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His Victory is FOR YOU!

March 9, 2014

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First Sunday in Lent                                                          Trinity Lutheran Church

9 March 2014                                                                      Murdock, NE


Matthew 4:1-11


Well, little did you know it when you showed up at Trinity today but I’m here to let you know that your salvation is at stake!  Really.  No joke.


Does that startle you?  Perhaps I have your attention.  But there’s more.  Even more shocking.  Here it is.  Not only is your salvation at stake today but that very salvation doesn’t depend on you at all!  You’re purposely left out of the battle to win and accomplish your salvation.  You don’t participate at all.  Not even for a millisecond! Someone has to fight FOR YOU and win your salvation FOR YOU.  Someone … like that little shepherd boy, who a long, long time ago, fought for the nation of Israel and who defeated the enemy Goliath – the Philistine giant.  Shepherd boy David, against all odds, sling-shotted a stone into Goliath’s forehead and made him shorter by a head.  The giant was defeated. David’s victory was Israel’s victory!


Now we see the descendant of David.  Mary’s boy.  Who grew up whittling and carving wood like his stepfather Joseph.  And I’m here to tell you that your salvation depends on Him and how well He battles another monster-like-Goliath – Satan himself!  Jesus has volunteered to fight FOR YOU.  To SAVE YOU.  And His salvation work FOR YOU comes under a full frontal satanic attack.  Who will win the battle?  Jesus?  If so, you are saved.  But what if Satan wins?  Then you’re lost – unforgiven and damned in your sin.  So we’d better see how it all goes.


There He is!  Dripping wet from His Baptism in the Jordan.  You remember that, don’t you?  The heavenly Father preached quite a sermon that day.  The sermon went like this:  “Do you see Jesus? – That’s my Boy!  He’s my beloved and priceless Son!  I’m so deeply pleased with Him!”


There you have it!  The Father’s categorical proclamation that Jesus is His beloved Son!  Let there be no doubts.  Don’t listen to any other words.  You were listening, right?  Jesus is God’s Son!  The Father had His say so.  No better words than what the Father preached at the Jordan River.


“This is my beloved Son.  I am most pleased with Him!”


Then, as quickly as you can say, “Bob’s your uncle,” the Holy Spirit – the same Holy Spirit — that lighted upon Jesus at His Jordan-River-Baptism– throws a big, hanging, curve ball.  Something you’d never expect.  You’re buckled at the knees and you’re shaking your head in dismay!  Why?


Well, the Spirit marshals His Son-of-God-ness Jesus smack dab into the desolate-desert / the wasteland-wilderness.  No food or water in sight.  40 days and nights Son of God Jesus goes without a meal.  Can you imagine?  He’s starving.  Absolutely famished.  Feeble.  Faint.  Puny and pathetic. He’s got to be at the end of His rope.  He’s extremely vulnerable.


The wilderness is Satan’s turf.  Satan’s crib.  He prowls around seeking whom he may devour.  Lo and behold he sees none other than an at risk, fragile, helpless and all alone Son of God Jesus.  Time to put Jesus’ Son of God-ness to the test!  Time to defeat this descendant of David and put the world ruthlessly and tyrannically under satanic control.


So Satan, the red dragon, pulls a Garden of Eden — Version 2.0.  It worked before. So why not try it again?  You remember, don’t you?  Adam and Eve were pushovers.  They were not content to remain creatures by trusting God the Father and His Word preached to them.  Instead, they believed another sermon.  Satan’s preaching!  “Did God really say?” the serpent diabolically asked.  “Of course He didn’t.  You can’t trust God the Father.  He’s a liar.  He’s holding out on you and holding you back.  I’ve got better words for you.  The sky is the limit!  Live up to your potential.  You can be God!  Divinity is within your reach.  Divinity is within you.  You can call the shots as a God-within-er!  I give you MY word.” 


And the rest is history as they say.  A world wrecked.  A chaotic mess.  Ruined.  A world held in bondage to sin and death. Many died by the trespass of the one man,” Adam (Romans 5).  A world at complete odds with God because our first parents believed a lie.  Trusted a false word.  Listened to the satanic sermon. And so the judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation,” (Romans 5).


So why not put Jesus, the second Adam, and His Son of God-ness to the test?  You never know.  It sure looks like He could crack!  Where’s the Father now?  So Satan goes to work. Will Jesus live according to His Father’s sermon?  Or will Jesus abandon His Son of God-ness for a lie?


Your salvation rides on how Jesus fares.


Satan attacks with three gargantuan temptations! All putting Jesus’ Son of God-ness on the line!


Will Jesus, in His weakened condition, be able to withstand the devil’s well-planned onslaught?  In his state what weapon does He have to fend off the red dragon’s dicey temptations?


Did you notice?  How does Jesus resist turning the rocks into piping hot loaves of bread?  Leaping off the pinnacle of the temple into cotton soft angel wings?  And bowing the knee and doffing the hat just one time to Satan?  How did Jesus resist overcome these devilish temptations?  Did He sling a smooth stone into Satan’s forehead?  No.  Jesus speaks!  THE ALMIGHTY WEAPON COMES FROM HIS MOUTH!  HE SPEAKS GOD’S WORD AGAINST THE DEVIL!


“A man doesn’t live by bread alone but on every Word that comes from God’s mouth.” 


“You shouldn’t put the Lord your God to the test.”


“Worship the Lord only.” 


All quotes from Deuteronomy.  From Israel’s history of wandering in the wilderness.  When Israel, like Adam, wouldn’t trust God’s Word for her life.  Trust God’s promises?  Adam, Eve, and Israel wouldn’t and didn’t.  And it all ended so badly.  So tragically!  So hellaciously!


But with Jesus, the second and last Adam and Israel reduced to one, it’s a whole different ball game!  Jesus puts His entire life – His entire existence – His entire ministry – into His Father’s hands by trusting His Father’s Word.  “You are My Son.  I’m well pleased with you Jesus!”  That’s what the Father declared at His Baptism in the Jordan.


Son of God Jesus will stay the course.  He will live as God’s Son.  And that means being obedient!  Living under the Word.  Trusting God’s Word of promise.  Hear it again.


“A man doesn’t live by bread alone but on every Word that comes from God’s mouth.” 


“You shouldn’t put the Lord your God to the test.”


“Worship the Lord only.” 


Yes, Jesus sends the red dragon reeling by speaking God’s HOLY SPIRIT –FILLED Word.  Jesus, like little boy David, wins the battle against the Goliath-like Satan!


Jesus is victorious!  He defeats Satan by trusting His Father’s Word.  And His victory counts for you.  He does this FOR YOU!  In this battle for your salvation Jesus puts you on the bench and He’s your substitute.  Just watch Him fight!  It’s a rout!  The devil doesn’t stand a chance.  Never did really.  And soon Jesus will give the red dragon the crushing blow:  Calvary!  Salvation achieved and won for you and for all.


Now Satan is furious.  He rages on the earth since he’s been kicked out of heaven forever.  So he goes after you!  And his game plan has never changed.  The Satanic onslaught against you is this:  “Did God really say … that the cross really counts for you?  Do the math!  Your sins and Jesus’ death!  YOUR sins!  Count them.  Oh, that’s right you can’t because you’ve got so many!  So many that you don’t even know the half of them!  And all that sin is quite toxic and deadly.  Granted, Jesus gave it His best shot but let’s face it.  Your sin is just too much for the crucified!  You’d better just follow me instead of that slain Lamb!  You can be like a little divinity with my help!  Yes, that’s right, I’ll help you reach your potential.  Jesus can’t and won’t.  Look at you!  You’re a disaster!”


There’s only one way to fight off the red dragon’s assaults!  Do you know how to do it?  It is the sword of the Spirit.  And the Spirit’s sword is Christ’s words of promise.  “Listen here Satan!  I am a sinner.  That is true!  And I’m really good at it!  But Jesus said ‘It is finished.’  He died for me and I am forgiven.  He says so.”


“In addition, Jesus promises that those who believe in Him have eternal life.  Jesus gives His unthwartable word of promise that whoever believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16).  Jesus personally pledges that His Body and Blood in the Sacrament are given FOR ME for the forgiveness of all my sins.”


“So, Mr. Red Dragon, leave me alone.  Go talk to Jesus.  He truly is God’s Son!  And He’s Son of God Jesus FOR ME.  Totally!  Completely!  What’s that Mr. Red Dragon?  You don’t want to go see Jesus or hear His Word?  I knew that!  So get lost!  Buzz off!  Slink off into your hole!   Jesus died for me.  He rose for me.  He’s covered me with all His obedience and cleansed me with His divine Blood.  All my sin is forgiven.  He says so!  What’s that?  You don’t want to hear it?  Too bad! Take a hike you slimy, ugly, defeated, snake! Jesus is Lord!  He is the Son of God!”


In the Name of Jesus!        


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