First Sunday in Lent 01 March 2020 Holy Communion

First Sunday in Lent                    Holy Communion                01 March 2020 A.D.

The Epistle. 2 Corinthians 6:1-10                The Gospel.  Matthew 4:1-11

                                O Lord, who for our sake didst fast forty days and
                                forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence,
                                that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever
                                obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness,
                                to thy honor and glory, who livest and reignest with the
                                Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.

                                             Always answer evil with Scripture. 

 As we review the simple presentation of the temptation of Jesus in today’s Gospel reading; we find a equally simple solution to the temptations. 
  As Satan attempted to lead Jesus astray with each temptation, he answering each one with a direct quote from the Old Testament. Jesus turned aside each attempt by Satan to lead Jesus off the path of righteousness.
This simple yet extremely effective way of answering temptation is time honored and actually the only safe way to handle temptation.      

 Every time we see some level of temptation being presented to a figure in the Scripture, there is a way out given, not always taken (Samson), and a lesson taught by each step.  When Joseph 
flees Potiphar’s wife’s advances, he eventually is lead to the right way.  He becomes the second most powerful person in Egypt.   Now understanding that something like that doesn’t always happen to a faithful believer, the best outcome is that one has not fallen into temptation or evil.

Notice when Satan approaches Christ. After 40 days of fasting. Christ is physically at his lowest point, a seemingly easy target for Satan. But Christ has truth and righteousness on his side. He is sinless, currently living in a sinful world, but he will prevail against Satan and his temptations.

 With the first temptation, Satan tries to appeal to Christ’s most basic need, that of his hunger. We get into such trouble when we give in to the most basic of our wants and needs, that maybe delayed will bring a better result.  Jesus answers Satan back with a direct reference to the feeding of the Hebrews in the wilderness by way of a miracle, the manna from heaven.  This is a two fold answer, Satan is attacking Jesus divinity, ‘if you are the Son of God you could command these stones to become bread’.... but Jesus puts it back to Satan that there is more to life than just taking care of the temporal.   A believer most also take care of the spiritual “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

 That Word, both in flesh as Jesus Christ and in the Word of the Lord, the Bible will sustain us through any and all of life’s troubles.

 The second temptation, being a test of power, safety, and care, is slapped down by a reference to the test that the Hebrews tried on God in the wilderness.   He, God, knows what we need, when we need it, and how it will be given, if at all, to us “in God’s time” , not ours.   The most important thing is to not test God’s love, his ability to care for us, and his knowledge that we need safety, care, and security.   It is really all in His hands.  Satan was trying to get Jesus to test his Father.    Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 
 Wait upon the Lord, ask for patience during trying times, seek his peace, and most importantly do not put God to the test.  The lesson to us is for us to not do the same, we are not to test or try to temp God.

 The third temptation deals mostly with looking to this world for accolades, rewards, fulfillment, a sense of who we are, all things that will ultimately lead us to sadness, and a sense of worthlessness. If one were to follow and love the world more than God the Father, worshiping the world and all that there is will only lead to loss.   Jesus, in this temptation, shows us that all the glitz and shiny stuff of the world is nothing, it is valueless, meaningless and worthless, when put up against the majesty of God.  He is to be worshiped, He is to be obeyed, He is to be served, everything else will fall into place.
“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

When we try so hard to be like the world, we as believers so discover the bitterness of the world and its’ lack of satisfaction.    
 Everything is so temporary, everything turns to dust, or in one of the Old Testament renditions to dung. 
 Boy what a powerful statement about this world.   It isn’t worth anything but to be swept out the door and put in a heap to be hauled away to the dump.

 God has given us a great lesson in this passage of scripture today.  

 We come away understanding that we must lean on God and his understanding and we will find peace.

 We must never put God to the test, it will come to nothing because we are trying to make God our cosmic bellhop. By asking, pleading, and begging him to do things for us that are directly against the scriptures, we must be doing good, not seeking goods.

 We must only worship God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, because as Christian believers we must only worship our God, the triune God of the Holy Bible, who gives us life, and life eternal both here and forever.    Amen

  Let us pray:

SEARCH me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
    If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

O LORD, we beseech thee, mercifully hear our prayers, and spare all those who confess their sins unto thee; that they, whose consciences by sin are accused, by thy merciful pardon may be absolved; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE Lord bless us, and keep us: the Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us: the Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, both now and for evermore. Amen.