This is Part 3 of the four-part series, “An Epic Battle.” Last week’s teaching was on Jesus launching into ministry. If you have not read Part 1 or Part 2 click here. This will take you directly to Part 2 – Launching Out. Scroll down to “An Epic Battle for Part 1.”
Luke 4:1-2 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil.”
The religious leaders and followers of the day perceived Jesus to be denying every norm of their faith. Jesus had not yet received His degree from four years in divinity school, and He had not been discipled in the foundation blocks of the faith! He had come to John, been baptized, and received the Holy Spirit. Ahh, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like thread seal tape is to plumbing pipe connections. I remember connecting my first water pipe and out leaked the water until I wrapped the threads in seal tape. The same is true for a Christian that lives the Christian life outside of the work and power of the Holy Spirit. You can participate in Christian activities, talk “God,” but without cultivation of God’s work in you through the Holy Spirit, God’s desires for you will be frustrating and lifeless. The power of Christ’s life did not come till this moment of being filled with the Holy Spirit. How powerful Jesus was when the Holy Spirit came!
Stop with that last sentence and let it ruminate in your spirit. Was your experience as a new Christian marked with great reward and perfection of life? Most would say not. In fact, that was not Jesus’ experience. Jesus’ welcoming party was being led by the Spirit into the desert for 40 days of fasting and satanic attack. His accommodations did not resemble the Desert Inn in Las Vegas. More probably God led Him into fasting and seclusion to impart direction. Jesus received not only direction, but also what I believe all new Christians experience when becoming a Christian – testing and temptation. Jesus was hit hard by satan but resisted all his attacks. Riches, power, adoration, and unlimited fulfillment could not persuade Jesus. Jesus showed how God could satisfy any need when living a life fully submitted to God under the power and direction of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was most likely ready to get out of the desert after His initiation into the faith, but unbeknownst to Him, we see in Luke 4:13 that satan was just gearing up for battle: “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time.” Every Christian should find encouragement in the life of Jesus as well as carefully studying His challenges, promises, and the way He lived, so to learn how Jesus walked in the Spirit.
Jesus came out of the desert ready for battle. Jesus’ fight with satan, the world, and the flesh was not yet over, but Jesus had learned to let God be the compass and center of His life. Hebrews 4:16 reveals the secret of Jesus’s life on earth: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” God alone was the secret of Christ’s success on earth. Each day of Jesus’ life brought a more resolute conviction of His love for God and God’s faithfulness to Him. Jesus continued daily to fight satan’s attacks, the world’s allures, and the weaknesses of the flesh. Romans 6:10 speaks of how Jesus was not maintaining or falling back, but powerfully moving forward: “The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God.” Jesus not only died on the cross, but He also daily died to self. One of Jesus’ greatest acts in dying to self was Matthew 12:46-50: “His mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to Him. Someone told Him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to You.’ He replied to him, ‘Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?’ Pointing to His disciples, He said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers. For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.’” Subjugating Himself to God before His family had to be hard. Every Christian should find comfort and direction in Jesus’ life. Romans 6:11 points us to a lifestyle of dying to self and living to Christ: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 2:9-10 “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”
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