Sermon 2326. Satan Departing, Angels Ministering
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1893.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, AUGUST 15, 1889.
"And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season." Luke 4:13.
"Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto Him."
BELOVED Friends, we have very much to learn from our Lord's temptation. He was tempted in all points, like as we are. If youwill study the temptation of Christ, you will not be ignorant of Satan's devices. If you see how He worsted the enemy, youwill learn what weapons to use against your great adversary. If you see how our Lord conquers throughout the whole battle,you will learn that, as you keep close to Him, you will be more than conqueror through Him that loved you. From our Lord'stemptation we learn, especially, to pray, "Lead us not into temptation." Let us never mistake the meaning of that petition!We are to pray that we may not be tempted, for we are poor flesh and blood and very frail. It is for us to cry to God, "Leadus not into temptation." But we also learn a great deal from the close of our Lord's great threefold trial. We find Him, afterwards,peaceful-ministered unto by angels-and rejoicing. That should teach us to pray, "But, if we must be tempted, deliver us fromthe evil," or, as some render it, and very correctly, too, "Deliver us from the Evil One." First, we pray that we may notbe tempted at all and then, as a supplement to that prayer, yielding the whole matter to Divine Wisdom, "If it is necessaryfor our manhood, for our growth in Grace, for the verification of our Graces and for God's Glory, that we should be tempted,Lord, deliver us from the evil, and especially deliver us from the impersonation of evil, the Evil One!"
With that as an introduction, for a short time, tonight, let me call upon you to notice in our text, first, the devil leavingthe tempted One-"Then the devil left Him." Secondly, we shall keep to Matthew's Gospel and notice the angels ministering tothe tempted One after the fallen angel had left Him. And then, thirdly, the limitation of the rest which we may expect-thelimitation of the time in which Satan will be gone-for Luke puts it, "When the devil had ended all the temptation, he departedfrom Him for a season," or, as some put it, "until a fit opportunity," when he would, again, return, and our great Lord andMaster would once more be tried by his wicked wiles.
I. First, we have as the subject for our happy consideration, THE DEVIL LEAVING THE TEMPTED ONE.
When did the devil leave our Lord? When he had finished the temptation. It must have been a great relief to our Divine Masterwhen Satan left Him. The very air must have been more pure and fit to be breathed. His soul must have felt a great reliefwhen the evil spirit had gone away-but he went not, we are told, until he had finished all the temptation. So Luke puts it-"Whenthe devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season." Satan will not go till he has shot the last arrowfrom his quiver. Such is his malice that as long as he can tempt, he will tempt. His will desires our total destruction, buthis power is not equal to his will. God does not give him power such as he would like to possess-there is always a limit setto his assaults. When Satan has tempted you throughout and ended all his temptation, then he will leave you. You have notyet undergone all forms of temptation, so you may not expect absolutely and altogether to be left by the arch-enemy.
It may be a long time, when you are suffering from his attacks, before he will hold his hand, for he will try all that hepossibly can to lead you into evil and to destroy the Grace that is in you. Still, he does come to an end with his temptationssooner than he desires, for, as God has said to the mighty sea, "Until this time shall you come, but no further; and
here shall your proud waves be stayed"-and so says He to the devil. When He permitted Satan to try the Graces of Job and toprove his sincerity, He let him go just so far, but no farther. And when he asked for a further stretch of power, still therewas a limit. There is always a limit to Satan's power and when he reaches that point, he will be pulled up short-he can dono more. You are never so in the hands of Satan as to be out of the hands of God. You are never so tempted, if you are a Believer,that there is not a way of escape for you! God permits you to be tried for many reasons which, perhaps, you could not altogetherunderstand, but which His infinite wisdom understands for you. But He will not suffer the rod of the wicked to rest upon thelot of the righteous. It may fall there, but it shall not rest there. The Lord may let you be put into the fire, but the fireshall be heated no hotter than you are able to bear. "When the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him."
Satan did not depart from Christ, however, until he had also failed in every temptation. When the Lord had foiled him at everypoint-had met every temptation with a text of Holy Scripture and had proved His own determination to hold fast His integrityand not let it go-it was not till then that the enemy departed. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, if you can hold out, if you canstand against this and then, against, that. If you are protected against frowns and protected against flatteries. If you areprotected against prosperity and against adversity. If you are protected against sly insinuations and open attacks-when youhave won the day, as by God's Grace you will do, even as your Master did-then the enemy will depart from you! "Well," saysone, "I wish that he would depart from me, for I have been sorely troubled by him," to which I say most heartily, "Amen."
Let us think, for a minute or two, about when Satan will depart from the child of God, as he did from the great Son
I have no doubt that he will do that when he finds that it is necessary for him to be somewhere else. Satan is not everywhereand cannot be, for he is not Divine. He is not Omnipresent, but, as one has said, although he is not everywhere present, itwould be hard to say where he is not, for he moves so swiftly, he is such an agile spirit, that he seems to be here and thereand everywhere. And where he is not in person, he is represented by that vast host-the legions of fallen spirits who are underhis control. And even where they are not, he carries out his evil devices so that he leaves the leaven to work, the evil seedsto grow when he, himself, has gone elsewhere. Yet it is, probably, not many times in one's life that any man is actually calledinto conflict with Satan, himself, personally. There are too many of us, now, for him to give all his time and strength toone-he has to be somewhere else. Oh, I long to be the means of multiplying the number of God's people by the preaching ofthe Word of God, that the Gospel of the Grace of God may fly abroad and bring in myriads-that the devil may have more to doand, therefore, not be able to give so much of his furious attention, as he does in one direction and another, to the childrenof God!
He also leaves God's people very quickly when he sees that they are sustained by superior Grace. He hopes to catch them whenGrace is at a low ebb. If he can come upon them when faith is very weak, when hope's eyes are dim, when love has grown cold-thenhe thinks that he will make an easy capture. But when we are filled with the Spirit as the Master was, (God grant that wemay be), he looks us up and down and he presently leaves. Like an old pirate who hangs about on the lookout for merchant vessels,but if he meets with ships that have plenty of guns on board and hardy hands to give him a warm reception, he goes after someother craft not quite so well able to resist his assaults. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, be not merely Christians, only barelyChristians, with just enough Grace to let you see your imperfections, but pray to God to give you mighty Grace, that you may"be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might," so that, after the devil has tested you and found that the Lord iswith you, that God dwells in you, then you may expect that, as it was with your Master, so it will be with you-Satan willleave you.
Sometimes I think, however, that Satan personally leaves us because he knows that not to be tempted is, to some men, a greaterdanger than to be tempted! "Oh," you say, "how can that be?" Brothers, Sisters, do you know nothing of carnal security, ofbeing left, as you think, to grow in Grace and to be very calm, very happy and, as you hope, very useful and to find beneathyou a sea of glass with not a ripple on the wave? "Yes," you say, "I do know that experience and I have been thankful forit." Have you never found creeping over you, at the same time, the idea that you are somebody, that you are getting wonderfullyexperienced, that you are an eminent child of God, rich and increased in goods? And have you not said, like David, "I shallnever be moved"?
Possibly you have looked askance on some of your friends who have been trembling and timid and crying to God, from day today, to keep them. You have been Sir Mighty-you have been Lord Great-One and everybody must bow down before you! Ah, yes,you have now fallen into a worse condition than even those are in who are tempted of Satan! A calm in the tropics is moreto be dreaded than a tempest! In such a calm everything gets to be still and stagnant, the ship scarcely moves. It is likea painted ship on a painted sea and it gets to be in something like the state described by Coleridge's Ancient Mariner-
"The very deep did rot- Alas, that ever this should be! And slimy things with legs did crawl Over the slimy sea."
"Oh," you say, "that is horrible!" Yes, and that is the tendency of a soul that is at peace with itself and is not emptiedfrom vessel to vessel. I fear that is often the case with those who believe themselves to be supernaturally holy. A curiousfact can be proven by abundant evidence, namely, that the boast of human perfection is closely followed by obscenity and licentiousness!The most unclean sects that have ever defaced the page of history have been founded by those who had the notion that theywere beyond temptation, that they had ceased to sin and could never transgress again. "Ah," says Satan, "this notion doesmy work a great deal better than tempting a man! When I tempt him, then he stands up to resist me. He has his eyes open, hegrasps his sword and puts on his helmet. He cries to God, "Lord, help me!' And he watches night and day-and the more temptedhe is-the more he looks to God for strength. But if I leave him quite alone and he goes to sleep, well, then, he is not inthe battle! And if he begins to feel quite secure, then I can steal in upon him unawares and make a speedy end of him." Thisis one reason why Satan leaves some men untempted. A roaring devil is better than a sleeping devil-and there is no temptationmuch worse than that of never being tempted at all.
Again, I doubt not that Satan leaves us-no, I know that he does-when the Lord says to him what He said in the wilderness,"Get you hence, Satan." And He does say that when He sees one of His poor children dragged about, tortured, wounded, bleeding.He says, "Get you hence, Satan. I permit you to fetch in My stray sheep; but not to worry them to death. Get you hence, Satan."The old Hell-dog knows his Master and he flies at once.
This voice of God will come when the Lord sees that we cast ourselves wholly upon Him. In my Brother's prayer, he suggestedto us, if you remember, that in casting our burden upon the Lord, we might not be able to get rid of it. The way was to castourselves and our burden, both, upon the Lord. The best way of all is to get rid of the burden entirely, to cast yourself,but without your burden, upon the Lord! Let me remind you of a story that I once told you, of a gentleman who, riding alongin his coach, saw a packman carrying a heavy pack, and asked him if he would like a ride. "Yes, and thank you, Sir." But hekept his pack on his back while riding. "Oh," said the friend, "why do you not take your pack off and put it down in front?""Why, Sir," he said, "it is so kind of you to give me a ride that I do not like to impose upon your good nature, and I thoughtthat I would carry the pack myself!" "Well," said the other, "but, you see, it makes no difference to me whether you carryit or do not carry it-I have to carry you and your pack-so you had better unstrap it and put it down in front."
So, Friend, when you cast your burden upon God, unstrap it! Why should you bear it yourself when God is prepared to bear it?Beloved, there are times when we forget that, but when we can come and absolutely yield ourselves right up, saying, "Lord,here I am, tempted, poor and weak. But I come and rest in You. I know not what to ask at Your hands, but Your servant hassaid, 'Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.' I lie atyour feet, my Lord. Here I am, here would I be. Do with me as seems good in Your sight-only deal in tender mercy with Yourservant." Then will the Lord rebuke the enemy! The waves of the sea shall be still and there shall be a great calm.
So much for the devil leaving the tempted One. He does so, he must do so, when God commands it.
II. But now, secondly, let us think Of THE ANGELS MINISTERING TO THE TEMPTED ONE.
The angels came and ministered to our Lord after Satan was gone. Notice that they did not come while our Lord was in the battle.Why not? Why, because it was necessary that He should tread the winepress alone, and because it was more glorious for Himthat of the people there should be none with Him! Had there been any angels there to help Him in the duel with the adversary,they might have shared the honor of the victory, but they must stay away till the fight is over. But when the foe is gone,then the angels come. It has been noted that it does not say that the angels came very often and
ministered to Jesus, as much as to make us think that they were always near, that they hovered within earshot, watching, andready to interpose if they might. They were a bodyguard round about our Lord, even as they are, today, about His people, for,"are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" But the moment thatthe fight was over, then the angels came and ministered to Christ. Why was that?
I suppose, first, because, as Man, He was especially exhausted. He was hungry, we are told, and that proves exhaustion. But,besides that, the strain offorty days' temptation must have been immense! Men can bear up under a strain, but when it is eased,then they fall. Elijah can do marvels. He can strike the priests of Baal and behave like a hero, but, after it is all over,Elijah fails! As Man, our Lord was subject to the sinless infirmities of our flesh, and it was necessary that angels shouldcome and minister to Him, even as the angel did in the Garden, after the agony and bloody sweat.
But it was also because, being Man, He was to partake of the ministry which God had allotted to man. He has appointed angelsto watch over His own people and, inasmuch as Jesus is our Brother, as the children were partakers of the ministry of angels,He, Himself, also took part with the same that He might show how He took our weakness upon Him and, therefore, needed andreceived that succor which the Father has promised to all His children.
Was it not, again, because He was so beloved of the angels and they were so loyal to Him? They must have been amazed whenthey saw Him born on earth and living here in poverty! And when they saw Him tempted of the enemy, they must have loathedthe adversary. How could Satan be permitted to come so near their pure and holy Master? I think that Milton could have picturedthis scene and that he would have drawn every seraph there as longing to let his sword of flame find a scabbard in the heartof the foul fiend that dared to come so near to the Prince of purity! But they must not interfere. Yet, as soon as they might,then they joyfully came and ministered to Him.
And does it not also go to show that His was a Nature very sensitive to the angelic touch? You and I are coarse, hardhearted-
"Myriads of spirits throng the air- They are about us now."
Women are to cover their heads in worship "because of the angels." There are many acts of decorum in holy worship that areto be kept up "because of the angels." They are innumerable. They are sent to minister to us, but we are not aware of them-oftenwe do not perceive them. But Jesus was all tenderness and sensitiveness-and He knew that the angels were there, so it waseasy for them to come and minister to Him. What they did in ministering to Him, we cannot tell. I should certainly think thatthey sustained His bodily Nature, for He was hungry and they readily brought food to Him. But they also sustained His mentaland His spiritual Nature with words of comfort. The sight of them reminded Him of His Father's house, reminded Him of theGlory which He had laid aside. The sight of them proved that the Father did not forget Him. He had sent the household troopsof Heaven to succor and support Him. The sight of them must have made Him anticipate the day of which the poet sings-
"They brought His chariot from above, To bear Him to His Throne- Clapped their triumphant wings and cried, 'The glorious workis done!'"
Well now, Brothers and Sisters, if we are tempted, shall we have any angels to succor us? Well, we shall certainly have theequivalent of angels! Oftentimes, after a temptation, God sends His human messengers. Many of you can tell how, when you havebeen hearing the Word after a bad time of temptation, the Gospel message has been wonderfully sweet to you. You have sat inyour pew and said, "God sent that sermon on purpose for me." Or, if you have not had a sermon, you have read the Bible andthe Words have seemed to burn and glow on the page! And you have warmed your soul by their heat. Has it not been so with youoften? Are not all the holy things more sweet after trial than they were before? Have you not found them so? I bear my willingwitness that never does Christ seem so precious, never do the promises seem so rich and rare, never does Evangelical Doctrinecling so closely to my heart, and my heart to it, as after a time of painful trial when I have been laid aside from holy serviceand racked with anguish! Oh, then the angels come and minister to us, in the form of men who preach the Word, or in the formof the living page of God's written Word!
I have noticed, too, that God sometimes cheers His tempted people with clear sunshine after rain, by some very gracious Providences.Something happens that they could not have looked for-so pleasant, so altogether helpful-that they have had to burst intosinging, though just before they had been sighing! The cage door was set wide open and
God's bird has had such a flight and sung so sweetly, as it mounted up to Heaven, that the soul seemed transformed into aholy lark in its ascending music! Have you not found the Lord very gracious to you after some severe trial, or some strongtemptation? I believe that this will be the testimony of many experienced Christians.
And, as these choice Providences come, so, I do not doubt, there also come actual angels ministering to us, though we areunaware of their presence. They can suggest holy thoughts, I doubt not, to bring us comfort. But, above the angels, far superiorto angelic help, is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter! How sweetly can He close up every wound and make it even sing as it heals!He makes the bones that God had broken to rejoice and fills us with a deeper experience of delight than we have ever knownbefore!
Well now, I suppose that some of you here, tonight, are in this condition-that Satan has left you and angels are ministeringto you. If so, you are very happy. Bless your God for it! There is a great calm. Thank God for the calm after the storm. Ihope, my Brothers and Sisters, that you are the stronger for what you have endured, and that the conflict has matured you,and prepared you for something better. Now, what did our Lord do after the devil had left Him and the angels had come to ministerto Him? Did He go home and stay there and begin to sing of His delightful experiences? No, we find Him preaching directlyafterwards, full of the Spirit of God. He went everywhere, proclaiming the Kingdom of God. He was found in the synagogue,or on the hillside. Just in proportion as the Spirit of God had enabled Him to overcome the enemy, we find Him going forthto spend that strength in the service of His Lord!
O tempted one, have you a respite? Spend that respite for Him who gave it to you! Is it calm, now, after a storm? Go, now,and sow your fields with the good Seed! Have you wiped your eyes and are the salt tears gone? Go sing a Psalm, then-sing untoyour Well-Beloved-and go down into His vineyard and take the foxes, and prune the vines, and dig about them-and do necessarywork for Him who has done so much for you! Listen! You have been set free! There are many under bondage to Satan-not as youare, fighting against him-but his willing slaves. Oh, come, my Brothers and Sisters-your God has set you free-go after them!Go after the fallen woman and the drunken man. Go, seek and find the most debauched, the most depraved. Specially look afterany of your own house who have played the prodigal-
"Oh, come, let us go and find them! In the paths of death they roam- At the close of the day 'twill be sweet to say, 'I havebrought some lost one home!'" And it will be right to say it, if the Lord has dealt so well with you.
III. Now, I have to close by reminding you of the third point, which is a searching truth, namely, THE LIMITATION OF OUR REST.Satan left Christ "for a season," or until a fit occasion.
Did the devil assail our Lord again? I am not sure that he personally did, but he did so in many ways by others. I noticethat, before long, he tried to entangle Him in His speech. That is a very easy thing to do with us. Somebody, tonight, cantake up something that I have said, twist it from its connection, and make it sound and seem totally different from what wasmeant by it. You know how the Herodians, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees did this with our Lord-they tried to entangle Himin His speech. In all of that, Satan led them on. Satan also actively opposed Christ's ministry and Christ opposed Satan-butJesus won the day, for He saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven!
A more artful plan, still, was that by which the devil's servants, the demons that were cast out of possessed persons, calledJesus the Son of God. He rebuked them because He did not want any testimony from them. No doubt the devil thought it a verycunning thing to praise the Savior-then the Savior's friends would begin to be suspicious of Him if He was praised by thedevil. This was a deep trick, but the Master made him hold his peace. You remember how He said on one occasion, "Hold yourpeace, and come out of him"? It was something like this, "Down dog! Come out!" Christ is never very polite with Satan-a fewwords and very strong ones are all that are necessary for this arch-prince of wickedness!
Satan tempted our Lord through Peter. That is a plan that he has often tried with us, setting a friend of ours to do his dirtywork. Peter took his Lord and rebuked Him, when He spoke about being spit upon and put to death. And then the Lord said, "Getyou behind Me, Satan!" He could see the devil using Peter's tenderness to try to take Him off from His Self-sacrifice. Oh,how often has Satan tempted us that way, entangling us in our speech, opposing us in our work, praising us out of wicked motivesto try to deceive us and then setting up some friend to try to take us off from holy self-denial!
There were also occasional heart-sinking in our Lord. Thus we read in John 12:27, "Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour?" He seems to have been very heavy in heartat that time. But the deepest soul-sinking was when, in the Garden, His soul was "exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death."Satan had a hand in that sore trial, for the Lord had said, "The Prince of this world comes," and He said to those who cameto arrest Him, "This is your hour and the power of darkness." It was a dreadful season. Our Lord's ministry began and endedwith a fierce onslaught from Satan. He left Him after the temptation, but only for a season.
Well now, dear Friends, if we have peace and quietness tonight, and are not tempted, do not let us become self-secure. Thedevil will come to us, again, at a fit opportunity. And when will that be? There are a great many fit opportunities with youand with me. One is when we have nothing to do. You know Dr. Watts' lines-
"Satan finds some mischief stiil, For idle hands to do."
He will come and attack us when we are alone. I mean, when we are sad and lonely, and are sitting still, and moping by ourselves.
But Satan also finds a very fit occasion when we are in company, especially when it is very mixed company-a company of persons,perhaps, who are superior to ourselves in education and in station-but who do not fear God. We may easily be overawed andled astray by them. Satan will come then.
I have known him frequently come and find an occasion against the children of God when we are sick and ill, the old coward!He knows that we would not mind him when we are in good health, but sometimes when we are down in the dumps through sicknessand pain-then it is that he begins to tempt us to despair.
So will he do with us when we are very poor. When a man has had a great loss in business, down comes Satan and insinuates,"Is this how God treats His children? God's people are no better off than other people."
Then, if we are getting on in the world, he turns it the other way, and he says, "Does Job fear God for nothing? He gets onby his religion." You cannot please the devil and you need not want to please him! He can make a temptation for you out ofanything!
I am going to say something that will surprise you. One time of great temptation is when we are very spiritual. As to myself,I have never been in such supreme danger as when I have led some holy meeting with sacred fervor and have felt carried awaywith delight in God. You know that it is easy to be on the Mount of Transfiguration and then to meet Satan at the foot, asour Lord did when He came down from that hill.
Another time of temptation is when we have already done wrong. "Now he begins to slip," says Satan. "I saw him trip. Now Iwill have him down!" Oh, for speedy repentance and an earnest flight to Christ whenever there has been a grave fault, yes,and before the grave fault comes, that we may be preserved from falling!
And Satan finds a good occasion for tempting us when we have not sinned. After we have been tempted and we have won the dayand stood fast, then he comes and says, "Now, that was well done on your part, you are a splendid saint!" And he who thinkshimself a splendid saint is next door to a shameful sinner, depend upon it! And Satan soon gets the advantage over him.
If you are successful in business or successful in holy work, then Satan will tempt you. If you are not successful and havehad a bad time, then Satan will tempt you. When you have a heavy load to carry, he will tempt you. When that load is takenoff, then he will tempt you worse than ever! He will tempt you when you have obtained some blessing that you have been thinkingwas such a great gift, just as, in the wilderness, when they would cry for flesh and said that they must have flesh, God gavethem their heart's desire-but sent leanness into their soul. Just as you have secured the thing that you are seeking, thencomes a temptation-to which all I have to say is this-"Watch."
"What I say unto you, I say unto all," said Christ, "Watch. Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation." And by theconflict and the victory of your Master, go into the conflict bravely and expect to conquer by faith in Him, even as He overcame!
But what shall I say to those who are the slaves and the friends of Satan? The Lord have mercy upon you! If you desire toescape, there is only one way! There is the Cross and Christ hangs upon it. Look to Jesus! He can set you free. He came onpurpose to proclaim liberty to the captives. Look and live! Look, now, and live, now! I implore you, do it for His dear sake!Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: LUKE 4:1-15.
Verse 1. And Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. "Fullof the Holy Spirit." And then, led "into the wilderness" to be tempted. You would not expect that. Yet it is a sadder thingto be led into a wilderness when you are not filled with the Spirit, and a sadder thing to be tempted when the Spirit of Godis not resting upon you. The temptation of our Lord was not one to which He wantonly exposed Himself. He "was led by the Spiritinto the wilderness." The Spirit of God may lead us where we shall have to endure trial. If He does so, we are safe, and weshall come away conquerors even as our Master did.
2. Being forty days tempted of the devil. Six weeks of temptation! We read the story of the temptation, perhaps, in six minutes,but it lasted for nearly six weeks. "Forty days tempted of the devil."
2. And in those days He did eat nothing: and when they were ended, He afterward was hungry. It does not appear, therefore,that Jesus was hungry while He was fasting. He was miraculously sustained during that period. After fasting, one looks fordeeper spiritual feeling and more holy joy. But the most prominent fact, here, is that, "He afterward was hungry," Think notthat you have lost the benefit of your devout exercises when you do not at once feel it. Perhaps the very best thing thatcan happen to you, after much prayer, is a holy hunger. I mean not a natural hunger, as it was with our Lord, but a blessedhungering after Divine things. "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."
3. And the devil said unto Him, If You are the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. Satan met the hungryMan and suited the temptation to His present pangs, to His special weakness at that moment-"If You are the Son of God, commandthis stone that it be made bread." The devil suspected and I think he knew that Jesus was the Son of God, but he began thetemptation with an, "if." He hissed into the Savior's ear-"If You are the Son of God." If you, Believer, can be led to doubtyour sonship and to fear that you are not a son of God, Satan will have begun to win the battle. So he begins to storm theroyal fort of faith-"If You are the Son of God." Our Lord is the Son of God, but then He was suffering as our Substitute-andin that condition He was a lone and humble Man. What if I call Him, "a common soldier in the ranks"? Satan invites Him towork a miracle of an improper kind on His own behalf, but Jesus worked no miracle for Himself. Now, it may be that the devilis trying some of you, tonight. You are very poor, or business is going very awkwardly, and Satan suggests that you shouldhelp yourself in an improper manner. He tells you that you can get out of your trouble very easily by some action which, althoughit may not be strictly right, may not be so very wrong after all. He said to Jesus, "If You are the Son of God, command thisstone that it be made bread."
4. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written. That is Christ's sword. Look how swiftly He drew it out of its sheath! Whata sharp two-edged sword is this to be used against Satan! You also, Believer, have this powerful weapon in your hand-let noman take it from you. Believe in the Inspiration of Scripture. Just now there is a fierce attack upon the Book of Deuteronomy.It is a very curious thing that all the texts Christ used during the temptation were taken out of Deuteronomy, as if thatwas to be the very armory out of which He would select this true Jerusalem blade with which He should overcome the tempter,"It is written," "It is written," "It is said."
4. That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God. "God can sustain Me without My turning the stone intobread. God can bring Me through my trouble without My saying or doing anything wrong. I am not dependent upon the outwardand visible." If you can feel like that. If you can appropriate the promise of God and quote it to Satan, saying, "It is written,"using it as Christ did, you will come off conqueror in the time of temptation even as He
5. And the devil. Now he tries Him again. There is wave upon wave trying to wash the Son of Man off His feet.
5. Taking Him up into an high mountain, showed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. Skeptics have askedhow that could be done. Well, they had better ask him who did it! He knows more about them and they know more about him thanI do! But he did it. I am sure, for here it is written, that he "showed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a momentof time."
6. And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give You, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto and to whomeverI will I give it. Does not he talk proudly in the presence of his Lord and Master? What an audacious dog he must
have been to howl, thus, in the Presence of Him who could have destroyed him by a look or a word, if He had wished to do so!
7, 8. If You therefore, will worship me, all shall be Yours. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get you behind Me, Satan.The temptation annoyed Him-it was so foreign to His holy Nature it vexed His gracious spirit-so He cried out indignantly tothe tempter, "Get you behind Me, Satan."
8. For it is written. Here flashed forth the sword again.
8. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve. Then let us pay no reverence, no worship to any but God!Consciences and minds are made for God, alone-before Him let us bow-and if all the world were offered to us for a moment'sidolatry, let us not fall into the snare of the tempter!
9. And he brought Him to Jerusalem. Satan now takes Christ to holy ground. Temptations are generally more severe there.
9. And set Him on a pinnacle of the Temple. The highest point of all. Elevated high above the earth.
9-11. And said unto Him, If You are the Son of God, cast Yourself down from here, for it is written, He shall give His angelscharge over You, to keep You: and in their hands they shall bear You up, lest at any time You dash Your foot against a stone.Now Satan tries to quote Scripture, as he can do when it answers his purpose, but he never quotes it correctly. You youngBrothers who go out preaching, mind that you do not imitate the devil by quoting part of a text, or quoting Scripture incorrectly!He did it, however, with a purpose-not by misadventure or from forgetfulness-he left out the very necessary words, "In allYour ways." "He shall give His angels charge over You, to keep You in all Your ways." Satan left out those last four words,for it was not the way of a child of God to come down from a pinnacle of the Temple headlong into the gulf beneath!
12. And Jesus answering, said unto him, It is said, You shall not tempt the Lord your God. Do nothing presumptuously. Do nothingwhich would lead the Lord to act otherwise than according to His settled Laws which are always right and good.
13, 14. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season. And Jesus returned in the powerof the Spirit into Galilee. He had not lost anything by the temptation, "the power of the Spirit" was still upon Him.
14,15. And there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorifiedof all. He became popular. The people resorted to Him and were glad to hear Him. He who has had secret temptation and privateconflict is prepared to bear open success without being elevated by it. Have you stood foot to foot with Satan? You will thinklittle of the applause or of the attacks of your fellow men!