The Need for Change

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Lenten Series: Boot Camp for The Soul  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:21
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We face temptation as we discern what God really wants for us.

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Oh mighty God. We thank you for this opportunity this morning to dig into your work to apply the word of God into our own lives. God made you change up from within to be more like you in Christ's name we pray. Amen. I missed my flight. I did. so In the church, you know, there's a couple things we don't really talk about a whole lot money. What do you want? What are some other things? We not talk about there. It is a whole lot one author write T. Is the redheaded stepchild. All in the church. And so we don't like to talk about him a whole lot. We don't really talk about evangelism as much as we often should and then the last one is safe. It's kind of one of those topics. We just avoid today and again, I don't pick the scriptures every week. I follow the the church lectionary. So thousands of churches around the road millions of churches around the world are reaching and teaching on this very difficult topic this morning. And so I'm actually looking forward to ask a couple of my preacher friends if maybe we could do some of these sermons together and you know talk about it each week as we do our own study. So I'm hoping they will take me up on that. But today we're going to talk a little bit and the need for change. I Matthew 4:1 through 11 Jesus Satan and us so there it is. There's my one of my favorite movies. Is anybody seen the right? Good movie it's kind of scary. I watched it last night in preparation of today cuz I love it a good movie. It's about father Gary Thomas. He was a young Catholic priests. Who was really an atheist he kind of joined the priesthood to escape his family's Mortuary business. And the thing that's really awesome at this movie is all based on true stories and the true biography of this priest and I've actually gone backing and listen to some of his YouTube videos and thinks that he has talked about after this movie was released. So he goes to Rome study and you know again, he's combating the church thing. You guys are crazy. Staton's not really real. These people are mentally ill a72 this Exorcist with 80 years of experience. And this movie really reminds me of a couple things for me personally. It reminds me of why faith is so important. It reminds me that evil does exist. It reminds me of my own evoke vocation and lastly the reminder again that this real present is here Among Us God and play today's Gospel text from Matthew will dive into the temptation of Jesus by Jesus by Satan himself, and we'll answer the question why we need change this morning. Austin American Christianity Today We like to avoid these topics. Especially in the church because we don't want anybody to think that were crazy. And I would be so bold the majority of Christians today faithful Christians are unaware this where the Satan character really comes from. So I wanted to prove it. There's the father Gary Thomas you can Google him pull him up. He's a really interesting guy and I have a couple friends. I have one that was a Exorcist in the Catholic church. And basically every diocese now in the Catholic church has an exorcist why because there is an influx of spiritual warfare in the American culture today. And so and they have open up and I'll share this before their Exorcist school and row do Protestants for the first time. So if I get a chance to go I'm going to go.

So 4 out of 10 Christians today 40% strongly agree that Satan is not a living being but is a symbol of evil. 40% being continued go down the stats very few believe in the real existence of the adversary that we read about so we know that the devil Satan was there at the very beginning of scripture in the Book of Genesis, right? And we first read about him in Genesis 3 1 through 6. And the steak was the most intelligent of all the wild animals that the Lord God had me and he said to the woman that God really say that you shouldn't eat from any tree in the garden.

What's going on? I can't read that. I'd say maybe maybe you guys can enlarge it for me.

So basically right in the scripture, we continue the snake. Tell Eve. You can always talking about Alicia's with food and at the tree would provide wisdom. So she took some of his fruit and ate it and she gave the same to her husband who was with her and he is so we have the story of the devil tempting Adam and Eve. Now, you know we could we can get into that until we'll get something to eat first and then he's tempted Adam. We won't go there and he's here in the next verse. Who got an ex light?

Marriott Hotel in Genesis 3:16 Says to the woman. He said I will make your pregnancy very painful and paying you a bear children and your desire will be for your husband and he I am not going to talk about the last part of that scripture. You'll need a braver pastor about the desire your husband and he will rule over you but we can blame you for childbirth pain and that very beginning sin. God gave consequences for their actions, and we know what atoms consequences were that the ground would be very difficult to work. I'll be very difficult to get any fruit from that ground. But the point here is that the Satan has always been here and has been there for the beginning and his desire is simple to make us disobedient to God the Father. They're right there in Genesis. And so but the question is where is Satan the second character that tempts Jesus for 40 days and 40 nights. Where does it come from Isaiah? 14 12 How you falling from Heaven Morning Star, son of dawn you are cut down to earth helpless on your back. Let's talk about Jesus Jesus ever confirm say that's the big question in today's world. Jesus reply and Luke 10:18. I saw Satan fall from Heaven like Jesus a firm and confirms the real existence of the devil. He confirms it and you know as we go to the gospels we hear how he cast demons out right cast Legion out. So a Demons of 10,000 military forces into the pics and then we know the respiratory the pigs actually went over the hill and I write so this happens in Scripture. But for us this morning, why is this important? Because according to my favorite movie again. Right, they can't read it up there. But all right there on the left side for me. The quote is you can only defeat it when you believe it the how true is that? Brothers and sisters we are here to spread the gospel and defeat Satan's desire to destroy the very fabric of Christianity. It's a true reality spiritual wickedness spiritual temptation is there because then our first point this morning we learned verses 1 through 7 that Satan will tempt us we're going to read it through again. And then the Spirit by Jesus up into the Wilderness to the devil might tempt him and after Jesus had fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. He was starving now if anybody's ever fasted before after about twenty-four hours, I'm starving. But Jesus 40 days 40 nights. The tempter came to him and said since you are God's son command these stones to become bread. Now, I believe Jesus could do that absolutely written people. Don't live only on bread, but every word spoken by Guy. Absolutely, it's God's word in which we live. And after that the devil brought him into the holy city and stood him at the highest point in the temple and he said to him since you are God's son throw yourself down for it is written command my angels concerning you and they will take you up in their hands so that you won't hit your foot on a stone. And Jesus replied again, it is written. Don't test the Lord your God.

So you're this brothers and sisters? I don't believe personally that God put you in the middle of harm. I don't think God has any God is not a mean kid with a magnifying glass on the ant pile. He has not that. That's not the guy works. But can God through the Wilderness Build You Up in your character and who you are as a leader and as a Christian absolutely God is always after me in the middle of some really difficult situations. God has always used it for the good. How do I do believe that Satan will tempt us when we go through our own desert in life? You do like you did to eat making us question God his word and his voice. I think of this through a positive life this morning. Is I am tempted the more that I The More I Love Jesus the more I know his word and the more I stand firm in my faith. It goes very it goes back all the way back to undergraduate at the Baptist Seminary where I'm the only one like me until the man to join me a year later and everybody told me that I didn't know the Bible that was a Methodist and and you know what? It did for me. It made me know my position. It made me get into the word of God for myself and understand why I believe what I believe. No, he continues to do that. Now as a young teenager. I had very low self-esteem and I would argue that many kids have low self-esteem adults and their lives to build them up. And Satan told me that I was good for nothing from the time. I was a little kid and I'm sure you're going back to my kindergarten teacher told my parents, you know, I can never amount to anything until in order to get a pastor when I got that calling at it really 16 years old I said, oh my

I not only have to go to college. I have to go to graduate school. I can't do that. You know and as I'm teaching some of my my students this semester. Are there saying the same thing? And it brings me back Humboldt's me and when I went to that pastoral care class I shared with with Ann and Amy, I was talking with the president of our Seminary. I'm attending right now for my demon and I he invited me to do the PHD program once I'm done and so for me is not a bragging moment, but a moment of real humility that God got me through it. Got me through that low self-esteem because part of me still feels like I can't do it. But the other part of me says you know what God will get me through it. God the devil likes to get us when we're down and he likes to tempt us harm us and make us feel like dirt. Tell us we're not good enough whatever the task at hand. And it's simply untrue what Satan tells us. Repeat Satan. We must have knowledge is there and pray to God overcome the adversary? So our question this morning is where is our wilderness? Jesus went into the Wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Where is where is Satan tempting you and your life? Where is that place that he attacks you those low self-esteem and things that you don't think you're good enough. And then the last question is what are you going to do about it? How can you go to Jesus and take Jesus? free me of this Jesus frees us of sin. Jesus frees us of those moments of low self-esteem those moments that you don't think you're good enough. And you know, that's the message when I was a youth pastor really drilled into my students. Then we did a half a cup of beautiful you conference with middle school girls. Now if you never had a middle school girl or work with middle school girls, you understand the importance of telling them that they're good enough. Because everyone's telling them they're not and when they become forward we would tell him simply you are a child of God.

You are perfect. The way God has designed you. Go back to mr. Rogers, right? There's no one like you. God Made You so what will you tell say? So we're going to hear what Jesus Dallas. fake and then the devil brought him to a very high mount read this I'll give you all of these if you

and Jesus respond go away. Now we're going to focus on these next versus the next point. But Satan because it's written You Will Worship the Lord your God and serve only him and the devil left him in the Angels came and took care of her.

The Jesus tell Satan to go away. What up Ball State? Could you imagine? So hopefully we believe that there is a real existence of evil. That he will tempt us and hopefully we will tell him to go away, but sometimes we invite him in. Well, I doubt that the vast majority of us intentionally invite the devil evil into our lives through prayers or whatever. It may be. When we love lies that are pleasing to Satan and not the god. It's certainly an Open Door. Now I cannot I come from a city where this stuff is in your face. I mean in New Orleans VooDoo is still practice witchcraft the dark arts you name it's there, you know we go down to our brothers and sisters down in Haiti. Very real my first a mission trip to Mexico like 10 minutes into the Border. We saw these types of practices being practiced by the people there. So while in the US we are kind of excluded isolated from it around the road. It's very real. When I started Seminary at Asbury Orlando, we had people from the islands who talked about this stuff. It is still happening. It's still real. We just are very christianize there in the United States. And so we have been blessed that this has not been a part of our culture at least for the vast vast majority of it. In fact, I had a family member who didn't want to invite any of this and so she didn't even allow as a kid any scary movies in the house, but it's not in these that I believe Satan comes in for an invitation. It's in those again those Hard Times Our Lives as deep struggle. And for some people, you know, it's in the bar rooms are getting that fix. It's an anxiety and stress and much more. Remember that while God is with us and protects Us from Evil that we also have an active role in all areas of our faith. We have to acknowledge our Wilderness whatever again that is for you. Where is it that you're tempted this morning? Where is your shortcomings and ask God to be first in our lives? No matter what? the ones that Dallas today it's once again a culture ship from the norm in college ain't evil. Why because it's all about God and God Alone this morning. It's about giving up our desires of our hearts like all the kingdoms of the world that Satan was Jesus in the scriptures. It's about surrendering everything to the Lord of lords the King of Kings the Messiah. So when you find yourself in that Wilderness that God will get you through it and he's placed the church. the bride of Christ scripture tells us the bear your burdens and trials with you.

So often, you know what I hear this in and today is Christianity where the church is irrelevant. I could be a Christian fishing out on the lake. Is anybody hurt this? Am I the only one that's it? It's there. That's true. You know, you can worship God out on the lake. I can go worship. God out in the woods. I can worship God in my rocking chair. But God gave the gift of the church to the faith. The faithful to each of us to Bear each other's burdens the live life together the whole which other accountable, you know, one of the things we did our last yesterday morning with my Man Group at United as we created a covenant with each other. What does that mean? What does life mean as a Christian together in this group? You know, we talked about confidentiality, you know that they write a weekly reflection report of how things are going on in their life. Now. I can't take that reflection report come up on this pulpit and Blaster information to the congregation at covenant with each other. What's the church where in Covenant with each other and when when Satan tempts us? We have to be like Jesus here. We have to tell him to go get away. Leave we have to be bold. The last question is who will you serve this morning? Does rejecting Satan also means serving only Jesus? First and he write these are spotted go away Satan because it is written You Will Worship the Lord your God and serve only.

We hear the second truth this morning. When we tell Satan to go to leave our lives. We must only choose to serve. So in America is as good as it gets really difficult because sometimes we could be so focused on whatever it is that we want all the time. I don't have to say you know in smaller communities. This consumer mindset is is Lex, which is great. But the more you get in the bigger cities, this becomes a major issue to be fully committed to the Lord resent this pass to only serve. So the question is, how do we do this?

With so many things in the road pulling us away from Faith religion and the church. We have to really analyze the truth within our own lot and ask what is pulling me away from my relationship with Jesus. When we figure it out, we must repent. And change it. Sometimes this involves gradual steps. But that's what Jesus meets us where we are to the best thing that I can think of is the Samaritan woman at the well. I am John 8:11 where she's at, but then he concludes with this go from now on and don't send anymore. No when we repent of our sins. And we strive to live as Jesus as our only Lord we have to make some attempt to do that. But it's impossible. I get it and I've worked with addicts for a long time. It's impossible to get somebody addicted to drugs to quit cold turkey most of the time and that sometimes it could kill them to do you take gradual steps to go through rehab and to improve your life. Up. Jesus gives us the support for the church. Jesus gives us the people. We need that be praying for us the holding us accountable. Could you just tell us this morning that this is the expectation? It's up to us to get to the point in our faith Journeys. That when we call Jesus when Jesus calls us we do we do so without hesitation.

That are Jesus work all our cell phones right now. We would not put him on Final Jesus calls our phone and says Richard I want you to go do XYZ and I don't ignore it and let it go to voicemail that I am right away and I say yes Jesus. I'm on the way. How many times do we have to fit I'm guilty? I really am I'm really delfi. So here in our church. How do we live in accountability and Covenant with one another? That's what we got to figure out. How do we hold each other up? By rejecting take and following the Lord of lords all the time.

I'm looking for a 5 and wondering where I put it. There it is. So when you join the church more than likely you said something similar so says this is in the United States 50 51. It says I'm a half of the whole church. I asked you if you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness reject evil powers of this world and repent of your scent. I do identify what's up assist you accept the freedom and power got issue to resist evil Injustice and oppression and whatever form they present themselves. I do. That's our covenant with one another that's part of our covenant that we will reject the evil forces of this world. We acknowledge little real and that we need to change our lives and combating these evil forces. We need to change and bring this Fallen World and hurting world away from Satan backwards Jesus. We need to change. We must change not to embrace the postmodern world around us. But instead embrace the god of the Bible. So that the holy spirit will once again great Revival in this land. So that millions of lost people will come to know Jesus. Now you guys know in American history. There's really like for great revivals that ever took place. That means like millions and millions of people were saying and one of them is for the birth of our church came from the Second Great Awakening. John Wesley went out and he preached repentance and truth and the Gospel of Jesus and all these people. Accepted Christ into their lives. And we created a movement that is here today because of it but it wasn't a fuel good type of business. It was we are sinners in need of a savior repent and be baptized love the Lord your God. And so I pray that this church is a part of that Revival. That we bring the law Center's to a loving forgiving Messiah that wants nothing more does not want to condemn you but to save you. That's my hope. So I pray this morning. That is we talked about the devil. Satan is reality that you hear the good news of Jesus that Jesus came to save you from that Temptation from that desert wherever you may be in that including me. Be there for us.

Oh mighty God. We thank you for taking us out of our own wildernesses. arse in our struggles you tell us in your word this morning that you love us. Are you went to the desert for 40 days and 40 nights to be tempted by the devil? God how powerful. I'd you've lived up for us and then you died on the cross for us and Rose for us. I got help us feed the disciples that you call us to be. Bayou I taking up our crosses and following you. Help us be the hands and feet of the church and accountability and love let us create another great Revival in this country. Read this in Jesus name. Amen.

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