THE TEMPTER CAME TO HIM
Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
What a pattern our Lord Jesus is to everyone of his believers! He is baptized, not because he is a sinner, but in order that he might fulfill the example of righteousness for his Father and for his church! True believers are cleansed by the application of the blood of Christ to their souls by the Holy Spirit. The city or county water system holds no cleansing power for them. Before they enter into the baptism waters, they also are already cleansed by the washing from the fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s side! They are baptized to obey the righteous command of their Savior, and as a witness to all, that their faith and obedience is to Christ.
As the Lord parts the waters in prayer (Luke 3:21), heaven witnesses to his being a beloved Son of God! And every believer also obeys the leadership of the Spirit, coming to the light for that confirmation that his deeds are wrought in God! (John 3:21). And their evidence of faith is also prayer. That was the one comfort that the Lord gave to Ananias in order to get him to go lay hands on the now converted, former Jewish terrorist, Saul of Tarsus! He says, “for, behold, he prayeth!” (Acts 9:11).
The next event begins with the word, “Then.” For it is the Holy Spirit’s work to lead a recently baptized convert into the realm of the trial of that faith! All God-granted faith is active! There is no such thing as a faith that lies dormant. In fact, Christ, the author of faith, sired it in afflictions! A Spirit controlled trial is the very bond between Christ, the Head, and the Church, his Body! Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
Next we find that the Lord, our pattern, fasted. And in the very next chapter, (Matt. 5:6), he teaches that it is a blessed thing to hunger and thirst after righteousness! For as our Lord gave witness that his food was to do the will of his Father, (John 4:34), so the true believer feeds from that same obedience in faith, spiritually eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ! (John 6:53). We are instructed in John 6:27, Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. In this the believer sets his affections on things above, and not on things of the earth! He enters into the mortification of his carnal man, feeding the spiritual man from the heavenly source by faith!
Did you know that the Hebrew word translated, “soul” in Genesis 2:7 is also translated “appetite” in Ecclesiastes 6:7? Therefore, through the first Adam we received an appetite for the natural realm. But now the last Adam, the Lord Jesus, grants us a new appetite, a new taste for the things of the spiritual realm! Psalm 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
In this life-long struggle the believer engages in the maturing of his soul! Gal. 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. This warfare not only involves the flesh, or natural man, and the spiritual man, born from above, but it also involves a wrestling against spiritual wickedness in high places! (Eph. 6:12). And again, our Pattern, the Lord Jesus, sets the bounds in this. For as he was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil, so every believer’s trials and temptations are Spirit controlled! 1Cor. 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. For God does not allow temptation in order to cause you to sin, but to mature your faith!
Pastor Gene Breed