Sermon Title:  The Intentional Wilderness

Summary:  Jesus began his ministry with forty days of fasting in the wilderness. 
The devil tempted him with secularism, syncretism, and skpeticism.  Surrounded
by barreness, but filled with the Spirit, Jesus overcame the devil's subtle tactics
by recalling Israel's experience with temptation in the wilderness and the lessons
learned from it.  This shows the value of the spiritual disciplines of study, fasting,
and solitude.

Know:  As Jesus was a man of spiritual discipline, we should also be people of
spiritual discipline through disciplines such as study, fasting, prayer and solitude. 
This will move us to a more integrated and authentic faith in every area of our

Feel:  The desire to grow deeper in spirituality and communion with God so that
your faith will be integrated in your life as an authentic faith.

Do:  Reflect on how the disciplines of study, fasting, solitude, and prayer can
deepen your life with God and your service to others.  Identify other disciplines
not alluded to in this story than can deepen your life with God and service to
others.  Identity which disciplines are strongest and weakest in your life.  

Plan:  Plan for the specific, intentional practice of spiritual disciplines in your life.

Text:  Luke 4:1-13

Scripture Reading:  Isa 40:29-31

1.  2 hunters in plane, elk hunting - six bucks
	a.  Pilot says - My plane can only take four, leave 2 behind
	b.  They objected - Last time took 6, same model plane and pilot let us
	c.  So pilot consented.  Took off, then crashed in the wilderness
	d.  Climb out, one hunter says to other - Do you know where we are?
	      yes, we are about a mile from where we crashed last year
2.  Sometimes seem slow to learn.  Do you want to be better?
	a.  Sometimes we learn from experience.  But
	b.  "Experience is not what happens to a man, but what he does with what 
	     happens to him"
	c.  Jesus gains "experience" in this text that prepares him for ministry
3.  Jesus experiences the wilderness, led by the Spirit (Lk 4)
	a.  Look at what happens to him, and how he deals with it
	b.  Satan tempts Jesus with three subtle suggestions - All Dead Ends

I.  Secularism (v.1-4)
	A.  Tell this stone to become bread
		1.  How in the world do you get secularism out of that?
		2.  A better question - what harm was there in bread?
	B.  Jesus is fasting for 40 days
		1.  Purpose of fasting?
			a.  Mourning, repentance, seeking God's guidance, prayer
			b.  Also as a regular discipline - Fasting regularly
			c.  Fasted 40 days: Moses, Exo 34:28; Elijah,1 Kng 19:4-8
		2.  Purpose of fasting is to bring us closer to God (Dt 8:2-5)
			a.  Man does not live on bread alone, but by God's word
			b.  Lk 12:23 - Life more than food, body more than clothing
			c.  Jesus is struggling with this with gnawing in his stomach
		3.  Does the Devil offer him bread????   No.
			a.  More subtle and sinister - Tells Jesus to make bread
			b.  Produce for yourself according to your capabilities
				- Take matters into your own hands
				- Be independent
			c.  Isa 40:31 - Those who wait for the Lord gain new strength
				- Satan is saying don't wait for the Lord
				- Do something, take matters into your own hands
	C.  ILL:  Satan wanted to make Jesus a secular believer
		1.  Movie - Santa Trap
			a.  Man working long hours on end to get ahead
			b.  Replaced a man, couldn't fill his shoes
			c.  Coerced into giving gifts at hospital
				- Stumbles on man he replaced
				- Critical condition
				- Heart failure - stress related
			d.  Gnawing hunger for significance - Dead end in himself
		2.  Secularize your life is like a vegetable or snack tray
			a.  In the center, you have the dip
				- Around it you have various chips, vegatables etc.
				- You are the dip in the center
			b.  Your religion is in an outside compartment
				- Periodically, it dips into center, which is you
				- Religion not have much to do with real life problems
				- Must rely on self to take care of them
		3.  Opposite of secular Christian is the integrated Christian
			a.  You take you out of the center, and put God there
			b.  He fills the center of your life
			c.  Life is ordered around God
	D.  Don't be a secular Christian
		1.  Jn 6:27 - Don't work for food which perishes, but for the food 
		      which endures to eternal life
			a.  Not by bread, but by every word from God's mouth
			b.  Jesus is the word become flesh, bread of life
		2.  Satan appeals to longings when gnawing in your soul is great
			a.  He will tell you to take matters into your own hands
			b.  Fill that gnawing with drugs, alcohol, overeating, 	
			     freindships, activity, relationship with a man or woman
			c.  This is food which perishes
		3.  Life is not about personal pursuits, but the pursuit of God
			a.  True life is knowing God - Jn 17:3
			b.  More on this when we conclude

II.  Syncretism (v. 5-8)
	A.  What is syncretism
		1.  Think of "synchronize" - being in step/time with something else
		2.  Syncretism is being in step with your surroundings
		3.  Satan tried to get Jesus to syncretize
	B.  Devil decides to just hand it over??
		1.  Was Satan lying?
			a.  Called prince of power of the air - Eph 2:2
			b.  Ruler of this world - Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11
			c.  World under his power -1 Jn 5:19
		2.  Imagine how attractive this offer might seem
			a.  Imagine skipping the suffering and conflict
			b.  Can be world peace!!
		3.  There is fine print in Satans offer
			a.  On the surface, may seem like something good
			b.  But Jesus would be acknowledging the Devil NOT as a 
			      power to overcome, but one to be reckoned with
			c.  Other words, can't beat them, join them
			d.  Treaty with evil is a wordly method
		4.  (Isa 30:1-2) - Folly of treaties in place of trust in the Lord
			a.  (v.9-13) - Refusal to trust in God
			b.  (v.15) - repentance and rest, quietness and trust
	C.  How much rest and quietness is in your life?
		1.  Jas 4:7 - Resist the Devil and he will flee from you
		2.  Sometimes rest, quietness and trust is how you resist
			- Jesus took time away from people to rest with God
		3.  Be still and know that he is God
		4.  Life in Christ is a calm, trusting, balanced life
	D.  How are your needs met?
		1.  All of us have basic needs
			a.  Your need for love and acceptance?
			b.  Your need for significance and identity?
			c.  Your need for competence and fulfillment?
		2.  You can make a "treaty" - syncretism
			a.  Love and acceptance in other people?
			b.  Significance and identity in human activity?
			c.  Competence and fulfilment in human acheivement?
			d.  This is syncretism, it is worldly, it is a dead end
		3.  We all have a God shaped hole in our soul
			a.  There is a certain gnawing in our soul
			b.  Can only be filled by God
			c.  We are in his image, only he call fill the gap
		4.  Devil may promise the world, but Jesus said
			a.  Blessed those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
			b.  Not hunger and thirst for acheivement, friends, etc.
			c.  Your life's pursuit should be God

III.  Skepticism (v.9-12)
	A.  Satans has been trying to instill doubt the entire time
		1.  "If" you are the son of God
		2.  Prove once in for all that you are the Son of God
		3.  Prove that God cares for you, once in for all
		4.  A test - Create an artificial need for God to intervene
	B.  Is there a problem with this?
		1.  If you Duracell batteries, don't you want to "test" them?
			a.  You don't know if it will work or not
			b.  You open the package and test it
		2.  What about bungee jumping?
			- Would you use a cord not inspected and tested?
		3.  What about your relationship with your spouse?
			a.  Wouldn't you want to test it to see how strong it is?
				- You could act mean and withdraw
				- Could set someone up to entice your spouse
			b.  Could hire private investigator
				- Follow spouse around everywhere
				- Scrutinize spending habits
			c.  Then you will know if your spouse is true
		4.  Can you see the problem of "testing" in relationships?
			a.  What would your spouse think about this "testing?"
			b.  Be hurt, or even angry that you didn't trust
			c.  The problem is not with your spouse but you
				- Keep looking and looking for something
				- You convinced yourself spouse not trustworthy
			d.  Not trusting will hurt your relationship
	C.  (1 Cor 10:5, 9) Israel "tested" God in the wilderness
		1.  Why?  (v.6) - They interested in pursuing their own wants
			a.  What that happens, all relationships become
			b.  Skepticism is hurtful to relationships
		2.  Satan was trying to get Jesus to hurt his relationship with God
			a.  Trying to get Jesus to force God's hand
			b.  Trying to get Jesus to manipulate God
			c.  But Jesus passion was God, not himself
	D.  If have to throw self off emptire state blg to validate faith, 
	      then you will never believe
		1.  With a "tentative" faith, you never commit
			a.  Life becomes about testing God again and again
			b.  Faith is a commitment
		2.  Tentativeness does not grow faith, but doubt
			skeptical Christians become no Christians
		3.  A pursuit and passion for God will grow faith
		4.  So trust in God, give yourself to him (invitation)

1.  How to overcome - Secularism, Syncretism, Skepticism?  Try harder?  No.
2.  Seek God - That is what the wilderness is all about
	a.  Meeting God in the wilderness a common theme in scripture
	b.  Isa 40:3 - Clear the way for the Lord in the wildnerness...a desert hiway
3.  Imagine Israel in wilderness, evidently Jesus does, he quotes from it
	a.  Away from the busyness, noise, clutter, slavery of Egyptian life
	b.  Into an empty, quiet, barren place
	c.  Empty out all the clutter, can be filled with the presence of God
4.  What does that mean for us?
	a.  Solitude - Quiet, focus, emptying, filling
	b.  Study - reading, meditation, chewing, savoring
	c.  Prayer - Response, communing, 
	d.  Silence - Resting in God, enjoying his presence, no words, listening,
		         waiting on the Lord
	e.  Fasting - Inner hunger, humility, weakness, strength (Dt 8:3, 17)
5.  These disciplines all associate with the wilderness
	a.  Time to renew, reflect, reform, recharge
	b.  Why?  (v.13) - The Devil left until an opportune time
		- He will look for times of weakness
		- Spiritual discipline needs to be a part of your life
6.  The Intentional Wilderness can help integrate God into the center of your life
	a.  Can energize your work
	b.  Can deepen relationships with each other
		- Think of these and individualized, but early Christian often 
		   practiced these together in fellowship
	c.  Can increase your service and ministry to others

Make time for the wilderness

Questions for Small Group Discussion