Lent: Stepping into the Ring

Date: 3/1/2009
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Topic: Lent
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Lent - Stepping into the Ring
A thematic sermon from Luke 4 and 7 * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * March 1, 2009

Luke 4:1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness 4:2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. . ..Luke 7:33-35 “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine; and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ 7:34 “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking . . .

Luke 4:1-21 NASB - And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness 4:2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days; and when they had ended, He became hungry.

ROUND ONE 4:3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4:4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.’” 4:5 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

ROUND TWO 4:6 And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 4:7 “Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” 4:8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”

ROUND THREE 4:9 And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; 4:10 for it is written, ‘HE WILL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’ 4:11 and, ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’” 4:12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”

4:13 And when the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. 4:14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit; and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 4:15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. 4:16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 4:17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, 4:18 “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE DOWNTRODDEN, 4:19 TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” 4:20 And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him. 4:21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

The Lenten season (lengten means spring in Old English) lasts 40 days (not counting Sundays), beginning with this past Wednesday (February 25). Lent commemorates part of Jesus our Savior’s life. The 40 day fast/motif shows that Jesus’ temptation embodies Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness (cf. Gen. 7:4; Ex. 24:18; 1 Kings 19:8; Jonah 3:4). Jesus’ uses of the Sword of the Spirit are from Deuteronomy 6 & 8. Lent is only training for the fight and all with the “joy set before us.” Lent is not “works.” But it is effort. The goal of Lent as a discipline is not “merit” (we have none), but Resurrection Feasting, Pentecost, and Reigning (Lk 7:33ff). Training precedes the Prize. Hunger precedes the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. “For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).

Da da da da d d Da ddd - Jesus was running in Philly for the big fight! He endured 40 days of running up steps and on the sand. Then He “steps into the rink” - Or steps into the arena (Gladiator), after doing “spring training” as preached by Father, Rev. Dr. Donald Stone.
Announcer - “In this corner we have Jesus, Son of Man, 5’10, 152 pounds, his opponent is the undefeated champion, now ruler of all the kingdoms of the world, the god of this world, Satan, at slightly over 12 feet and 800 pounds . . . Howard, That Satan is nothing but pure muscle, too. [Howard] ‘Well this is not going to be pretty.’” ding ding ding ding
Round 1) The devil first landed a mighty right hook, compelling Jesus to turn a stone into bread, but Jesus recovered with a left jab back at the prince of darkness with Deuteronomy 8:3, making the devil recoil with pain from another fight with previous fighter (heavy weight, Moses). In the former fight, Moses reminded the people of the manna which God had given them since God’s Word was trustworthy for their life and existence.
Round 2) Satan making a choice left upper to the chin and rapid fire jabs stunned the Son of Man with continual temptations to premature glory. “This is good boxing and good box
Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more