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Live by Every Word of God

Matthew 4:1-11

Rev. John F. Wurst

1st Sun. in Lent (Invocabit)
The Lutheran Church of Christ the King  
Duluth, Minnesota

Play MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 

"For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2)

In the Name of the Father and + of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Baptized. Anointed. Pleasing to the Father. Now, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The Word says Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights and afterwards was hungry.

Let the battle begin!

Hungry. Weak. Frail. Vulnerable. Unprotected. Unguarded. The devil comes to Jesus and says, "If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." The devil thinks he is in command of the situation. He thinks he is the powerful one.

What is the devil really after here? Does he want Jesus to "transubstantiate" stones into bread? Is the devil really concerned about Jesus' health and welfare? Absolutely not! The devil wants Jesus to renounce His Sonship. He wants Jesus to sin. He wants Jesus to reject His Father. He wants Jesus to die!

This is exactly how the devil works in your life. He comes at you like a "roaring lion." He seeks to devour you by killing you, that is, the devil wants you to renounce your sonship; your Baptism, your faith. He wants you to reject Jesus.

You use things like tsunamis, terrorism, and tyranny as excuses to hide from God, to blame Him for your misfortunes, even reject Him because He didn't defend you from the devil's attacks. You blame God for your lack of faith and ungodly lives. You say, "I'll believe in God and His Son, Jesus, when, and only when, God fills my belly with bread by turning the stones of this life into pleasures for your life. Repent.

Jesus' answer to the devil is your answer. Hear again the Word of The Lord. Jesus said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" (Deuteronomy 8:3)

Jesus was hungry but He wasn't defenseless. Jesus was Baptized. He was anointed by the Spirit. You are Baptized. You are anointed by the same Spirit. Jesus has His Father's weapon of choice. It isn't a sword, a club, a spear, a cannon. Jesus doesn't even have a stallion to carry Him into battle. He is led by the Spirit of God and He carries with Him the Word of His Father. Jesus' weapon is your weapon; the Word of God.

During His ministry, Jesus didn't use magic to make food. He takes food from the earth and multiplies it to feed the hungry. If Jesus did it any other way, it would be very un-Creatorlike, to destroy one thing to make another. Jesus doesn't use His divine power to serve Himself and His needs, for He came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.

The devil tries two more times to fell the Son of God. The devil takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple (we don't know how) and he challenges Jesus. "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "He will give His angels charge of You," and "On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone." He tries his tricks by quoting Scriptures. Jesus again withdraws His Sword from its sheath and strikes back saying, "You shall not tempt The Lord your God."

The devil wants you to believe his lies. He did the same thing to Adam and Eve in the Garden. He asked them, "Did God really say..." The devil wants you to ask yourself that same question every day. Show me in the Bible, is your response, when you want your own way. When you begin to think this way, you might as well also ask yourself, Is Baptism the water of rebirth and renewal? Can God's Word forgive my sins? Is that bread really the Body of Jesus and that wine, is it really the Blood of the Christ? The father of lies twists God's words to get you confess you are GOD! It will do you no good. You will die in your iniquity and become another trophy on the walls of hell, not some pagan. Repent.

Jesus did not come into this world to be lifted high upon the pinnacle of the temples of this world. Jesus came to be lifted up on the Tree of Life. He came, not to jump down, but to offer up His life as the atoning sacrifice for you and for all men to redeem you from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Jesus goes to Mt. Calvary alone; no angels ministering to Him. Rejected by His own Father. Jesus goes to die with only TRUST in His Father and His Father's Word. He goes for you.

Finally, with the third temptation, the devil gets to the heart of the matter. He says to Jesus as they overlook the kingdoms of the world, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."

What a joke. Has the devil forgotten who he's dealing with? Jesus is the Son of God. He is the Creator by whom all things were made. The devil doesn't have anything to give. He is a taker. Liar. Killer. Murderer. He only wants your soul.

After this final assault, Jesus responds to the devil, "Begone Satan! for it is written, 'You shall worship The Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.'" Jesus' words are your words.

By the grace of God through His Son, Jesus, you can resist the devil. Because of Jesus, you can shun him and yell at him. Because of the life you have in Jesus through Holy Baptism, you can shake your fist at the devil. Tell that old evil foe that you ARE Baptized! You are Anointed by the Spirit of God. God's Word is in your heart, on your mind, and on your tongue.

Be vigilant. Be sober. Pray. Stand the watch. Remember, the enemy can never sneak up on you is you are awake, vigilant, and grounded in the Word of God.

Remember, your King, your Lord, your God is divine, eternal, and alive. He is real. He is flesh and blood. Your knee bows to the One whose Name is Jesus and eventually, Satan, too, will bow his knee to your GOD!

When the devil comes at you with his lies, you tell him, I am a son of God. Born in Jesus. Covered by the Blood of the Lamb. You can beat me, assault me, tempt me, and I may even fall for one of your tricks. However, my Lord Jesus Christ died to save me from you and death. He died to forgive my sins. How dod I know this? Because I live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. His Word endures forever.


Long live the King!

In the Name of the Father and + of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.

+ SDG +

(C) Rev. John F. Wurst

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