By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice.
These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.
The Righteous One and the wicked one had a meeting on earth as we read in our passage but it was not the first time they met. We read in Luke 10:18, “And He said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’” From Isaiah 14:12-15 we read, “How you are fallen from heaven, / O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, / You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven, / I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; / I will also sit on the mount of the congregation / On the farthest sides of the north; / I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, / I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, / To the lowest depths of the Pit.”
The Righteous One is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, while the wicked one is a designation for the devil, Satan, Lucifer, as we read in 1 John 5:18-21, “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
Dr. D. Stuart Briscoe explains, “Temptation is real, but must not be casually dismissed as incredible or helplessly yielded to as invincible. Temptation is an integral part of life, intentionally permitted by God, designed to present men with an opportunity to decide between doing what is right and choosing to go wrong. Temptation overcome is a test passed with flying colors, while being overcome by temptation is a craven capitulation to evil and a resounding defeat for good.
Jesus showed the way to triumph over temptation.” We read in 1 Peter 2:21b about Jesus’ response to suffering, “Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” He suffered temptation as well as wrong treatment. Jesus was victorious over temptation as a man filled with the Holy Spirit. As believers in Jesus Christ we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us according to Romans 8:9b. We must remember believers can lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11); we can grieve Him (Ephesians 4:30); and we can quench Him (1 Thessalonians 5:19). When we succumb to temptation and sin, we can never say, “The devil made me do it”, as comedian Flip Wilson, had his character “Geraldine Jones” say.
“I am not strong, I am not wise,
And many a path before me lies
Where I might stray
So, when I have to make a choice,
Help me to listen to Thy voice
And then obey. THIS IS MY PRAYER”
From Luke 4:1-2 we read, “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.”
Remember, Jesus was “filled with the Holy Spirit” and “led by the Spirit”. We are to be and do the same as believers. We read in Ephesians 5:18, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” From Romans 8:14 we read, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
Allow me to share three actions of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
I. The Righteous One upholds the Word of God
From Luke 4:3-4 we read, “And the devil said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ But Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”
Moses writes in Deuteronomy 8:1-3, “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”
In His High Priestly prayer Jesus said to the Father, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
II. The Righteous One upholds the Worship of God
From Luke 4:5-8 we read, “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
From Exodus 20:1-6, “And God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me. ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
Ironically, Lucifer, who is the devil and Satan, still seeks worship not just from man but from God Himself. Isaiah prophesied about our Lord Jesus Christ in Isaiah 52:13, “Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; / He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.” Isaiah also prophesied, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Matthew explains the name “Immanuel”, “is translated, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23b). The wise men worshipped Jesus at His birth (Matthew 2:1-11); a dying thief worshipped Him from a cross at Jesus’ death (Luke 23:39-43); and a doubting man, Thomas, worshipped Jesus after His resurrection (John 20:24-29). From Revelation 1:4-8; 5:1-14 we read, “Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’ . . . “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.’ And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, / And to open its seals; / For You were slain, / And have redeemed us to God by Your blood / Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, / And have made us kings and priests to our God; / And we shall reign on the earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain / To receive power and riches and wisdom, / And strength and honor and glory and blessing!’ And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power / Be to Him who sits on the throne, / And to the Lamb, / forever and ever!’ Then the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.”
III. The Righteous One upholds the Work of God
From Luke 4:9-12 we read, “Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, / Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” Please note Satan brought Jesus to Jerusalem. This is the place that He would do His ultimate work. It was in Jerusalem, where “[Jesus] said to Joseph and Mary, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) Remember, Jesus spoke these words as a 12 year old. Later Jesus said in John 17:4, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” In the immediate context we read in John 17:1-5, “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
Still later Jesus said in John 19:30, “It is finished!” In the immediate context we read in John 19:28-20, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”
From Luke 4:13 we read, “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” This would not be the last time they would meet in Jesus’ earthly ministry. In Hebrews 2:14-15 we read, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
We read in Revelation 10:7-10, “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
From Hebrews 4:14-16 we read, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” When we face temptation may we remember this encounter between the Righteous One and the wicked one.
D. Stuart Briscoe, The One Year® Book of Devotions for Men, August 3 Reading (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2000), p. 222
J. Oswald Sanders, Every Life is a Plan of God: Discovering His Will for Your Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1992) also in Archibald Naismith, 2,400 Outlines, Notes, Quotes, and Anecdotes for Sermons, #739 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1991), p. 166
By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527
Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com
(251) 626-6210 © August 26, 2012 All Rights Reserved