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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - May 10, 2009

  • 2009 May 10

Resisting Satan's attacks


Jesus was sinless and never sinned, we are not. Jesus was tempted and resisted sin; we do not. We are tempted and sin because we have sin dwelling within us. 

Sin Still Dwells in Us 

Paul testified to that in his greatest doctrinal epistle, Romans 7:20. Paul affirms, that after his glorious conversion on the road to Damascus, after his personal tutelage by Christ in the wilderness, after his years of ministry as an apostle and after writing under the inspiration of God for almost 20 years, "…sin [still] dwells in me.” 

  • Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. (NJKV) 
  • Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (NIV) 
  • But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (NAS) 

This morning sin is still in all of us who are saved, and that is why we still sin. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.  

We are thieves at heart though we may not steal; we are liars at heart even when we do not lie; we are murderers at heart even when we do not kill; we are adulterers at heart though we may not commit adultery.  

But just as bleak as that truth may be, the glorious truth is that salvation united us to Jesus Christ—and He defeated sin not only once and for all as our substitute on the cross, but also he triumphed in the wilderness, facing Satan. 

As we open to Mark 1:12-13 we are opening to the greatest truth that all of us who are saved yet who are tempted to sin, can learn.  

Jesus defeated each of Satan's greatest temptations--not in His blinding Omnipotence as God the Son, but in complete weakness as a man. After 40 days of no food and no rest from attack. Jesus defeated Satan in perfectly yielded, 100% humanity as a man, the Last Adam. 

At the start of His Earthly ministry, Jesus met and defeated Satan as a man. And against the bleak panorama of the Judean Wilderness we see this beautiful sight, a totally obedient servant who wins the battle because He obeys the Word of His Father in Heaven. So can we

Jesus Defeated Satan 

Satan the enemy of God and man is alive and well on planet earth; but God's Word assures us that we are "more than conquerors through Christ”. Satan is a defeated foe, a weakened adversary and crushed enemy. We have the victory through Jesus who lived the perfect life. Jesus left the perfect example. God's Word records the ultimate method for resisting Satan's attacks—the model Jesus left for us, the secret of how to resist the attacks of Satan like Jesus did. 

The Gospel by Mark has a unique angle on the temptation as it focuses upon aloneness. Jesus spent 40 days alone. Always remember as we read this account that our character is what we are when we are alone. The real you is most evident when you are alone. Satan must have repeatedly said through those 40 days, “It’s okay, no one will ever know!” 

The parallel to the Garden of Eden in Christ's temptation can't be overlooked. The first Adam met Satan in the perfection and safety of the Garden of God and failed, plunging all of humanity into sin. The Last Adam (I Corinthians 15:45) faced Satan in the demon filled dangers of the wilderness and triumphed. How unlike the first Adam is this last Adam.  

  • The Devil challenged the first man. The Last Man challenged the Devil.  
  • The Devil ruined the first Adam. The Last Adam spoiled the Devil.  
  • The First Adam involved the Race in his defeat. The Last Adam included the Race in His victory.  

The First Adam stood as the head of the race and falling, dragged the race down with him. The Last Adam stood as the Head of the new race, and being victorious, lifted that race with Him."

Remember that Christ's baptism was immediately prior to this temptation.  Heaven had opened at His baptism, and now Hell opens at His temptation.  

What Mark calls the wilderness is the 525 square mile (15x35 mile) region between Jerusalem, on the central hills that form the backbone of Israel, and the Dead Sea. This bleak and barren area of wilderness is called Jeshimmon in the Old Testament. Jeshimmon means The Devastation, and this area fits the name. One early Bible geographer named Sir George Adam Smith, in the late 19th century described it in his journals:  

It is an area of yellow sand, of crumbling limestone, and contorted strata, where the ridges run in all directions as if they were warped and twisted. The hills are like dust heaps; the limestone is blistered and peeling; rocks are bare and jagged; often the very ground sounds hollow when a foot or a horse’s hoof falls upon it. It glows and shimmers with heat like some vast furnace. It runs right out towards the Dead Sea, and then there comes a drop of twelve hundred feet, a drop of limestone, flint, and marl, through crags and precipices down to the Dead Sea

The wilderness Christ entered was the same one into which the scapegoat pre-figuring Christ, was released to wander and die on the Day of Atonement, carrying away the sin of the nation into that place of evil spirits.  

So Jesus began His ministry in the Wilderness of Temptation in Mark 1:12-13. He ended in the Luke 23 in the Garden of temptation. As we study this climactic event, we will see how He triumphed, and how we can too! 

So Jesus, hungry to the point of starvation, thirsty to the point of death, weakened to the point of helplessness—Jesus, meets the fallen glistening cherub, the fallen anointed one, Satan the adversary. 

Lessons from Christ's Temptation 

Christ's temptation was real; it was real physically, it was real emotionally, and it was real spiritually. Jesus felt every pain, every attack, and every pressure.  

But, as Christ's temptation shows us—Satan can only persuade, he can’t push. The Devil tempts, but it is we who transgress. The Devil doesn’t make us do it, we do it ourselves. Jesus shows us we are responsible for our sins because of the sin we have within. Jesus didn’t sin although He was completely tempted, because He has no sin within. But, a tempted Christ always understands His tempted people. 

The essence of Christ's temptation in all three versions was to act independent of God. It is okay to be hungry and want food, tired and want rest, weary and want an end to the attacks—but it is wrong to get anything apart from God’s way, God’s timing, and God’s blessing! 

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