The Bible Doesn’t Say That! The Devil Made Me Do It!

The Bible Doesn’t Say That! The Devil Made Me Do It!

Welcome: How Well Do You Know The Bible?

1. The first book of the Bible is Guinness's.  In the book of Guinness Adam and Eve were created from an apple
2. (Hmm could they mean Genesis?)
3. Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. Noah's wife was Joan of the Ark. Noah built the ark and the animals came on in pears.
4. Moses went to the top of Mount Cyanide to get the 10 Commandments.
5. The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.
6. The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.
7. Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day and a ball of fire by night.
8. Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the apostles.
9. The greatest miracle in the bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he actually obeyed him.
10. Unleavened bread is bread made with no ingredients.
11. A Christian should have only one wife. This is called monotony.
12. Joshua led the Hebrews in the battle of Geritol.
13. Solomon had 100 wives and 700 porcupines.
14. The epistles were the wives of the apostles.
15. When Mary heard she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta.
16. When the three wise guys from the east side arrived they found Jesus sacked in the manager.
17. The people who followed the Lord were called the 12 decibels.
18. St. Paul cavorted to Christianity. He preached holy acrimony, which is another name for marriage.

Opening Illustration: There Is No Devil!
The New York Times reported a study about the diminishing belief in the devil among Americans. Two-thirds of Americans do not believe in the devil as a living entity. In a randomly selected survey of over 1,000 Americans, pollsters asked whether they agreed that Satan is “not a living being, but a symbol of evil.” Sixty-two percent agreed with the statement. That means nearly 149 million Americans believe that Satan has no influence but that Satan is just a symbol of evil. We should know and understand that Satan is real and evil is real and that this is our number 1 enemy as believers in Jesus Christ.

Satan Is Dangerous, Deceptive and Damaging

Transitional Statement:
So, what do you believe about the Devil?  Do you believe that he is real?  Is he some sort of fantasy or symbol? Not according to the Bible.  The Bible tells us a lot about the Satan.  For Instance, the Devil is dangerous.  

I Peter 5:8 NLT
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

The Bible clearly paints the Devil as an enemy.  Not just any enemy but a very dangerous one.  The Bible compares him to a lion.  The Devil is a very intimidating figure in the Bible and one that should not be taken lightly.  

The Devil is dangerous.  This is true.  The devil is also deceptive.  There are more than 35 verses in the Bible that claim that the Devil is a liar.  He is a deceiver.  It started very early in the story in Genesis 3:4-5.

Genesis 3:4-5 NASB
The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Why does the Devil deceive? Simple.  He does it to cast doubt in the hearts of humans towards God.  He convinces people that God is not good, that God is not really in control and that God does not have authority over their lives.  

Now, look at how the Apostle John describes Satan in his last moments,

Revelation 12:9 NLT
This great dragon--the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world--was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.

So, Satan is dangerous, deceptive and damaging.  That’s right, Satan is not your friend.  He may promise a life of ease and fulfillment, but make no mistake about it, Satan is here to destroy all of us.  He wants to damage your family, your faith, your friendships, and your career.  He wants it all.  Every bit of it.  

John 10:10 captures Jesus’ words saying, 

John 10:10 ESV
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. 

Essentially, Satan is just a giant bully who demands everything from you and then he will destroy both it and you after you give it to him.  It reminds me of an old Saturday Night Live short by Jack Handey.

Illustration: Pay The Bully
In his book Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes: 
There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate lesson guy said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So I just went back to paying the bully. 

Too many people feel it is easier just to pay the bully than it is to learn how to defeat him. 

Transition Statement:
Today I hope that we will learn how to defeat the bully and glorify God with our lives.  

Background of Matthew 4:1-11
Before we read Matthew 4:1-11, lets talk about the context of the Scripture.  So, what has happened?  We see the birth and subsequent travels of Jesus’ parents in Matthew 1 and 2.  In Matthew 3 we meet an adult and mature Jesus.  We encounter Jesus’ cousin John in the wilderness baptizing followers.  Jesus Himself is baptized thus beginning His earthly ministry.  We see in other Gospels that the followers of John go with Jesus.  Following His baptism, Jesus enters a time of solitude.  

After the dove comes the desert.  

Perhaps He was preparing Himself for what was coming.  Perhaps he was trying to commune with His Father.  We know that He was a man led by the Spirit and that He had fasted for 40 days.  So, you can imagine how weak and hungry Jesus must have been physically weak.  Yes, He was weak physically but spiritually Jesus was stronger than ever.  It is while He is communing with His Father that Jesus encounters Satan.  Now, lets get one thing straight.  Jesus did not encounter a symbol of evil.  He did not come in contact with an allegory of wickedness.  Jesus came into contact with the real, living, breathing entity called the Devil.  There is not one place in Scripture where the Devil is presented as some folk tale or myth.  In every instance, the Devil is presented as a being capable of action and accusation.  So, let’s pick up the story in Matthew 4:1-11 and try to find some ways to defeat our enemy the devil.  

Matthew 4:1-11English Standard Version (ESV)

The Temptation of Jesus

1Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 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.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 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.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 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.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

3 Lessons From The Wilderness

I. God’s Test vs. 1
Matthew 4:1
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Illustration: A Failed Test
The other day, Jay brought home some graded work.  The page was filled with all types of instructions.  It was very detailed.  Let me read it for you.  

1. Read everything before doing anything.

2. Put your name in the upper right hand corner of this paper.

and so on and so forth.

The last thing said on the paper was number 20. 

20. Now that you have furnished reading carefully, do only sentence one and two. 

I got it.  Jay was trying to trick me.  

You see, Jay read number one but he did not follow what it told him to do.  He went on and completed 19 other tasks before he finally came to the end and realized that all he had to do was right his name at the top right hand corner of the page.  Jay wasn’t the only one, nearly everyone in his class did the same.  Essentially, everyone failed the test.  The teacher gave the class that she new most of them would fail.  Why?

The answer is simple, she wanted to reveal to them something that they did not know about themselves.  She wanted to reveal to them something that she already knew.  Most 4th graders are not very good at following directions or listening.  It was a powerful illustration.  

Jay was amazed that neither his Mother nor his Father were tricked.  Why?  It is not because we are smarter.  That is certainly not true.  The reason we were not tricked is because we have made the same mistakes and grown from them.  

Point:
Perhaps one of the most disconcerting verses in the Bible is this one.  The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.  This verse is not trying to conceal or hide anything.  God intentionally brought Jesus to a terrible place to be tempted by Satan himself.  What we discover here is that God doesn’t tempt us.  Scripture tells us that.  

James 1:13 ESV
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

God may not tempt us but He is not scared of letting us be tempted by Satan.  Why?  Why would God do such a thing?  Why did He allow Jesus to go into this dark place to be tempted by Satan?  “Preacher, are you telling me that He was trying to teach Jesus something.  Was God worried that Jesus would not pass the test?”  Nope.  He was not trying to teach Jesus anything, He was trying to teach you and me something today.  

Friends, God is saying to you today that if Jesus faced temptation that so will we.

Friends, God is saying that if Jesus found Himself in the wilderness and weak that we will as well.  

Friends, God is saying that as Jesus defeats temptation that we can defeat temptation.  It is not impossible.

Just as Jesus vanquished Satan, we can vanquish him as well. 

Just like Jay’s teacher, God will use a test to teach.  God will use temptation to reveal to us something that we did not know about ourselves.  You see, that test that Jay took grew him.  He will learn to read, pay attention and chances are he will not make the same mistake again.  

I Corinthians 10:13 ESV
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

I. God’s Test vs. 1
II. The Devil’s Tactics vs. 2,5,8
Matthew 4:2,6,8
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

_____________

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 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.’”

_____________

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

Illustration: One Smart Tactic
A student named Steve Winger from Lubbock, TX was taking a challenging class in Logic. The course and teacher were known for exacting and demanding exams. The final exam was looming, and the professor mercifully told the class that each student would be permitted to bring in a single 8.5 x 11 inch sheet with as much information as they could put on that one sheet for help during the test.

On exam day, each student came to class clutching their precious pieces of paper with as much information as possible. Some students had crammed lines and lines of font so tiny and so numerous onto that single sheet that you had to wonder how they could read it. 

But Steve walked in with a single blank sheet and a friend who was a senior student and who had an ’A’ in logic. Steve bent down and placed that single, blank sheet of paper on the floor next to his desk. His expert friend stood on the paper.

The professor noticed the extra body in the room and asked what he was doing. Steve piped up, "You said we could bring in whatever we could fit on a single piece of paper for help on this test. Well, this is my help and he can fit on the paper!" He had followed the instructions to the letter and was the only student in that class to score an ’A,’ since he had his expert friend standing along side him.

Now that is one smart tactic.  

Satan uses smart tactics as well.  

Satan Tempted Jesus…And Us With…

A. Self Gratification 

B. Self Importance 

C. Self Deception 

Point:
Man that Satan sure does know what he is doing.  Not once, not twice, but three times does he appeal to Jesus.  Let’s look at the tactics of Satan and see what we can learn.  

First, Satan knows that Jesus is hungry and weak.  So he tempts Him by saying, “why don’t you turn these rock into bread”.  Now remember that Jesus is fasting.  Why?  Well, fasting is a spiritual calling that gives you command over your physical body in order to bring about a deeper communion and connection with God.  The feeling of hunger drives a person to pray and discover spiritual supernatural strength.  Eating would have short circuited Jesus’ call.  

What is Satan really trying to do?  Satan is saying, “Jesus, why not give in to your bodies natural urge?  Just go ahead, eat that bread, it is what you really want.”

Self gratification.  Please yourself.  Feed yourself.  Give your body whatever it wants.  Friends, is this not the prevailing thought of our time.  Whatever your body desires give into that desire.  You want to drink?  Drink.  Want that high? Smoke it.  You think that person is attractive? Sleep with them. Whatever your body wants, give in.  

There is only one problem with that.  There are always consequences.  Many of you are familiar with the Ashley Madison story.  This was a web sited devoted to helping people cheat on their spouses.  Ed Stetzer reported that more than 400 church leaders resigned their positions as pastors, elders and deacons because they had participated in self gratification.  Josh Duggar, whose name was on the site had this to say, 

“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife. 

I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him. 

As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences. I deeply regret all hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example.”

Did you hear that? “As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences.” Friend, no where in the Bible will you see a thumbs up or an o.k. to self gratification.  What you will see is self denial.  Self sacrifice.  

John 12:25 ESV
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Point:
So, Satan’s first tactic is self gratification.  Satan’s second temptation is self importance.  “Jesus, jump off this mountain and watch the angels come to catch you.”  Now that would be something. Satan is basically saying, “Hey Jesus, put on a show.  You know you can do it.”  Imagine the stories people would have told if Jesus had done just that.  People could have seen just how important Jesus really was.  Think about what an ego booster that would have been.  

Jesus experienced the same temptations when His brothers encouraged Him to attend the Feast of the Tabernacles.  They wanted Him to show off His miracle powers.  

John 7:3-5 
His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

Friend, feeding our ego is a very powerful tool that Satan uses to trap us and damage us.  How do you know if Satan has used this tool in your life?  If you answer “yes” to these questions, then you have been tempted by Satan.

1. No one can do this better than me.
2. I don’t want that person on my team because they will bring me…I mean us down.
3. I am quitting because I am not getting enough recognition for my work.
4. I am upset because he did not thank me.
5. I understand what you are saying, but I want to do it my way.
6. I have to be the center of attention.  The life of the party.

You see, Jesus had nothing to prove.  Jesus was not concerned with building His ego but rather the Kingdom of God.  Jesus wanted to be obedient to God’s call over His life. Do you know what ego really means?  It means edging God out.  When we embrace our ego, that’s exactly what we do.  

John 14:15 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

Point:
So, the Devil tries to get Jesus to give in to His body’s urges.  Then, he tries to get Jesus to put on a show of His power.  Lastly, he want Jesus to worship him.  There is a real problem in this deception.  In worshipping Satan, Jesus would have to lay aside who He is and what He already knows about Himself.  When talking about who Jesus is, Paul puts it this way, 

Colossians 1:15-18 NASB
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

In order for Jesus to worship Satan, He would have to deny who He really is.  The Son of God.  The firstborn of all creation.  That was never going to happen.  

Friends, do you know who you are?  When Satan tempts you, when you bow down at the alter of the Devil, do you know what you are setting aside? Let’s just look at what God says about you.  

1. You and I were created in the image of God. This sets us apart from all other forms of creation.  As God’s image bearers we have the capacity to reason, to communicate, to feel love and empathy for one another.  Outside of God Himself, humanity is the only piece of creation that has the ability to create.  

2. Not only are we God’s image bearers, but God loves us.  God loves mankind more than any other form of creation.  Yes, one day God will redeem all creation but the focus of His love is towards people.  How do I know this?  I know this because God’s plan since Genesis 3 has been the reconciliation of man to Himself through the death of His Son Christ.  

3. We are created in the image of God.  The focus of His love and affection is people.  Now, the ultimate expression of that love is adoption.  God has made us sons and daughters.  We are brothers and sisters to Jesus Himself.  We are princes and princesses who have a majestic inheritance stored up in heaven for us.  This reward is eternal.  This love is unending.  Amazing love, how can it be, that you would die for me.

So, now that you know who you are, why in the world would we bow down before Satan and give him control over our lives. Why would we worship him?  It doesn’t make any sense.  Friends, you are prized.  You are loved and cared for.  Jesus died for us and has created a path for us to have a relationship with Him.  

The best advice I have for you is to know your role in the created order of things.  

Colossians 1:21-23 ESV
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

I. God’s Test vs. 1
II. The Devil’s Tactics vs. 2,5,8
III. Jesus’ Triumph vs. 4,7,10
Matthew 4:4,7,10
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.’”

__________________

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 

__________________

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.’”

Illustration: The Sin of Lying
Our Vicar, the Reverend Thomas Lewis, told our congregation, 'Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you all understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark, chapter 17.'
The following Sunday, as Thomas prepared to deliver his sermon; he asked for a show of hands, he wanted to know how many people had read Mark 17. Almost every hand went up.
Thomas smiled and said, 'Mark only has 16 chapters. I will know proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying.'

Point:
The Spirit leads Jesus out into the wilderness where He is tempted by Satan.  Jesus hears all the tactics that the Devil uses to trap Him and to ensnare Him.  So, how does Jesus defeat the Devil?  He uses the power of the Scripture.  

Friends, Satan has no power, no authority over the man or woman who knows and deploys God’s Word.  

Just look at how the Bible talks about itself, 

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Hebrews 4:12-14 ESV
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

God’s word defends the believer, heals the believer, and deposes Satan.  That is how Jesus triumphed.  That is how He overcame temptation and defeated Satan.  

Remember, Satan has no power but that which we give to him.  

Friend, how well do you know God’s Word?  I believe that most Christians fall because they do not know their Scriptures.

George Barna is quoted on Christianity.com saying, 

Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments. "No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don't know what they are," said George Barna, president of the firm. The bottom line? "Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate." 

I think that I said this the other day but I had a visitor tell me the other day that they would no longer becoming to our church because I used to much Scripture in my sermon.  

This was the greatest compliment I have ever received as a preacher.  I pray that there is more Scripture in my sermons than there is of me.  

Friend, read it, meditate on it, memorize it.  When Satan comes knocking at your door you will be able to defend yourself.  

Psalm 119:105 ESV
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.


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