Monday, October 12, 2009

Suffering and the Child of God

While i was reading some sermons today on Luke 4:1-13 (The Temptations of Jesus) in preparation for Bible Study on Wednesday night i came across this in a John Piper Sermon

Satan Would Have Done Anything to Prevent Jesus from Suffering

Luke gives us three examples of the temptations Satan threw at Jesus. First, in verse 3 he says, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." Then, in verses 5–7 Satan shows him all the kingdoms of the world and says, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours." Finally, in verses 9–11 Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and said, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; for it is written, 'He will give his angels charge of you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"

These temptations are amazingly relevant for American Christianity. Satan skips over adultery, fornication, stealing, lying, murder—those temptations are too obvious. Those are the games that sub-devils play with weak saints. Jesus is no fall guy. When Satan means business with a strong saint, he sticks with religion and he makes the Bible his textbook. See if this doesn't sound contemporary. "If you are a child of God, why are you living like a pauper? If you are a child of the king, why don't you live like a prince? The children of the king don't eat casseroles, they eat steak. The children of the king don't drive second-hand clunkers, they drive new cars. The children of the king don't shop at Rag Stock, they shop on the Mall. The children of the king don't throw their lives away in Liberia or Cameroon or Ecuador or Japan, living on a shoestring, building no reserves. If you are a child of the king, claim your blessings. God has promised to send his angels to make you healthy, wealthy, and prosperous. Throw yourself into these blessings. The best testimony you can be to your status as an heir of God is to be wealthy and have the best of everything."

If only we today could see this new "gospel" as a species of Satan's temptation to Jesus. Satan had one aim in the wilderness: to do whatever he could to keep Jesus from suffering. He was willing to let Jesus have all the glory and authority of a world ruler if he just wouldn't gain it through suffering. He was eager to let Jesus use his divine power if he would just use it to relieve his suffering. He was willing to let all the worshipers in Jerusalem see and acknowledge his divine sonship if only the angels of God would keep Jesus from suffering.

Satan Might Do Anything to Prevent You from Suffering
Do you remember when Jesus said to the disciples that he had to go up to Jerusalem and suffer and be killed, and Peter said, "God forbid, Lord"? Jesus responded to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me" (Matthew 16:23). Satan's aim in the wilderness was to hinder Jesus from suffering. Because the suffering and death of Jesus meant the final destruction of Satan and the salvation of you and me. And Satan's aim in this church today is to hinder you from following Jesus when he says, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (in the path of suffering)" (Luke 9:23).

People sometimes ask why, if Satan is real, we don't see more demon possession and exorcisms in America. I have an idea. Satan holds American Christianity so tightly in the vice-grip of comfort and wealth that he's not about to tip his hand with too much demonic tomfoolery. What Satan fears most in this church is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that causes us to say with Paul, "I count everything as refuse that I might gain Christ . . . that I might know the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death."

Lest there be some misunderstanding, let's go back to the hospital bed. The shocking news of your imminent death has caused the haze of the computer craze to clear. The mountains of eternity lie before you. The dove hovers over the grass and trees and streams on the right, and the lion of destruction crouches in the wasteland on the left. Do not think that if you are filled with the Spirit, your call is to sit under the fruit trees with your feet in the water. Nothing would please the lion more. No. Those who are touched by the dove and filled with the Spirit, take heart from the taste of paradise, but then they turn to the wasteland of the world and follow Christ.

Read the whole Sermon by Piper here:

Reminded me of one of his other sermons posted on yotube

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Allan, I needed to be reminded of that!!