Sermon 2997. 'Tempted of the Devil'
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JULY 19 1906.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, IN THE YEAR 1864.
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." Matthew 4:1.
WHAT a terrible incident! Well may our hearts be moved with fear and our blood run cold as we read it! Our adversary the devilgoes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. We are taught by our Lord Jesus to pray, "Lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the Evil One." What we are taught to seek or shun in prayer we should equally pursue or avoid in action.Very warily, therefore, should we endeavor to avoid temptation, seeking as to walk in the path of obedience that we may neverbe guilty of tempting the devil to tempt us! We are not to enter the thicket in search of the lion. Dearly might we pay forsuch presumption. The lion may cross our path, or come to our houses and doubtless he will, but we have nothing to do withhunting this lion. He that meets with him, even though he wins the day, will find it sharp work and a stern struggle! Letthe Christian pray that he may be spared the encounter. Our Savior, who had experience of what temptation meant, thus earnestlyadmonished His disciples, "Pray that you enter not into temptation."
But let us do what we will, we shall be tempted! God had one Son without sin, but He never had a son without temptation. Thenatural man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward-and the Christian is born to temptation just as certainly and necessarily.It is our duty to be always on our watch against Satan because we do not know when he will come. He is like a thief-he givesno intimation of his approach. Like the assassin, he will steal upon his victim. If Satan acted always above-board-if he werea bold and open adversary, we might deal with him-it is because he meets us unawares, and besets us in dark and miry placeson the way, that we have need to pray against temptation and have need to hear the Savior's admonition, "What I say unto you,I say unto all, Watch."
Still, wise Believers, those who have had experience of the ways of Satan, will have found that there is a method about histemptations-that there are certain times and seasons when he will most probably attack the child of God. It often happensthat a Christian is put on a double guard when he expects that he is in double danger. The danger may then be averted by hispreparation to meet it. Prevention is better than cure-it is better to be so well armed that the devil will not attack you-thanto endure the perils of the fight, even though you do come off conqueror.
We have observed-you have all done so who know anything of the spiritual life-that the most likely times for Satan to attacka Christian are those he deems unlikely. In carnal security you are most insecure. In such an hour as you think not, the Princeof this world comes. Just when you would have said, speaking after the manner of men-"I am safe," then it is that you arein danger! When Mr. Carnal Security has said, "There is no need for us to be in perpetual alarm-evidently the Prince Emmanuelsmiles upon us and the Holy Spirit dwells within us-we are the children of God, let us sit at the table and feast. Let useat, drink and be merry"-it is at that very time that you might hear a sound as of One who says, "Arise, let us go hence,for this heart has become polluted. I will no longer shed abroad the conscious delights of My Presence in it." Beware, dearFriends, of the devil! Beware of him most when you think you have least need to beware of him!
For a key-note to our meditation tonight, I propose to take the word, "Then," as it stands in the forefront of our text. Ithink there will be found something of instruction here, especially to young Believers, as to the times when Satan will mostprobably beset them and they will, probably, be surprised to find that the very times when Satan will be likely to attackthem, according to the judgment of experience and the examples of God's Word, are the times when they would
have thought him least likely to do so! I want you to observe the time of our Savior's temptation-first, with regard to thecircumstances which preceded it and then the circumstances which followed it. When we have noticed those two things, we willtake the whole case and see if we do not derive some instruction from it.
I. First, OBSERVE THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH PRECEDED THE TEMPTATION OF OUR SAVIOR IN THE WILDERNESS.
Jesus had been in an especially devout frame of mind before He was led into the wilderness. It is recorded by Luke that ourSavior, when He was baptized, was praying. He was always a Man of prayer. This is, indeed, a Characteristic of the Savior-andif we should be asked what there was in Christ which distinguished Him from other men, besides His outward holiness and Hisinward consecration, we would say, "The habitual exercise of a spirit of prayer." It is recorded that Jesus, as He was baptized,was praying and yet, after this prayer was offered, after Jesus had thus worshipped at His Father's Throne, the temptationcame! So, you may have been in your closet and had a season of special refreshing. The Lord may have manifested Himself toyou, as He does not unto the world, in your private devotions-but do not, therefore, conclude that you are rid of Satan'stemptations! You shall no sooner, it may be, have passed out of the closet than you shall be challenged to the conflict. Thecommunion shall cease and the combat shall begin! Satan knows that you have been doing mischief to his cause in your prayers.Have you not been bringing blessings down from on high? Have you not been shaking the walls of the spiritual Jericho-and doeshe not, therefore, hate you? Satan has the same hatred of you that we find in evil men-and we know that all bad men are alwaysmore angry when good men are more busy. So Satan becomes the more Satanic when he knows that you have been unlocking the treasuryof God to make those rich whom he would have poor. Why, your prayers, if I may use so daring a speech, have been instrumentalin opening blind eyes, quickening dead hearts, unlocking the doors of spiritual prisons and shaking the gates of Hell-anddo you not think that Satan will attack you now? Expect that Satan is at the closet doors and if, when you are lax in devotion,you are not tempted, rest assured that whenever you are much in prayer, you may expect Satan to be exceedingly enraged againstyou. Do you not see, dear Friends, that it is not to his advantage to let you continue in the act of prayer? He knows thatwhen you grow more like your Master, you get more of the Holy Spirit in you and, therefore, it is to his interest to spoilthis spirit of prayer! So he meets you, as it were, with his great club in his hand to knock you down. "Pray, will you?" hesays. "No, that you shall not, for I will tempt you. Pray, will you?-Grow strong and laugh me to scorn? No, that you shallnot," he says! And he leaves no stone unturned to try, if he can, to lead you away from the heavenly, soul-enriching employmentof private prayer! Now, if such a thing should happen to you, do not be surprised, as though some strange thing had occurred.It was so with your Lord. He prayed and temptation came! And when you have been in prayer, you may expect to be tempted bythe devil.
So, too, our Savior had been engaged in an act ofpublic obedience to His Father's will. You will not forgot that He had beenbaptized. He went to the Jordan's brim and gave Himself into the hands of the Baptist, that He might be immersed beneath Jordan'swaves. "Thus it becomes us," He said, "to fulfill all righteousness." Some persons after Baptism are favored with great joy,as the eunuch, to wit, "he went on his way rejoicing." But this is no rule. It will often happen that after the public avowal,after our public confession of faith, there will come a time of unusual struggling and conflict. You are not to say, dearFriend, "I know I have done right because I feel so happy." You have done right if you have fulfilled God's command, whetheryou feel happy or not! The witness of the Spirit to an ordinance is not your happiness after the ordinance, for it may sohappen that instead of happiness following immediately after your obedience, you may have to enter into a terrible conflictwith the Prince of Darkness! Little children must have little rewards for every service that they do while they are littlechildren, but those sons and daughters of the family who have had their senses exercised do not expect to have sweetmeatsgiven to them every time they are obedient. No, they can be obedient and take medicine from a father's hand-and consider eventhe bitter draught to be as real a proof of acceptance as though it had been some sweet thing such as they had in their youngerdays. We are not to always be children-not always little babies. It was because the eunuch was but a babe in Grace that hewent on his way rejoicing, but stronger Believers will often be tried as Christ was. They will come up dripping from Baptismto go down dripping into the floods of another river of deep temptations and sorrow. You must not always expect even the Lord'sSupper to yield you excessive comfort, or, if it does yield you comfort, you may expect that Satan will meet you very soonafter. The more soul-enriching ordinances become to you, the more probability there is that you will be tempted after them.If there is a
pirate out at sea, what ship does he attack? An empty one? No, no! That which has been to the mines and is coming home witha rich freight! Then says the pirate, "Up with the black flag! Now is our time for prize money." And when you have been toBaptism, or the Lord's Supper, or to prayer and your soul has grown rich through fellowship with the Lord Jesus, "Now," saysSatan, "it is my time! I will attack the heavenly-laden ship and see what spoil I can get!"
Not only had our Savior been devout and obedient, but He had also been in an exceedingly humble frame of mind. He was baptizedby John. John said, "I have need to be baptized of You," but the Master puts it, "Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becomesus to fulfill all righteousness." Talk of what is becoming! The Son of God speaking, not only of what is right, but of whatis becoming and expedient! This shows how holy was His mind as to humbleness before God-and yet He was tempted. When we areproud, we may expect to be tempted or, rather, we are already tempted, for the devil has at least one of the meshes of hisnet over us! But when we are humble, when God has been pleased to make us lie low at the foot of His Throne, we perhaps thinkthat now no temptation can come. Let us not be quite so sure. Where did Christian meet with Apollyon? Do you remember? Itwas in the Valley of Humiliation! Not on the mountaintop, but in the valley where the shepherd boy said he who was down needfear no fall. The boy was right in one sense, but there are some of us who, in another sense, need to be watchful and afraideven there! Satan does so hate humility that he will spit all his venom on it-he does so thoroughly abhor that sweet flower,the perfume whereof God does delight in, the prayer of a humble and contrite heart-that he will pour all his malice upon it!If you have had a broken heart, Satan and you will never be friends, for you fulfill the promise, "I will put enmity betweenyou and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed." God has put an enmity which never was in your heart before-betweenyou and Satan! Your brokenness of heart is an evidence that God put that enmity there-of Grace, alone, comes such experience!Your antagonist, seeing that enmity against him in the fact of your humiliation and contrition before God, will do his utmostto tempt you, if he can, to commit sin!
We find that our blessed Lord was on this occasion favored with a Divine seal and token of His Sonship. From the opened heavens,the Spirit, like a dove, descended upon Him and a Voice came from the excellent glory, saying, "This is My beloved Son, inwhom I am well pleased." Will He nowbe tried by the arch-fiend? Did the devil hear that? He has much too quick ears not tohave heard it. He therefore must have known that Christ was God's well-beloved Son-but has he the impudence to attack Him?Yes, so great a fool is the devil that he will thrust his hand into the fire and burn it! He will attack a child of God, thoughhe must know that he cannot overcome him. So stultified is he by sin that he will rush upon the thick bosses of God's bucklerand stand in conflict with the Spirit who is infinitely stronger and greater than he!
Now, Beloved, you, perhaps, have had some very sweet witness with your spirit that you are born of God. "Abba, Father," hasbeen upon your tongue all day. When you knelt down to pray, the sweet beginning of the Lord's Prayer was the beginning andend of it all, "Our Father, which are in Heaven," and you took your mercies as coming from a Father's hands and your sufferingsand chastisements as from the same paternal love. I hope you are not sitting down and saying, "Now, my battle is over-my victoryis won forever!" Beloved, if you do, you reckon without your adversary! You are thinking you are in port, while as yet youare only midway on the ocean! You are thinking about sweet fields before you have fairly crossed the swelling flood! Comeand be wise, lest that arch-deceiver take you unawares! If you had hope of your adoption, be still on the watchtower, lestSatan come against you! The surer I am that I am a child of God, and the clearer that is made to appear to other people, themore the devil will make me a target for his arrows. I am borrowing many a good figure just now from one dear Friend who haswritten upon this subject fully and largely. He says, quoting an old Divine, "A man never goes forth to shoot his own fowls.When he goes forth with his gun, it is against wildbirds. And so the devil never goes out to tempt his own children-that isnot necessary, for they are his, already-but when he knows that a man is a child of God, and is, as it were, a wild bird tohim, then he goes out against him." The more surely, then, you are known to be a child of God, the more certainly will Satanbe against you!
Again, to return to the narrative, we are told by Luke that Jesus Christ was full of the Holy Spirit. He was full of the HolySpirit, yet He was tempted. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is never given in vain and, if given to us, it is as a preparationfor conflict in order that we may have strength proportioned to our need. And again, where the Holy Spirit is given, the evilspirit will soon labor for the very reason I have referred to before, because, where God's treasure is, there the thief willtry to break in. I think it was one of my predecessors who said that nobody ever broke into a Baptist minister's house becauseit was well known there would be nothing for them to get! But thieves often broke into other people's houses because theyknew there was treasure there. So the devil does not go after people who are without Divine Grace. "Why," he says, "thereis nothing there for me to steal!" But if you are full of Grace, then you may expect the arch-adversary to come and attackyou. When old Farmer Jones went home on Friday evening, nobody went to watch for him on the road. But it was on a market night,when he had been selling wheat and some fellow had marked him on the Exchange taking money-it was then that the thief stoppedhim and robbed him of his gold. The devil knows when you are getting rich and full of the Holy Spirit. Now he thinks thereis something worth his time and trouble-and so he speeds with dragon wings to the place where this rich child of God is andhe waylays him-that he may attack him and cast him down. Well, there is never a better time to fight the devil than when youare filled with the Spirit! So the devil is a fool for meddling with you then. There never was such a fool as the devil isand though he hears us say that now, he knows it! He is a fool and will be to the end of the chapter, till my Master putsthe bit into his mouth and the bridle to his jaws and hurls him down to the regions where he shall dwell forever!
Thus much, then, for the circumstances preceding our Lord's temptation. I think we may ring the alarm and this may be a noteof warning to you, even though you may have been in deep devotion and may have performed acts of obedience in the most humbleand acceptable manner-and received tokens of adoption and are now full of the Holy Spirit.
II. Now, to change the strain, THE SUCCEEDING CIRCUMSTANCES ARE WORTHY OF YOUR SERIOUS REFLECTION.
Jesus Christ was just beginning His public ministrations. As one says, "So long as Jesus Christ had nothing to meddle withbut the chips in His father's carpenter's shop, the devil never tempted Him, but now that He was beginning to proclaim gladtidings to the poor, the devil attacked Him." While we have nothing to do in the cause of God and are secret and retiring,it may be we shall escape-but no common temptation will happen to the man who is engaged in unusual labor. Satan will findsome extraordinary means of tempting him whom God puts upon extraordinary service. Satan is very much afraid of all beginningsexcept one. He loves the beginning of sin, for it is like the letting out of water, but he cannot bear the beginning of anew life in the Christian! "Behold, he prays!" "Ah," says the devil, "I hate that first prayer." Satan loves not the beginningof repentance. There is the letting out of water, indeed! The beginning of a holy project, the beginning of a Christian ministry,the beginning of some ardent missionary, the opening up of some new field of Christian labor, the devil hates. If he can nipthese things in the bud, he knows they cannot come to perfection. So Jesus is beginning to preach the Gospel and Satan, therefore,attacks Him. To what may we trace the attacks of Satan just at these beginnings?
A primary cause is Satan's malice. No sooner is Christ acknowledged openly to be Anointed of the Holy Spirit to preach gladtidings, than the devil says, "I will shoot my arrow at Him. This is the Heir! Come, let us kill Him and the inheritance shallbe ours." So, in the beginning of the Christian life, and especially at the outset of the Christian minister, Satan says,"Here is another God-ordained man-here is another raised up against me," and there is another arrow directed at the childof God. It is the devil's complimentary arrow on the earnest soul when first God launches it in life. Another cause is Satan'scraftiness. He can foresee where we cannot. When there is a good project in hand, many an unbeliever says, "Oh, nothing willcome of it-it is an Utopian desire-fanaticism projected it and enthusiasm will carry it out for a little, but it will be alla bottle of smoke." Do you hear the devil? He is saying to himself, "I know the beginnings are good. I have crushed too manyof them not to know the look of the Lord." "Ah," he says, "if I leave this Man alone, all Jerusalem and Judaea will go afterHim. I must crush Him at once." There is a hellish industry about Satan. He knows that his Kingdom stands upon a rickety foundationand, therefore, he is always anxious. Like a man at sea in a leaky ship, who is afraid of every wind that blows, so is thedevil afraid of every new good thing and every fresh device of Divine Grace! And when he sees the beginnings, he thinks, "Iwill destroy the beginnings! I will break down the foundations and then the walls can never be built."
We may, then, attribute temptation, at the beginning of the Christian life or Christian effort, to Satanic craft as well asto Satanic malice.
A further reason why you are thus tempted and tried is that God, in His wise Providence, is now testing you to see whetheryou are a right man for His work. Before a firearm is sold, it is taken to the proof-shop and there it is loaded
with a charge much heavier than it will ever have to carry in the ordinary sportsman's hand. The barrels are fired and ifthey burst in the proof-house, no great hurt is done. Whereas it would be exceedingly dangerous if they should burst in thehand of some unskillful hunter. So God takes His servants-some of whom He will make special use He, perhaps, loads with fivetimes more temptation than He means they should ordinarily have to endure, in order that He may see and prove to onlookersthat they are fit men for His Divine service! We have heard that the old warriors, before they would use their swords, wouldbend them across their knees. They must see whether they were made of the right stuff or not before they would venture intobattle with them. And God acts thus with His servants. Martin Luther would never have been the Martin Luther he was if ithad not been for the devil. The devil was, as it were, the proof-house for Martin Luther. He must be tried and tempted bySatan and so he became fit for the Master's use.
Our Savior Himself became perfect through His sufferings. Through His temptations He became able to succor those who are tempted,for He was tempted in all points like as they are. And you, Christian, will never be of great service in God's Church withouttemptation-you shall neither be able to strengthen the weak, nor to comfort the faint-hearted. You cannot teach the ignorant,or inspire with courage the wavering unless you have, yourself, been taught in the school of experience. John Bunyan, whoteaches all the ages and will teach us till we meet in the Celestial City, must himself be taught, in five long years of darkdespair, the ruin of the creature and the glory of Free Grace. I believe you will find it to be the case in regard to mostof the preachers whom God has signally honored-in fact, I think in regard to all preachers who have been of great use in theChurch, that there has been a preparatory struggle in the wilderness, a preparatory forty days' fasting before they have comeforth to labor for the Lord!
"Well!" says one of my hearers, "I think I have found something out tonight. When I came into this Tabernacle, this was mystate of mind. I have been lately undertaking some new project and ever since I have thought of it, and commenced it, I havehad such a gloom of heart as I have never known before." My dear Friend, I think I have told you the reason of this. Takeis as a favorable omen. Satan knows that your project will do a serious injury to his Kingdom and this is why he is endeavoring,with his entire strength, to divert you from it. I am sure you and I would do the same if we were engaged in the same struggleas Satan is-and as he has a vast deal more sense than we have, he will not be likely to leave that stone unturned. Go on,Brother, go on! If you tread on a dog, he will bark-and you may depend upon it that you have trodden upon him when he doesbark-and so you may know you have done mischief to Satan when he begins to roar at you! Go on! Make him roar more! Never mindhis roaring-make him roar again! Yes, stir him up if you are in God's service and count it a triumph when you hear a growl!It is a good sign that angels are singing when devils are howling. It is a good omen that you are progressing when Satan isso endeavoring to cast you down!
III. Taking the case of the Savior being tempted, as a whole, I may offer a few closing reflections.
First, a holy character does not avert temptation. Perfect, spotless, without any propensity to sin, yet is Jesus tempted!In Him the Prince of this world found nothing congenial to his temptations. When Satan tempts us, he strikes sparks on tinder.But, in Christ's case, when the devil tempted Him, it was like striking sparks on water, yet he kept on striking. Now, ifthe devil goes on striking where there is no better result than that, how much more will he do it when he knows what inflammablestuff our hearts are made of? Expect it, then. Though you become ever so sanctified by the Holy Spirit and destroy sin aftersin and lust after lust, you will have this great dog of Hell still barking at you!
The greatest distance from the world will not insure you from temptation. When we mix with the world, we know that we shallbe tempted. In our business in the banking-house, on the farm, on the vessel, in the street, we expect that in the world weshall have temptation. But if you could get out of the world, you would still be tempted! Jesus Christ went right away fromhuman society into the wilderness and, "then," was He tempted by the devil. Solitude is no preservative against temptationfrom Satan! Solitude has its charms and its benefits and may be useful in curbing the flesh, and certainly in checking thelusts of the eyes and the pride of life-but the devil should be worsted by other weapons than that of solitude! Still he willattack you even there. Do not suppose, then, that it is only the worldly-minded who have dreadful thoughts and blasphemoustemptations, for even spiritually-minded persons may have to endure the same! And with the boldest character and the holiestposition, there may yet be the darkest temptation.
The utmost consecration of spirit will not insure you against Satanic temptation. Christ was consecrated through and through.His Baptism was real. He was truly dead to the world. He lived only to do His Father's work. It was His meat and drink todo the will of Him that sent Him-yet He was tempted. Your hearts may glow with a seraphic or cherubic flame of love to Jesusand yet the devil will try to throw cold water upon it and to bring you down to Laodicean lukewarmness.
Nor will the highest form of Grace or the greatest development of a spiritual mind prevent our being tempted. No, the mosteminent public service and the most favored private communion will not keep us from being assailed! Asked one, "At what timemay the Christian take off his armor?" If you will tell me when God permits a Christian to lay aside his armor, I will tellyou when Satan has left off temptation. Inasmuch as we are to do as the old knights did in war time-to sleep with the helmetand breast plate buckled on-you may rest assured there is good need for it. At the very time we think not, the arch-deceiverwill be on the watch to make us his prey! The Lord keep us watchful in all seasons and give us a final escape out of the jawof the lion and out of the paw of the bear!
Alas, there are some here who are not thus tempted and who are, perhaps, congratulating themselves and saying, "We were nevertempted like that!" Ah, you are never emptied from vessel to vessel! You are settled on the lees and why are you left so quiet?Is it not because there is no spiritual life in you? You are dead in trespasses and sins! You are the devil's own-why shouldhe hunt you? A man does not go forth with a lasso to catch a horse that stands in his stable already bridled and saddled forhim to ride whenever he likes! He goes forth to hunt the wild horse that is free. So the devil knows that he has you bridledand saddled-and that he can ride you whenever he pleases-so he does not need to hunt you. But he will hunt the free Christian,upon whose back he cannot place a saddle and into whose mouth he cannot fix a bit. I wish you were tempted. I wish there wassomething in you worth the devil's efforts, but there is not. May God renew your hearts and give you a right spirit! Rememberthat the way of salvation is to trust Jesus. Do that and you are saved. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. Ifyou are believing in Jesus-trusting only in Jesus, entirely, with your whole head-then you are saved. Then you may defy thepower of Hell and come off more than conqueror! May the Master bless these words to the warning of many and the comfort ofsome, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: MATTHEW 4:1-11.
Verse 1. Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil He had just been baptized, theSpirit of God had descended upon Him and the Father had borne witness to Him, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I amwell pleased," yet immediately after all that, He was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil! So, after your timesof sweetest fellowship with God. After the happiest enjoyment of Gospel ordinances. After the sealing of the Spirit withinyour hearts, you must expect to be tempted by the devil. You must not suppose that in your Christian life, all will be sweetness-thatall will be spiritual witness-bearing. You have to fight the good fight of faith and your great adversary will not be slowto begin the encounter! You are a pilgrim in a strange land, so you must expect to find rough places on the road to Heaven.Yet, since you are so much weaker than your Master was, you will do well to pray the prayer that He taught His disciples,"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One."
2. 3. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward hungry. And when the tempter came to Him, see howSatan seizes opportunities. When he finds us weak, as the Savior was through long fasting-when he finds us in trying circumstances,as the Savior was when hungry in the desert-then it is that he comes to tempt us. This dastardly foe of ours takes every possibleadvantage of us, that he may, by any means, overthrow us.
3. He said, If you are the Son of God, command that these stones be made into bread. He begins with an, "if." He tries tocast a doubt upon the Savior's Sonship-and this is the way that he often attacks a child of God now. He says to him, "If youare a son of God, do such-and-such." He challenged Christ to work a miracle for Himself-to use His Divine Power on His ownbehalf, but this the Savior never did. He challenged Christ to distrust the Providence of God and to be His own Provider-andthis is still a very common temptation to God's people.
4. But He answered and said, It is written. That is the only sword that Christ used against Satan-"the sword of the Spirit,which is the Word of God." There is nothing like it! And the old dragon himself knows what sharp edges this sword has. Christsaid, "It is written."
4. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. God can sustain human lifewithout the use of bread, although it is the staff of life, bread does not sustain life unless God puts power into
it to do so. And He can, if it pleases Him, use that power without the outward means. Our Lord thus showed that God couldprovide for Him in a desert without His interference with the plans of Divine Providence by selfishly catering for Himself.So the first victory was won,
5. 6. Then the devil took Him up into the Holy City, and set Him on a pinnacle of the Temple. And said unto Him, If You arethe Son of God, cast Yourself down: for it is written. Here He plays with the Word of God, for the devil can quote Scripturewhen it suits his purpose to do so-"It is written."
6. He shall give His angels charge concerning You: and in their hands they shall bear You up, lest at any time You cast Yourfoot against a stone. The devil did not quote correctly from Psalm 91:11, 12. He left out the most important words-"He shall give His angels charge over You, to keep You in all Your ways"-but it wasnot Christ's way to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple! Jesus therefore answered Satan's misquotation witha true quotation.
7. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God. I know some people who earn their livingin employments which are very hazardous to their immortal souls. They are in the midst of evil, yet they tell me that Godcan keep them in safety there. I know that He can, but I also know that we have no right to go, voluntarily, where we aresurrounded by temptation! If your calling is the wrong one and you are continually tempted in it, you may not presume uponthe goodness of God to keep you, for it is your business to get as far as you can from that which will lead you into sin!God does not put His servants on the pinnacle of the Temple-it is the devil who puts them there and if they ever are there,the best thing they can do is to get down as quickly and as safely as they can-but they must not cast themselves down! Theymust look to Him who alone can bring them down safely. With some professors, presumption is a very common sin. They will gointo worldly amusements and all sorts of frivolities and say, "Oh, we can be Christians, and yet go there!" Can you? It maybe that you can be hypocrites and go there-that is far easier than going there as Christians!
8-10. Again, the devil took Him up into an exceedingly high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and theglory of them; and said unto Him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me. Then said Jesusunto him, Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve. Christwill not endure any more of this talk! When it comes to a bribe-the promise that the devil will give Him earth's glory ifHe will but fall down and worship him-Christ ends the whole matter once and for all. Thrice assaulted, thrice victorious,blessed Master, enable us, also, to be more than conquerors through Your Grace!
11. Then the devil left Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him. Regarding it as their highest honor to be theservants of their Lord!