#11 What the Gospels Teach - What is yours - Matthew 4:8-11

Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me." Then Jesus *said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'" Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him. (Matthew 4:8-11 NASB)

First off, it is important to recognize that the previous two temptations that are put before Jesus by Satan were accompanied by scripture with Satan being the one quoting it. It is also important to see that Jesus refutes scripture with scripture. Among evangelicals who are fundamental (I fall in this category) there is a tendency to place huge emphasis on the infallibility of scripture, and it is an important emphasis, at the same time we must be so careful not to end there. Scripture alone is enough to point us to the risen Lord and lead us to salvation and holy living, that is true, but individual verses alone are not! Scripture must be taken in its entirety with the Holy Spirit giving the insight into its true meaning. What I am saying is this; anyone can create a montage of scriptures in order to make a case for some doctrine which they support, so can Satan! Scripture not taken in its entirety is not infallible. This is why it is so critical that people be reading their bibles, or listening to the scriptures regularly, not necessarily as a study, but just going through the entire text. It is important to be studying topics and such as well, but keeping yourself constantly in touch with scripture in its entirety is paramount. I will go out on a limb, and maybe this wrong, but I think the temptation of Christ in the wilderness supports my case here, I will say that there is no individual verse in the bible that is infallible, but that the bible is only infallible in its entirety. This is important, and realizing this will protect you against many cults that come up quoting scripture, and many people who tell you things you know from scripture are wrong even though they quote scripture doing it.

Now on to a few comments on the scripture above, first, we know that all things were created by Jesus and for Jesus, you can read that in Colossians, Hebrews, and other places. Moreover we know that Jesus is the heir of all things, and also that He makes us co-heirs with Him. With that in mind, the passage above is fascinating, Satan is offering to Jesus, what is already rightfully His! So is this simply an insane proposition and not a real temptation? No! This is still a very legitimate temptation to Christ and also a very legitimate temptation to us. Satan certainly does have a degree of control in the kingdoms of this earth for the time being, and he even has been given a degree of authority to what he wants with those kingdoms. Note that Christ came in submission and humility, He will come back with power and authority. In other words, Christ did not come exercising the authority that was rightfully His, claiming all the kingdoms to be His own, for the time being Satan has been given some authority. Now, look to this temptation in that light. The temptation was for Jesus to bypass the cross and everything else, and to take control of the world right then and there, and the only stipulation was that He had to give Satan some worship. That is quite the temptation.

How does this affect us? Well look closely in the scriptures and you will find the theme, especially in the epistles that we are co-heirs with Christ. In other words Satan has nothing to offer us that is not already rightfully ours! He is tempting us in the same way he tempted Christ, offering to give us everything we want now, if we only give him the honor and worship. It is a great temptation, we can serve him and bypass the struggles of this life and pursue all our pleasure now. However, in doing that we will forgo eternal joy! Satan’s great desire is that you as a believer fail to realize that you are a co-heir with Christ and that Satan has nothing to offer you of any worth, that is not already rightfully yours. If my dad planned on giving me his house and he was out of town for a week, and another man told me I could go move in and paint the house and do my own thing with it, it would be foolish for me to listen to that man. The house is already going to be mine, why would I move in before the appointed time, and do something to the house that would displease my dad? It would be ludicrous, but that is the same type of thing Satan tempts us with all the time.

Much can be learned for the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and I would recommend a hearty study of it for anyone who is struggling with victory over temptation.

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