Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sermon Notes Matthew 4

Matthew 4:1-25
Sermon Notes
Subtle Devils
5/22/2016 and 5/29/2016
Lynchburg, Virginia

         There is a lot packed into this chapter. The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, the beginning of Jesus’s preaching ministry and the calling of some disciples.
         Remember our theme: fulfillment. Jesus is driven into the wilderness and there the devil tempts Him. He is tempted of the devil but tested by the Father. He remains faithful.
         Israel was in the wilderness and grumbled for bread. They put the Lord to the test in various matters, disobeying His will but still expecting Him to keep them safe. At times, they longed to return to Egypt. At other times, they lusted after the kings of the earth. They were not content with God’s provision. They did not trust in God’s protection for victory in battle over the giants of the land. They did not resist the temptaions and seductions of the women of the land and were ensnared by their gods.
         But Jesus is the ever faithful Israel. He does not fall into these various sins. He trust the Lord God, His Father, and He prevails over the devil. As a result, He enters into His ministry as the New Israel sent from God.

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 
Temptation is most strong when you are weak. But Jesus was not weak from fasting. He fasted in prayer and the Lord strengthened Him with might in the inner man.
But if you are hungry, thirsty, sick, or in some other way incapacitated, then know that temptation is right around the corner.
Mark adds that Jesus was in the wilderness with wild beasts. He was not only hungry and thirsty but in danger of being torn. Natural fear would have been upon Him in addition to the other frailties of human weakness.

3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 
Sometimes the devil makes sense. He is subtle. He is easy to agree with. But you’ve got to really hear what he is saying. Don’t fall for subtle devils.
If you are child of God, then you should have non-Christian friend. You can be salt and light in the public schools. You can handle snakes and not get poisoned. You can play with fire and not get burned.
You can make bread out of stones. You are not like other men. Use your privileges for yourself!

4 But he 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.
Jesus does not fall for the subtleties of the devil. He heard what the devil said and He responds with biblical thinking.
Dear ones, keep in mind that worldly thinking and godly thinking are often not too far apart except that worldly thinking lands you and infinite distance from our Savior.
The devil quotes God’s words to Moses as the Lord prepared them to enter the Promised Land. God had provided for them. They were to remember that it was the Lord’s provision and not their own. Jesus is being tested as to whether He will entrust His Father to feed Him or make the claim that He can feed Himself. He chooses to trust in the Lord.
We live by God’s Word and God’s words. This is even more foundational than the food that we eat. This fact is at the center of our faith. This is why we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
We have daily bread. It seems to show up no matter what. We are clothed and fed. We buy our clothes and our food from the money that we earn. Some of us have more money, so we have better clothes and better food. The danger in this is that we think that we are the source of our bread. That won’t do. God is the source. His words and His Word are our life. In order to live rightly in the Lord, we must acknowledge this basic truth and refuse to think and act as if we are the source of our own lives.
This temptation was an attempt to get Jesus to rely upon Himself instead of upon the Father. This was the devil’s attempt to get Jesus to do the will of Jesus instead of the will of the Father. Jesus did not bite and neither should we.

5 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 knows that Jesus is the Son of God. He probably has some clues about the events that are about to take place but he has not figured out the details. Keep in mind then that it is no surprise that humans did not figure out the veiled words of the Old Testament concerning Jesus.
The devil is interested in destroying Jesus. He probably also knows the answer about not testing the Lord your God but the devil tests Jesus anyway. Perhaps Jesus would make a mistake and the devil could destroy Him as a sinner. Then the heir to the throne would be eliminated and the devil could rule the world.
The temptation here is to get Jesus to believe something that was not meant for Him. It is true that the Lord watches over us and protects us even when we are not aware of His protection. But when we do foolish things on purpose and expect the Lord’s protection, then we are simply being fools. The Lord does not promise to keep us from falling while free climbing, safe while going over ski jumps, or giving us wings to fly when jumping off bridges. If your shoot fails to open, you will die. That is not the failure of the Lord.
However, He does keep us in all sorts of ways. When we pray for traveling mercies, the Lord keeps us awake, He protects us from texting drivers, He protects us from drunk drivers. There are probably a host of ways that the Lord is manipulating the universe to keep you breathing right now. This is most true.
So, don’t take the devil’s bait and tempt God then blame Him for your injuries or death.

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Jesus did not tempt God. God had given Him a calling and Jesus was intent on fulfilling that calling. He was not interested in exalting Himself as the devil was trying to get Him to do.

8 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.
I remember the first time I drove into Washington, DC. The power was intoxicating. I was both scared and exhilarated. I have never been that impressed with political power but when I drove into DC, the buildings, the majesty, the sense of power almost overcame me. You can see how men are intoxicated by that place and their place in it. This is the sort of thing the devil showed Jesus. See all this power, wealth, worldly glory? I can give it to you.
Jesus is not much impressed by that kind of power. It is not that He is disinterested in the world or its powers, it is that He is already Lord and ruler and the value He puts on the world’s politics, corporate business, luxury, is much different. He views all of these things as the good gifts of a gracious Father, not the supreme accomplishments of man. In fact, Jesus knows better than anyone that man seeking to subvert the glory of God, is the author of such things. Only when these kingdoms and institutions are made to bow themselves to the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Jesus, will they really achieve their intended glory.
The devil acts as if Jesus is not aware of all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He seems oblivious to the fact that these kingdoms will all be subsumed in the Kingdom of God with Jesus, Himself, as the ruler.
Is this really the devil’s naivete? Or, does he think he can destroy Jesus by getting him to take the bait of vanity that Lucifer fell into? I guess from that angle, it is likely that the devil did not fully understand that Jesus was God’s very own beloved Son. Lucifer is a fallen angel and in a sense a son of God.
But Jesus is The Son of God. God is the creator of all things and therefore the rightful owner. The devil was a liar from the beginning and is the usurper of God’s creation. The Son of God came to Earth to claim that which not only belonged to God but also belonged to man. The Earth was not the devil’s to give and so Jesus was not in a bargaining mood. He came to cast out the usurper and destroy him, not negotiate.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
After three temptations and three rebukes from Jesus, the devil leaves Jesus. Jesus is victorious but not without cost. He is exhausted from temptation, even though He has not sinned, and is in need of angels to minister to Him. No doubt, they brought Him food and drink and restored His body and mind to health.

Matt. 4:12   Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;  13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:  14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,  15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;  16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 
John is the end of the old and Jesus is the beginning of the new. John was cast into prison because he preached that Herod Antipas should not have taken his brother Phillip’s wife as his own. This was done by wicked men but it was also done by the providence of God. John must decrease and Jesus must increase.
The dawning of light is not just for Israel. The Gentiles will see the light. They say in the region of the shadow of death. They were without hope and without God in the world.
Jesus is the beginning of light. He is the beginning of hope. He introduces us to God, forgives our sins and makes rejoice in the community of the saints.

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Here is the same message you heard from John Baptist. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The only way into the kingdom is through repentance. Those who refuse to repent are not allowed in God’s Kingdom.
Outside of God’s Kingdom is the land of the shadow of death. There is no hope. There is no God. Repent, therefore, and come to the Kingdom of God.

Start 5/29/2016

         There are really only two important questions to answer in this life. Who is God? And, Who am I?
         The first one, Who is God has to do with the nature, person and work of God.
         The second has to do with how you relate to Him. What does He require of me? Will I submit to His rule or not?
         If you answer these questions in the right way, then you are in the right way. If not, then you are lost.
         The question, Who is God?, cannot be answered without God’s help. He has to reveal the answer. He hints at the answer through nature and it is such a big hint that men are guilty if they do not serve Him. However, nature does not fully reveal God. That takes special revelation.
         Jesus tells us that if we have seen Him, we have seen the Father. Furthermore, we are told that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. In order to know who God is, we must know who Jesus is.
         And the Word has much to say about the nature, person and work of Jesus.
         Just in the first few chapters of Matthew, even at the very beginning of the work of Jesus, we know much about His person and therefore know much about God. We are very culpable if we do not know and heed Him.
         In just the first 4 chapters of Matthew, we have already learned at least 24 character traits of Jesus.  These all answer the questions, “Who is Jesus? What is Jesus like?” That helps you answer the questions, “Who am I in Jesus?, What should I be like?”
         We know some of these truths about Jesus. But some of them catch us off guard, make us reevaluate Jesus and thus make adjustments to who we are. Start reading your Bibles more carefully!

1. Savior- Jesus 1:21- This is a primary characteristic. He likes to save people.
2. Emmanuel 1:23- God is with us in Jesus. Jesus is with people.
3. King- Son of David 1:1- He is a man but a great one, a royal king.
4. Woodsman who lays an axe- 3:10- He is not afraid of work and hard and damning work at that. Jesus will cut down those who despise and reject Him.
5. Husbandman who winnows and divides 3:12- He winnows the wheat from the chaff. The chaff is burned in the fire.
6. Identifies with sinners at baptism for sinners 3:15- He is not afraid to be reckoned with sinners.
7. Beloved Son 3:17- He does His Father’s will and the Father is pleased with Him.
8. Residing place of Holy Spirit 3:16- The Holy Spirit resides on and in Him and therefore Jesus always walks according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
9. Knows solitude, loneliness, suffering, aloneness 4:1- He is driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to a lonely place.
10. Disciplined, He fasts 40 days 3:2
11. Good listener, He heard the devil clearly- IF thou be…3:3- Jesus pays attention when people talk to Him, even in the midst of temptations, even in the midst of crowds.
12. Bible literate, quotes to devil 3:4- Jesus is not easily taken in by the teaching and traditions of devils or men. He knows what the Bible really teaches.
13. Authoritative, get thee hence Satan 3:10- Jesus is not afraid of the devil or the men that devils motivate. He speaks to them directly and they depart.
14. From questionable heritage, Rachab, Tamar, Bathsheba, 1:1-17- Jesus was from a kingly line but the line was tainted. He was not afraid to claim prostitutes and Gentiles in His heritage. His pride was in God’s work not man’s perfections.
15. Attracted to darkness, Capernaum, Naphtali, Zabulon 4:16- Jesus went to dark places because He was the light.
16. Preacher 4:17- Jesus did not have a soft and easy message of a minister, or a bible teacher, or speaker or one who shares a message. He preached.
17. Preacher of Repentance 4:17- Jesus not only preached, His message was far different than what goes for preaching in many quarters. He didn’t share to make people feel good. Most of the time, His sermons made people feel bad, or even mad. But to those who responded by repenting, He healed them.
18. Walker 4:18- He walked around and with people and sometimes alone. He was an outdoor person.
19. Authoratative, even commanding, Follow Me 4:18- Jesus didn’t do much suggesting or challenging. He just said it with a “Thus sayeth the Lord authority.” The authorities hated this and the common people loved it.
20. Didn’t mind causing problems in families, He called Peter and Andrew and James and John away from their work. 4:18- Jesus didn’t consult these men about whether His demands would cause problems with his parents, their business or friends. He just said it and let the consequences work themselves out in the will of God.
21. Teacher 4:23- Teaching seems to be distinct from preaching. It has a more patient and careful aspect. He sometimes preaches, then takes aside His disciples and explains the difficult preaching.
22. Healer of lunatics, demon possessed, palsy 4:23- Jesus loves messed up people. He desires them to be delivered and made whole. Sometimes they come to Him. Sometimes He goes to them.
23. Preacher of the gospel of the Kingdom 4:23- He not only preached repentance but the gospel of the Kingdom. That message is bigger than repentance and salvation or healing. It includes the Christ, the Messiah, the one who would fill the shoes of David and rule on David’s throne forever.
24. Leader, great multitudes followed Him 4:25- Jesus led but He was an interesting leader. He was so direct about things and said such difficult things that He often lost lots of followers. But He was so charismatic in His teaching and His ministry that people were drawn to Him and followed Him.

Matt. 4:18   And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 
We should get our church polity and business cues from the Bible and not from our secular culture. Jesus had no problem with calling two brothers into His inner circle. When Jesus calls you, lay down what you are doing and follow Him. These men remained fishermen. They went back to it briefly after Jesus was crucified and before Pentecost. When you give up your will to follow Jesus, you become what you were truly meant to be. It takes faith to do this.

21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.  22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
We are told in another gospel that James and John were in business with Peter and Andrew. So, not only were two brothers called into Jesus’s inner circle but two sets of brothers who were also business partners.

         The Gospel to the World
         We saw last chapter that John’s ministry was extensive. People came from all Israel to hear him. Now look what happens. The ministry of Jesus is bigger. People come from the land of Gentiles to hear Jesus. This is the beginning of the gospel extending beyond Israel to the ends of the Earth.

Matt. 4:23   And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 
24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.  25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
Take Jesus at His Word. He is the New Israel, the faithful one. He prevails over sin. In Him, we have our daily bread. Believe that God is our provider in all things. In Him, God is our protector. Do not put God to the test, nor blame God when you do. In Him, be content with His provision. Do not look with sidelong glances and the world’s goods.

God created the world good and we are thankful for that. But the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life crowd in to put us to the test. Do we forsake these worldly ways of looking at the world and look at it the way the Lord does? He looks upon the world as His own, a place where all men must submit to His will. When they do so, they will be free from the subtleties of the devil and will be able to live in peace in the kingdom of God.

No comments: