To Be Tempted...

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Tempted

2Pet. 2:9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,

He saved Noah, Lot, Israel and many more.

2Pet. 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Gen. 19:14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
Gen. 19:15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
Gen. 19:16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them.

While temptation comes from a person’s own lust, God will always give them a way out.

James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.  14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

1Cor. 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to betempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Gen. 22:12 ¶ “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Gen. 22:13 ¶ Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

1Th. 5:23   May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

Temptations are a necessity of life.

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Luke 22:40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.

Luke 8:13 “Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.

Matt. 26:41 “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Flesh: (by extension) the body (as opposed to the soul (or spirit), or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred), or (by implication) human nature (with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions), or (specially), a human being (as such):

God uses the analogy about clothing as covering our imperfections to help define human nature.

Rev 16:15 (“Behold,I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes,so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”)

Jesus, who was tempted in all possible human nature temptations relates to our situation and shows us how to overcome them.

Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has beentempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

The Tempter

How did the devil know about Jesus? Why did the devil tempt him with the things it did? It is scary to realize that the devil knows about so much that is going on among so many people. Jesus had not yet begun his ministry and was not yet well known, but the devil knew. We are not dealing with some ignorant entity but one very clever being indeed.

Job 2:2 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”

From its roaming, it knew a lot about human nature: love of money, lusting for food, power, etc. The demon could not have known what kind of character was deep inside Jesus, but it just used those things that most, if not all (well, not all) would motivate them. Below is what Satan said to God about Job.

Job 2:4 Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.
Job 2:5 “However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face.”

Unlike the rest (almost) of mankind, Job had a greater character than the demon could imagine. Of course, the demon missed the mark on Noah, Abraham and Moses. The demon did get it right for most of Israel who God had to keep out of the land of Canaan.

When people get hungry, they will do most anything to satisfy the hunger because the body’s intense desires for such things predictably overcomes a person. Here the flesh rules, with an exception or two. Some, today disdain food to keep slim looks with the problems dieting can result in. Obviously, we have to be nourished. Most people have trouble controlling their physical desires emanating from bodily needs or habits. They must have their caffeinated coffee or tea, sugar and so forth. Few people would ignore their desires for foods that God did not create for humans and which He calls unclean like pork and shellfish. For most their desires come first, no matter what God says.

Not only that, the devil put it to Jesus as the adopted Son of God that he had great powers to work miracles; he could command the rocks to become bread. That suggestion deviates from God’s Command to work six days for people’s needs including food. Miracles come from necessities: pharaoh’s chasing Israel at the edge of the Red Sea and God parted the sea to save them. But a miracle for food is wrong in every sense; unless, of course, food was unavailable and God sent manna to feed Israel. For Jesus His God and Father’s Word was more important than starving to death (exaggeration). Even in a lesser extent, a body and mind, which are hungry, can reduce a person’s ability to act rationally, judiciously, patiently and normally.

Notice that Jesus knew and said that God’s Word brings life. Remember that God’s Words, or any spoken word for that matter, are made possible by the breath, i.e., the spirit [ruach].

“But further, the tempter’s whole object during the forty days evidently was to get Him to distrust the heavenly testimony borne to Him at His baptism as [to become] THE SON OF GOD — to persuade Him to regard it as but a splendid illusion — and, generally, to dislodge from His breast the consciousness of His Sonship.

“[S]urely Thy days of obscurity and trial should have an end. Why linger for weeks in this desert, wandering among the wild beasts and craggy rocks, unhonored, unattended, unpitied, ready to starve for want of the necessaries of life? Is this befitting “the [adopted] Son of God?” At the bidding of “the Son of God” surely those stones shall all be turned into loaves, and in a moment present an abundant repast.” JFB

Matt. 4:1Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wildernessto be tempted by the devil.  2 And after He hadfasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.  3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are theSon of God, command that these stones become bread.”  4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” Deuteronomy 8:3

The devil tried to get Jesus to use his power as the adopted Son of God to show off by jumping off the temple. The devil learned that the arrogance of mankind was indeed notorious. Assuming Jesus would want to strut his stuff and do a great wonder, he tempted him. The devil even quoted scripture to make its point by citing psalm 91:11-12. Pretending to be an angel of light [2 Cor. 11:14 No wonder, for evenSatan disguises himself as anangel of light], the devil makes a futile attempt to disguise his motives with some Words of God. How many times does the demon try to deceive people into following what seems to be holy and nice. Surely as well, Jesus’ pride, the demon must have assumed, would have embolden him to display his vaulted position. The assumption proved to be invalid.

Matt. 4:5 Then the devil took Him intothe holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,
            ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’;
            and
            ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,
            SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “ On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’” Deuteronomy 6:16

“Do it now, the devil says; why wait, he continues; you are the future ruler; I can make it happen now, he concludes. As always, the purpose of the serpent, the devil, the demon continues to wrest and keep mankind away from God. It wants to be the god of mankind, but not for life or their good but for their death. The demon does not ever want to live because to live means to become children of God who love Him by keeping His Commandments. It hates God and will do everything it can to keep others from loving Him. In the end, however, the demon will be gone and much of mankind, will, after the second resurrection come to their Creator and God. Of course, God has already adopted Sons and Daughters who will be resurrected to eternal life at Jesus’ coming ruler of the Earth under God.” JFB

Matt. 4:8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, “ All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”  10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘ YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’” 11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

While Our Father expects us to do our utmost, He is the one who finally saves through Jesus’ sacrifice. So, He saved Jesus from his intense hunger by sending His messengers to feed him. In everything, God gives life; He created food, water, air, the sun, animals and us. While we are not supposed to sit back and expect God to it for us, whatever we do all comes from God. Yet, how many are thankful for all that God has done for life and to continue life by His Spirit all the time.

1Pet. 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Peter explains how to resist temptation. We must first be alert to things which can tempt us as we usually know what our weaknesses are. Then we need to use the methods that keep us from succumbing to temptation like shifting our attention, read or reviewing certain scriptures in our minds. We know the things of faith which will give us strength in God’s Word and Way. We need to keep in mind that all the brethren are burdened by temptations of their own.

Jesus gives us the best example of resisting temptation, and he will intervene in our lives because he was tempted more than any.

Heb. 2:18 For since He Himself wastempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,

As we know we need temptation to keep us alert and strengthen our resolve. Without temptation we will never achieve our potential for each challenge produces within the higher values we need to think, speak and act on.

James 1:2   Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encountervarious  trials,  3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces  endurance.  4 And letendurance have its perfect result, so that you may beperfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

The Last Temptation of Christ

Passover began the cycle of his last temptation. Jesus broke bread, which was symbolic of his greatly afflicted body as well eating the final sacrificed Lamb of God. Then Jesus gave the apostles wine representing his bleeding out as well as the ingesting of his lifeblood. Finally the washing of the feet renews (we obviously cannot die again) the death by baptism and the resurrection to life after the baptism.

A More Opportune Time

All the temptations the demons presented to Jesus after the fast lead to this final temptation. Jesus did not have to die for he never sinned; he could have gone on forever without the horrific suffering and death. He would still rule.

Luke 4:13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

Judas, like so many people in our lives, bring us great temptations. Whether they just want us to join them in the erroneous ways or want us to fail in our quest for life and life more abundantly. Judas’s reward was a couple of dollars; love of money is the root of all evil for people will do anything for it.

Mark 14:11 They were glad when they heard this, and promised to give him money. And he began seeking how to betray Him at an opportune time.

Kazantzakis’s book had Jesus last temptation to become a husband and live a family life with many children. He said that the few moments before he died he imagined this life. He said Jesus rejected the temptation and allowed himself to die. The temptation was, of course, much simpler. Jesus rejected life to give life to mankind: murderers, thieves, and the like; in other words to those who hated the Father he dearly loved. He gave up his life to end the reign of evil and hatred of His Father. He did it for very bad people who worshipped the devil.

He also knew there were those around him, though weak and sinful, who would receive God’s Spirit as he did. He did it by faith because there was no sight or evidence his death would save anyone. He overcame the temptation anyway. Now he continues to help us overcome our temptations for a goal we cannot see but believe because of his Father’s Word and because of his words and deeds.

Matt. 26:39   And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, letthis cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40 And He came to the disciples and  found them sleeping, and  said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation;the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Matt. 26:42   He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.”

Let us grow into Jesus’ image and learn how be able to fight and destroy our temptations.

Amen.

Gil Kovacs,
Pastor
Sabbath Christian Church

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