More / Book of the Month / In every circumstance / Luke 4:1-13 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday, March 6th / Season of Lent
In every circumstance / Luke 4:1-13 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday, March 6th / Season of Lent

 

 

Text: Luke 4:1-11
Theme: “In every circumstance”
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Intr – Jesus is tempted in the desert after 40 days of fasting. Perhaps the Devil wanted to check how hungry He would be for certain human cravings.

1 – Hunger for material needs – “Stones into bread”
2 – Hunger for power, fame, and acknowledgement – “All the kingdoms of the world;”
3 – Hunger for invincibility, immortality – “Jump from the temple’s pinnacle;”

        If Jesus was only a human, these temptations might have worked well with him, because they address some of our core cravings in this worldly life. They are big and compelling.

        Now, sometimes we see people commiting big mistakes, falling in public scandals, caving to temptations big time, and we might think “How could he or she have fallen for that?...I would certainly have not”.

         It’s not that hard to understand. If you don’t avoid the small, you’ll be slowly be dragged into the big; sometimes without awarenss, sometimes creating conscience expanders to allow you to deal with that. There are examples from real life that help us to understand that

-family feuds that drag for years;
-Feuds over land and property lines;
-Pocketing too much change given by a cashier;
-Buying clothes for a fancy event, tucking in the tags, and returning them to the store the next day.[1]
-Stepping on other people’s back to get ahead at work;
-Gossip;
-getting mad when pastors preach about things one wish they wouldn’t?

        We all do. We are all sinners. Well, we may have all the right excuses for our behavior in a given circumstance, some of them would be right, some of them wouldn’t, but the thing is that we shouldn’t be “hasty to judge your neighbour just because they sin differently than us.”

        What we need to consider is that “we are not tempted to do what we cannot do but what we can do, what is our strength. For example, I am not being tempted to bribe Putin, The USA, military forces or whoever that is in order to command the war in Ukraine and obtain the best outcome of it for myself; but I imagine that someone has been or is being tempted to do that. In other words, my temptations are the ones that are possible for me in my daily life.[2]

        I’m not trying to preach the chaos and lawlessness here – like, “since everybody is a sinner, let us all do whatever we want”. We know that it is not because parents are imperfect that they can’t educate and teach their kids. The same is valid for teachers, professors, leaders, authorities in general, etc. The point is to give us some perspective about our own possible Hypocrisy, Haughtiness, Contempt. Our sinfulness. And to remember us that the world hasn’t changed much yet, even when we have all our wishful thinking about “progress” and a building a better world.  “That is the world as it is, a world always in need of redemption, a world where our illusions of goodness hide our reasons for repentance.”[3]

      Temptations in our daily life don’t usually look like we expect them to. They come in small, attractive packages. They may look good, even righteous. A person who could change stones into bread could feed a lot of hungry people, right? But Jesus once told his best friend, “Get behind me Satan,” when Peter said a variation of what the Devils says in the wilderness, “You don’t have to die.”[4]

        This all makes me think that I could apply for daily life what a friend who worked as an auditor in the business world once told me. He said that this standard was current among them during their investigations:

Out of 10 people given a chance opportunity to steal, to make money illegally,
*One will never do it (but their weakness might be in a different field);
*One will always do it (though they might never do wrong in other areas);
*8 might do it depending on the circumstances.

         It would depend on the circumstances.

        It seemed to the Devil that the desert 40-day-fasting setting was the perfect circumstance to catch Jesus among those 8. Given the circumstance, He might as well fall for Satan’s temptations.

        But Jesus didn’t. Though he was really tempted to sin he simply couldn’t sin for He was, He is perfect.

        As Christians, we live a life with Christ in which we are aware of Sin and Grace, Law and Gospel, temptation and deliverance. So we try our best to follow and to fulfill God’s will. One of the things in which we fail big time though is about circumstances. Think about physical sins, sexual sins, sins of the tongue, of money, of abusive language and actions… There are moments in which the circumstances we allow ourselves to be in make it easy for us to fall, when acting otherwise and stepping away from those circumstances would prevent us from giving occasion to the flesh.

        “But pastor, in Baptism I’ve received the Holy Spirit, and thorough the Word I’m full of the Holy Spirit through faith. I think I should be prepared for most circumstances.” Well, Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit to the desert says Luke. And that’s when He is most under attack![5] We are not perfect like Christ, so we will fall in many occasions. But when we avoid the circumstances in which we may fall, it can bring us to a safer spot than if we would just live life in a reckless manner, as if we were invincible. “If you don’t want to enter temptation’s house, don’t stop by her door”.

         Jesus faces the temptations depending upon God alone who speaks through Scripture. God, with the power to create the heavens and the earth, gives to Jesus the power to lay power aside, to become powerful in WEAKNESS. Instead of the spectacular, Jesus chooses the power in a life of quiet compassion, steady love, faithfulness through suffering.[6]

        No circumstance was strong enough to demote Christ from His Work. Even in Gethsemane, facing death, when the Devil would tempt Him the most, he stood firm; for there is no circumstance in which Christ would cease to be God, and cease to be our God. There was no circumstance whatsoever that would make Him cease to love us and to be willing to save us.

        This is pure Gospel for our life as we start Lent. Christ is the One with us in every circumstance of life:
-The ones in which we resist, thanks to His Holy Spirit.
-The ones in which we fall, thanks to our sinful nature.
-The ones in which we need forgiveness and new beginning, thanks to His immense Grace and unfathomable love.

        He is the one who addresses our deepest hunger:

1 – The hunger for material needs providing us with The bread of life, and with our daily bread.
2 – The hunger for power, fame, acknowledgement with the Power of the Spirit who makes us the most important people – Children of God, and with people who love us, care for us, and make us feel special also in this world.
3 – The hunger for invincibility, immortality with the Life that never ends with him, which starts right now. When we look to History we realize that when Christians stopped pointing to the world to come that’s usually when they’ve stopped being efficient in the present world. The life to come is coming already to us in Christ, and will be fully enjoyed in the new Heavens and New Earth.

Cc - In this world, out of 10 people, Jesus wants:

_To save the 10;
_To be with the 10;
_To strengthen and to care for the 10.

     Thanks be to our Saviour Jesus who resisted all temptations so that we could have him through our own.  He is our Saviour in all and every circumstance.

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[1] https://qz.com/quartzy/1354651/shoppers-are-buying-clothes-just-for-the-instagram-pic-and-then-return-them/
[2] BRUM, Paulo C.F. Temptation of the Power. Sermon for March 06, 2022
[3] BIELFELDT, Dennis. Post on Facebook. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=3139105246311796&id=100006370534681 Access: March, 2022
[4] BRUM, Paulo C.F. Temptation of the Power. Sermon for March 06, 2022
[5] Sanchez, Leopoldo. Spirit Sculptor. Downers Grove, IVP Academic, 2019. Page 90
[6] BRUM, Paulo C.F. Temptation of the Power. Sermon for March 06, 2022

 

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