Sermon:  The Wilderness School

Focus:  God often uses the wilderness to teach important lessons to us, such 
as dependence, trust and obedience.  God does not give up on his people in 
the wilderness.

Function:  To motivate the hearers to stay faithful in difficult times by 
recognizing that God does not desert them through difficult times

Text:  Numbers, Matt 4:1-11


1.  Theme of wilderness shows up many times in scripture
            a.  Moses in the Wilderness - Humbled and made ready
            b.  Israel in Wilderness - Learned hard lesson of trust - next generation
            c.  Jesus in the wilderness - Learned same type of lessons
2.  God uses the wilderness as a training ground
            a.  Can curse the wilderness and get no benefit
            b.  Can look at lessons from the wilderness & learn
3.  Text:  Matt 4:1-11  -  Learn several lessons fromt he wilderness

I.  Wilderness comes right after baptism (Mt 4:1)
            A.  Saw in Israel - After pass through water, God lead to wilderness
            B.  Text says Spirit lead Jesus into wilderness
                        1.  Notice what just happened - Jesus was just baptized
                        2.  Things may not get easier after baptism
            C.  ILL:  Do you remember way back when?
                        1.  Before you came into this world?
                                    a.  Not have to eat walk, cry, run etc.
                                    b.  Then you were born
                                    c.  Had to learn to suck, then chew, walk, fall down
                                    d.  Kept adding things you had to do
                        2.  Things were a lot easier before
                        3.  But I have never heard child say,  I want to be baby again! 
                        4.  Most children way -  I want to be older 
            D.  That is what God wants for his people
                        1.  But growing up takes learning
                        2.  Place God often uses to teach is the wilderness
II.  There is no easy way out of the wilderness (Mt 4:2-4)
            A.  Satan offers an easy way out, a shortcut
                        1.  Satan so concerned abot poor poor Jesus
                        2.  Hey Jesus, why go hungry, just use you powers!
            B.  What harm could there be in what Satan is saying?
                        1.  Dt. 8:1-5
                        2.  Supposed to be a time of learning
                        3.  Can t shortcut discipline, training, or it no longer discipline
            C.  ILL:  Like a Guy I know
                        1.  Poor student
                                    a.  Managed to get people to do his homework
                                    b.  Cheated 
                        2.  Years later, I talked him into going to college
                                    a.  Tough time finding one to accept him
                                    b.  Finally found one, but was upset with classes
                                    c.  Said - All I am taking are remedial no-credit courses
            D.  If you cut corners, will pay for it
                        1.  That is why James says - consider it all joy - Jas 1:2ff 
                        2.  There is no easy way around training
                        3.  (Heb 12:5-8) - Tells us how to handle discipline/training
                                    a.  Don t blow it off
                                    b.  Don t get discouraged
                                    c.  Realize God loves you
                        4.  If God not love you, he leave you alone - Rom 1:24ff

III.  Testing God is not the way to validate your faith (Mt 4:5-7)
            A.  Sometimes people feel need to  prove  faith
            B.  Satan came up with a solution to  prove  faith
                        1.  Throw self off pinnacle
                        2.  Imagine effect of people
                                    a.  180 foot drop (18 story blg)
                                    b.  They will believe him!
                        3.  Jesus s Response (Dt 6:16)
                                    a.  Tested God at Massah
                                    b. No water, quarreled with Moses
                                    c. Tested God over and over
                        4.  If have to throw self off Empire State blg - 
                                    a.  You will never have faith
                                    b.  Israel s wilderness experience is evidence of that
                                    c.  Heb 11:1 - Faith is assurance of things hoped for
                                                conviction of things unseen
                                    d.  Israel had no assurance or conviction
            C.  ILL:  I have been going to school over  1/2 my life
                        1.  Tests, quizes, exams
                        2.  Pop quizzes not always a pleasant experience
                        3.  Do I need to  test  the teacher?  NO
                        4.  Teacher is to test us, not other way around
            D.  Bible tells us we not to test God, but to trust God
                        1.  Satan want us to test God
                                    a.  Wait for God to  prove  himself, then I ll believe
                                    b.  Won t happen
                                    c.  God will not prove self, we have to have faith
                        2.  Need to realize that God tests us
                                    a.  Wilderness experiences are not unsual
                                    b.  God uses them to strengthen us
                                    c.  But if we say (God not with us, then we fail the test)
                        3.  God disciplines whom he loves

IV.  God wants nothing less than total commitment (Mt 4:8-11)
            A.  Satan knew what Jesus  passion was, he knows what yours is
            B.  Devil get s to the heart of what Jesus is about here
                        1.  Is this as appealing to his vanity?  No
                        2.  Devil offers Jesus the world
                                    a.  Lk 4:6 - It handed over to me, I give to whom I wish
                                    b.  Satan is the  ruler of this world 
                        3.  Satan recognize what Jesus about - kingdom
                                    a.  Says,  Hey, why fight, I ll give it to you. 
                                    b.  Just have to do one little bitty thing 
                                    c.  Satan offeres a painless alternative
                        4.  Jesus s response
                                    a.  Would not compromise loyalty to God
                                    b.  Quotes Dt 6:13
            C.  We are used to the image of the roaring lion for Satan
                        1.  But often times he comes across as  reasonable 
                        2.  Hey, why fight, let s have peace!
                                    a.  It may seem like to sensible thing to do
                                    b.  Revelation calls it  taking the mark 
            D.  Eph 6:11 - full armor of God, so that be able to stand firm against schemes of devil.
                        1.  Satan not always try to intimidate
                        2.  Sometime he will try to  make peace 
                        3.  But he is liar and father of lies
                        4.  Peace is only with the Prince of Peace

1.  Remember that wildnerness times will come
            a.  It not mean God not care for you
            b.  God uses them for your good
2.  ILL:  Survival training in the desert, middle of nowhere
            a.  Purpose?  So you can learn to survive
            b.  God want s us to learn what to rely on
3.  What got Jesus through the wilderness?
            a.  Wilderness manual - Scripture
            b.  We need to stay focused on God through wilderness time
            c.  Wilderness can be a place where to meet God again
4.  Invitation