Sermon Notes, 1st Sunday in Lent, (Temptation of Christ) 22 February 2015 Anno Domini – Delivered at Canterbury Chapel, Fairhope, AL, Bishop Charles Morley, Presiding.
Christ came, not only to atone for sin. But to be a perfect example to his people it was necessary, therefore, that he should suffer temptation, that he might know how to succor the tempted.
Due to the nature of these perilous times, perhaps we need to remind ourselves of, not only the terror, but the glorious aspects of these these latter days. God promised us a standard and a Savior
8 And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more (Amos 7:6-8)
How many present today even KNOW what a Plumbline is?
Nature of a Plumbline: 1) Is perfectly vertical (used in building construction – even today). 2) Points to a precise point on earth. 3) Must be attached at a precise point on High, else it is not a plumbline.
Our plumbline is realized in the Word Incarnate – Jesus Christ! (John 1:1-3)
10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:10)
In battle, the Ensign is a banner called “the colors” around which the Army rallies.
Times are becoming perilous and uncertain in our day. We must persevere, however, until the end. Let me give us a reassurance from Rev. 20:7-10.
CAMP OF THE SAINTS: 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Rev 20:7-10)
What is the nature of a camp? It most often refers to a military cantonment area – a temporary enclave. In the end times, we may count on being so few that all believers may fit into a mere CAMP!
We are accounted “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” in Hebrews 11:13. Our quarters here will always be temporary.
Against this camp come all of the gathered armies from the four quarters of the world. The faint of heart may stumble with fear in that day; yet, the Lord is the Captain of Battles, and His people will be victorious despite heavy odds by His power and Intervention.
WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT: Rev 20:11-12 (KJV)
Turning to our lectionary text, we have a revealed account of Christ’s temptation from the prince of darkness. The whole is very minutely and fully narrated, in which we have,
The Temptation and Victory. And
I. The Time of Christ’s Temptation
Three very notable and important things immediately preceded it.
1. His baptism and acknowledgment of the Father.
13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matt 3:13-17)
Three events occurred at the Baptism of Jesus:
The Heavens were opened
The confirmation and attestation of God the Father
The complete Trinity was present at the baptism of Jesus – Father whose Voice spoke from Heaven, the Holy Spirit descending as a Dove, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (Matt 4:1)
Following the exultation and joy of the just often goes before depression and sorrow; Christ, after his illustrious baptism, was tempted of the devil in the wilderness.
2. It was just at his entrance on the public work of the ministry.
3. It was when he had fasted forty days.
The reason of Christ’s fasting is not given; doubtless, he had retired into the wilderness that he might meditate and pray before he commenced his glorious work. It is worthy of remark that Moses, who was at the head of the legal; and Elijah, who was at the head of the prophetical, and Jesus; who was at the head of the New Testament dispensation, all fasted forty days; Exo_24:18; 1Ki_19:8.
II. The Place of Christ’s Temptation. “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.” (Matt 4:2)
The Wilderness. Supposed by many to have been the wilderness of Sinai, a dreary, barren, and dangerous place. A striking emblem of the fallen state of the world, which he came to redeem. A just representation of that through which Zion’s pilgrims have to pass, in their way to the promised land. Notice,
III. The Agent who tempted Christ.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” (Matt 4:3)
Remember how the enemy was destroyed outside the Camp of the Saints? Rev 20:10
– And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
We see from the next verses 11-12, that that old Serpent (Adversary and Accuser of God’s people) will not be present at the white Throne Judgment. He will be enjoying the tropical zones in Hell.
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Rev 20:11-12)
“The devil.” The leader of the apostate angel – ”the murderer of our first parents” the seducer of mankind ”the prince of darkness” the god of this world” he whose nature is opposed to all that is good, and true, and holy, and whose work it is to go about, seeking whom he may devour. He is distinguished for subtlety and craft, for power, for dire malignity, and deep wickedness. Notice,
IV. The Temptation itself, and the Victory obtained.
It was presented in three different forms He was tempted,
1. To distrust the Father’s care and goodness.
“If thou be the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread.” Christ referred to Deu_8:3, “Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
God can preserve in dearth and famine, when the staff of bread is broken. His will is sufficient for every purpose. By his simple word he effects whatever he pleaseth. He was then tempted,
In countering every attack of Satan, Jesus always quotes Scripture.
2. Christ is conducted, most probably, to the top of Solomon’s porch, which was 150 feet high, and which overhung a valley of 700 feet; and he now suggests, that if Christ was the Son of God, he might cast himself down, seeing it is written that “God shall give his angels charge concerning him, lest at any time he dash his foot against a stone.” Now, let it be observed, that Satan misquoted the passage for it is said, “to keep thee in all thy ways;” Psalm 91:11.. Then Satan grossly perverted the passage; for the promise was not given to foster recklessness and presumption, but to encourage those who humbly trusted in the Lord, and made the Lord their fortress and refuge; Psa 91:1, Psa 91:2. Christ repelled this suggestion by another quotation from the word of life, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” To rush into danger, is to tempt God; and to do this, is to violate the divine prohibition. He tempted Christ,
3. To gross and wicked idolatry.
Takes him to the most elevated part of one of the mountains in the vicinity of the desert, and shows him, most probably, the various provinces of Judea, and offers him these, with all their glory, if he would fall down and worship him.
Observe the monstrousness of the suggestion: for the Son of God to worship the devil! The utter wickedness and vileness of it! Then the arrogant and base offer, to give these kingdoms when he had no right in them, no claim to them, and therefore could not have the least ability to bestow any part of them Christ draws his last arrow from the holy quiver of God’s word, and at once over comes the foul spirit: “Get thee hence Satan.”
“It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve;” and thus triumphed over the adversary, for he immediately left him.
V. The Consolation which Christ received.
“Behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Angels had, doubtless, witnessed the scene, and had hailed the triumph of the Son of God, and they now became ministers of comfort to him.
Let this encourage the saints of the Most High; they have a heavenly guard, they are in a state of happy union and friendship with angels, for they are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation;
Christ’s temptation is intended to teach us the following,
1. The true character of our great High Priest, “Tempted in all points as we are.”
2. The true way of overcoming the enemy, by the power of the word of truth.
3. The success which we shall assuredly obtain in the faithful use of the divine armory. And,
4. The consolation God will communicate to all his faithful and constant servants. Moreover, we learn, that it is not sinful to be tempted. Satan cannot compel, only suggest; and the grace of God is sufficient for his people.
As Christ contemplated in the wilderness of Temptation, the full meaning of His Coming Ministries and Sacrifice, let us, too, during this Lenten Season, contemplate the times that are coming upon the earth and be strengthened by the ministry of the Holy Ghost.
To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 1:25