure evil. This disguise works on so many people especially those who see him disguised as a “nice guy, pastor“. He chops up God’s Word and add’s in his own “spice” to it and feeds it to you saying “Eat up, its God’s Word, it cannot lie“. Many eat of this “spiced” Word, yet the spice is nothing more than satan’s poison. His poison is lies, masquerading as the Truth yet it’s not. When verses are taken out of the context that God put them in, and a new meaning is added; it literally changes the Pure Word, into toxic vile that separates us from God. The apple that should give us the “knowledge of good and evil“, is nothing more than a trap. In fact “Did God really say?” (Gen 3:1) is in now modern terms “That’s just your interpretation of the text“. There is no longer an absolute Truth, it’s up to the reader to find the “hidden meanings” in God’s Word. They claim, “After all God is so mystical and powerful how can we figure Him out, Don’t put God in a box“. This places the argument that God, who cares for us so much He sent His Son to die for us, cannot, neigh, will not communicate to us in simple terms that we can plainly understand. We must dissect His Word to find hidden meanings, we must feel Him in our worship services, we must see Him in “God Moment’s“. You see, Satan still works to get us to not trust in what God has plainly stated. For ultimate proof, look at churches that affirm those who are openly practicing homosexual behavior, even praise them for it. Even look at the churches that pervert Christ by placing a woman in His stead and command. This trickles down to the churches that work a bit more sly than the rest. Those who do twist the Word, add in the “spice” and lead you to believe you can find God outside of His pure Word; in your feelings, works, and coincidences in life.
He is very much active in the church adding his “spice“. You may ask “How do we know that he isn’t in my church“? This is a great question, one that every christian should be asking. Much like the noble Bereans (Acts 17:11), you should check what your pastor is saying. He, along with us all, should be held accountable to the Word. This is done by reading the verses in context using biblical hermeneutics. Another help is a lectionary, if your church has one and uses it, then you can read these passages for yourself and have an understanding of what will be taught on the upcoming service. Another help is asking yourself if you have been confronted with your sins, brought to repentance, and had your faith renewed in Christ for the forgiveness of those sins. Are the hymns full of rich theology and doctrine, or are the songs resembling any “love” song that if you replace the name “Jesus” with “baby” or “darling“, you could make it a pop hit? You see these are just a few things that Satan twists, but these things are important. First, he throws out the lectionary and preaches what topical subject he wants to. This puts him in control of the subjects and verses to strand together, that in their context don’t belong together. This leads to the preaching focused on you and not the cross. He focuses the teaching on the worldly ways; your life and yourself. This is his trick of mysticism and moralism. He states that you can find God anywhere but His pure, unedited, unfiltered, un-spiced (no preservatives or artificial flavors and colors added) Word. He then preaches moralism to you. He states that by following these simple steps your life can be better. This is nothing more than the Law watered down, filtered, and simplified so that “You can do it with the help of Jesus“. See, when we forcefully take away what God has said, and inject our own into it, we rape the Word. We take and inject what we want, all to keep you spiritually dead. If the Word were purely taught the Spirit would do the work of regeneration and sanctification, yet when it’s changed, the Spirit no longer works through it. Without the Spirit, those who hear the message stay dead and Satan has won and continues every weekend parading around as a spiritual necrophiliac, preying on the spiritually dead and using them as he wishes. You see, by removing the cross as the main focus, and placing you in the center of focus, he has done all he needs to change your faith from Jesus saving you from your sins, to “Jesus saving you from a mundane, un-victorious, unsatisfactory earthly life“. This is where moralism and mysticism work together. You start to find God in your works and in your emotions, and if the unregenerate person can find Him there, then why read the Bible? Since the Spirit works through the Word, the regenerate person see’s Jesus when they read any passage of Scripture. The unregenerate only see themselves in every passage, and make the book about them, their morals, and a deity that helps their life; not Christ and Him crucified for your sins. Jesus states that the Scriptures are about Him, not you and ways to fix your life.
As we can see in today’s passage, Satan failed. Jesus rebuked him three times. Every time that Satan masqueraded as His friend and misquoted God, Jesus put those verses back in context and exposed that Satan was lying. This shows us very well that Satan’s lies seem so sincere, yet we must check everything to the Word of God. There is more in this passage than just a good example to follow. Jesus defeated Satan. The second Adam was victorious over Satan. Jesus bound Himself to the Father’s will and was submissive even unto death, for the salvation of all who repent and believe the Gospel. You see Satan didn’t just give up after this temptation. He worked in the very minds, hearts, and hands of sinners to whip and crucify The Lord. Surely, that would do it, kill Him and make it all go away. Yet, it was in that death and resurrection that Satan lost. No longer were sinners slaves to sin, death, and the devil. They were now free. You see that it isn’t in the teachings of morals or spirituality that we have this freedom, its in a crucified and risen savior. The more we focus on morals and finding God in places other than His Word and Sacrament, the more we are enslaved to sin, death, and the devil. These teachings and feelings can’t save you, for they do not even teach the cross. No, the more we focus on anything but the cross and resurrection the more we follow the Scribes and Pharisees. For some that follow this path do become to hate the message of Christ. Jesus announcing to them to repent and stop following their own ways becomes a nuisance and must be ignored and stopped. the more the message is ignored the more foolish it becomes. “Why do I need forgiveness, for i haven’t sinned in a long time, why just look at what step I’m on, or look at my life-change?” Therefore, focus placed on anything but the cross and repentant faith becomes foolish, for your spiritually dead. Ironically, the same Jesus who you call on to “give you life-change” is the same one you crucified. You plead you love what Jesus does in your life yet deny that you are evil, sinful, and vile. You deny that before God drags you to himself through the Gospel, that you were enemies of Him. You “love” Jesus, yet you crucified Him to a tree because you are sinful, evil, and vile. You need Him crucified, You need Him risen from the grave because you need forgiveness for the sins you commit in thought, word, and deed every second of every breath you take.
Repent, and cling to the risen Savior who has buried those sins in death and left them there. They no longer exist for those of us who are baptized into Christ. For our sins were buried into His death, and we are now raised anew, into His righteousness. Therefore if we have His righteousness through faith in His forgiveness through the cross, then we no longer have to be slaves to moralism and mysticism. We are free from our works, we are free from trying to fix our earthly life. We know this because we are also free to be His sheep, and His sheep get fed freely from His Word daily. We then understand that if our eternal life was “cleaned up” through Christ’s sacrifice then so is our earthly life “cleaned up” by the Gospel. For His Word brings life, and it is not of our own, nor is it done by following morals and steps, it’s cleaned up because our Living God calls us by the Gospel, from death to life. Live and Live you shall! God’s unmerited grace has called us by His Gospel from death unto life and this is a life that shall never fade or end. It’s a Life a million times better than the “best life, cleaned up, living victoriously for the here and now“, It’s a life that does work in you right now, but doesn’t focus on “how good are you doing“, its focus is on your neighbor, not yourself. You’ve got everything you need in Jesus, your eternal life is set and secure through repentant faith. Therefore you don’t need your good works, God doesn’t need them either, but your neighbor does. Serve one another out of reverence for Christ and share the True Gospel with everyone; Repentance and faith in the crucified and risen Savior for the forgiveness of your sins. Until next time, put on the full armor of God and stand firm on the foundation of Christ!
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- Mud in the News 9th Edition (menofmud.org)