Pastor Miles opened this Sunday's message talking about some of his most life changing experiences. In 1984 he was saved, in 1986 he went into full time ministry, and in the year 2000 he began the Rock Church.
When we begin our Christian life we are making a drastic change in how we live, and we enter into a battle (with the devil). Over the next six weeks the Rock will be going through a series entitled The Salvation Army. An army is a group of people trained and armed for war. The Rock's Salvation Army is a group of people trained and armed to fight for the souls of unbelievers.
This six-week series will end on Easter Sunday at the Cox Arena. Pastor Miles encouraged us to begin praying now about who we will bring to the Easter Service.
How to Deal with Temptation
Pastor Miles talked about a movie he had recently watched called Alien vs. Predator. In this movie the alien and the predator both have specific weapons and methods in which they fight. They had to understand each other's weapons and methods of fighting to be able to strategize for battle.
As Christians we need to understand our enemy because we are in a 24/7 battle and we need to be able to fight. Our weapon is the word of God. To be able to engage in battle we must know what God's word says, and always be praying.
We can't just be cultural Christians who put in our God-time on Sunday mornings. That is unbiblical. Because we are in a battle twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, we must be equipped at all times.
Pastor Miles took us through Matthew 4:1-11. There are two specific points Jesus demonstrated in this passage for the believer to learn how to deal with temptation. Through His own temptation Jesus exposed the strategy of the devil. He also showed how to fight the devil's temptation.
Satan's strategy is to create self-doubt and provide satanic solutions. However, Jesus provides us with a way out. He exhorts us to remember His written word when facing temptation.
The Devil Speaks
There are only three instances in which Satan speaks in the Bible. The first is in Genesis 3, in which the serpent tries to turn man against God. Then in Job 1-2, Satan tries to turn God against man, and in Matthew 4, Satan tries to turn a good man against His Father.
Satan's goal in temptation is to secure worship for himself.
The Lust of the Flesh
What is the lust of the flesh? It is a strong sinful desire to have something. We must keep in mind that we are not meant to have all of our natural desires fulfilled.
Matthew 4:1-4 states, Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, if you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. Jesus answered, it is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Satan will tempt us to seek after control of our own lives, to get what we think we want for ourselves. He will tempt us to exercise our own personal power in the areas that tempt us most, whether it is sexual sin, the words that we say, or what we covet after.
Sometimes we may wonder why it is we can't just do what we want. However, we must not forget that as Christians we are called to live to a higher standard. We shouldn't live according to the world's standards.
Jesus had every reason to give into the temptation of the devil. He hadn't eaten in 40 days. He was hungry and because He was God He had the power to turn the stones to bread, but because He didn't live for Himself, but by the Word of God, He was able to withstand the temptation.
The Disease of "Me"
Matthew 4:5-7 states, Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. If you are the Son of God, he said, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Jesus answered him, it is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.
Satan may tempt us to wonder if we are really somebody in the eyes of others. He questioned Jesus' identity so he will question ours. We may be tempted to prove our identity and ourselves by outdoing others. However, Jesus challenges us to trust Him and remember what is written in His word.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3 states, we know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know, as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.
We cannot be overcome by the pride of life, or the need to inflate our sense of selves. We need to humble ourselves. This does not involve thinking less of ourselves, but rather thinking of ourselves less.
The Lust of the Eyes
Matthew 4:8-10 states, again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you", he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"
Satan tempts us to believe we need status symbols to prove our worth. Satan tells us that if we worship him we will receive what we need. In truth though Satan cannot give us anything we don't already have.
Jesus gave us the answer and that is to worship the Lord and serve Him only and we will find that we can overcome the lust of the eyes when we choose to worship God first.
Are you Ready to Fight?
Luke 5:16 states, So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. If Jesus prayed, how much more do we need to! We must not voluntarily put ourselves in the way of temptation. We know what entices us to sin and we must avoid that.
In order to fight the battle we must rely upon the:
We can overcome the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, by obeying the Word of God. However, we cannot fight this battle completely on our own, we need the help of others as well. Next week Pastor Miles will teach this principle and show us how the A in Army stands for accountability.