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by Larry Miles

(Originally in the April 1977 Word & Work)

(Matthew 4:1-11)

     The attempt to overthrow the Son of God in the wilderness in Matthew's account is most tragic as well as most rewarding. You might ask the question: How can this be so? The temptation of the "Lord of Glory" was, of course, tragic because of the evil implications. If Satan had succeeded in his mission, there would have been no hope for sinful man. But this account in the "Living Oracles" was also rewarding because of the noble stand of Jesus in the face of great temptation. Let us now look at some of the attempts of Satan to destroy all that God stands for and to deprive  man of redemption.


     Satan fresh from his exile from the courts of Jehovah for his part in leading the rebellion of the angels, was seen knocking at the gate of the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3 we see the account of the fall of man. Although Satan was new at the business of tempting man, he was, as we know, very successful that day near the advent of man. The success of Satan was to bring upon himself some die consequences. There was to be a curse upon him to this day (Gen. 3:15).

     The time that that has passed since Eden has not brought the ‘god of this  Age" to repentance. The evil and darkness that he has brought to this sin-cursed world has not saddened him or slowed him  down. On the other hand, it has given him boldness.  Satan is a defeated enemy because of the redemptive work of Jesus on Calvary.


     While tie shepherds were watching their sheep that night over 1900 years a 50, Satan was also viewing this event,   for he knew it was a threat to his kingdom. In Matthew 2, Satan lashed out at the Lord Jesus Christ through the hands of King Herod. This is the account where Herod ordered the death of all male infants under the age of two, in an attempt to kill Jesus.

     The Devil saw Jesus fasting in the Wilderness and realized that weakness had come upon Him.  It seems that Satan always chooses out moments of weakness to attack us.  Oh, how tempting it must have been. For Jesus to throw Himself off the Pinacle of the Temple to show Satan  that. He could call on the holy angels to come to His assistance. The temptation of power and dominion which Satan the “authority” to give Him cut Him to the center of His weakness, but still came the resounding “No!” When the Devil finanly left, he left a pure  Savior unspotted from the world. When he leaves off tempting  us, can we say the same?

But you ask, what attributed to the success of Jesus in “the battle in the wilderness?”  I want to cite five reasons for this success.

We must remember that these attributes are available to us today and we can use them to combat the Devil.

  1. 1. Christ had an answer from the Word of God for the claims of Satan. He had a "Thus saith the Lord," and "Thus it is written." Do we have this avenue at our disposal? We need to study the Word of God so we will be able to combat the wiles of the Devil.
  2. Christ had the power of resistance. "Submit therefore to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7).
  3. Christ had put on the whole armor of God. Paul writes in Eph. 6:11, "Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the Devil."
  4. Christ prayed for the help of God. We need to establish a prayer life.
  5. Christ was anointed for service and was led by the indwelt Holy Spirit.

     We have looked at this account in Matthew 4 of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. We have shown that we too can resist the wiles of Satan. The people without Christ are without hope. Only in Jesus there is salvation.

     You ask the question: What Must I Do To be saved?  Walter Scott, "The Golden Oracle"

of the Restoration Movement, gave us this resume of what God re quires of the sinner. He said that the Gospel was threefold. The facts were to be believed, the commands were to be obeyed, and the promises were to be enjoyed. Bro. Scott put it into these words:

  1. Faith to change the heart.
  2. Repentance to change the life.
  3. Baptism to change the state.
  4. Remission from sins to cleanse from guilt.
  5. The gift of the Holy Spirit to help in the religious life and to make one a partaker of the divine nature.

     The first three things we must do in order to warrant salvation. The latter two are things God has promised to do. You might ask why Bro. Scott left out confession and believing. If a person has faith in Christ, you can imply that belief in Christ preceded that faith. Also if a person has repented of his sins he will confess them before going into the watery grave. Have you fulfilled your part of the bargain? If you have, God has promised to do His part. All who obey the Gospel are, according to Acts 2:47, added to the church of Christ. Are you in the church that our Lord founded on the day of Pentecost? If not, you are outside of Christ and have no hope against the wiles of Satan. Our sincere desire is that anyone outside of Christ will come to Him now before it is too late. Jesus is coming. Are you ready? If not, won't you come to Christ now.


Larry Miles is Co-Editor of Word & Work and attends Cherry St. Church of Christ in New Albany, IN.


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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10