Matthew 4:4 (NIV)
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
When Jesus was tempted by Satan, His offensive weapon to withstand the attack was the Word of God. The account is provided for us and I’ll reprint it for our context.
Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (tested) by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. 3 The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Note: Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3) 5 Then the devil took Him to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command His angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” (Note: Satan is quoting Psalm 91:11-12) 7But Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Note: Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:16) 8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” (Note: Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:13) 11 Then the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him.
I find it interesting that in every temptation … every test … Jesus countered the maneuvers of Satan with Scripture. And when Satan tried to use Scripture to induce deception, Jesus countered with an opposing tension to balance the assault. So do not be fooled when others teach and use the Word of God out of context or create this type of conflict. We should seek and ask for discernment … rightly dividing the Word of God. The Apostles warned of those who pervert the Gospel and distort the truth. They are false teachers and prophets – who masquerade as servants of righteousness. Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (Cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15) So it is important both to know the Word and to understand its Truth. That is why the following passage resonates with me:
1 John 2:18-27 (NIV)
18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what He promised us—eternal life. 26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in Him.
John was familiar with the realities of dealing with false teachers, those who left the faith, and Antichrists. Yes, even in the earliest days after Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, demonic adulteration and deception was already in motion to separate the wheat from the chaff … the sheep from the goats. The battle between light and darkness continues within the hearts of people. The choice between good and evil … between the truth and the lie is ever present. But John knew the Word of God. He knew Jesus! And so when Jesus spoke about the Spirit of Truth to the disciples, I believe John listened with full conviction:
John 16:12-14 (NIV)
But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that He will receive what He will make known to you.
So all of this points us to two applications for our lives:
1. We must read the Word of God diligently.
2. We must rely on the Spirit of God to guide us into the truth of His Word.
What Jesus is telling us is that BOTH are essential for life … true life as God intended for it to be in us. If we are to ever resist temptation and to consecrate our hearts and lives, we must know the Word of God and submit to the indwelling Spirit. And it is Jesus who gives us BOTH for our benefit because of His great love for us. Jesus IS the living Word of God. He has given us His words so that we might believe and no longer walk in darkness. It is through Jesus that we come to the knowledge of God. Jesus sent His Word through the Spirit to guide us into the truth. Indeed, what a wonderful Savior we have in Jesus! He has given us everything that we need for life … eternal life IN HIM. He is worthy of our praise! And we are wise to listen and respond to His Word! Amen.
One final thought on the words of Jesus:
John 12:44-50 (NIV)
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the One who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the One who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. 47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”