Friday, May 3, 2013

Matthew 4

Hello Project Ezra!  Thanks for joining us for another week, and I pray the outline will be an encouragement to you.  This week we will be reading Matthew chapter 4, where Jesus is tempted in the desert by Satan.  When Jesus took on a human body, the temptation He experienced was similar to what all of us experience.  1 John 2 talks about the lust of the flesh and of the eyes, and pride in possessions.  Sinful thoughts, sinful actions, and pride encompass all our temptations, but unlike Jesus, we frequently give in to them.  But He did not sin as we do, and so His perfect life and perfect death can be applied to us, so we can be seen as perfect before God.  This is the truth that most non-believers have never heard, and even many inside the church don’t truly understand, so it is vital that we preach it clearly and faithfully.  I pray that God will give you strength and wisdom as you do so.

We are also moving toward Sermon on the Mount Saturday, another one of our larger events, toward the end of this month.  On Memorial Day weekend (that's the last Monday in May for those of you outside the States) we will be reading the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) in the open air.  Please start thinking now about who you might like to invite to join you.  With three chapters to read, it’s easy to share the responsibility.  I'll have the Facebook event up shortly.  Be sure to join and let us know where you will be reading once you see it.  And please share it on your own social media pages

God bless you as you head to the streets to share His message of grace!

All for His glory,



The beginning of this chapter talks about Jesus being led into the desert to be tempted by the Devil

Elsewhere in scripture we are told that He was tempted in every way as we are, but without sin (Hebrews 4:15)

Every member of the human race is tempted by sin, just as Jesus was

If you take a moment to consider the temptations Jesus faced, you will see they are not much different than yours.

Satan first tempted Him to turn stones to bread

We often treat the physical as more important than the spiritual, living for the present rather than living for eternity.

Instead, we need to trust in the Lord’s provision, and feed on His word.  He will provide for our needs.

Satan then tempted Jesus to throw Himself off the highest point of the temple, and to trust that God's angels would save Him.

Jesus replied, saying He would not foolishly challenge God.  Have you done that?

God could indeed have done what Satan suggested, but Jesus did not need to jump to know that was true.  He already knew the Father to be trustworthy.  This is the difference between trusting God and testing God

Just because God is able to do something, or you think He ought to respond in a certain way, does not mean He is obligated to do so. 

God can and does protect and heal, but in His timing, and He is not obligated to protect you from your foolish, arrogant behavior

Then Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, and offered Him control in exchange for worship.

The Bible calls Satan the god of this world, and he certainly can give much power and influence.

But all the power, influence and riches the world has to offer are of far less value that the privilege of worshiping the true God.

After all, what does it prophet a man if he gains the world and forfeits his soul? (Matthew 16:26)

1 John 2 says - Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

This is what Satan tempted Jesus with: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
The Lust of the Flesh leads us to satisfy our physical desires outside of the parameters God has placed on them.

It is because of this lust that people engage in gluttony, adultery, unnatural sexual practices, drug use and drunkenness.

Are these sins, moral crimes that you are guilty of?  Have you broken God’s law, rebelled against Him, and offended His holiness?

The Lust of the Eyes leads us to sinful desires, such as adultery of the heart, coveting, envy, and even murderous thoughts.

Have you looked with lust?  Have you coveted or envied someone around you?  Have you hated, and thus committed murder in your heart?

And what about pride, which is the root of much of our sin?  It is because we put our desires first, acting as if what we want is more important than obedience to God, that we twist God’s word, ignore His word, or simply deny His existence.

We are all guilty of these sins.  And because of our sins, just like all guilty criminals, we deserve justice.

God created Hell to satisfy that justice.  Hell is a real place of fire, and darkness and pain, where we will be rightly and justly punished for our sins against God.

All those who deny the existence of God or hell, or who trust in their own goodness to get them in, are destined to spend eternity there.

I deserve to spend eternity in hell, and so do you.  But I don’t want to go there, and we are here today because we don’t want you to go there either.

Because of God’s grace, you don’t need to go, and neither do I

Through Christ’s atonement, we can be freed.  Through His shed blood, our sins can be paid for, and we can escape the terrors of hell.

When Jesus started His public ministry, he preached “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!”

To repent is to turn, to change direction and to change allegiance.

Jesus told His early disciples “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They left everything and followed Him.

We too must be willing to turn, and leave everything to follow Him, and to trust in Him alone to save us.

Only Jesus Christ was truly God in human flesh. 

Only Jesus lived the perfect life we could not live, and then died the death we deserved.

Only Jesus is now risen from the dead, and only He stands before God as our great high priest, who will speak for us on the Day of Judgment.

Are you willing to follow Him?  Will you forsake everything to follow Him?

If you want to find out more, please come and talk to us.  But please do not go another day without making peace with your creator.

Life is short.  The Bible tells us we are like grass and leaves, that are here today and fade tomorrow.   

None of us are promised even another day on this earth.

So while God has been patient with you, while He has given you more time, repent and trust in Him!

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