Lent 1 2023
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud 
February 26, 2023
Genesis 3:1-21, Romans 5:12-19, Matthew 4:1-11

Sermons online: 
Text and Audio:         immanuelhamiltonchurch.com   click “sermons”|
Text:                           pastorjud.org   
Audio:                         pastorjud.podbean.com 
itunes:                        bit.ly/pastorjud
Full Service Audio:   bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship

            Us men, we are simple creatures.  It doesn’t take that much to make us feel good.  As a husband it is such a great feeling to have Jeannette hand me a jar of pickles to open, or ask me to kill a bug.  It is good to be the hero.  Makes you feel like a man.  Now, one of the highpoints of life as a husband and homeowner is being able to fix something so you don’t have to call a repairman.  A man dies a little inside when he has to pick up the phone and call the plumber.  A wise Canadian once said, “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

            I had a recent victory when our dryer stopped producing heat.  I turned to the man’s secret weapon in cases like this, YouTube videos.    I found a good one about Whirlpool dryers that do not produce heat.  I was able to follow the instructions.  I properly used a multimeter to check the 240 outlet and to check resistance on three thermostats after removing the back cover of the dryer.  One of the thermostats had no resistance which indicated it was broken.  I found the part number, ordered it on Amazon, installed it two days later and ta-da!! The dryer was again working.  Makes you want to grunt like Tim Allen on Tool Time. 

Not all home improvement videos are do-it-yourself.  Later, I was looking into how to install a transfer switch on a circuit box and the videos recommended hiring a qualified, licensed electrician. Don’t do it yourself.  Get qualified, expert help. 

            In our Gospel reading today we find Jesus after His baptism.  Matthew 4:1–2 (ESV)  1 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.”  The devil tempts Jesus three times and Jesus easily resists each test by responding with words from Scripture.  Jesus defeats Satan and sends him away. 

            So…is this a do it yourself lesson, or is this a lesson about getting qualified, expert help?  Jesus, true man, is hungry, weakened by a long fast and yet able to stand His ground against the Father of Lies.  Matthew 4:3 (ESV) 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  Matthew 4:4 (ESV)  4 But [Jesus] answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” 

            Jesus is quoting this from an address of Moses to the children of Israel before they go across the Jordan River into the Promised Land after 40 years in the wilderness.  Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV)  3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Jesus is recalling how Israel failed to resist the devil’s temptations. 

            Then the devil takes Jesus to Jerusalem and quotes scripture from Psalm 91 to Jesus.  Matthew 4:5–6 (ESV) 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.’ ” 

            Matthew 4:7 (ESV) 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”  This is from earlier in Moses’ address to the people in Deuteronomy 6:16 (ESV) 16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.”  Moses is recalling an incident from Exodus 17:3 (ESV) 3 But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”  

            Matthew 4:8–10 (ESV) 8 Again, the devil took [Jesus] 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.’ ”  Jesus again quotes from Moses’ sermon to unfaithful Israel who built a golden calf to be their god.  Israel was in the wilderness for 40 years and failed to be faithful to God.  They did not trust God’s promises.  Israel failed.

Adam and Eve were in paradise, at harmony with God in the garden.  He had given them clear instructions, but when confronted by the Prince of Darkness in the form of a serpent they listened to that liar and gave up on trusting God. They were unfaithful.  Adam and Eve failed.

You are not going to fight the devil because for you fights the valiant one, whom God Himself elected.  And you ask, who is this?  Jesus Christ it is.  Lord of the heavenly armies.  He holds the field victorious.  You do not need to fear the devil because you have Jesus.

The devil went after Jesus but was easily defeated.  He couldn’t defeat Jesus so he is going after you.  The devil tried to kill Jesus and he thought he had won as Jesus died on the cross, but Jesus rose from the dead.  The defeated devil has been thrown down to the earth and he is angry. Revelation 12:17 (ESV)  17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus…”  Jesus defeated the devil so the devil is going after you and the devil far more powerful than you.  Like Adam, like Eve, like the children of Israel in the wilderness, you are outmatched and you if you try to go it alone you will fail.  But you are not alone.  You have Jesus.  You are a baptized child of God.  You do not face the devil relying on your own strength.  This reading is not a do-it-yourself how-to lesson about battling with the devil.  Jesus temptation in the wilderness shows you how the qualified expert defeats Satan with no difficulty.  Jesus easily defeats Satan and the Good News is that Jesus is on your side.  Jesus is your secret weapon against the devil.

            When the devil tempts you to ignore God.  When the devil throws your sin in your face and tells you that you are not good enough.  When the devil tempts you to become self-righteous you tell the devil that you are not going to fight him.  Do not give in to the devil’s lies and his shaming of you; instead bring out your secret weapon.  Rebuke the devil and look to Jesus for forgiveness and eternal life. 

You are not going to fight the devil because for you fights the valiant one, whom God Himself elected.  And you ask, who is this?  Jesus Christ it is.  Lord of the heavenly armies.  He holds the field victorious.  You do not need to fear the devil because you have Jesus.

            Even though the devil and his demons are all around wanting to devour you, you do not tremble, you do not fear, they will not overpower you.  The world’s prince may scowl fiercely, but that is all he can do.  He cannot harm you.  He is already judged.  Already defeated.  The deed is done.  One little word can fell the devil.  We talked about this one little word at Carolyn Hunter’s funeral because the verses she chose were all about God being her fortress, her strength and her shield. 

One little word can push back the devil when he comes after you with his temptations and deceptions.  One little word repels him when he tries to convince you to build your house on the sand of your own achievements and righteousness instead of the solid rock of Christ.  One little word wins when the devil tries to get you to reject Jesus and the Bible and follow your feelings -- one little word can fell him.  One little word.  Liar!! 

The devil is the father of lies from the time when he whispers to Eve, “Did God really say.....?  To when he whispers to you, “Did God really say…”, or “it’s no big deal, everyone is doing it”, or “you deserve to indulge your every desire.”  When the devil whispers you respond with one little word.” Liar!!

We like to do things ourselves and for projects around the house that is fine for many things.  Salvation, however, is not a do-it-yourself project.  There are no YouTube videos to show you how to successfully defeat the devil on your own.  When it comes to battling the devil you need a qualified expert and there is only one devil defeater.  There are no videos, but there is a book that tells you about who has defeated Satan for you. It is Jesus Christ, God’s Son, your savior.  He suffered, died and rose again for you.  You are in Christ.  You have been baptized into Christ.  You have died with Christ.  You will rise with Christ.  You have put on Christ.  You are safe from the devil. 

Remain in Christ.  When the devil tells you that you need to fight him, tell the devil what he is.  Liar!!  Jesus has already defeated the Evil One for you.  Amen.