March 20, 2022

Spiritual Warfare


Spiritual Warfare (Luke 4:1-13)

I. The Enemy’s Tactics    

A. Gifts Instead of Giver (v. 3)

B. Power Instead of Submission (vv. 5-6)

C. Pride Instead of Humility (vv. 9-11)

II. The Christian’s Victory

A. Submission to the Holy Spirit (v. 1)

B. Humility Before God (v. 2)

C. Dependency on the Word of God (vv. 4, 8, 12)


1) Jesus is our advocate

2) Jesus is our victory 

3) Jesus is our salvation

Spiritual Warfare (Luke 4:1-13)       

The story has been told of a mental hospital that many years ago had an interesting way of determining when their patients were ready to go back into the world. They brought a candidate for release to a room where a water faucet was left on so that the sink overflowed and was pouring water all over the floor. The patient was handed the mop and was asked to dry the floor. If the patient first turned off the faucet, he was ready to be released, if he would map the floor without turning off the faucet, he was not ready… (maybe it will help you one day) J

Believers in this world stand against the evil and sin. But if we, like those patients, fail to identify the root problem, we cannot effectively overcome sin. Too much has been said about the struggle of believers, and it often feels like just mapping the water off the floor. Our text opens our eyes to the source of evil and the enemy’s tactics, and most importantly, gives a clear plan of cation in the spiritual warfare.

Read (Luke 4:1-13)

During the baptism of Jesus, the heaven opened up, and the voice came saying: “This is my beloved Son.” Now, the hell is opened up and from there the opposite voice comes tempting (provoking to sin).

I. The Enemy’s Tactics   

A. Gifts Instead of Giver (v. 3)

        At first glance, Satan is a very friendly, caring, attentive… he does not want Christ to suffer from hunger. Temptation always promises to solve some problem.

        Moreover, Satan recognizes the might and power of Christ – he believes that Jesus is able to make bread out of stone by His word (v. 3). The one who believe3es in the power of God is not always a real Christian.

        The main thing in this temptation is that food is more valuable than God! Satan encourages Jesus to use His power for personal purposes.

        We are not tempted the same way… How many of you are tempted to turn stones into pies or pirozhki? Yet our temptation is similar to putting our desires above the will of God! Here is the parallel: to appreciate gifts more than the One Who gives it all, God! For Christ, the reality of temptation was that turning stones into bread was not the will of God the Father!

        Bottom line: choose what you need, not the One that you really need!

B. Power Instead of Submission (vv. 5-6)

        Satan is ready to share his power and glory if Christ recognizes his dominion and authority. This is a barter. Tempting people is not different. You submit to me, says Satan, live accordingly to my principles, and I, in return, promise you good things. Satan offers a crown instead of the cross! But for Christ, God prepared first the cross, and then the crown.

        If Christ would give in to Satan, then, there would be no salvation for sinners, no redemption, justification, no forgiveness and imputed righteousness.

        So it is in our life – the temptation to choose the path of least resistance, and avoid difficulties by all means. But, God’s plan for us to live a life of commitment, and not comfort.

C. Pride Instead of Humility (vv. 9-11)

        Satan is not tempting with murder, fornication, theft, deceit, but with pride, independence and the manipulation of God… Those visible sins are very easy to identify, and usually the weak Christian fall after them. Those who are spiritually stronger, like Jesus, face more dangerous temptations – pride and arrogance! And this is the most cruel war – when Satan offers modern day Christians the most common arrogance and self-confidence! This is where the battle takes places!

        Especially, it is evident in the third temptation.This is not so that people will see Jesus flying and in shock of the miraculous deliverance, repent of their sins. But, in order to push Christ to presume on God the Father and drive Him into doing something against His will.

        Moreover, Satan quotes Scripture (Ps. 91:11) saying that God keeps His faithful ones. He takes it out of context and applies the Bible as he see it fit. “Christ, you want to be faithful and act only in accord to the Scripture and the will of God? Please, here is the Scripture – act upon it in faith…” Those who have Scripture in their hands, can be very dangerous. How do we check them? Does their teaching move you to be humble before God? (Ps. 91:11-14) – love and deeper knowledge of God = humility

II. The Christian’s Victory

A. Submission to the Holy Spirit (v. 1)

        Matthew and Mark write about Jesus’ temptation, but only Luke speaks of being filled with the Holy Spirit. The filling of the Holy Spirit is theologically interesting phenomenon – since Jesus was 100% man and 100% God, his human nature was influenced by the Holy Spirit – it is humility and obedience.

Many want to know how does the filling of the Spirit looks like? It is obedience to what the Holy Spirit prompts us to. We know that they Holy Spirit reminds us of the Word of God and His will. For example, a thought or desire comes to you to testify to an unbeliever, to help the needy, to serve in the church, to forgive, to endure, to sacrifice, to love your enemy, or to humble yourself…  

Where did the obedience of Christ to the Holy Spirit let him to? To the desert! Maybe that’s why we silence the voice of the Holy Spirit?! We don’t want a desert. There He was alone, for 40 days! Maybe we are afraid of loneliness!? But for Christ, this time of solitude and communion with the Heavenly Father was important. We underestimate the time alone.

        What was Jesus thinking there about? He was thinking of 40 year of Israel’s wandering and grumbling in the wilderness. There are many parallels. But the main reason is that all three times Jesus answers with a quoted from the book of Deuteronomy, from ch. 6 and 8, which speak of Israel’s trials in the wilderness and their failures.

        Before God called Moses to lead the difficult people of Israel, he placed him in the wilderness as a shepherd for the sheep for 40 years, the apostle Paul in the desert and other places for 14-17 years, David hides from Saul for almost 20 years. Do not be afraid of deserts in your life!

        What for? (John 8:28) – Jesus did everything according to the will of the Father!

        For us (Rom. 8:12-14) – the victory over sin is always Spirit’s work!

B. Humility before God (v. 2)

40 days of fasting is humility and liberation from the tyranny of the flesh

        The desires of the body or the flesh are not bad by themselves – for example, the desire to drink water or eat. It becomes a problem when they take control over your life!

        Let’s talk about food, abstinence and excessive weight.

        I must say right away that excess weight can be associated with hormonal disorders, diabetes, lack of exercise, illness, but also excess weight is often associated with a lack of self-control. I don’t want us to condemn overweight people now because we don’t know what is the real reason for it. But today, I want to turn to myself and to each of you, so that we check ourselves: Can we control ourselves in the area of food?

        Every week on Thursdays, the elders fast and pray for themselves and for the church. Let me tell you: it is not an easy thing! A lot of reasons not to do it come to mind.

        What happens when we abstain from the food? This is an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to form in us the character of humility, self-control and temperance. And in times of temptation, we will have a certain skill and habit in humility to trust God.

C. Dependency on the Word of God (vv. 4, 8, 12)

        3 times Christ turns to Scripture. The attack is resisted only by the Word! It is the truth that has the power against the forces of darkness!

        Jesus quotes Scripture! So, we can assume that it was in His memory! How important it is to memorize Scripture!

        (Ps. 119:9, 11) – Victory in obedience to the Word of God, the Bible!

        Why do so many Christians fail during temptations? They don’t have the Word of God in their hearts and minds!


1) Jesus is our advocate (Heb. 2:17-18)

2) Jesus is our victory (2 Cor. 10:4-6) – (v. 5) “thought” – this word is used in the same epistle in (2:11) – Satan’s designs (schemes, cunning plans). The thoughts of Satan became the thoughts of people.

        Luther said we cannot stop the birds from flying over our heads, but we have a responsibility to keep them from nesting.

        The enemy’s strategy is simple – he sends thoughts leading to temptation. A person who does not understand this strategy accepts it as his own thinking, when it is not! We need to remember this and just drive away the thoughts. How? 1) Be filled with the Holy Spirit, 2) Humbly trust God, and 3) Know the truth (Rom. 8:31-32) – it will give victory!

3) Jesus is our salvation Ch. 3 ends with Adam and ch. 4 moves on to Jesus. Both went through temptation: one failed the exam, and the other passed with excellent marks. Adam was in the best of circumstances (Garde of Eden), Christ was in the worst of circumstances, and the desert, 40 days with no food. Adam was in a sinless world, Christ in a sin-filled world. Adam failed the very first temptation, Christ never sinned. Adam’s sin became fatal for all mankind, but the faithfulness of Christ is the source of life and forgiveness for many.

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