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November 14, 2014

Text:  “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” I  Peter 5:8-9

Satan is a stalker: relentless, ruthless, strong, and wiley. He seeks only one type of victim: man. That’s right! You and I are  his prey.  He never abandons his campaign of temptation to capture men, yes, even the citizens in God’s kingdom. Do not even think  that now you are a Christian that the Devil has abandoned his quest to get you. You are a choice tidbit, a prize for his trophy  room.

All kinds of game and fish need some kind of bait to entice them. (They don’t sacrifice themselves and jump onto your  plate.) Getting the right bait is essential; some fish like one bait and some another. As a boy we  angled for crappie and other small fish. Before we got to the fishing hole it was  necessary to dig up  some worms or get some minnows. During the work of angling I would lose my worms to a clever fish or a turtle. Back  to the can of worms to find a big fat one to lure the prey onto the hook. Some readers are gagging now thinking of wriggly worms or minnows to be impaled on the hook. Many other baits are available to the fisherman for dangling before  various species of marine life.

Now be reminded that Satan has  his can of worms with all kinds of dainties to lure humans. He skillfully entices men by using these baubles. Some might say that it is a ludicrous invention to scare people. Read on!

The Bible presents the truth unvarnished and repeatedly. Let’s start with  Eve in the garden of Eden. Genesis 3:6 How about Achan who participated in the sack of Jericho and disobeyed God who put the booty of Jericho under a ban? Achan stole some silver and hid it in his tent. Joshua 7:20-21  Demas loved the world and deserted Paul. II Timothy 4:10 Simon the magician wanted to get a franchise on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:18-19  King David was tempted by lust of the flesh and committed adultery with Bathsheeba. II Samuel 11:4

The story of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness is one of the most informing accounts of  temptation in  the New Testament. Matthew 4:1-11  Satan is attempting to mislead Jesus from the accomplishment of his mission of dying on the cross. He knows that in order to lure Jesus from the  plan of God he must bring out his AAA merchandise. So the Devil’s first offering is to induce Jesus to use his powers to satisfy his hunger and thirst brought on by his sojourn in the wasteland. He tells Jesus that it is possible for him to save his  life by misusing his powers for selfish motives. If he does this Jesus will break the commandments and fall short of his mission. Jesus answers so wisely. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Matthew 4:4 In other words, Jesus is certain that he will only do what God has said.  

Satan whisks Jesus away to the top of the pinnacle of the temple and surveys all of the capitals of the world. In his second temptation Satan woos Jesus again by offering  him another means of not going to the cross. He is telling the One who is  about to die on the cross, “You can escape all this suffering if you will simply call the angels to save you. Instead you can have glory and power.”  As clever as the Devil’s argument is, Jesus is skillful with his answer. “Again it is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”  Matthew 4:7   Satan is trying to alienate Jesus from his Father. If Jesus chooses  to call upon the angels to save Him he rebels against God to save his life again. No go.

The third temptation: Satan offers Him all the riches of the world and rulership of their governments. He seems to say, “Your Father offers you a kingship of small proportions for your sufferings. Look at all I have starting now.” To accept is to grasp at immediate satisfaction rather than wait for the riches. That means you turn your back on God and eternal blessings. Jesus tells of only one choice. “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” Matthew 4:10

Stop denying your sins! Repent of them and pray to God for forgiveness. Thank God for his Son’s death on the cross.







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