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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - Too Good To Be True

James Meehan - Too Good To Be True

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    James Meehan - Too Good To Be True
TOPICS: Bible Nerds

Well, what's up Bible Nerds? Today we are closing out our three part mini-series titled Jesus versus the devil, the flesh and the world. Now throughout this series, we've been studying the story of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness so that we can understand our enemies, that we can learn their strategy and discover how we can stand strong against their attacks. We started with the devil, this spiritual being opposed to the things of God who attacks our identity and targets our desires with lies and deception. Then we looked at the desires the devil often targets, what the Bible calls the flesh. These are our sinful and selfish desires. This week we are learning about the world which is what you get when people buy into the devil's lies and give into their sinful desires.

In other words, the world is a society ruled by the devil and fueled by the flesh. And that brings us to a really interesting part of the story where Jesus full of the Holy Spirit is led into the wilderness, where he fast for 40 days and is tempted by the devil three times. We're gonna pick up in verse five with the second of the three temptations. This is Luke 4:5 where we read that, "The devil led him," Jesus, "up to a high place and he showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, 'I will give you all their authority and splendor. It has been given to me and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.' And Jesus answered, 'It is written worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'"

Now as a reminder, the devil's strategy is to attack our identities and target our desires with lies and deception. So two questions that we want to answer here. Number one, what desire is the devil targeting? And then number two, what lie is he telling? The desire the devil is targeting is the desire that Jesus has to bring all the kingdoms of the world back into a relationship with God. This is why he came, to rescue us from sin, repair our relationship with God and restore our purpose as partners with God in his good plans for the world. So what's the lie? Well at first glance, it may actually seem like the lie is that the devil is offering these kingdoms to Jesus, right? Because he's the devil, he can't give what he doesn't have and he doesn't have these kingdoms, right?

Actually that's wrong. Here's what Jesus himself says about the devil and the world in John chapter 12:31-32. He says, "The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world will be cast out. And when I," Jesus, "am lifted up from the earth. I will draw everyone to myself". And then John, a disciple of Jesus confirms this when he writes that, "We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one". Okay, so then how exactly did the devil gain control of the world? The answer is that we gave it to him.

You see when the first humans rebelled against God in the garden, we brought all of creation into rebellion with us and generation after generation has continued the cycle. We've bought into the devil's lies, we've given into our selfish desires, instead of remaining faithful to God and staying true to him, we've worshiped other things. And all the while the devil has been pulling the strings behind the scenes to gain control of this world. To the point where when Jesus showed up on the scene, pretty much the entire world was ruled by the devil and fueled by the flesh.

So what is the lie? If you were to ask me, I would suggest the lie comes in when the devil says, if you worship me, it will all be yours because while it may be true that the devil would give Jesus authority over these kingdoms, Jesus would lose something far more precious in the process. He would lose his integrity. Because worshiping the devil would mean betraying his father. And instead of putting the disease of sin to death, Jesus would've just been one more person continuing the cycle. This is why several chapters later, Jesus says these words. He says, "That whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life, will lose it. But whoever loses their life for me, will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit their very self"?

You see had Jesus bought into the devil's lies and given into his desires, he would've gained the whole world and he would've lost his very self but that's not what happened. Jesus stayed true to the mission God had given him. He responded to the devil's lies with truth. He resisted the desires of his flesh by walking in the spirit and he paved the way for us to do the same. But how do we do that? Well, we make his habits our habits because like we've talked about throughout this series, spiritual disciplines are spiritual warfare, right? The practices and habits that make us more like Jesus, they are our best defense against the devil, the flesh and the world because it is through the practice of these disciplines that we train ourselves to do what Jesus said we have to do.

Deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow him. We talked about how we resist the devil's lies with the truth of God's word when we practice scripture memorization. And we resist the desires of the flesh by walking in the spirit through the practice of fasting and abstinence. What is fasting? It's giving up food. And abstinence is giving up something other than food. We do this for a period of time to help us create space, to grow closer to God. And when we do this, when we make the habits of Jesus our habits, we become a living representation of the Kingdom of God, a kingdom where people are ruled by God and fueled by the spirit.

So in your fight against the devil, the flesh and the world, let the truth of God, fill you by studying his word. And let the Holy Spirit strengthen you through fasting. If you haven't yet, we would encourage you to start reading the Bible plan Becoming Like Jesus: Fasting and Abstinence to help you begin making Jesus' habits your habits. Now right after Jesus' confrontation with the devil, he makes this announcement in Mark 1:15. He says, "The time has come, the Kingdom of God has come near, repent and believe the good news".

The Kingdom of God, a kingdom ruled by God and fueled by the spirit has come near and everyone, you and me, we've been invited to be a part of it. You see, when Jesus showed up on the pages of history, he came to wage war on the devil, the flesh and the world. He came to take back what was his, to rescue people from the devil's lies, to free them from sin and bring them back to God. All of this, he called the Kingdom of God coming near. Jesus's showdown with the devil was kind of like D-Day in World War II when the allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy and began their march to Berlin to bring down Hitler.

You see, after Jesus came out of the wilderness, he began his march to Jerusalem where he would lay down his life on the cross to bring down the forces of darkness. This wouldn't be a victory one through violent conquest but through his own voluntary sacrifice. The Apostle Paul in Colossians 2:15 writes that "Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he," Jesus, "made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them by the cross". Because of Jesus, we are freed from the world and we are a part of God's kingdom. So take care and stay nerdy.
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