“The Temptation of Jesus” – Matthew 4:1–11
Hear now, the word of the Lord from Matthew 4:1-11.
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Matthew 4:1-11, ESV
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God endures forever. I mentioned last week that I'm not a very handy person with repair projects around the house. My wife does a number of those tasks in our home. But I do want to clarify that I do try to do a number of do it yourself projects on my own. The big question that I'm always wrestling with is, is this something that I could badly screw up or not? I'm not going to touch electricity because bad electrical work can cause a fire. I'm not going to touch plumbing because that can flood your home. I'm looking for the kinds of things that inevitably when I screw them up, it won't be that big of a deal.
So on that principle, a few years ago, I tried my hand, did a little drywall in work. We were renovating our basement a little bit. A contractor had hung the drywall, but we said that we wanted to do the cutting and the taping and all of that that was involved in that. My dad helped me. I learned a lot. I worked hours and hours over a course of a number of weeks trying to get this dry wall finished because I figured, well, what's the harm? What's the worst that this could do?
Well, it got to a point where a lot of work had been done, and I was actually fairly proud of what I had accomplished. But I realized that I probably wasn't the person who could bring this to completion. So we brought in a couple of contractors to see what it would cost to finish it all off. I thought that when they came in, they would look at this work and say, what good work you've done, congratulations, we'll take it from here. That's not their response. They looked at it like some monkey had done this to the walls, and one of them even said, well, I think it's a good thing when people try things that they've never done before. It was so bad that what was happening is they were realizing that they didn't just have one job finishing the drywall. They really had two jobs, finishing the drywall and fixing whatever mistakes I had made along the way. Cleaning up my mess.
Now, when we studied the life of Jesus, it's important to recognize that he always has two similar kinds of works that he is doing. He came into this world to be the perfect man. To live the perfect life. To do what is required to save human beings. But he also came into this world to clean up our mess, to suffer under the weight of the curse of God against us because of our sin. It's not just that Jesus could live the perfect life, and that would be enough, someone is qualified. It's also that he had to suffer for the ways in which we had fallen short of the glory of God.
Now, as we study the Gospels, what we see there are really two climactic episodes and points in Jesus's life where he is particularly addressing both of these issues. He's doing it throughout the course of his life. But the one place where he really attacks this, these two issues, these two jobs, these two works of both doing what needs to be done and fixing up the mess of those who have come before him. Jesus does this at the cross, and we know that that's the climactic moment when Jesus is interacting with both obedience to the Father and the mission he's given, as well as suffering under the weight of our sins.
The other part where Jesus is particularly addressing this is right here at the beginning of his public ministry during his temptation. This is the place where he comes face to face with evil when Satan confronts him to test him in the wilderness. What we see in this passage is that right from the beginning of his ministry, King Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness.
That's our big idea for today that King Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness. Both to live the perfectly obedient life that we need to live in order to be counted righteous before God, as well as to suffer under the weight of the curse of God against us for our sins, everything that was required. Jesus came to do it all. He came to fulfill all righteousness.
Now, in this passage, as we're studying this morning, we're going to look at this passage over this week and Lord willing next week, because this week I want to address that sort of a high level what Christ is doing here. There's so much material that I thought it would be best to split it up. This week, we're going to look at what Christ is doing, and next week we're going to look at the way in which Jesus interacts in each of the temptations in this scene.
So we see three parts to considering the great work of Christ in his temptation.
1. Jesus's Personal Preparation
2. Jesus's Public Victory
3. Jesus's Pattern for His People
Jesus's Personal Preparation
So let's start with Jesus's personal preparation. There's a part of what's happening here where we are seeing Jesus being tested and forged in the fire in preparation for the ministry that he is about to do. Part of the preparation that Jesus is receiving here is personally, he's being personally prepared for all that he must endure in the coming days and years of his life, up to the point of his death on the cross.
Now it's the baptism of Jesus, we talked about this last week, that the baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of Jesus's public ministry. That's very clear in each of the Gospels. The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of his public ministry. But what's very interesting is that even though Jesus has been commissioned and even though he has been anointed, he has been baptized to begin in entering into his public ministry. Jesus does not immediately go public.
In fact, at the beginning of Jesus public ministry, he withdraws from the public and departs in private to go into the wilderness, where he is there for 40 days. For a time of suffering, a time of fasting and a time of tempting contestation and temptation. It's the spirit of God who leads him into this situation.
Now, I think this is instructive as you think about the fact that the perennial temptation for young leaders, especially is the desire to go too public too quickly. So that very often you see stories about this all the time for young leaders about how a leader's clout overemphasized as an outruns their character. They're not prepared, informed morally and spiritually and in their character to deal with the clout and the influence that some leaders come across earlier in their temptation.
Now, for Jesus, he doesn't have sort of the sin that's leading him in the ways to rebel against the ministry that he's given in the way that we do. But if you think about it, Jesus is the one person who does have the strength to build a kingdom on his own power. Yet, if our Lord is willing to enter into this time in this period of tempting and testing in order to be prepared publicly for ministry, then why should other leaders think to do this more quickly? He could do this, but yet, before going public, Jesus willingly humbles himself by going into private, into the wilderness, out of the sight of all the crowds where he will have to suffer faithfully as a way of being tested and forged in preparation for all of the tests that will follow. Jesus is being personally forged and prepared in the fires of this temptation for the ministry that he's going to embark upon.
Not only in a personal sort of level. Jesus is being personally prepared for the public offices that he is going to hold. As he was anointed by the Holy Spirit, we saw that at his baptism in the previous passage, he is anointed to the three anointed offices of the Old Testament. He's anointed as prophet, he's anointed as our priest, he's anointed as our king. Matthew in particular, is emphasized in the kingship of Jesus. He goes out of his way to show us that Jesus is the true king.
We've seen an emphasis on Jesus, kingship and every chapter so far. In the first chapter, we saw the genealogy of Jesus to demonstrate that he is the son of David descended through the lineage of the Kings descending from David. Not only that, but he is adopted by Joseph, who is the lawful heir to the throne of David, and as the adopted son of Joseph Jesus, is now the legal heir to the throne of David. Then in chapter two, we saw the wise men arrived from the East, saying, where is the one who was born king over Israel? Then in Chapter three, when John the Baptist arrives, he comes proclaiming, "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand," the king is near.
We see here then the beginning of Jesus's work as our king, of conquering our enemies, of subduing the enemies of his people. As Jesus goes out, rides out in battle as a king to do battle with the great enemy of his kingdom, Satan as he faces him down in this showdown out in the wilderness. This is what a king does, and Jesus is doing this as our king.
We're also seeing in the way that Jesus exercises his office of king, that he is also doing this as a priest, and we see the way that he's doing this as a priest in the way that he enters into the suffering of temptation. Jesus experienced temptation as suffering, and that qualified him in part as our high priest, that's what the author of Hebrews says in Hebrews 2:17-18. We read,
17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted Hebrews 2:17-18, ESV
Here's how he was made like us in every respect for because he himself has suffered. When tempted, he suffered. When tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Jesus was like us in every respect. He was tempted as we are, but the experience of temptation for Jesus was not the experience that we have in temptation. You see, we have sin in us, there is sin dwelling in us. The Bible says we are born in sin and it's the sin in us that, whenever a temptation comes to us from the outside, the sin inside our hearts lurches up. It tries to reach toward the temptation to close upon it, to grasp after it.
That's not the way that Jesus was. Jesus, as the immaculate, perfect son of God, had no sin in him that lurched toward this temptation. So he was truly tempted, he was truly presented with these options, these opportunities to rebel against God. But where for us, temptation sometimes feels like a thrilling enticement, maybe I could do that, maybe that would solve some of my problems. Who, after all, is going to find out if I do this? Jesus did not have that experience of temptation. When he was tempted, he experienced it as suffering. In suffering faithfully as our high priest. he's the king who goes out to battle. He is the high priest who suffers in temptation on behalf of his people.
We also see the way in which Jesus is a prophet here and he's being prepared for a lifelong ministry as our ultimate prophet. If you notice, every word that Jesus speaks in this passage is a quotation directly from the Bible. It comes from the word of God, until we come to the third temptation, where he simply adds, be gone Satan. Everything else he is declaring is the word of God from the Old Testament. Is he, God, the Word, the Son of God, speaking the word of God to Satan in the midst of this temptation.
Now, as we consider Jesus’s personal preparation, I'm aware that probably some of you have listened to a rather popular podcast series that's come about a fairly famous preacher and pastor who rose to the height of fame and celebrity and wealth, but then his character wasn't able to support that and imploded all around him. His church went down with him. I don't want to name the pastor. I don't want to name the podcast. I have mixed feelings about how the podcast was. If you have questions about that, I'd love to talk with you more about that in private.
I want to bring that story up because it's a common story. It's not just one thing that happened one time to one man. This is a very common kind of thing where, again, someone's clout outruns their character. They're not personally prepared for the ministry and the authority that they have been entrusted with.
As I was thinking about this passage this week, I thought about my own entry into ministry and I thought about how early on for six years after seminary, I was not able to find a full time pastoral call. I remember what a time of suffering that was for me because I wanted to change the world. I wanted to rush out there. I wanted to do the ministry that I thought God had called me to and equipped me for. I realized that I probably wasn't ready for it at the time. If my sinless Savior was willing to spend 30 years in obscurity, we read almost nothing of the first 30 years of Jesus life. It was all done in obscurity. If he spent 30 years in private obscurity and then even after he enters into his public ministry, if he's willing to spend 40 days and 40 nights fasting and dueling with Satan out in the wilderness. Then I need to consider it a kindness that God did not too quickly thrust me into a kind of ministry situation that I wasn't ready for at the time.
I would ask you to think about, as you survey your life and think about the things that you wanted at different times, where has God been kind not to give you what you have wanted when you wanted it. Perhaps, and this is something you can't really figure out until much later as you look back on it, perhaps because you weren't ready for it at the time. You may have thought you were, but maybe you weren't ready for it. If even Jesus had to go through a time of personal preparation, how can we have servants be greater than our master?
What's so interesting about all of this is that even though Jesus is the messiah, he does not have a messiah complex. There is a world to save and Jesus must take the salvation of that world upon his shoulders, but he doesn't too quickly rush out to do the work that needs to be done in public ministry. He's very willing to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit who sends him out in the wilderness to do battle with Satan in privacy. To demonstrate his faithfulness in that context, before he goes out to deal with the crowds who at first will throng about him and praise him and want to enthrone him as king. Then only a short time afterwards demand that he be crucified. Jesus was equipped to handle all of that, in part because of the preparation that he receives here. This isn't a waste of time; this isn't a hindrance to the real ministry that Jesus needs to do. This is the pathway to proper preparation.
Jesus’s Public Victory
Still, what Jesus is doing here is more than preparatory. It's not just that Jesus is doing something that just sort of is and has to be, it's a hoop to jump through until we get to the good stuff. By what Jesus is doing here, he is accomplishing something very significant. And this brings us to the second section of a sermon, Jesus's public victory through this temptation. Now, I call this a public victory, not because the crowds were watching like spectators. The crowds were not there. This was Jesus sent alone into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to do battle with Satan. When I described this as Jesus as public victory, I'm saying this is the victory that Jesus won as a public person. That what Jesus is doing here he is doing on behalf of others and not for himself alone. He wins this victory for you and for me in the way that he resists the temptation of Satan here.
So there are three ways in which Jesus’s victory is a public victory and overcoming the temptations of Satan in this story. The first is that Jesus here succeeds, where Adam and Eve had previously failed.
It's very interesting to see how the temptations that Satan gives to Jesus follow the pattern of the very original sin back in Genesis chapter three, especially Genesis 3:6, that verse that encapsulates the original sin. There we read,
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Genesis 3:6, ESV
This is the tree that God had forbidden Adam and Eve eating from eating from it. But the woman sees that the tree was good for food. Here Satan comes to Jesus, not when Jesus is surrounded by all the other trees of the garden that God had said, you may surely eat from every other tree of the garden, but where Jesus has been hungry for 40 days and 40 nights. He's been fasting. He is in a wilderness with nothing to eat, and Satan comes to him and offers him something that would be so good for food. He says command these stones to become loaves of bread. He tests Jesus over food, just as the original temptation was.
When Jesus successfully resists that temptation, we read next in Genesis 3:6 that the tree was a delight to the eyes. Then the second temptation, Satan says, if you are the son of God, throw yourself down. In other words, he's saying, prove it. Show us how you are the Son of God by some dazzling display in the eyes of the crowd. They will see it. They will be so impressed. Then certainly, they will worship you as you prove that you are the son of God by throwing yourself down from the temple.
Well, the third part of the Temptations story in Genesis 3:6 was that Adam and Eve saw that the tree was to be desired to make one wise. The problem is that the promise given is that they would just trust him and listen to his wisdom. They would have secret wisdom, hidden wisdom, wisdom they didn't get from God, wisdom that would give them the key to finding prosperity, wisdom that would make them like God himself. Apart from God, but like God. On their own, they would find the power and the authority that only God possesses. Jesus here is tempted by Satan when Satan says, I will give you all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, if you will fall down and worship me. I have a secret way that you can gain all the kingdoms of the world while avoiding the cross in the process. It'll be apart from God, but you will gain all the kingdoms of the world. Isn't that what you've come for?
Well, where Adam and Eve took of the fruit and ate it. Jesus did not. Eventually, he cast out Satan and Satan left him, and Jesus was left with the angels who came and were ministering to him. It is through Adam and his sin that we died. The Bible declares that. Adam acted not for himself alone, but as a public person. What he did affected us. Because he sinned, we are guilty. In the way that he sinned, we have become corrupted and bent toward that sin.
Through Jesus, whom the Bible calls the Last Adam, the Second Adam, we will be made alive. What he has done here is a public victory, a victory not in the side of the public, but a victory on behalf of other people for you and for me, for those of us who look to Jesus Christ in faith. Jesus succeeded where Adam and Eve failed.
The second place where Jesus gains a public victory is that Jesus succeeds, where Israel failed. This is not only written to reflect the original temptation, this is also written to reflect the story of Israel wandering in the wilderness. Now let me take a step back and take you back to the Book of Exodus. Remember, Jesus had to be taken down to Egypt just as Israel had gone down to Egypt. Remember, back in Matthew 2:15, that the reason he was taken down to Egypt was to escape the murderous wrath of the non-Israelite King Herod. Just as in the Book of Exodus all of the Hebrew male children are being killed by the murderous wrath of the non-Israelite king, the Pharaoh of Egypt. Well, this murderous King Herod wanted to destroy all the Hebrew children living in his day. So, because of that, Jesus had to flee to Egypt and eventually to come back out of Egypt. God had to bring him in an exodus out of Egypt to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, that out of Egypt, I called my son. Jesus, reiterates he replays, he re-enacts that part of Israel's history.
Then remember what happened in the story of Israel's history after they left Egypt. God brought them through the Red Sea to save them from the Egyptians. Well, we know in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 that that traveled through the Red Sea was a baptism for them. We have just read now about the baptism of Jesus, where he is brought safely through the waters.
Well, after the Israelites passed through the Red Sea in the book of Exodus, they come into the wilderness where they are hungry and where they are thirsty. It's there that they are tempted and tested. They're tested in their faithfulness by God, and when they are tested in the wilderness, they fall short not only because they grumble about the lack of food and the lack of water, but also because when it came time to enter into the Promised Land, they refused to do so. They did not trust God. In fact, they said, we don't want to go in there. There are giants in the land. We'll be killed. Our children will be eaten alive. Let's go back to Egypt. Because of their faithlessness, God condemned them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until their bodies fell dead in the wilderness.
Well, Jesus here goes into the wilderness not for 40 years, but for 40 days and 40 nights to re-enact that part of the 40 years of Israel's history. Where Israel failed in their testing, Jesus succeeded. He succeeded where Adam and Eve failed, Jesus succeeded, where Israel failed. Jesus is rather like the story of David. Going out as the single champion of God's people against Goliath, so that when David wins the victory, Israel wins the victory. Here, when Jesus wins the victory, Israel wins the victory. All of those who are no longer an Adam but who are in Christ through faith win the victory with him. Not because of what we have done, but because of what Jesus does.
This brings us to the third aspect of what Jesus is accomplishing here in this public victory. Jesus here is gaining an initial victory over Satan. This isn't just Jesus fending off Satan for a time and Satan's going to come right back to him. We read here very specifically that the devil left him. Jesus cast him away and the devil had to leave. Why? Because Jesus won a decisive victory here at the beginning of his ministry.
Brandon Crowe, a professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, has written a book called “The Last Adam”, where he talks about what Jesus was doing during his life. He says there's been a lot of attention paid to the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus, but what about all this other stuff that we have in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? What was he doing there? What was he accomplishing there? And he points to this scene of the temptation and said Jesus was here winning a victory. A victory that he tells us more about a little bit later in the gospel of Matthew.
Matthew 12:29, when Jesus says this, he says, “How can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed, he may plunder his house.” Well, who's the thief here? Who's plundering someone's house? Who is the strongman? Jesus is saying that he has come into this world to plunder the strongman's house. To plunder everything that has been under the dominion and tyranny of Satan. To do that, Jesus first must bind Satan. That's what's happening here. Jesus must bind to Satan, and he does this by conquering and defeating Satan in this temptation. When Adam and Eve were defeated by Satan, they were bound in sin and here when Jesus defeats Satan, it is Satan who is bound and must leave Jesus. So that in the next passage, what we will read is the public beginning of Jesus ministry. Jesus here is essentially opening the way. He's binding Satan, he's removing Satan as an obstruction so that Jesus can begin his rescue mission in full.
There's a popular illustration toward this end where it compares what Jesus is doing initially, to the ultimate victory that Jesus must eventually win to the difference between D-Day and VE Day. D-day was the invasion of the Allied Forces into Europe, landing on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. That was a decisive victory for the allied forces because it opened the way, it paved the path for them to march toward Berlin to win the victory in Europe Day, the VE Day on May 8th, 1945.
Now, the original illustration was about the cross of Jesus. That there at the cross of Jesus, he won the decisive victory. Then at the end of his time, when Jesus returns at the very end, that will be the final victory. When all of the victory that Jesus won to cross will be brought to its fruition. But here, at the beginning of Jesus ministry, when Jesus begins this rescue mission of kicking in the doors of captive’s cells, to rescue those of us who have been held by sin for so long since the creation of the world and the fall of sin of our first parents. Jesus must first bind Satan to get him out of the way. That's what happens here. This is the D-Day that leads to the greater victory day that will happen at the cross, which will be another D-Day which will open up the eventual path to the victory of Jesus over all his enemies on the final day.
Jesus here is winning a victory; he's succeeding where Adam failed. He's succeeding, where Israel failed. He is binding the strong man in order to plunder his house, to rescue the captives, to liberate them, free them from the chains of their prison camp and tyranny and the dominion of Satan. The full mission is not yet accomplished, but Jesus can now make his invasion into enemy territory.
Jesus's Pattern for His People
With this in view, we can come to the final aspect of the righteousness that Jesus fulfills. Our third point that Jesus is here giving us a pattern for his people. What Jesus does here is a pattern that we should study and that we should seek to imitate. That's the third section Jesus's pattern for his people.
Now, as I talk about this as a pattern for our invitation, I want to be very clear, we are in a very different position from Jesus. We are born in sin because of our first parents. What Adam did, he did as a public person. His defeat was our defeat, so that we are born guilty and under God's curse and wrath. We are born with a corruption of our nature in original sin that bends us away from God. Whereas Jesus was like us in every respect yet without sin.
So Jesus does what he does is a pattern for us, not so that we can look at what he does and then seek to replicate it. We are rather looking to Jesus as the one who has done what he has done to free us from our captivity and bondage to sin, death, and the devil so that we can then follow in Jesus's footsteps by using the same resources of faith driven dependence on the Spirit through the word of God. That's what Jesus models for us here.
Now it's next week that we're going to look at the pattern that Jesus gives us. We are going to work through this passage to see the pattern of what Jesus is giving us here in this temptation scene. Today, I only want to emphasize one point as we follow Jesus pattern that salvation is not a do it yourself project.
Going back to my original illustration. Salvation is something that if you try to do it on your own, you can tremendously screw it up. Salvation requires not our own work. It requires not the work of a contractor; it requires the work of the Christ. To do for us that we cannot do for ourselves. So when Jesus gives us a pattern here, it's not so that he's showing us how to do it yourself. Here's how you work out your own salvation by doing just what I did. Rather, Jesus is the master craftsman who is finishing the work, who is laying the one foundation. There's only one foundation that can be laid, that's Jesus Christ and him crucified. Rather who then calls us as his apprentices. That's what it means to be a disciple, to apprentice to Jesus, the master craftsman to follow in his footsteps, to learn at his feet, to build on top of the one foundation that he and he alone could lay and did lay for us through his incarnation and life and death and resurrection.
Well, in light of everything happening here. What should we do with this? The application is very simple this morning, receive and follow after Christ's righteousness. King Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness. We must receive that righteousness and then follow after his righteousness.
Throughout his incarnation, his life, his ministry, his death and his resurrection, Jesus was always entirely unique. He is the unique, the single, the only begotten Son of the father. But in the Godhead, as one of the three persons that God has, he is unique in that only the Son was made incarnate. The Father did not take on a human nature. The Spirit did not take on a human nature. Jesus was unique. There's also been no other sinless human being. Yet even he identified and associated with sinners, we saw that in his baptism.
He had no need for a baptism of repentance like we do. Yet Jesus receives it, not for his sake, but for our sake. We needed Jesus to be baptized. Jesus has no need for preparation, his character is perfect, it's flawless. Yet in humility, Jesus goes out, led by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights to suffer as our great high priest. Everyone else has failed. The first Adam, then Israel, all the way up to you and me. But Jesus alone gains the victory. All others have been bound by sin, but Jesus is the one who binds Satan, who has been the instigator behind sin.
What Matthew is painstakingly doing is to demonstrate that Jesus, his ministry is incomparable, there is nothing like it. Nothing comes close to it, everything else begins with failure, you can't build on a broken foundation, you must build on the foundation that Jesus himself lays. Jesus is not merely our only hope. Jesus is the one who super abundantly fulfills every single promise, even some hopes that we didn't realize that we needed. He has come to bind the strongman and to plunder his house to rescue captives bound in sin and misery since the fall of mankind.
So for this reason, receive this righteousness. You can't do it yourself. You can't replicate it. Jesus has done it. Receive it from him. Your only hope is to receive what he has done for you. Which means that that starts with repentance. That's what John the Baptist has been preaching. That's what Jesus will preach in verse 17 of this chapter, in the beginning of his public ministry, "repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." That has to start with repentance, a change of mind to judge our sin to be evil when we previously thought it was just fine. That stems from a change of heart where we hate our sin as filthy and odious. That leads into a change of life, where our conduct is changed by the grace of the Holy Spirit working inside of us. We must repent from our sins, and we must then believe in Jesus to trust that he is accomplished righteousness not just in a general sense, but for me, for you.
Understand to treat your salvation as a do it yourself project is not pleasing God, just like the contractors surveying my horrible work with the drywall. God sees that when you try to work out your own salvation for yourself apart from him, that just gives him two jobs to do. He's got to do what it takes to save you, but first is going to have to do the work of humbling your proud heart that thinks that you can make it on your own apart from Christ. Do you see what Jesus is doing here? Do you see the incomparable, unconquerable, indomitable Lord Jesus? Do you see him as he willingly suffers under temptation succeeding where you have failed to free you from your failure in sin? Do you see him victoriously binding Satan to kick open your dungeon cell of sin and filth and misery, leading you into the light and to clothe you with his robes of righteousness and to cleanse you and to make you a child of the Most High God? The Lord of Glory came down from heaven on this rescue mission to rescue you. Trust in him.
You know, when I found out that our brother, Dick, had passed away. I was told by a couple of people talking to Judy, talking to someone else that his absolute favorite song and we're going to sing this on Wednesday is In Christ Alone. Dick loved that every time we sang that. That song, if it does one thing, it's to emphasize this point, that we are saved not by anything that we do. It is in Christ alone. That's why our dear brother is standing before the presence of the glorified Lord Jesus. Knowing what Jesus did here was for him to qualify and enter him into the Kingdom of Heaven, taking him out of the darkness and the domain of darkness and sin and into glory.
Brothers and sisters that day comes for us all. One day you will stand before the throne and the question is, will you offer yourself some broke and do it yourself project for your salvation? Or will you claim and plead and cling only to Jesus Christ? I have no claim to enter in, I can only plead Jesus Christ who entered into this world to do what I could not do for myself. Who suffered under the weight of my sin and your wrath against me and who took it all, who did it, who fulfilled every last bit of the righteousness that I needed. He did it for me, and he is the only hope I have. Is that your hope today? Is that your hope when you stand before the throne of glory? Receive Christ's righteousness by repentance and faith.
Jesus is also calling us to follow. Look at this pattern study this pattern. Look at what Christ does. He is living by faith driven obedience to God's word that's empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus follows a very simple strategy. He's led into the situation by the Spirit, we read that in verse one, and he trusts him God's word at every step of the way. Now we're going to work through the details of this next week, but learn from him.
That's what a disciple does, to learn from the master. There's no shortcut to this. There's no YouTube video that can give you the quick fix to your do it yourself project. This is a lifelong apprenticeship overseen by the master carpenter. Not to replicate his work, again there's only one foundation that has been laid, but to follow after Jesus’s footsteps by building upon it just as he's called us to. King Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness. Receive what he has done and follow after him.
Pray with me. Heavenly Father. We thank you for Jesus's work. Who is accomplished for us where we could never do for ourselves. Who's fulfilled all righteousness. The deficit of righteousness that we have incurred because of our evil sin, as well as everything you require of perfect personal, perpetual obedience to you. Jesus did it. He offered it freely to you. Father, that's what we pray. That's what we plead. That's what we ask for. That's what we receive. I pray that if there are any who have not yet trusted in Christ, that this would be the day when Jesus becomes the foundation, the solid rock on which they build their lives. Turn them by repentance from their sins toward faith in Jesus Christ for their salvation. Father, build us up in faith as we suffer, as we grieve, as we struggle. Build us up to the solid foundation that Jesus Christ is laid for us. It's in his name. We pray. Amen.