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Sermon for this week:

Matthew 4:1-11  -  "The Temptation of His Life"
Various Text     -    "Lenten Sermon Series"

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Matthew 4: Robert Penn Warren wrote a novel called All The King's Men. It was the story of a governor of Louisiana and his rise to power. His name was Willie Stark.

 

At the end of his story he is shot down dead. Here was a man who gained a kingdom and lost all he ever had.

 

Two thousand years earlier a man from Galilee said, "What would it profit a man if he gained the whole world and lost his soul?" Perhaps when He made that statement He was not only addressing it to those who heard Him, but also was looking back to a time of decision in His own life.

 

There is something so very curious about the man from Galilee. He has captivated the imaginations of people throughout twenty centuries. He transcends time and place, culture and custom, race and language. Something there is in Him that always speaks clearly to us. We see it throughout the gospels, everywhere He went, in everything He said and did. Son of God and Son of Man, we know He became one of us.

 

While He is the answer to all our struggles, we see Him struggling with the things He faced. And, as He finds the way for Himself He finds the way for us as well. We see this truth at the very beginning of His ministry. He left His home up in beautiful Galilee, and went down the Jordan Valley to a place at the river. His cousin John the Baptist was there and he baptized Jesus in the river. And, a voice from Heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Then, Matthew writes in the very next verse, the first of chapter four, "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." Immediately following His baptism Jesus faces the temptations, the greatest temptations of His life. The issue was not whether He would rule the world, but how He would take it. So, out there in the wilderness of those barren Judean hills Jesus struggled with what He would do and how He would do it.

 

Sometimes we may not take this very seriously. We may not think Jesus was really tempted, not the way we are tempted, not our Jesus. But we need to understand that the temptations of Jesus were real temptations. Jesus was tempted. The New Testament clearly states this. Matthew tells us plainly that Jesus was in the wilderness tempted by the devil. He did not say Jesus wondered, imagined, was charmed, or that He considered his options. He tells us He was tempted, and that He went there to be tempted. Mark tells us He was tempted. Luke tells us He was tempted. John does not take time to mention it. He was in too big a hurry to get Jesus back up to Galilee.  However, the book of Hebrews tells us, "He was in all points tempted like as we are."

 

The city of Jericho isn't far from the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. You can stand there in Jericho and look up into the Judean hills to a place called the Mount of Temptation. It is easy to imagine Jesus being up there, by Himself, fasting for forty days, alone and hungry, struggling with what He would do and how He would do it.

 

Surely, He must have thought of some easy ways to do what He had to do. That was the temptation of His life. So, there we see Him. He was tempted. Let's take a look at what He faced at all that he was offered:

 

1. Jesus was tempted by the wrong use of power. That was the first temptation.

2. Jesus was also tempted by the wrong way to popularity. That was the second temptation.

3. Finally, Jesus was tempted by the wrong kind of partnership. That was the third temptation.

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Sermon Series for Lent: 

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Lenten: A Sight For Blind Eyes
                        David E. Leininger

 

1.   Lent - Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 

2.   The Devil Made Me Do It  -  Matthew 4:1-11 

3.   Nicodemus  -  John 3:1-15 

4.   Excuses (Alternate Lent 2)  -  Luke 14:16-23 

5.   Unexpected Evangelists  -  John 4:5-42 

6.   Sight for Blind Eyes  -  John 9: 

7.   The Grief Grinch  -  John 11:17-36 

8.   Sometimes Youve Got to Shout!  -  John 12:12-16
9.   The Imperatives of the Resurrection  -  Matthew 28:1-10


Lenten: They Heard Him Gladly
                        James W. Moore

1.   The Common People Heard Him Gladly  -  Mark 12:35-37

2.   Jesus and Andrew  -  John 1:35-42

3.   Jesus and Zacchaeus  -  Luke 19:1-10

4.   Jesus and Bartimaeus  -  Mark 10:46-52

5.   Jesus and Mary and Martha  -  Luke 10:38-42 

6.   Jesus and Mary Magdalene  -  John 20:11-18

7.   When The Risen Christ Comes Looking For Us  -  John 21:15-19


Lenten: The Passion Of The Christ
                        Brett Blair

1.   His Triumphal Entry  -  Luke 19:28-40

2.   His Cleansing Of The Temple  -  Luke 19:45-48

3.   His Teachings  -  Luke 20:27-38
4.   His Last Supper  -  Luke 22:14-23

5.   His Trial  -  Luke 23:13-25

6.   His Death  -  Luke 23:33-43

7.   His Resurrection  -  John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-10

 

 

Lenten: The Healing Power Of The Christ
                        James W. Moore

1.   The Healing Of Simons Mother-in-Law  -  Mark 1:21-28

2.   The Healing of the Man with the Withered Hand  -  Mark 3:1-6

3.   The Healing of the Gerasene Demoniac

4.   The Healing of Jairus Daughter and the Hemorrhaging Woman - Mark 5:21-43

5.   The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus  -  Mark 10:46-52

6.   The Healing Power of the Cross  -  Mark 15:33-41

7.   The Healing Power of the Resurrection  -  John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-10


Lenten: Encounters With Christ
                        James W. Moore

1.   Jesus & the Man Born Blind  -  John 9:1-12

2.   Jesus and Mary and Martha  -  Luke 10:38-42

3.   Jesus and Nicodemus  -  John 3:1-10

4.   Jesus and the Woman at the Well  -  John 4:7-15

5.   Jesus and James and John  -  Matthew 20:20-28

6.   Jesus and Caiaphas  -  Matthew 26:58-68

7.   Jesus & Mary Magdalene  -  Mark 16:1-7


Lenten: Journey To The Cross
                        James W. Moore

1.   Jesus And The Demon-Possessed Man  -  Mark 5:1-20

2.   Jesus And The Hemorrhaging Woman  -  Mark 5:21-43

3.   Jesus And The Extravagant Woman  -  Mark 14:1-9

4.   Jesus and Judas  -  Mark 14:43-51

5.   Jesus and Simon Peter  -  Mark 14:66-72

6.   Jesus And Pontius Pilate  -  Matthew 27:15-26

7.   Jesus And The Women At The Tomb  -  Mark 16:1-8


Lenten: The Man From Galilee
                        Thomas A. Pilgrim

1.   The Temptation Of His Life  -  Matthew 4:1-11

2.   The Transformation Of His Call  -  Matthew 4:18-22

3.   The Touch Of His Hand  -  Matthew 8:14-17

4.   The Treasure Of His Kingdom  -  Matthew 13:44

5.   The Test Of His Courage  -  Matthew 20:17-19

6.   The Tragedy Of His Victory  -  Luke 19:28-40

7.   The Triumph Of His Defeat  -  Matthew 28:1-10

 

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What Is Unique About Christianity?

The story of Jesus sitting and debating the Law with rabbis reminds me of another debate that took place in a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity. Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God became incarnate in human form. But someone quickly said, “Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form.” Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead.

Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, armful of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what's all this rumpus about?” Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, “We're debating what's unique about Christianity.” “Oh, that's easy,” answered Lewis, “it's....

 

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