God never tempts us. So, if God isn’t tempting us, then where do those temptations originate? That’s right, they come from our fleshly desires and from satan. We know that satan was allowed to tempt Jesus with promises of wealth and grandeur. Jesus, being human, yet perfect, did not give in to those temptations. Why? Because Jesus had one desire and that was to please our Father, God. We are not perfect, so when satan tempts us with his beautiful pictures of what could be if we only let him in, we give into those temptations. Why? Because our fleshly desires are stronger and more immediate than our desire to please God. We are enticed and we allow our desires to mislead us. We think that we can turn our desires off and on like a water fountain. But, we find that once we have compromised with satan, we lose control. Then that sinful idea or thought starts to happen more often and soon it takes on a life of its own. So, we grab a little pleasure here and a little pleasure there. Suddenly, those little pleasures have grabbed us and we can’t shake them. That is when sin latches onto us, takes us further than we want to go, and keeps us longer than we want to stay. Pride says “I would never”. But reality says we did and we must confess our sins. Ask Peter.
When satan comes around to tempt us or to harass us in any way, we must be very careful of the words we use in resisting his efforts. We have the authority to “resist the devil” James 4:7 NKJV but only the Lord can rebuke the devil Zechariah 3:1,2 NKJV . If we say to satan that we:rebuke: him, he knows we don’t have that authority, so it doesn’t bother him. Just ask the sons of Sceva Acts19:16 =NKJV . So, how do we resist without rebuking? We do what Paul told us to do in Ephesians 6, we put on the whole armor of God and we take up the only weapon that can defeat satan “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God”. That is what Jesus did when He was tempted by satan in the wilderness. Is there a better example to follow than Jesus our Savior and Lord? We know there isn’t.
Oftentimes when I read this verse, I am reminded of summer revivals out in the country. The revival services were usually scheduled for a week but would often times run longer because there would be a move of the Holy Spirit and God kept adding people to His Kingdom. The thing that I remember most about these revivals were the testimonies of the good people that came. There was a testimony service every night of the revival. Since the people usually gave pretty much the same testimony, I wondered why they did this night after night. Now I know there were at least three good reasons. First of all, it is very encouraging to other Christians to hear a brother or sister testify about the saving grace of Jesus and all of its benefits. Secondly, it is good practice for learning to talk to others about Jesus in a public setting. Thirdly and most importantly, our testimonies, not just the spoken ones but the way we live every day, are a huge part of our overcoming satan and his demons. We defeat satan by reminding Him daily that Jesus shed His blood for our redemption and we do that with the spoken word and our actions. Brothers and sisters, you may have never stood up all by yourself in a public setting and declared your love for Jesus and thank Him for all that He has done for you. But, believe this, we testify to what we believe every day. The outsiders are watching and they see our testimony every where we go every time we go.
17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. — Romans 16:17-20 NIV
From the first century church until now, there have been those who use the Gospel for their own benefit. No matter what size the congregation, satan seems to always have one of his minions involved. Whether they are misleading people for financial gain, power or popularity, the reason really doesn’t matter. We must be aware of anyone whose message doesn’t quite align with the scriptures. Even more dangerous are those whose words ring true but their actions do not agree with what they say. These people are usually easy on the eyes and their speech is very eloquent. It is extremely hard for the flesh to resist them. But, as we have learned, following them leads to death. Sometimes spiritual death, other times both spiritual and physical death. We need to pray for discernment so that we will be aware of these deceivers. We are warned over and over in the Bible that these people will abound more and more as the second coming of our Lord and Savior grows ever nearer.
12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. — Jude 12
5 Now I am going back to the One who sent me. But none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Your hearts are filled with sadness because I have told you these things. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go away. When I go away, I will send the Helper to you. If I do not go away, the Helper will not come. 8 When the Helper comes, he will prove to the people of the world the truth about sin, about being right with God, and about judgment. 9 He will prove to them that sin is not believing in me. 10 He will prove to them that being right with God comes from my going to the Father and not being seen anymore. 11 And the Helper will prove to them that judgment happened when the ruler of this world was judged.—John 16:5-11 (NCV)
The disciples must have wondered how Jesus going away could be better than having Him here, face to face. But Jesus knew that His time to leave was very near at this time. He also knew that the Helper could do something that He, in human flesh, could never do. That was to actually live inside a human being. The Helper, the Holy Spirit would take up a permanent residence inside those that accepted Jesus as their Savior. The Holy Spirit could be omnipresent, He could dwell in all of us at the same time thus as God had promised, we would never be alone, He would always be with each of us. He will prove to unbelievers that not believing in Jesus is the sin that caused Jesus to die on the Cross. He will prove that judgment happened when satan was judged. This judgment is spoken of in Isaiah. 12 King of Babylon, morning star, you have fallen from heaven, even though you were as bright as the rising sun! In the past all the nations on earth bowed down before you, but now you have been cut down–Isaiah 14:12 (NCV)
This judgment was also the event Jesus was referring to in Luke 10, when He said: 18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.–Luke 10:18,19 NCV)
In this statement, Jesus tells us He was there in heaven when satan was judged and He witnessed satan being cast out of heaven. And now, Jesus has the blessings of the Father to give the disciples and us authority over all the power of the enemy. The Holy Spirit is the guarantor of that promise of authority and He fights our battles for us.
23 One of the followers sitting next to Jesus was the follower Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus whom he was talking about. 25 That follower leaned closer to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “I will dip this bread into the dish. The man I give it to is the man who will turn against me.” So Jesus took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus said to him, “The thing that you will do — do it quickly.” 28 No one at the table understood why Jesus said this to Judas. 29 Since he was the one who kept the money box, some of the followers thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the feast or to give something to the poor. 30 Judas took the bread Jesus gave him and immediately went out. It was night.—John 13:23-30 (NCV)
Jesus had just told them that one of the 12 would betray Him. It is only natural that they would wonder which one it would be. Jesus told them it would be the one to whom He gave the bread. Even when Jesus dipped the bread and handed it to Judas and said to Judas, “Do it quickly”, they still did not understand. When Judas took the bread, he immediately left. He walked out into the darkness of the night. Judas had spent years with the Light of the world, yet it seemingly had not penetrated the utter darkness of his lost soul. Judas was still more concerned about his own well being than he was about the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is possible to sit in the light without seeing the light when you are blind. Judas was spiritually blind and unwilling to see the Light. Jesus knocks at the door, but it is up to each of us to open the door and let the Light into our hearts and lives. We can hear the Word daily, just as Judas did, and still not be redeemed. We must not only repent from our sins and empty ourselves of all impurities, but we must fill that void with the Light of the Word. 43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. —Matt. 12:43-45a (NIV)
43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you are unable to do so! 44 For you are the children of your father the Devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Anyone whose Father is God listens gladly to the words of God. Since you don’t, it proves you aren’t God’s children.”—John 8:43-47 (NLT)
Jesus continues to have a conversation with the people present that day. They didn’t understand what He was saying because they were spiritually blind and deceived by satan. Lying, confusion and deception are all characteristics of the devil. Since the people there and we today were born in sin, we are easily misled and led astray. We are guilty of the same sins just as the father of all flesh, the devil, is guilty. Once the Holy Spirit calls us and we see the Light, then we can no longer use this as an excuse. When we are exposed to the truth of who Jesus really is, we always have to make a decision. Whether we accept or reject that truth will determine who our father will be. If we accept the truth of Jesus coming to earth to be our redeemer and His fulfilling that mission by dying on a cross, then our Father is God and we gladly listen and believe the words of Jesus. More than that, we should hunger and thirst after His words. We should hide them in our heart so that we will not sin against God. 10 I have tried hard to find you—
don’t let me wander from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 I praise you, O Lord;
teach me your decrees.—Psalm 119:10-12 (NLT)
17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.—-1 John 4:17-21 (NLT)
Perfect Love!! That is our goal, this is what the Holy Spirit is wanting to teach us each day. If we could achieve perfect love, we would have no fear. Instead of looking forward to tomorrow with fears and worries, we would rest in Jesus, knowing that He is in control and everything is going to be okay. Over 365 times in the Scriptures, in one form or the other, we are told not to fear. Yet, we fear so many things in our lives and the sad part is that very few of those things are under our control anyway. There is no way we can change another person, so we fear their rejection. We worry about our health, our finances, our families, etc. All these worries and fears are from satan. Fear is the opposite of faith and is therefore sin. If we spent more of our time loving and thanking God, we would find our worries and fears disappearing. “God inhabits the praises of His people”. If we want to feel God close to us, then let’s spend time in praising Him.
13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. 16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. —James 1:13-16 (NLT) God never tempts us. So, if God isn’t tempting us, then where do those temptations originate? That’s right, they come from satan. We know that satan was allowed to tempt Jesus with promises of wealth and grandeur. Jesus, being human, yet perfect, did not give in to those temptations. Why? Because Jesus had one desire and that was to please our Father, God. We are not perfect, so when satan tempts us with his beautiful pictures of what could be if we only let him in, we give into those temptations. Why? Because our fleshly desires are stronger and more immediate than our desire to please God. We are enticed and we allow our desires to mislead us. We think that we can turn our desires off and on like a water fountain. But, we find that once we have compromised with satan, we lose control. Then that sinful idea or thought starts to happen more often and soon it takes on a life of its own. So, we grab a little pleasure here and a little pleasure there. Suddenly, those little pleasures have grabbed us and we can’t shake them. That is when sin latches onto us, takes us further than we want to go, and keeps us longer than we want to stay. Pride says “I would never”. But reality says we did and we must confess our sins. Ask Peter.
13 As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. 14 He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, 17 comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.–2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 (NLT)
In 2 Thess. 2:5-12, Paul talks about the spirit of the anti-Christ that is already present in the world. The anti-Christ is being held back by God’s Holy Spirit. Our concern now is to stand firm on the Holy Scriptures and not be deceived by that spirit of the anti-Christ. That spirit is busy today in our world deceiving people and it explains why intelligent people believe incredible things. The world as a whole will become more wicked as time passes. Those of us who have been called to salvation and have accepted Jesus as our Savior have nothing to fear from the anti-Christ or satan himself. Jesus has given us eternal comfort and hope. He will continue to strengthen us and comfort us as we carry out His plan for each of our lives. We are not to live in fear, because we belong to God Who has told us that He is greater than the spirit that lives in the world. We cannot be defeated!!!!! But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.–1 John 4:4 (NLT)