I will open with a verse that really stuck with me from worship tonight. Micah 7:18 & 19, "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea." Yes, you read that right. God actually delights in showing us mercy. Kinda gets ya, doesn't it???
Pastor JD opened noting that his sermon would probably be affected by the madness of the ACC tourney. I make the same notation on this blog and hope for similar results. JD talked with us from Luke 3 & 4 about Jesus' baptism and temptation. Jesus' temptation was a temptation to prioritize the needs of the body over the needs of the soul. All of the temptations were designed to sway Him from the cross. Jesus knew that outward obedience means nothing if it doesn't come from the heart. We need more than a behavior modification; we need a heart change. So Jesus was a substitute for our sin. JESUS IN MY PLACE. His repentance (at the time of His baptism) was IN MY PLACE. The temptation (an analogy for Israel's wandering for 40 years) was IN MY PLACE. Only grace, His grace can change the heart!!
So how are we to overcome temptation, since we are here on earth and have skin on? The Lord has provided weapons for us. (1) The Word of God -- Satan wants you to doubt God's word about you and your identity in Him. DON'T DO IT!! Live the promises!! Walk in His Word. (2) The Spirit of God -- by renewal of faith in the gospel. Anytime there was an outpouring of faith, there was an outpouring of the Spirit. (3) The Plan of God -- He wants us to learn to feast on Him and trust Him despite our suffering. He uses suffering to change our motives. You'll never know God is all you need until He is all you have. (4) Fasting -- Do I really love God or am I using Him for things? Denying the body while allowing God to fulfill the needs of the soul.
So do you believe? Do you truly believe that Jesus was in your place? Do you believe that God delights in showing us mercy and grace? Run to His open arms now and find refuge and rest my friends.