Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Jesus Wins!

Pastor Weise's Sermon - Wrestling with God

Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Jesus Wins

Genesis 3.1-21/St. Matthew 4.1-11

Lent I/March 10, 2019

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd/Good Shepherd Community Chapel, Sauk Rapids, MN

Rev. Keith R. Weise, pastor/chaplain

LISTEN TO SERMON

Texts

Genesis 3.1-21

1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:

“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

16 To the woman He said:

“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”

17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”

20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

21 Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.

 

St. Matthew 4.1-11

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and,

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

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Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

I          The devil is a loser.

 

He’s been losing ever since he started his rebellion against our God.

 

He gathered some angels to himself  and tried to take over heaven—

but Christ

with St. Michael and the angel armies of God

cast him out of heaven and down to earth.

(Revelation 12.7-12, St. Luke 10.18)

He tempted Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden—

and while at first it seemed as though he’d won

after it was all over—

God told him that he lost.

I will put enmity between you and the woman—

                                                            God said—

and between your seed and her Seed;

                                                            He shall bruise your head,

                                                            And you shall bruise his heel.                                         (Genesis 3.15)

 

Now

the devil tempts us—

and tries to steal us away from God.

But he will never win—

                                                            because the devil is a loser.

 

II         The devil is a loser

and Jesus is the winner.

 

That’s what Jesus’ time in the wilderness is all about.

 

When the devil tempts a very hungry Jesus to turn stones into bread—

Jesus wins by telling the devil the truth—

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.                                                     (St. Matthew 4.4/Deuteronomy 8.3)

 

            When the devil tempts Jesus to put God to the test—

Jesus wins by telling the devil

You shall not tempt the LORD your God.          (St. Matthew 4.7/Deuteronomy 6.16)

 

            When the devil tempts Jesus to worship him

and offers him things that are not his to give—

Jesus wins again by telling him

You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.                                                            (St. Matthew 4.10/Deuteronomy 6.13)

 

The devil loses every time—

and every time he loses—Jesus wins.

 

III       Jesus wins

by being faithful to the Word of God.

 

Jesus wins

by trusting in God’s love and care for him.

 

Jesus wins

by keeping his eyes and his heart fixed on God.

 

Jesus wins!

And when Jesus wins—

YOU win.

 

IV        Jesus’ victory over the devil

is YOUR victory over the devil—

And that’s the best news you are going to hear all day long.

 

Because even though he is a loser—

that does not stop the devil from trying to win your soul.

 

He knows his days and his power are limited—

so he fights with everything has left to try to steal your victory in Christ away.

 

St. Peter  tells us that the devil

walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.                                                                                 (I Peter 5.8-9)

 

            St. Paul tells us

that even though the devil comes after you

God is faithful.  [He] will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.                                                            (I Corinthian 10.13)

 

            Jesus himself tells us

Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.   (Revelation 2.10 KJV)

 

            The devil is a loser.

Jesus is the winner.

and

When Jesus wins—

                        you win.

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V         Sometimes though—

it seems like we lose a lot.

 

Especially as we get older

We lose our good health.

We lose the homes we loved and lived in for so long.

We lose our freedom to come and go whenever and wherever we want.

 

We lose so many of the possessions we’ve collected and cherished over the years.

We lose our ability to take care of ourselves like we used to.

We lose loved ones to death.

and

in the end—

we will lose our very lives.

 

We lose a lot as we go through this life.

 

VI        And losing all those things

is a great struggle.

 

It’s a struggle

because the devil will tempt you

when you are at your weakest.

The devil’s first temptation of Jesus—

after he had fasted for forty days and forty nights

was to tell him

to turn some stones into bread!

 

Just like the devil tempted Jesus when he was at his weakest—

the devil will do the same to YOU.

 

As you lose things one by one in your life—

the devil will tempt you

to live in the past

and ignore God’s present blessings

in favor of reliving your “glory days”

when you were full of

youth

and

health

and

vigor.

 

The devil will tempt you

to blame your

family

or

your circumstances

because you no longer live in your own home.

 

The devil will tempt you

to harbor anger and resentment

over losing your mobility and your freedom.

 

The devil will tempt you to blame God

for taking your stuff

for taking your health

and

even for taking your life.

 

Make no mistake!—

when you are at your weakest—

the devil will tempt you

to abandon God

and

join his rebellion against the Almighty.

 

VII      And it is then—

precisely then

that Jesus’ victory over the devil matters the most.

 

Jesus defeated the devil’s temptations

by trusting

in the promises of God

and

in his Word—

And he did it FOR YOU.

 

When Jesus told the devil

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God—                                                                    (St. Matthew 4.4/Deuteronomy 8.3)

he was defeating the devil’s temptation FOR YOU.

 

When Jesus told the devil

You shall not tempt the LORD your God—                   (St. Matthew 4.7/Deuteronomy 6.16)

he was beating down the devil FOR YOU.

 

            When Jesus told the devil

You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve—                                                     

he was worshipping God FOR YOU.                    (St. Matthew 4.10/Deuteronomy 6.13)

 

With every defeat of the devil’s temptations

Jesus was winning the battle FOR YOU

so that you can

hear God’s word in heartfelt faith.

trust in God’s love and love him in return.

worship God in spirit and truth

and never fear the devil for a moment.

 

Jesus’ victory over the devil in the desert

secures for us—

every blessing

God gives us in this life.

It secures for us

every blessing

God will give us in the life of the world to come.

 

VIII    Those blessings are amazing.

 

Today—and Every day—

Jesus forgives your sins—all of them!

He takes them all away—

even your sin of yielding to the devil’s temptations.

He takes your sins away

and says

These are yours no more!

The devil only reminds you of how sinful you really are-

and then he tempts you to sin some more.

Jesus pours his grace and love and mercy

down on you

through his Word and Sacraments

and showers you with

forgiveness

life

and

salvation.

The devil only gives you

anger

                        and

resentment

and

hatred.

 

Jesus welcomes you into the communion of saints

and into a future full of blessing with all the children of God.

The devil wants to welcome you into nothing but

                                                suffering

and

torment

                                                and

regret over your past.

 

Jesus gives you life—by giving up his own.

The devil gives you death

by stealing the life you have.

 

Jesus gives you eternity

by opening the way to heaven.

The devil wants

to drag you down to hell

and lock the door up tight.

 

Thank God—

Jesus wins

and the devil loses.

 

Thank God—

Jesus defeated the devil in the desert—

so we can know his blessings

and be delivered from the devil’s destruction.

 

Every blessing Jesus gives

is a revelation that Jesus wins

and the devil loses.

 

 

IX       When Jesus wins—

YOU WIN!

 

You win—

because Jesus won against the devil and his temptations

during his time of testing in the wilderness.

 

You win—

because Jesus won against the devil and his works

during his earthly ministry of

miracles

and

marvels

and un-masking of the kingdom of God.

You win—

because Jesus won against the devil and all his evil ways

when he sacrificed himself upon the cross.

 

There—on Calvary—

Jesus took your sins

and nailed them to the cross.

And at the moment he breathed his last—

He stripped the devil’s power away.

He destroyed all the devil’s evidence

against you.

And

He destined the devil for eternal torment

in the fires of hell.

You win—

because Jesus won against the devil

when he descended into hell

and paraded his victory for all the damned to see.

While the accursed watch in horror and agony—

Jesus says—

the saints are mine!

their lives are safe!

their bodies are redeemed!

and

their souls are secure for all eternity!

You win—

because Jesus won against the devil

when he rose up from the dead.

At that moment—

the devil’s head was crushed.

his rebellion was put down for good.

his power was stripped away.

and

the angels of heaven rejoiced at the victory of our God.

And finally—

You win—

because when Jesus comes again in all his glory

he will announce his eternal victory

for the devil and everyone else to hear.

 

Depart from Me, you cursed—

                                                he will say to Satan and all his followers—

                                                            into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

(St. Matthew 24.41)

And

he will say to you and me and all the faithful—

Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.                                               (St. Matthew 24.34)

 

Just like he’s always been—

on the Last Day—

the devil will be a loser yet again—

and YOU (?)—

you will be a winner

BECAUSE CHRIST HAS WON THE VICTORY FOR YOU!

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X         The devil is a loser.

 

Jesus is YOUR winner.

 

So do not yield to the temptations he tempts you with—

Jesus has already defeated those.

 

Do not give in to the sin the devil wants you to undertake—

Jesus has already taken those sins to their demise on the cross.

 

Do not listen to the devil.

Do not mess around with the devil.

Do not give him the time of day.

 

Instead—

rejoice in the victory Jesus has won over Satan for you.

 

Be faithful to the Word

and to the promises of God.

 

Trust that God loves you

and cares for you

and always will.

 

Keep your eyes and your heart on God—

by fixing your eyes on Jesus on the cross.

 

Because it is from there—

from the cross—

that Jesus grants you

his victory over Satan

in every

trial

and

temptation

and

tribulation.

            Hold on to that victory

when the devil comes after you.

Hold on and never let go.

 

Because Jesus has won the victory

for

you

and

me

and

for us all—

His kingdom’s ours forever!

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XII      The devil is a loser—

plain and simple.

 

Jesus is our winner.

 

And by the grace of God—

his victory is ours.

 

Praise God.

Amen.

 

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Hymn of Response:  Glory Be To Jesus

 

 

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