Immanuel Lutheran Church

Sermon

Lent 1

"Trusting God"

Matthew 4:1-4, 11

March 5, 2017

In the beginning, life was perfect. Adam had everything. He was wanting for nothing. There was, however, one rule. He had one restriction to an otherwise free run of Eden. Don't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. One rule. Big deal. Not a problem. Yet, Adam, who had everything didn't trust God when the moment of temptation came. The result was sin and death not only for Adam but for of us.

Life is littered with temptation. Satan is ever busy luring, lying and deceiving us into thinking we can have our forbidden fruit without consequences. The first sin in Eden was a failure to trust the word of God. Nothing has changed. Our journey through life is continually learning what it means to trust God. Consider the Gospel reading for today.

Matthew 4:1-4, 11. Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.' " . . . Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Jesus is hungry. He has spent 40 days alone in the wilderness. All the while, the devil has been tempting him. Now that his time of testing is coming to an end, Satan pulls out the stops and throws three temptations at Him. The first deals with human need. Jesus is hungry. Satan challenges him to turn a rock into bread. I can almost imagine Satan congers up the aroma of fresh baked bread to make this temptation even more alluring. He may even add the voice of a distraught mother imploring her skinny son to "eat, eat!"

What will Jesus do? Adam was faced with temptation and yielded to it. The good news for us is that Jesus is not Adam. When Adam failed to pass the test of temptation, Jesus defeated Satan. What was the difference between these two?

As the epistle reading reminds us: "In Adam's fall, we sinned all." With the fall came an impaired human ability to trust God. We know the consequences of that. We see it in our fallen world. We see it in others who seem unable to resist whatever their personal devils and addictions may be. Sadly, we also see it in ourselves. Even if we regard our sin as lesser to someone else's greater, it still shows that we do not truly trust God in all things.

Because we cannot fear, love and trust in God above all things, we continually break the first commandment. Our continuing alienation from God caused by our separation from Him by sin, leads us only to condemnation. Unless we can perfectly fulfill the Law of God, our fate would be eternal separation from Him in hell. Since we can't do the first and the second is hardly a pleasing consequence, we wonder how we can save ourselves.

The short answer: you can't. The awaiting fate would be burn, baby burn. This is why we need a Savior to come to our rescue. Who can do that for us? We can't do it. No earthly human can do it. But, God in His mercy sent us His only-begotten Son to be our savior.

Like the first Adam Jesus was born with a perfect human nature. Like Adam He was sinless. Also, like Adam He had a capacity to sin. If He had no capacity to sin the temptation would be a meaningless test. Adam's temptation was to reject the gift of daily bread. Instead of fully relying on God, he wanted more. Jesus was also tempted in His hunger. Rather than cave in to His physical hunger, He would fully rely on God to provide His daily bread.

Unlike the first Adam, who had everything, Christ was born with nothing. He had to trust the Father for everything. Like Christ, we are born with nothing but we are also born sinners. Unlike Adam in perfection, we neither can nor do we fully and always trust God.

So, as baptized children of God, we learn what it means to trust God. Sometimes it seems easy. Often it is not. If you have decided to give something up for Lent, have you already caved in to the temptation to do whatever it was you didn't want to do?

Trusting God begins with prayer. The Holy Spirit comes to guide those prayers. When we are at a loss for words and our thoughts are distraught and distracted, we have a heavenly Helper beside us to guide us. Prayer is both easy and difficult. It is easy because we can pray anywhere at any time. It is difficult because the more we desire to pray the more distracted we find our thoughts. Prayer is a learned art because to be diligent in prayer means we must learn perseverance.

So, you pray. You pray for your loved ones. You pray for those in need. You pray for peace in the world and repaired relationships. In times of medical distress, you pray for successful diagnoses and procedures. You pray for the safety and well-being of those you love. You even pray for those who persecute and slander you. You watch and pray; wait and pray. As you pray, you find yourself trusting God---seemingly easy and yet so hard at the same time.

We pray and trust God because Jesus did it perfectly for us. Unlike Adam who was tempted once in the garden and fell into the devils snare, Jesus was tempted continuously over the course of the 40 days. His temptation was culminated in the last three which are recorded for us in the Gospels.

Jesus took on Satan's temptations with the same tools and equipment we have available to us. He used the word of God as a sword with which to do combat with the devil. We have been given these same tools. Jesus did battle with Satan using what is available to us. On each occasion, the devil is rebuked with the Word of God. Yet, because the devil can quote, twist and distort that very Word, we need to be well-versed in the Word to know when we are being deceived. As we are grounded in the Word, we have the ability to know the love of God and, thus, trust Him.

Temptation is part of life. We deal with it daily in different forms. Sometimes we resist temptation but often we fail. Our Lord comes to help us in the battle. He comes in the word and sacrament this morning to forgive, strengthen and encourage us. He uplifts and restores us. Thanks be to God for the mercy He gives us in Jesus Christ. Amen.


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March
03/26/2017
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February
02/26/2017
02/05/2017
January
01/29/2017
01/22/2017
01/15/2017
01/08/2017
01/01/2017

December
12/25/2016
12/18/2016
12/11/2016
12/04/2016
November
11/27/2016
11/20/2016
11/13/2016
11/06/2016
October
10/30/2016
10/23/2016
10/16/2016
10/09/2016
10/02/2016
September
09/25/2016
09/18/2016
09/11/2016
09/04/2016
August
08/28/2016
08/21/2016
July
07/31/2016
07/24/2016
07/17/2016
07/03/2016
June
06/26/2016
06/19/2016
06/05/2016
May
05/29/2016
05/22/2016
05/15/2016
05/08/2016
05/01/2016
April
04/17/2016
04/10/2016
04/03/2016
March
03/27/2016
03/20/2016
03/13/2016
03/06/2016
February
02/28/2016
02/21/2016
02/17/2016
02/14/2016
02/07/2016
January
01/31/2016
01/24/2016
01/03/2016
01/01/2016

December
12/27/2015
12/20/2015
12/13/2015
12/06/2015
November
11/22/2015
11/15/2015
11/08/2015
11/01/2015
October
10/25/2015
10/18/2015
10/11/2015
10/04/2015
September
09/27/2015
09/20/2015
09/13/2015
09/06/2015
August
08/30/2015
08/23/2015
08/16/2015
08/09/2015
08/02/2015
July
07/26/2015
07/19/2015
07/12/2015
07/05/2015
June
06/28/2015
06/21/2015
06/14/2015
06/07/2015
May
05/31/2015
05/24/2015
05/17/2015
05/10/2015
April
04/19/2015
04/12/2015
04/12/2015
04/05/2015
March
03/29/2015
03/22/2015
03/15/2015
03/08/2015
February
02/15/2015
02/15/2015
02/08/2015
02/01/2015
January
01/25/2015
01/25/2015
01/18/2015
01/11/2015
01/04/2015

December
12/28/2014
12/21/2014
12/14/2014
12/07/2014
November
11/23/2014
11/16/2014
11/09/2014
11/02/2014
October
10/12/2014
10/05/2014
September
09/28/2014
09/21/2014
09/14/2014
09/07/2014
August
08/31/2014
08/24/2014
08/17/2014
08/10/2014
08/03/2014
July
07/27/2014
07/20/2014
07/13/2014
07/06/2014
June
06/29/2014
06/22/2014
06/15/2014
06/08/2014
06/01/2014
May
05/11/2014
April
04/27/2014
04/20/2014
04/13/2014
04/06/2014
March
03/30/2014
03/23/2014
03/16/2014
03/02/2014
February
02/02/2014
January
01/26/2014
01/19/2014
01/12/2014
01/05/2014