Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How Jesus Approached Spiritual Warfare

Luke 3:38-4:1  3:38 "the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness."

In the opening verses of today's post, you may notice that one chapter is ending and another is beginning.  As the Holy Ghost superintended Luke's writing of his Gospel, He arranged to have Jesus' genealogy go all the way back to Adam and take the reader right into the beginning of Jesus' temptation by Satan. Such a curious feature alerts the reader to the fact that side by side we see Old Adam (Lk 3:38) and Jesus the "New Adam". 

The New Testament picks up this theme of Jesus Christ being the "New Adam" or the "second Adam" to show that He came to be the head of a redeemed humanity composed of those choice saints who have freely believed on Him as Savior and Lord. (Romans 5:11-21; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, 42-49). 

Whenever you see the genealogy prefacing the temptation account, you discover that over 70 generations of humanity represented one rusted link after another - marked by failure, sin and defeat.  Adam failed to defeat Satan in Genesis 3, as well as Abraham in his temptation (Genesis 12:10-11); Isaac in his (Genesis 26); Israel in the book of Numbers and King David in his temptation in 2 Samuel 11. From the corrosive sea of history the Holy Spirit displays the rusted chain of humanity, and on the one end is Old Adam, and on the other end is a golden link - The sinless New Adam, Jesus Christ.

Jesus acted as the New Adam and did what Adam could never do: successfully and completely defeat the enemy in spiritual warfare. We know that Jesus Christ came to be among other things an example and to empower Christians to follow Him in discipleship and victory. 1 Peter 2:21 reminds us - "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps."Today we are going to consider how Jesus implemented the most successful method of obtaining victory in spiritual warfare. Last week we considered at length the "A,B,C's of spiritual warfare". Everything that Paul wrote in Ephesians 6 under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit represents the fully-mature tree of the seeds of thought we see represented in Jesus' life. Notice how Jesus models for us spiritual warfare....

Jesus' approach to spiritual warfare: Spirit-filled and Word-filled. 
So how did Jesus approach His pending confrontation with the Devil? First note that he was Spirit-filled. Luke 4:1 states - "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness." Mark in his parallel describes Jesus' filling of the Holy Spirit in Mark 1:12 - "Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness." Jesus as God in human flesh (John 1:14; Colossians 2:9), being equal with the Father and the Spirit in regards to Deity, nevertheless surrendered His access to the benefits that come with Deity while ministering in His days on this earth (see Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus yielded to the Holy Spirit in His humanity for two main reasons: as a matter of prophetic fulfillment as the Messiah (Isaiah 61:1-2a; Luke 4:18) and as an example for Christians. 

As you go on down through the remainder of Luke 4:1-13, we find Jesus' approach to spiritual warfare being done in a second manner - namely He was filled with the Word. On three occassions it is recorded that Satan tempted Jesus in certain areas, and on each occassion Jesus responded with a quotation from scripture. In Luke 4:4 Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 in asserting the fact that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. 

Secondly, in Luke 4:8 we see Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 6:13 in declaring that no one else is to be worshipped save God alone. Then thirdly we find Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 6:16 in Luke 4:12 in his final engagement with the Devil in the wilderness wherein he states about not putting God to the test. 

Jesus demonstrated this two-fold approach to spiritual warfare of being Spirit-filled and Word-filled. As Christians, we too ought to do the same. Let me close out today's post by reminding us of another scripture that encourages us to follow Jesus in everything, 1 John 2:6 - "the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked."   

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