Satan is interested in making so-called "good people" who can do their work and live their lives without God.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you-doing Alright? Why yes, this is your friend Dr. Cook. I’m glad to be back with you. I look forward to these times when you and I are together by way of radio just so eagerly–it does me good to be with you! And I trust that the other side of that coin is real too. I hope that it does you some good to be with me, bless your heart. Thanks for being there.
We’re looking at Mark aren’t we, and the Lord Jesus has come and has been baptized by John, and God has spoken that word of approbation, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. Now, immediately verse 12, “The Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness and He was there in the wilderness 40 days, tempted by Satan and was with the wild beasts. The angels ministered unto Him”.
Mark you see, sends everything in terms of telegraphs. He doesn’t waste much time, but to the other Gospel writers of course tell it in a little more detail. Over in Matthew you have a quite a layout of the story of the temptation and we’ll get at that in a minute. Right now, I want to make this point, “There came a voice from Heaven, Thou my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”, and immediately verse 12, “The Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness”.
It does seem that after every high and holy and wonderful and thrilling spiritual experience, you and I are subjected to pressures and trials and temptations. Doesn’t it seem that way? Why is that so? Oh, I think there’s a number of reasons. Paul speaks about temptation, and James speaks about temptation, “Count in all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, knowing the trial of your faith worketh patience”. God allows you to be tested so that He can strengthen your faith in Him. When you get to the end of yourself and you have nothing left but God, then for the first time in your life, you will know that God’s enough.
Moses speaking to the children of Israel said that, “God allowed them to hunger, allowed them to hunger, and then fed them with manna which they knew not, that He might make thee know”, Moses said, “That man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God shall man live”.
What’s the reason for this immediate testing, right after the glorious revelation of God’s blessing and approval, there at the baptismal site? Well, in the case of our Lord Jesus, “He was again identifying with poor, sinful, human nature, yet without sin- He was tempted in all points like as we are”, the Bible says, “yet without sin”, and so was necessary for Him not simply to identify in that ritual of baptism, which proclaimed to all the world that He was taking His place with needy humanity, but then it was necessary for Him to be tested as we are tested in the realm of the mind and the body and the spirit, as well.
Satan used the same old approach; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. He use the same old approach that he used in the Garden of Eden. Hadn’t changed his approach and well thank God the Lord Jesus withstood those temptations through the power of the Word of God.
You want to look at that in Matthew just for a moment? I think it may be helpful and inspiring to us to see what our blessed Lord did in handling the same kinds of temptations that you and I have to face. Forty days, “Mark is the one that provides the human nature components”, it says, “He was with the wild beasts”. None of the other writers mentions that. He was out there alone and in the wild.
Now it says, “He was hungry. Forty days he fasted and forty nights, he was afterwards hungry, and the tempter came to Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, command these stones be made bread’”. Now, after you’ve fasted for forty days, I can guarantee you that you are hungry. You sense the need for food and this was a temptation then that had to do with His body, didn’t it? The desires that are wrapped up because we live in a human body. Satan will tempt you if he can, successfully, concerning your body your appetites, your needs, your longings, your desires-this has to do with that first great area, the desire. John calls it the desire of the flesh. Well he said, “If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread”.
There were two approaches that he was using there, very subtle. One was the ‘if ‘ approach: you’re really not sure, are you about all of this? If you are the Son of God? Casting doubt upon the integrity of Almighty God. Well he did in the Garden of Eden, didn’t he? He said, “I can’t believe my ears, did God, is He a repressive God? Did He tell you, you can’t eat everything?” They said, “We could have every tree but this one tree. God said don’t eat of it lest ye die”. “Why,” Satan said, “You won’t really die. God is fooling you. He is cheating you, He knows that when you eat of that tree, you’re going to be as wise as He is, knowing good and evil”. “Then, if Thou be the Son of God”, casting doubt on the veracity and the integrity of God and of His Will of His promises.
Then the other approach of course, was to the very real need for food, “Command these stones be made bread”, and he knew that Jesus could do it. He knew that He could do it, but He, Christ, answered and said, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone”. I quoted that verse from Deuteronomy for you a moment ago, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”, and that settled that temptation.
What is the connection between the Bible and temptations that have to do with your body? Now, it’s a very real pressure that comes upon you and upon me, because we live in human bodies. What is the relationship between the Word of God and temptation that has to do with the desires and needs of your body? Well, is simply this: “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee. In His law doth he meditate day and night and he shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water. Thou shalt meditate therein the Thou must observe to do according to all that is written, therein for then shall Thou make Thy way prosperous and then shalt Thou have good success”.
The Word of God steadies you, stabilizes you, plants you, makes you fruitful, and keeps you from sin. How does it do this? Well you do what you think about, and if you have sinning on your mind you’re going to sin, if you have God on your mind you’re going to live according to His will. It’s that simple.
I asked Hubert Mitchell one time, my dear missionary friend of many years, as we were walking down the street in Calcutta one hot day. I said, “Hubert, why is it so difficult to reach these holy men, so-called sadhu’s there in India?” He said, “The reason is that they are constantly meditating upon their Hindu scriptures”, he said, “Their minds are absolutely filled with and controlled by these Hindu writings, and they don’t have room for any other concept as a result”, and he said, “That my brother is why you and I need to meditate in the Word of God. For the very same reason, fill your mind with the Word of God and you won’t have room for other concepts”. You do what you think about and if you’ve got God on your mind, it will control the actions of your body.
Well, the Devil took Him up into the holy city and sateth Him on a pinnacle of the Temple and said, “If Thou be the Son of God”–there’s that casting doubt again– “cast Thyself down, for it is written He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee and in their hands they shall bear Thee up blessed in their hand, Thou dash Thy foot against a stone”. What he was saying is, let people see that you really are who you say you are. Now, if you jumped off the highest pinnacle of the Temple and came floating down to earth, they would be convinced, wouldn’t they?
Now, “This is the desire of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, the desire of the flesh, lust of the eyes, the desire of the eyes, to be seen, to see and be seen”, you know, there it is and the devil it using that. Again our Lord Jesus answers in Scripture, “It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”, and says, “to do that would be simply to tempt Providence of God, even though Satan you have quoted a Scripture, you quoted it wrongly”.
Well then, it says the devil took Him up into a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, he said, “I shall give you all these”. Now, was he really telling the truth? Could he have given control of the world system over to the Lord Jesus? The answer is yes. The Bible calls Satan, “The prince of the power, the air, the spirit, who now worketh in the children of disobedience”. There is such a thing as the world system and it is run on the basis of Satanic philosophy. Satan is not interested in making so-called bad people and derelicts and will be bums. Satan is interested in making so-called good people who can do their work and live their lives without God. Godless humanism as we know it today, as it’s taught in many schools and universities, is Satan’s masterpiece, and it comes right straight from the atmosphere of the Garden of Eden where he said, so many centuries ago, “You can do better for yourself without the concept of obedience to God”.
There it is, and so here it is, he says, “I’ll give you all of this because God in His Providence had assigned to Satan, the place called the Prince of the power of the air”, and he is still here in this world today my dear friend and will be until God throws him into the Lake of Fire. And so you and I need to be as Peter says, “Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary, the devil, is a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. Resist him steadfast in faith, the only protection against the attacks of Satan in your life and the lives of others around you is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our victor. Thanks be unto God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Satan is a defeated foe and you plead the merits of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus in His shining righteousness on your behalf, you stand firm in faith in Him and Satan can’t touch you.
Well, I was saying, yes he did have the right to offer this to the Lord Jesus, but our Savior said, “Get thee hence, Satan, it is written, ‘Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt Thou serve’. Get your priorities straight”. Who is the most important in your life?
Now, you wouldn’t speak nor would I, about worshiping somebody else, and yet what really happens practically is, you worship that which is the most important in your life, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”, Jesus said, and that’s what Satan was getting at really. He said make me the most important in your life. Our Lord Jesus said, speaking now as a human being under pressure, God in the flesh taking on a human body, and now being subjected to the same pressures that you and I face, He said,” It is written Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God. Him only shalt Thou serve”. “Put God first”, that’s what Matthew 6:33 really means, isn’t it? “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”. Well, we’ll talk a little more about that as we go on in our study of the Gospel of Mark.
Dear Father today, may we resist Satan, strong in the power of the Word and of the indwelling Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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