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Faithlife

Mark Part 4: No, Satan

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Firm Foundations Course  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  49:50
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We are back into our Series on the Gospel of Mark this morning, and as it the punchy nature of this Gospel we move along at a brisk pace from event to event.
Last time we witnessed the Baptism of the Lord Jesus, and we saw who Christ was at all times obedient to the will of the Father, thats called the perfect active obedience of Christ, and it is the ultimate example, and one we as Christians should follow. Thats why Baptism is important, because its a command of scripture, and to be in obedience to God is to follow his commandments,
John 14:15 KJV 1900
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Is so important to be Baptised as a Christian, it was important to Jesus and it should be important to us.
So Christ began his ministry with the words “Yes, Father” but this morning we look at Christ’s temptation, where he through his example shows us how to say “No,Satan”
Lets read Mark 1:12-13 together
Mark 1:12–13 KJV 1900
And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
Let’s Pray
You may have asked or indeed heard of the question could Jesus’s have sinned. During this temptation described could Jesus have sinned by succumbing to temptation? It’s important to note at this point before we go any further that temptation itself is not a sin, to capitulate and act upon that temptation.
When it comes to temptation we give in so easily, fall so readily, prove ourselves so weak, and yet here comes God’s Man, Jesus Christ and He wants you and I to know that He is who He claims to be, the perfect Son of God, and so He is driven out into the wilderness to be tempted that we might see He was/is unbreakable. The theological term is “impeccable.” Jesus could not sin. And yet His temptation was as real as any you or I have ever experienced.
So lets examine Christ’s temptation this morning. Notice then firstly

1. The Location of Christ’s Temptation

Mark 1:12 KJV 1900
And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.
Here this word “immediately” appears and we will see this regularly alongside the word “straightway” throughout this Gospel. The importance of this detail at this point should not be missed, for it is immediately after Christ’s Baptism that he faces this trial.
Christ’s coronation by the spirit and confirmation from the Father are followed straightaway by his confrontation with the Devil. This temptation came immediately after the Lord had committed Himself to exemplifying righteousness, identified with those He came to save and committed Himself to His Father’s plan.
This timing serves an important lesson for us, because it is often after the blessings that we enter into the battles, and no spiritual privilege may shelter us from ferocity of temptation or trial.
The mistake that many Christians make, especially new converts is that after the moments of Great spiritual victory such as Baptism, they think have it sorted, they have made it, but what often happens is they let there Guard down and in doing so leave themselves open to attack.
Here Jesus after committing himself to do what is right, is tried and tested.
The location of this testing is the wilderness.
How well we know that the Lord leads us beside still waters in times of refreshing and restoration, but what about times of trial and temptation. Well sometimes that same Lord brings to a place of isolation, to a barren place, to a dry place, to a place where there are little or no resources that we might learn to look only to Him.
When Jesus was tempted He wasn’t driven by the Spirit to dens of iniquity; but the quiet isolation of a barren desert.
Why there?
Because God knows man so well, and He knows that temptation comes not from that which is without, casinos, prostitution, debauchery, materialism, but from that which is within
Jeremiah 17:9 KJV 1900
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
But God knows it – and to prove that Jesus was the real deal he brings Him to this lonely place, that He might try the character of the inner man.
So we have the location of the temptation but what of...

2. The Duration of Christ’s Temptation

Mark 1:13 KJV 1900
And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
Here we read that Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days, now is that number significant or did it just happen to be 40 days? Well in scripture numbers are important a lot of the time, and they usually carry some deeper significance.
Mentioning 146 times in Scripture, the number 40 generally symbolises a period of testing, trial or probation.
The Israelites wandered 40 years in the wilderness before entering the promised Land
During Moses' life he lived forty years in Egypt and forty years in the desert before God selected him to lead his people out of slavery.
Moses was also on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights, on two separate occasions (Exodus 24:18, 34:1 - 28), receiving God's laws. He also sent spies, for forty days, to investigate the land God promised the Israelites as an inheritance (Numbers 13:25, 14:34).
The prophet Jonah powerfully warned ancient Nineveh, for forty days, that its destruction would come because of its many sins.
The prophet Ezekiel laid on His right side for 40 days to symbolise Judah's sins (Ezekiel 4:6).
So the number 40 symbolises a time of testing, trial or probation, and the Lord Jesus in his temptation was indeed being tested.
Matthews account tells us that Jesus’s fasted for these 40 days
Matthew 4:2 KJV 1900
And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
On a human level that places Jesus in a place of physical weakness.
But here again, we see Satan’s method of operation – he comes to us when we are at our weakest.
The Bible says,
1 Peter 5:8 KJV 1900
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Illustration: Lion’s are choice predators, they don’t go for the strongest, they pick off the weakest, those outside, or on the edges, of the group. A lion approaching any heard of animals will go for the easy target.
That’s just how our enemy works folks, that’s why being in Church is important, thats why be around Christian people is important, to isolate ourselves makes us a easier target for the enemy.
Here we find Jesus hungry and at his weakest physically, alone in the desert and he attacks.
And that is how the Devil operates – he comes maybe after prolonged marital problems, and he says “walk away… leave her/him”
He comes after a long period of financial problems and he says, “End it all – kill yourself, that way there will be no bills to pay.”
He comes after weeks of grief and he says, “God doesn’t care – if He cared He would never have allowed that loved one to die,”
He comes after a long illness and he says, “Listen, God isn’t hearing your prayers – prayer doesn’t work.”
You see the servant is not greater than his Master, and what we witness in the life of Jesus is the experience of all those who follow Him. We will face the attack of the enemy and we he will attack when we are at our weakest.
What then about the temptation itself, in what form did it come? well let’s then finally examine

3. The Construction of Christ’s Temptation

Mark’s Gospel doesn’t give us the details of the temptation, we only read that Jesus was tempted.
Mark 1:13 KJV 1900
And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
For a fuller account of the actual details of the temptation we must move to Matthews Gospel
Matthew 4:3–10 KJV 1900
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 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. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 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. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 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; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 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.
Now we have already detailed that Christ’s temptation came after his Baptism, and we should remember the words from the heavenly father in response to this act of obedience is “ Thou art my beloved Son” and its is this testimony that is put to the test, as Satan always wants us to doubt the word of God.
This test is a rerun of what happened in the Garden, where Satan deceived with the words “Yea, hath God said” casting doubt upon Gods word. He attempts the same tactic with Christ.
In verse 4 of Matthew 4 we read , “If thou be the Son of God…” then in verse 6, “If thou be the Son of God…”
Do you see that? The Father says, “Thou art my beloved Son…” and Satan comes to cast doubt upon that, “If thou be the Son of God…” Casting doubt upon the testimony of God’s Word.
The Word of God tells us, “If you believe on Christ, if you trust His work on Calvary you will be saved,” but Satan comes and he says, “If you were saved you would not think that/ say that/ do that.” This is no onslaught on your character alone, this is a challenge to the testimony and promises of God.
The temptation itself come in three categories, John tells us the three categories
1 John 2:16 KJV 1900
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Lust of the Flesh, The Lust of Eyes and the pride of life. All sin springs up from these three catergories, and this is how Satan tempts Jesus. This is also exactly how Satan tempted Adam & Eve in the Garden.
Genesis 3:4–6 KJV 1900
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
“good for food,” First, it was appealing to her appetite. This John refers to as the “lust of the flesh,” the desire for that which satisfies any of the physical needs
“pleasing to the eye,” The fruit was also pleasing or delightful to the eye, that which we see and desire to own or possess. Here is the “lust of the eyes” John refers to.
“desirable for gaining wisdom” Finally, Eve somehow perceived that the fruit would make her wise, giving her a wisdom beyond her own. Part of Satan’s lie was that eating the fruit would make her “like God, knowing good and evil” Here is the essence of the pride of life—anything that exalts us above our station and offers the illusion of God-like qualities, wherein we boast in arrogance and worldly wisdom.
Now Adam and Eve failed miserably in their test, but what about Christ as he faces the same tactics of the enemy.
Well Firstly Satan tempts Christ with the lust of flesh
Matthew 4:3–4 KJV 1900
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 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.
I am sure Jesus would have liked nothing better than some bread after 40 days of fasting. Indeed, in the eating of bread there seems no sin, but what Satan is really suggesting to him is that he break his fast by placing the needs of His body ahead of the needs of the soul.
He is really calling upon Him to satisfy a legitimate desire of the flesh in an illegitimate way.
Doesn’t Satan still play that card? How many Christians have laid aside their testimony for a moment of physical pleasure?
How does Jesus respond, with the word of God, he quote scripture. remember the bible is our sword, it is both a defensive and an offensive weapon, and it is supremely powerful and effective when used correctly!
Next then Satan goes for the pride of life
Matthew 4:6–7 KJV 1900
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. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Here he is quoting from Psalm 91 – rather he is misquoting – how the devil likes us to justify our sins by some reference to God’s Word, and how often is that reference wrenched from its context, added to or taken from in some way so as to make the Bible say something it was never intended to say.
Here he says, “Jesus, show us what you can do – you are the Son of God, show off some of the privilege associated with your status. Show us you really trust God’s Word by putting it to the test.
How subtle this temptation is, because real trust doesn’t try the One it’s trusting.
How does Jesus respond, again he quotes the word of God correctly.
Finally then the enemy goes for the lust of the eyes
Matthew 4:8–10 KJV 1900
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; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 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.
In a sweeping moment Satan presented the Lord with a panoramic view of the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5) and he says, “Take a look Jesus, all this could be yours, if you would but bow down and worship me.”
Do you think the devil’s offer was sincere? Remember he was a liar from the beginning. Never do business with liars.
What’s more, the Lord Jesus knew that what worship is who you serve. He would not be made a sovereign by worshiping Satan, but a slave.
Look up Psalm 2:7-9
Psalm 2:7–9 KJV 1900
I will declare the decree: The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; This day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, And I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Did you notice that Jesus was commanded to ask His Father for the kingdoms of the world? Yet here Satan says, “ask me”.
Satan says you can have the kingdom without cross – look it’s yours! All you have to do is worship me.
But to do so would have brought the Saviour into Satan’’s debt and so He replies, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
And with this the enemy is sent packing the test that was failed by the first Adam, is passed with flying colours by the Last Adam, proving his Messianic credentials as truly God in the flesh, the perfect sinless lamb of God.
Conclusion
You know when we think of our temptations, we more often than not think of failure. Like Adam before, we are tempted and fall – sometimes all too easily. But Jesus never fell and Jesus never fails. And that is what makes Him such a wonderful Saviour. You see His victory is our victory. In Him we too are victorious, “more than conquerors,” according to Paul. And yet, how often do we feel more like failures than conquerors. Here my friends, is the secret to success in the Christian life. My life is hid with Christ in God. You and me, with all of our failings, all our weakness may live victoriously when we reckon ourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. When we identify with Him. His life. His death. His resurrection.
But that means denial of self. That means an acknowledgment of weakness. That signals our own inability. That means putting our lives to the cross. Being assured of our sonship, never doubting our standing in Christ, and walking according to His Word. How blessed we are, that we have an High Priest was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” What glorious hope he brings, and what gracious sympathy He offers, and what a marvellous victory He affords to those who trust Him and walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
2 Corinthians 10:3–5 KJV 1900
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Folks it is not possible to fight a fleshly temptation with fleshly weapons.
Temptation leads to Contemplation, which leads to Justification, which leads to Participation.
We have to fight this battle with spiritual weapons, just like our Lord did out there in the desert, he used the word of God to fend of the attacks of the enemy.
I wonder this morning are you facing your own trial which is tempting you to doubt, to get angry, to sin?
I urger you to cling to the sword, the Bible and have the victory that you can have when you fight a fleshy temptation with the spiritual weapon and say the words with authority and boldness “No, Satan”
Let’s pray
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