The Word - Matthew 4:1-4 Every Word

If you have followed me the past couple of weeks you have noticed that I am putting a heavy emphasis on the study of Scripture. I do this because I believe preaching, teaching, and ministry in general is not necessarily flashy, or amusing, or entertaining. Preaching, teaching, and ministry are Christ-centered. John 15:7 Jesus says, “If you abide in Me, and My WORDS abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” The only way to ask according to God’s will and the only way to live fruitfully is to let His words abide in us. I wholeheartedly believe what 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

And I believe and trust in what Jesus said in Matthew 4. Let’s read it together.

READ Scripture- This is the Word of God

"1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

I. Comparison of Adam/Jesus

1. Both are the beginning of a new creation
2. Both have unique beginnings
3. Both are humanity (flesh and blood)
4. They are linked genealogically through the humanity of Mary
5. Both were tempted

Yet in comparing Adam and Jesus Romans 5:19 states, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
* Where Adam failed, Jesus succeeded. Where Adam sinned, Jesus obeyed.

There is another comparison that Jesus draws and that is with the Exodus event.

II. Comparison of Exodus/Jesus

1. Both were led out by the Spirit

It was obviously God at work in both occasions because we know that Israel was led by the pillar of fire and cloud and likewise Jesus was drove out into the desert by the Spirit. The Spirit, not the devil, led Jesus to be tempted. Because of this detail it would lead me to believe that there was a divine purpose ordained in this event and I’ll get to that in a moment.

2. Both passed through water

Here is yet another connection of water and the Spirit. Israel passed through the waters of the Red Sea and then into the wilderness. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan and then went into the wilderness.

3. Both were tempted in the wilderness

Exodus 15:22 “So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur.” When Israel was in the desert they found no water and they found no food. Thus, they were hungry and thirsty being tempted to complain and grumble which they did. Jesus was tempted by the devil in three different ways: He was told to turn stones to bread and eat to satisfy His hunger, He was told to throw Himself down from the Temple so that the angels would catch Him, and He was tempted to worship satan in order to receive great wealth.

4. We see the nuber Forty in both accounts

Israel was in the wilderness 40 years and also Moses fasted 40 days on the top of Mount Sinai. Jesus fasted 40 days and nights.

5. Both were Hungry

Exodus 16:3 “And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Of Jesus Matthew says, “afterward He was hungry.”

* Jesus was identifying Himself with the nation Israel. This is the divine purpose that was set before Christ. He would associate Himself with their history and their sufferings. He truly becomes the Son of Man as He begins His ministry with baptism and temptation.

In these comparisons Scripture is demonstrating the association Jesus had with humanity. Yet, He proves His superiority and excellence because, though comparable, Jesus is the fulfillment of all God desires. Adam resulted in failure in behalf of man and Israel resulted in failure, but our Lord Jesus was tempted like they were yet without sin.

This brings me to the main point that I would like to make this morning on this particular temptation of turning stones into bread.

III. Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone

Jesus makes a reference to Deuteronomy 8:3 when He is tempted to turn to stones into bread. Deuteronomy says, “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.”

Jesus’ humanity is seen in that He was hungry. All temptation comes from some lust or desire. The more desirable something is to you, the more tempting it will be. And the more cunningly the sinfulness of a wrong is, the more likely we will commit it. Jesus was hungry and what more could you tempt Him with than food? There would have been nothing morally wrong with turning stones into bread but it would have been outside of the Father’s will. God sustains life, bread doesn’t ultimately give life. It is our responsibility to trust God and to stay in His will.

Luke tells us that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit when He went into the desert. Physically, Jesus was empty; spiritually, Jesus was full. So often we are the opposite. His answer proves that He was sustained by more than bread. As Adam and Eve were tempted by the fruit of that tree so was Jesus. For the Scripture says, “the woman saw that the tree was good for food…”

The responsibility of Adam was now in Jesus’ hands. The responsibility of Israel was now in Jesus’ hands. How would He respond? Would He fail miserably like the others before?

He answered and said, ‘It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God

Jesus responds to temptation with Scripture and even commends Scripture with this reference. It is ultimately God who has ordained that bread keep us alive, so who is to say that He couldn’t sustain us apart from bread? We don’t live because of food or any physical, apparent need.

We live because God says LIVE.

Life is found only in His Word.

1. James tells us in 4:13-15 “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’”

2. We could echo with Peter “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

3. The Psalmist said, “Your word has given me life.” (Psalm 119:50)

4. Jesus Himself said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

5. And in another place Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)

Spiritual needs take precedence over physical needs. We must trust God above all else.
We don’t live because of food or any physical, apparent need.

We live because God says LIVE.

Life is found only in His Word.

For it is written:

Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God

The Word - Psalm 1:1-3 Delighting in Scripture

Today we are going to study a text that highlights the happy life of the righteous person who meditates on God’s Word. Psalm one, combined with Psalm two, form the introductory hymns of ancient Israel’s hymn book (the Psalter). Psalms one and two are perfect introductions whether they were written with that specific purpose or strategically placed at the beginning. Psalm one proves that the Psalms are to be read and sung as inspired Scripture. Every Psalm is intended for instruction, to be a part of the canon of Torah, not simply poetry to be admired or used as entertainment. This Psalm is best categorized as a wisdom psalm. These first two Psalms, of which we will only discuss the first three verses, are contrasting the righteous and the wicked.

I will take each of the three verses as my three main points this morning.

READ Scripture- This is the Word of God

I. Blessed is the Man

Maybe some of you quickly realized that this is a Beatitude; especially those of you who studied the Sermon on the Mount with me on Wednesdays. “Blessed” can be best understood with a few things in mind: It simply means “Happy…” It can also mean “To be envied…” Also, “how rewarding is the life of…” With that in mind, we can understand that Psalm 1:1 celebrates a life that takes real pleasure in, what we will soon see, delighting in the instruction of the LORD as opposed to the counsel of the ungodly. True happiness comes from choosing the way of the LORD. This reminded me of a ministry that I follow that has as its slogan, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” This verse is layered with parallelism, which is characteristic of Hebrew poetry. The parallelism forms a three-fold climax that ruins the happiness of a man:

1. Walking in the counsel of the ungodly.
2. Standing in the path of sinners.
3. Sitting in the seat of the scornful.

You can see that there is a decreasing range of mobility-
Walking to Standing to Sitting.
Also the increasing range of error-
Ungodly to Sinner to Scorner.

The introduction confronts those who may be in one of these places.
1. Are you listening to the advice of ungodly people?
2. Are you putting that bad advice into action?
3. Or are you to the point that you make what is godly a joke?

Any of these three categories could be represented here today.
You may be borderline, struggling as you sit on the fence, weighing the options. Or you may be hiding your sins from everyone and you are here to keep them out of sight, only appearing to be righteous. Or there may be someone here today that is only here so that they can have more ammunition for their scoffing and laughter at the things of God and the people of God. To sit with the scoffers is to finally “dwell” with them and scoffers are the farthest from repentance. Proverbs most clearly defines the condition of the scoffer. I pray that no one here falls into any of these categories and I pray that we all receive this as a warning.

The final point that I would like to make on this verse is-
The process is simply stated as: believing, behaving, belonging.
The first (and priority) is thinking. We go down the wrong road when our thought process is altered by the counsel of the ungodly. We must protect our minds above all else.

Protecting our minds is best done by seeking the counsel of God rather than the ungodly. It is to meditate on His Word.

II. Delighting in the Torah

The three negatives of verse one clear the way for the positive which is to delight. One commentator says, “Even in Eden God gave man a negative to allow him the privilege of decisive choice.” Delighting is to have a “strong desire” for the counsel of God. Delight is not out of a legalistic observance which usually causes one to simply go through the motions. Blessed/Delight is a state of the person. Though we may not feel happy or privileged at a certain time we are blessed in God’s eyes. It is an inner security that we have as believers. And what can we take delight in? The law of the LORD is literally “Torah.” Torah can be a legal ordinance or it can mean Scripture as a whole. Here it refers to the instruction of Scripture. It is the Instruction of the LORD that we delight in and are Blessed by. The one who delights in the instruction of Yahweh meditates Day and Night. Meditate means to murmur or mutter. The Torah was not readily accessible to all people as we have numerous Bibles in many places today. The faithful would memorize Torah and softly recite it to themselves throughout the day and night and their life times. Calling to remembrance or reading a Scripture at a crucial or joyful time in life brings delight and categorizes us as blessed because God is our counsel. It is our spiritual exercise that renews and protects our minds.

That person shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.

III. He Shall Be Like a Tree

The Psalmist now uses a simile to illustrate the life of such a person. Such a man is ‘like’ a tree. A tree is thought of as tall, strong, stable, green, and beautiful. Thus Torah in the person causes the same stability and beauty. In lands without abundant rainfall, vegetation and trees only flourish near natural waters or man-made canals. The language of this text teaches us that the picture is one of a tree planted in a garden were canals have been built so that water may stream directly to the roots of a tree. A garden would suggest that the tree was strategically planted near the purposefully built irrigation channels so that it was sure to have plenty of water supply and, by common sense, the tree is certain to receive the care of a gardener. The closest comparable Scripture would be Jeremiah 17:7-8 which says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.” Trees produce fruit in their season. “In its season” highlights the distinctiveness and quiet growth of the person. This is a good lesson for us. We do not receive everything all at once it is progressive. Producing fruit is radically different from laboring works of the legal law. Fruit comes from the trees own life (our life comes from God). Fruit comes from the strategy, placement, care, and supervision of a Gardener. The promise of the leaf not withering does not indicate an immunization from the natural rhythm of the seasons, but a freedom from the dangers and damages of drought. Prosperity, which is spoken of here, is not necessarily great wealth, it is great success. Thought we are not to seek great success/wealth, but seek Torah and success will come.


This Psalm points directly to Christ. What man is more Blessed than Christ and who has taken more delight in Torah than Christ Jesus Himself? He is the perfect man and our righteousness!

Christ is our Torah. He has instructed us and continues to instruct us by His Spirit.

Take delight in Christ. Meditate on Torah, God’s instruction, and you will know Him.

Christ will establish us, protect us, care for us, tend the garden of our souls, and produce fruit in us when we delight in His Torah. Let us be Blessed people and a Blessed church.

The Word - Colossians 1:9-14 Filled with the Knowledge of His Will

The Apostle Paul informs the Colossians that he had been praying for them since the first time he had heard of their faith and love. Paul had a very specific prayer and he goes on to inform them of the content. This prayer is beneficial for all of us to learn. It is a prayer that we should memorize in order to pray for ourselves, our family, our church, our friends, and even unbelievers. It is that each person would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.

The Christian’s Aim – To be filled with the knowledge of His will

The Pastor’s Aim – To facilitate that filling

Once a person is filled with the knowledge of God’s will, they will be able and willing to walk worthy of the Lord. We will focus on the cause and effect this morning as we unpack the Colossian prayer.

READ Scripture- This is the Word of God

I. Cause: To ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will
What is being filled? Filling is of the soul. The soul is all that is within. Remember Psalm 103:1 from a few weeks ago, “Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me.” The next logical question would be, what is the soul being filled with? Answer, the knowledge of His will.

The word "Knowledge" here is not the simple word that is most often used in the New Testament, it is the compound form meaning 'thorough', 'well-rounded' knowledge that one accepts into their own life situation. This thorough knowledge can be both salvific and sanctifying. We would need to know where this knowledge comes from if we are to attain it and we would assume that it can only be found in the Bible. Is there a Scripture that can back that assumption up? The best (and maybe only) verse that makes the connection between knowledge and God's Word is Romans 2:17-18 which says, “Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law (Torah), and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law (Torah).” God’s will is mediated through Torah (Scripture).

I said that this Knowledge can be both Salvific and Sanctifying.
Salvific: 1 Timothy 2:4 “(God) desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Sanctifying: 2 Peter 1:2-3 “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue”.
This thorough knowledge is what initially brings us into a saving relationship with God and is what continues to sanctify us (sanctify meaning spiritual excellence).

The phrase 'in all wisdom and spiritual understanding' is attached to the filling of the thorough knowledge of His will. 'In' means 'in the company of' as in Colossians 2:6 which says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” We are to walk 'in company' with Christ Jesus. Wisdom and spiritual understanding are expressing the same, single thought and can be understood as spiritual understanding being the explanation of wisdom (wisdom, that is to say, spiritual understanding. Knowledge is worthless without “wisdom and spiritual understanding.” One can get learnedness (knowledge), but only God can give spiritual understanding. This brings me to one of my main points-it is my work to facilitate the knowledge of God’s will and it is your responsibility (and mine) to ask God for spiritual understanding.
Reference: Proverbs 2:2-6 “So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you CRY OUT for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” We must all CRY OUT for spiritual understanding, less we have attained knowledge in vain.

The Cause is to be filled in our souls with the thorough knowledge of His will and the effect of that filling is that we may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him.

II. Effect: That you may walk worthy of the Lord, Fully pleasing Him
The cause and effect order is essential. Many ministers and churches attempt to skip the cause which is being filled in the knowledge of Him. Many try to skip to the last step of walking, but you must be equipped to walk worthy of the Lord. Remember 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Our objective is to walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him by being fruitful and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Being fruitful in every good work means divine work that is by faith.
Increasing in the knowledge of God is progress by interval. It doesn't all come at once. Notice the change here. It is not the 'knowledge of God's will' it is the 'knowledge of God;' His person, character, integrity, and expectations. The more you know of His will the more you know of His person.

The next part of pleasing the Lord is done by being strengthened in order to be patient and longsuffering with Joy. Patient (endurance) is a word meaing to be able to endure difficult circumstances and Longsuffering is a word meaing to be able to endure difficult people. And both can and should be done with Joy, which is why we need strength and power from God. It is one thing to grit your teeth and endure difficult circumstances and people, but it is another thing to do it with joy.

Lastly, we are to Give Thanks to the Father because of the redemptive work that He has accomplished in Christ. The Father has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

When a Christian is filled with the Knowledge of God’s Will then they are equipped to walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him which is to be fruitful, increase in the knowledge of the person of God, to be strengthened, and to continuously give thanks to the Father. Knowledge = Walk.

This is a satisfaction guaranteed prayer.

1 John 5:14-15 reminds us that “this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” What better prayer is there that is in accordance with His will than one that is taught in Scripture?

We can pray this for ourselves, our family, our church, our friends, and even unbelievers. We can pray that each person would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. And remember that it is my job to facilitate the knowledge of God’s will, but it is vain knowledge unless you Cry Out to God for spiritual wisdom and understanding.

I challenge each one of you to memorize this prayer and at the very least to pray it for this church, for yourself and family, and pray it for me.

Beautifying the Cross and 30 Pieces of Silver

Isaiah 53
2b He has no form or comeliness; There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

On the surface, how ugly the cross was. BUT how truly ugly is our sin?! WE have utterly failed…

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
“Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows.”
“And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
“For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.”
“By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.”
“And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.”

As you pin your flower to the cross, let these words be the significance of the symbolism:

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Though our sin is hideous, the cross of Christ “presents us holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” Our sin is pinned to the cross and our lives are hidden in Christ who died on that cross for the sin of the world “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh BUT made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

The flower represents the old of your life becoming new and the bag represents the humility of the little we have as we put it at the foot of the cross.