|Subject||What must happen before we can accomplish our mission?|
|Object||We must pass the test.|
|Big Idea||Before we can accomplish our mission, we must pass the test.|
|Purpose||To realize the importance of passing the test - and who can help us.|
October 22, 1998, a Sunday, Matthew Paul Turner spent the better part of the afternoon alone in his room downloading images on his computer. He got down and repented - nothing.
The next day, he felt that God was giving him the silent treatment, so he retaliated. "I'll show you what I'm really capable of." Spent the entire day. Followed by four days of silence.
Turner was joining the ranks of every other believer in Christ who face a test: Before we can accomplish our mission, we must pass the test.
I've always wondered why Jesus was tempted before he began his ministry. The reason is that before we can serve God privately, we must pass some tests privately.
1. We will be tested
Luke 3:21-22 - all systems go! But Jesus must first pass a test. This wasn't an accident; he was led by the Spirit. You may be facing a test because you are right where the Spirit wants you.
This testing/temptation was not unique. Israel (tested right after their "baptism" in the Red Sea) - "In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions" (Exodus 16:4). Others - Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, Peter
A vocation from God is first tested by God.
2. The tests will be related to our vocation
Israel's vocation was to dwell in the land and obey the Torah. Jesus must relive Israel's wilderness tests and pass, so he can enter the land as the obedient Israelite - and do so for us.
- What kind of Messiah would he be?
- Would he trust God to provide? (4:3-4)
- Would he wait on his timing? (to obtain the crown without the cross) (4:5-8)
- Would he worship God? (4:9-12)
We could look at how Satan tempts or how Jesus responds.
Key issue: submission. Jesus takes the only road God has asked Him to follow, no matter how hard.
Two of my tests: How would I handle those who opposed me? How would I handle waiting? Shortcuts are really dead ends.
3. Your chances of passing the tests are slim
Israel didn't pass. Moses didn't pass. Peter didn't pass.
4. Jesus has already passed for you
Spotting an inviting sign in the crowd ('U2 + a song with our band = a happy crowd'), before we quite know what is happening a local Toronto band are up on stage to perform their own version of Out of Control. With Edge joining Menew (as we discover they are called) on guitar (he could go far), Shade, Key and Nathan Samuel Phillip showed they know how to rock'n'roll - and the locals loved them.
Good band - but it doesn't hurt having one of the best guitarists in the world playing with you.
If it's up to us, we're in trouble. "Did we on our own strength confide, our striving would be losing; Were not the right man on our side, the man of God's own choosing"
But here is the thing: we get in through somebody else. We are called to live perfectly; Jesus did it for us. We ride in on his coattails.
We can draw on the strength of Jesus who in the wilderness did trust the Father perfectly. "Empower me with your perfect faith!"
"Just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:19)
Doing the right thing in public and the wrong thing in private is not success.
We will be tempted at points that matter most in our lives and our vocation. Jesus responded as the perfect man on our behalf.
Next sermon, we'll be looking at Jesus' call to follow Him. Before we can follow in public, we have to pass the test in private. OPPORTUNE TIME (v.13)
Trust Jesus; where is your battle?