We greet all the brethren in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank the gracious Lord that we can meet in His house to hear His Word.
The life of a child of God can be compared to a ship on the ocean. The believer is heading for a destination, however, do not be deceived, there are distractions to take us off the way. It is a long journey which needs preparation for any eventuality. This large ship is steered by instruments which indicate the direction in which the ship must sail. A GPS will guide you and give you the necessary information. A GPS will tell you how long your journey is even before you start. In spite of all you may have, what does it help to go unprepared? You take no food, no fuel. What does it help if you have the knowledge of how to reach your destination but not the means to do so.
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” 9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ 11 and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
Jesus, the Son of God, found Himself up against His archenemy, Satan. This was a showdown. They faced each other, testing one another’s strength to see who would be victorious. This was the ultimate conquest.
Consider who was tempted here, and what had just happened in His life, then no person can boast about spiritual strength and think he/she is beyond the devil’s temptations and that nothing can touch him/her.
Jesus was attacked by Satan immediately after He was baptised by John the Baptist and filled with the Holy Spirit, that alighted on His head in the form of a dove. A voice sounded from heaven that said, ‘This is my beloved Son, hear Him.’ Everyone witnessed that Jesus was filled with God’s power. Did Satan even have a chance? This was the worst time Satan chose to tempt Him. How did Satan think He would ever be able to tempt Jesus at this time?
God’s children experience temptation. An unbeliever belongs to Satan and is his plaything. He can do with an unbeliever as he wants. He can send an unbeliever wherever and whenever, and the unbeliever will obey. Satan is his master and he is Satan’s slave. He is unconcerned about you. It is the children of God who must be careful about every step they take on the way of faith.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where Satan waited to tempt Him. Jesus had spent 40 days in the wilderness without food and He was hungry. Satan used every opportunity to tempt Jesus daily in the place where the Holy Spirit had led Him. Satan used something in the wilderness that was in close proximity – rocks, stones. Satan came with an immediate need: hunger. Satan came with what was natural, not strange. It was a bodily need, something close, not foreign. It was something that could easily be given in to. He used deceptive language. ‘You are the Son of God,’ he said. Jesus could have answered, ‘Yes, I am and it is good you understand it.’ He could have said, ‘This is my opportunity to show Satan and the entire world, who I am and that I am from God, from heaven and that I can do this.’ This is what man’s nature is like. People want to be prominent. They want to be seen and known. They want something that makes them stand out from others. There are ministers who are like this. They want power and authority so that people recognise and see them. They want fame.
Satan knows very well your strengths and weaknesses. Satan knows you better than you know yourself. He knows where you are weak or strong. You may even be weak when it comes to food. You lack food. You are hungry therefore you steal. You say you are a ‘poor Lazarus’, so you steal. Just know, you do not steal because you are Lazarus but because you are a thief and there is no justification for that.
Secondly, the devil took Him to a high place and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world. Satan said that everything belonged to him and he could give it to whoever he wanted. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” He wants us to bow and worship Him. Many people possibly reach this point and want to give up, ‘I’ve tried and failed. The faith is not for me. I cannot do it. I’m too weak. Our family is like this as well, so I’m just giving it up,’ they say. ‘Our family, our background – we are just known for being failures.’ Many people feel sorry for themselves, and they backslide - using their background as an excuse.
Jesus had an answer to every temptation of Satan. Therefore, if Jesus is with us, no temptation should get the better of us. If Jesus is with us, Satan can throw everything at us – every temptation – but it will not blind or confuse us because Jesus is with us. Jesus had wisdom - which is clear in His responses to each temptation. He had the power to resist and even though He was on earth, He was from heaven. No matter what temptation may come our way, there is a way out through the Lord Jesus. What is your relationship with the Lord Jesus like? How well do you know Him? How much fellowship do you have with heaven? This is where you get your power and your answers from.
Even though Satan said, ‘You are the Son of God,’ which was the truth, but because it came from Satan He did not accept it. How much have you have already swallowed and accepted from Satan? You give up because ‘it doesn’t help anything,’ you say. You give yourself over to sin because you have accepted the lie Satan brought you.
Jesus could have responded with, ‘Here is my opportunity to show anyone who doubts, My power. Let Me show them now, once and for all, who I am.’ Jesus did not fall for what Satan suggested because it came from Satan. How much have you accepted from Satan already? If you had obeyed Jesus there would have been no room for that of Satan.
Jesus’ response: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Deuteronomy 8:3 says that which comes from Jesus brings life and will make us well but what comes from Satan will make us sick. You may be in the wilderness where there is nothing green, there are rocks and stones, but if you have Jesus you will live because you will not live by bread alone.
We have all the answers, all the wisdom, everything which is from heaven that equips us but why don’t we use it. Why are you hopeless? Why are you down in the dumps? We have the Lord Jesus with all answers, with wisdom from heaven. Why don’t we respond with that to Satan’s temptations.
Even though Jesus was in the wilderness where there was nothing, just stones, nothing coerced Him into giving in to Satan and agreeing with him. But young person, Satan comes and makes you do all he wants. You have no respect for anyone around you. You have all the answers. Why does the devil achieve that in your life?
Satan came with a word and said, ‘It is written…’ but Jesus responded with another word that put everything in the right perspective. Jesus had an answer and a response to each temptation. Jesus was practical and straightforward. There is always something else you can eat if there is no bread, but above all, each and every word from God brings life. If you partake of God’s word you will be nourished and strengthened. Some people wonder why they do not grow spiritually – they do not partake of the word of God.
Jesus was allowed to be tempted in the wilderness. Jesus was equipped. He was ready for every snare that Satan brought His way. He responded with the word of God. Through the word of God we are equipped with everything we need. When Satan shoots his fiery darts, we can defend ourselves through God’s word.
5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”
Jesus was not deceived by Satan’s lies. Satan said, ‘This is mine. The glory is mine.’ Satan tried to give Jesus what was rightfully His. Young person, do you believe that the kingdom and glory belong to Satan? Never. God has all power and glory. It belongs to Him. Satan tried to deceive Jesus. Young person, no matter what temptation or sin Satan is attacking you with, there is an answer through God’s word. Answer him. Jesus has provided us with every solution, every answer. There is no need for the devil to force you to become confused, unless of course, you belong to him.
Satan reached a point where he realised that he was just wasting his time and he had to give up. He said, ‘I am getting nowhere. Jesus has a response to everything. He is razor sharp.’
Young boy, what are you like when you are hungry? When some boys are hungry, their faith ends, their patience ends, they get upset because they do not get food. What is it like in your life because of hunger and food? A person may even sleep during a service because he is hungry, he says. A person does not sleep because he is hungry but because he is full of demons and Satan does not want you to hear the service. Even though Jesus was famished, he did not get upset or irritated. No, he was careful that each word he spoke would build Him up.
When Satan left, the angels came down to praise Him because He had defeated each attempt of Satan to get Him to sin. Remember when Jesus’ birth was announced at Bethlehem and the angels glorified Him, it was the same this time.
9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ 11 and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
How often have you lost your faith because of Satan’s lies? How many haven’t been deceived because they believed lies instead of the truth. It is sad that people prefer to believe lies to the truth. How many people find themselves in a pit today because they believed the liars? The Bible says that those who stand should beware lest they fall. If you say you are standing, you are on the Lord’s side, nothing can touch you - beware lest you fall. If you are close to the Lord, do not say, ‘I am untouchable.’ You should be extra careful that you do not fall away from the Lord. If you are in that ring with Satan and facing off with him, be careful. You may trip and fall from the faith – watch out! There are two kingdoms, heaven and hell and there is a struggle between the two. Be careful that you do not listen to Satan’s voice and then fall.
Satan is like boys who use the Bible to deceive girls. He couches things in religious language and says, ‘Knock and it shall be opened unto you’ - thereby wooing the girls to respond to him. Satan does that. Anybody can come with a Bible. If it is Satan, flee from Him. You need discernment.
Every believer should testify that God speaks through His word. When last, child of God, did you experience that? When they sleep some people’s dreams are foul and rotten. You dream that which your mind and heart are full of and what you keep yourself busy with, haunts you at night.
Satan should not be the one who shows us the glory of God. He cannot. We must have discernment to see what is of God. It is of paramount importance that we should be on fire for God, that we should part from sin and live for God. The angels served and honoured and praised Him because the Lamb of God was victorious.
Discern when Satan comes to you. Do not be deceived. Is there something Satan has hidden from you. If there is a bad outcome, bad fruit, realise that it is from Satan. The Bible says that he goes around like a roaring lion, seeking those whom he wants to devour. He is unconcerned about unbelievers, but he seeks to devour believers. Who will win in your life, Jesus or Satan? Blessed is the one who is on the side of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus.
Satan realised that Jesus would get hungry and he came at a time when He was hungry. He knows as well where and how He will get us – believers and unbelievers. He knows that he will get hold of you through your cell phone because he knows that you are weak there. He might get you through your position, because of pride. If you think you are beautiful, he will get you through that and wherever you go, you will be conscious of yourself.
May God help us to recognise Satan. Jesus said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan.’ Discern whether a man is still walking with God, otherwise you will be like the blind leading the blind and both fall over the cliff because of the lack of discernment. We need discernment and not the discernment of demons.
When you confess your sins, do not say that the devil made me do it. The prodigal sin said, 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’
When David looked at that woman and eventually sinned with her, he did not say that Satan made him do it. This is why many people do not grow because they defend themselves by saying it was Satan, in the meantime it was their own warped, sinful heart.
Jesus could have said that it was wonderful that everyone wanted to see this glory, but He had discernment. Out of whose mouth did the words come? The mouth of Satan.
Did someone not sell his birthright because of hunger? In Zulu there is a saying that a person gets angry because of hunger. Do not excuse yourself and blame your short temper on hunger.
In conclusion, a vehicle that runs out of diesel can get air into the system which stops it from working. If air enters the system anywhere, the car stops. It is a huge job to bleed the vehicle to remove the trapped air. Now brethren, if a person has the spirit of forsaking and turning against the Gospel, it is very difficult to help that person. If a young person has the spirit of liking the opposite sex and flirting, it is very difficult to help that person. May the Lord help us to discern.
Jesus was not influenced in any way by Satan’s spirit. No matter from which angle Satan came, he did not give in. Jesus discerned that Satan had entered Judas Iscariot. We need to have discernment, the Spirit of God and live for Him.