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Life...The Way God Intended It
Scripture: 1 Samuel 13:14; Isaiah 32:1-5; Matthew 4...
Track 4 of 13 in the Almighty God...Jesus series
Running time: 1 hour, 06 minutes, 58 seconds.
Jesus became man and lived in a land that for centuries was and continues to be ground zero for an ongoing conflict between good and evil. I want you to realize a very important truth, this conflict is and will be, cosmic. It is not political and no amount of political activity will ever solve the conflict. Therefore, it was no accident that Jesus was born there or that his destiny was so intertwined with the future of Israels throne.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Life…the Way God Intended It

The story about the birth of Jesus is fascinating to study. God becoming a man is something that is hard for us to grasp. I view God from inside my perspective. I only know what man is like. I think like a man, comprehend like a man and when considering God, I think of him and imagine him much like me. The biggest mistake I can make is to think or expect him to live life the way I do. In fact, that is what life with Jesus was like; he lived totally different than men expected. But for me, the one thing that I learned the most from Jesus was, He lived the life that God intended.

I want you to think a minute about your life. In all that you are right now, do you live your life the way God intended you to? If yes, how do you know? If no,then why not?

That is a really deep and probing question. It is a question I don’t know if I can answer completely. I have a sense of what the answer might be and I think I know what the correct answer is. But there are times when I really wonder if I know what Jesus would do in some circumstances. Would he really respond this way or do I imagine how I would respond and hope Jesus would do the same?

Jesus became man and lived in a land that for centuries was and continues to be ground zero for an ongoing conflict between good and evil. I want you to realize a very important truth, this conflict is and will be, cosmic. It is not political and no amount of political activity will ever solve the conflict. Therefore, it was no accident that Jesus was born there or that his destiny was so intertwined with the future of Israel’s throne.

It all started when God brought Israel out of bondage and settled them into the Promised Land. There He established a covenant with them. He said in summary:

If you obey me you will enjoy abundance; if you disobey me you will suffer famine, pestilence, poverty and foreign invasion.

There is a factual principle we learn from His covenant, material abundance must be built upon strong spiritual foundation…at least for God’s people. For a brief time Israel seemed to keep their end of the agreement. But a little compromise here and a little compromise there and God’s specially chosen nation soon looked like their idol-worshipping neighbors. And what were the consequences, everything God promised them. Their disobedience kept Israel in poverty and struggling to survive for centuries until David came along.

1 Samuel 13:14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’S command.”

Throughout all the centuries in Israel’s history, David was the first to understand the unique relationship the Lord had initiated with his people. David composed hymns, used the power of his throne to call Israel to worship and he empowered the priesthood to make the worship of God top priority. He dreamed of building the Lord a temple, but David made mistakes and within a few generations after his life, everything he built was crumbling. God sent prophets to warn the people of what was to come if they didn’t get their act together. In 722 BC the Assyrian Empire decimated Israel and in 500 BC, Babylon carried off the rest.

Isaiah saw the desolation that was coming but he also looked ahead past the destruction to another time when things would be different. He wrote:

Isaiah 32:1-5 See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. The mind of the rash will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear. No longer will the fool be called noble nor the scoundrel be highly respected.

What can you see looking through a very clean windowpane? Is there more than one perspective? What can you see if your focus isn’t right? Imagine if you were allowed to look through a windowpane to the future? What can you see? What can you see if your focus isn’t right?

Israel was given a windowpane to look through into the future. That windowpane was the prophets. Unfortunately, many of them had their focus wrong and only saw what was behind them and missed the view of what was to come. Many only saw the glory days of David hoping the Messiah to come would reestablish the grand Jewish Empire. Their view was of the Old Covenant; God had a New Covenant in mind. The New would build upon the foundation of the old to bring much more than just material wealth, it would bring a whole new kind of abundance.

The story of the magi always fascinated me because their presence and question they asked of Herod sort of seemed out of place until I discovered why they were there. There is another scene in Jesus’ life that also fascinates me because it too seems out of place.

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

My question is why? Why did Jesus do this? This happened very early in his ministry before he was well known. Was this another “Job” thing? Was he trying to test himself out to prove to Satan that Jesus definitely was God and not to mess with him?

Before Jesus publicly started his ministry, Matthew states that Jesus specifically went into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. What is interesting is, all the temptations he endured were the exact same ones the Hebrews faced and failed at as they wandered in the wilderness. They were also the same temptations the kings before him faced but failed. In Matthew 4:1 the Greek word used for “tempted” means:

To try to learn the nature or the character of someone or something by putting them through extensive testing.

The whole point to this was to throw Himself down the gauntlet to prove that He was the only legitimate she[herd of Israel by overcoming the temptations that had undone all the other previous kings including His mighty ancestor, King David.

First temptation:

Luke 4:3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

It was time for Jesus to break his fast; so why not use His almighty power to meet a legitimate need? Did Jesus ever use his almighty power to meet legitimate needs? So why not now? How powerful is the fear of not being able to meet your basic needs in life? What are you willing to do to make sure you and your family gets what it needs?

True or False: Getting physical needs is essentially a crisis of faith,

Whom will you trust to meet your basic needs? By your activity in life, who do you trust, God or yourself to meet your needs?

Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

The first temptation of Jesus dealt with whom Jesus would trust for his needs. Just as with the kings of Israel before him, in whom did they trust? Where Israel and the kings failed, Jesus triumphed.

Describe for me the experience of abundance? Define abundance? When is enough, enough?

In this moment when Jesus was probably starving and really hungry, He experienced abundance. Not the kind you and I seek, but a new kind of abundance. Based on complete trust in God, He had abundance, not the kind that can be eaten or traded for grain, but a new kind. That was one of the reason why Jesus came to this earth to give you and I a new kind of abundance; one that is not dependent on us, but God to provide.

Second Temptation:

Malachi 3:1 “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.

Malachi predicted that the Messiah would come to the temple and the people would know he had arrived. But Satan twisted Psalm 91:11-12 to imply that if Jesus would jump off the Temple to the crowded streets below, the Jews would immediately recognize the miracle and accept Him as the Messiah.

Matthew 4:5-6 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

What was the common response from the crowd to Jesus when they suspected that Jesus was implying he was the Messiah? They wanted to see a sign.

Jesus answer came from the words of Moses when the people refused to believe in God’s protection without a miraculous sign.

Matthew 4:7 ’”Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

So, what was the test? What was the temptation? To require God to prove that He is able and willing to fulfill His promises. So Jesus jumps; what would that prove? It would be proof positive that one does not trust Him without signs. How many of you believe in Jesus today and have never seen a sign from God?

The New Kingdom will be one in which God’s people trust Him completely and without reservation. Jesus however did perform many miracles, not to prove who He was but to minister to the needs of others. There is a sign that is the foundation of my faith, Jesus crucified and resurrected. The people and the kings in Israel’s past failed when it came to trusting in signs, Jesus triumphed.

Third Temptation:

Describe for me the Kingdom of God? How far reaching is it? Is it just to the Jews? Is it just to the Christians? God promised that his Kingdom would encompass the entire world. Satan’s third and final temptation will focus on His kingdom. How Satan did what he did is not clear but he was able to show Jesus all the splendor of the world.

Matthew 4:9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

This is the same bargain Satan offered the corrupt kings of Israel. Even some of the heroes of the Old Testament fell prey to this temptation. They traded material wealth at the expense of exclusive devotion to God and His people.

How many Christians today struggle with this temptation? How many are playing the game of trying to have their left foot in God’s Kingdom and their right foot in the world? How many are in debt up to their eyeballs because they want the material things of the world and yet tare trying to live a life for Jesus?

Matthew 4:10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

Again Jesus responds with a quotation from the Old Testament. In time Jesus would indeed go to Jerusalem to present himself as the Messiah, but not before proving Himself to be king worthy of Israel’s throne.

True or False: Before a leader can rule others, he must prove that he can rule himself.

Jesus had rule over himself unlike all the kings and rulers who came before him. He alone is worthy of praise and He alone is King.