Just over a month ago I noted that while I’ve linked several times to Michael Newnham, aka Phoenix Preacher at Thinking Out Loud, he had never appeared here at C201. Well, the post we chose wasn’t actually Michael’s own writing, and last week, while reading through several of his Weekend Word posts at his blog Phoenix Preacher, I knew I had to fix this.
Some people end up in fairly heated discussions over the merits of exegetical/expository* (verse-by-verse) preaching versus topical (selected related passages) sermons. I believe there are advantages to both, but opinions on this can get quite passionate, so we’ll leave it there.
Imagine that you had an opportunity to see the pastor’s notes. That’s what his Weekend Word series is all about. Whether it’s phrase-by-phrase or verse-by-verse, there is so much more to be said about each section. My next challenge was choosing which one among his recent posts to use, since they are all informative. I decided to go with one from three weeks ago — click the title below — and then leave you with links to two more from the same chapter of Matthew.
Oh remember…these are his rough notes in point form!
The Temptation of Jesus
So much of the world doubts the existence of Satan. Have we lost a sound doctrine of Satan?
When you talk about Satan, you must talk about hell – and since everyone is going to heaven … well that is a fly in the ointment.
So Jesus was baptized – Heaven opened up and a grand declaration is made! What should happen next? Cake – Balloons – A post baptism party?
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
- You would think, Jesus of all people, would be raptured right up to heaven.
- The last verse of ch 3 “my beloved son…”
- And Satan says “oh yay??? Let’s see.
- Why led by the spirit? Deut 8:2
- “And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.”
- This is not accidental – Jesus did not come out of the waters of the Jordan, get confused and make a wrong turn and say “darn, how did I end up here in the wilderness.
- We have seen this with the Israelites in the desert. In a way Jesus is reenacting their wilderness time.
- The Israelites did not succeed at all – in fact only 2 of the original travelers went into the Promised Land.
- Jesus is now Israel reduced down to one – Jesus accomplishes what Israel could not do – the salvation of the world.
- What about us? This is what happens to all the baptized.
- Now you begin to fight against the devil. Now the target is on your back.
- The Christian does not go onto the battlefield – the Christian becomes the battlefield.
- How is this played out in the Holy Baptism liturgy? When the pastor asks, “Do you renounce the devil and all of his works and all of his ways?”
- Is the devil happy to hear an affirmative response?
- After baptism, we & are standing in the wilderness – with the devil prowling around like a roaring lion seeking to devour you – the baptized believer.
2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
- For any of you fasters – what is your longest fast?
- He fasted 40 days and 40 nights
- If you were a Jew you would fast 40 days but not at night
- See how the Muslims fast at Ramadan.
- 40 days and 40 nights … hmmm, sounds like a flood of hunger. LOL
3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
- Jesus is almost dead – hungry, thirsty and THEN the devil shows up to tempt him.
- The 1st temptation was physical – food after 40 days.
- How did the Israelites react when they were hungry and running out of food? Grumbling – whining – complaining
- Jesus could have sat up there with Satan, having a donut and coffee saying “I’m good for now.”
- Note the wording – If you are God??? Just like the Garden of Eden – you can’t trust God’s word.
4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
- How did Jesus respond? – with scripture – “it is written”
- Note that Jesus did not say “well let’s talk about this Satan.”
- You need to look at this first and foremost as a gift from Jesus, not as an example … although that can come later. But the gift is this – we can learn to pray.
- “Lord, when we are in the wilderness, help us to trust the Father’s word.”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple
- What do you think was going on here?
- Almost seems like a scene out of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
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, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”
- 2nd temptation – testing God.
- How did the Israelites act when they were stuck in the desert?
- Discouraged and started taking things in to their own hands.
- The Golden Calf – idols – looking to surrounding gods.
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”
- Again Jesus fulfills what Israel could not.
- Look at us today – the marketing that comes to us and says “you can do it yourself – take control!”
- Jesus is Israel reduced to one – what Israel could not do, Jesus did.
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
- 3rd temptation = Power, Riches and Possessions
9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
- Worship another god – even if it is just a little pinch of incense to Caesar.
- All that the Caesars ever asked was that his citizens, people of all religions, once a year offer a pinch of incense and declare him god – once a year.
- You didn’t have to give up your religion, just acknowledge him
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “you shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’
- Satan acts only at the will of the true God.
- This is a good Bible verse to memorize to fight off temptation – “away with you Satan – I shall worship the Lord MY God and him only shall I serve.”
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
- If Christ was tempted, then we shall surely be tested.
- Temptation is not sin … giving in to temptation could be sin.
This series continues with the following two editions of The Weekend Word:
- section in Matthew 4 following the temptation (posted 6/4/16)
- more of Matthew 4 on the calling of the disciples (posted 6/11/16)
* Here is a quote from the discussion site Puritan Board:
Exegesis and exposition are like making a cake. Exegesis is the eggs, the flour, and milk — plus all the tools that you use. Exposition is the final product. You leave your exegesis in the kitchen (study) and bring the finished cake (exposition) to the table (pulpit).