First Sunday in Lent

Lent  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:27
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This is the first Sunday in Lent and is always the case, the primary thing we must address during this penitential season is temptation, and temptation to sin. We must address it because sin is the very reason why we are separated from God. Sin is the very reason why our first parents—Adam and Eve—were expelled from Paradise, Heaven.
Back in the 1960’s a comedian named Flip Wilson popularized the saying, “The Devil made me do it.” Somehow he made sin funny and as we watched him on TV. Unfortunately, though Flip was right, the devil along with our active disobedience, is the reason why we are are separated from God. And the result of this separation from God because of sin is death, which is the very reason why so many are afraid of death.
Something must be done to fix this problem. Yet it seems every time we try to do what is right, and it seems like we are doing okay, something happens and we lose more ground than what we have gained. We look for the right combination to be good enough to get back into God’s favor, and somehow access to heaven. But there is a problem. God’s “good enough” is perfection. We would have to keep God’s law perfectly, and we cannot.
God must crush our self-righteousness; and when He does through the Law’s demands and threats, it is as if we are laying down our weapons. We are admitting that we have no ability to defeat our ancient foe, the devil. We must admit defeat in the battle against his temptations.
Yet, admitting defeat in the battle against temptation is not hopeless, because we know we have a Champion who has entered the battle to fight on our behalf. As this Sunday's reading show, our Champion must meet two important qualifications.
In order to be our substitute, He must be one of us. He must come from our ranks. Otherwise, his victory remains his alone and not ours.
At the same time, He must be different from us. He must have an ability we do not possess. Otherwise, the outcome of his battle against our enemy would be no different from the outcome of ours.
By God's grace, we have a Champion. On this first Sunday in Lent, He marches out to the field of battle against our enemy and defeats him. Our enemy’s best temptations are crushed by our Champion’s perfect obedience. He fights this battle as one of us. As a result, He wins this battle for all of us. Even as the devil still seethes in rage against us, we can now face him unafraid, confident that our Champion has already won the victory.
Jesus’ active obedience—in resisting the devil’s temptations—Rescues us, who can only receive passively from the Lord our God.

He Must Be One Of Us

All of this started back in the Garden of Eden.
The First Adam was given a simple command—eat from anything except...
God realized Adam needed a help-mate, so He created woman out of man.
The serpent came along, and instead of talking to Adam he went to the woman.
The serpent planted the seed of doubt by saying, “Did God really say?”
The serpent deceived the woman and she ate what God said not to eat.
And she gave some to Adam and he ate.
This First Adam knew what God said, but he willingly disobeyed God.
As my Dad used to say, “There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it.”
Adam knew what God said and he did it anyway. In other words, he disobedience as an “active disobedience.”
Adam wasn’t tricked or deceived. He chose to disobey.
And this disobedience has infected every single man, woman, and child.
Before humanity was expelled from Paradise, God promised that the Seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent, setting humanity free from our bondage of sin and death.
Finally, God made good on His promise.
The Seed of the woman was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of a virgin named Mary.
This conception and birth is called the Incarnation, because God because a human being.
Jesus is just like us in every way.
Last Sunday Peter, James and John saw Him in all his glory on Mt. Transfiguration when he met with Moses and Elijah. It was as if he unzipped His human nature to reveal his divine nature.
But in Jesus’ human nature is has the exact same needs as we do.
He needs to eat
He needs to sleep
He needs to bathe
He needs to use the bathroom
He gets blisters.
He can cut his finger on something sharp.
And so God, in Christ Jesus—the seed of the woman—enters our world as a human being to destroy this serpent, this ancient foe.
The penalty for humanities active disobedience is death.
God told Adam this would happen.
So out of love for humanity, God became a human being to become our substitute.
A human being must die to satisfy the Law’s demands. The ancient serpent knows this, which is precisely why he does what he does. He does not want anyone to be set free. He doesn’t want anyone to be in heaven forever with God. The devil prowls around looking for those who he can drag into eternal damnation with him. But God does not want this to happen.
So God sent a substitute—Christ Jesus our Lord—who is like us in every single, solitary way. What the First Adam failed to do, Christ Jesus—the Second Adam—has done perfectly.
Now a human being has foiled the plan of that ancient serpent. And he is able to do so because.

He Must Be Different From Us

This human being must have abilities we do not possess.
We are constantly tempted, but we repeatedly fail.

Transition to Resolution or Means


Therefore . . . (Jesus meets our every need)
Restatement of the Situation/Goal, Complication/Malady, Resolution/Means.
Doxological Statement — Amen.
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