Waynedale United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 20, 2017
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Feb. 22, 2015 Sermon

“Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus”
Baptism and Temptation
Luke 3:1 – 22
Ted Jansen February 22, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 

1.)        Jesus did a lot of walking when He was on earth.  That is how people got around; walking or using animals. 

            “Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus” describes what Jesus did.  His physical journey gives insights into His spiritual journey. 

            As we consider the footsteps of Jesus I want you to consider the truth that Jesus had your footsteps in mind when He walked on earth. 

            Each of you have a footprint, a symbol, to remind us to walk in Jesus footsteps.   I want you to remember that Jesus thought of you and your footprint, your life, when He walked on this earth.  Let this footprint be visible in your home or car this Lent.    

 

2.)        I want us to take a spiritual journey this Lent in the footsteps of Jesus.   Today we will walk through His baptism and temptation.  

            In the book, The Way, there is a map in each chapter that shows the geographical places where the events in Jesus’ life happened.  I encourage you to dig deeper into the geography of the land that Jesus walked.  Visualizing the land gives you a perspective that is helpful. 

            These two events in Jesus’ life happened back to back in terms of timing.    They were also two events that happened close to each other geographically.  I believe they were two events that are close in their spiritual importance.  Baptism and Temptation. 

           

3.)        John the Baptist was at the Jordan River baptizing men and women who had come to him.  (Picture)  Here is a picture of the Jordan River near the spot where John was preaching and baptizing. 

            It was here at the Jordan that Jesus came to be baptized.  The baptism that John was doing was a baptism for people to repent of their sins, to be open to God, and to live a different life.      

            What is interesting is that Jesus did not need to be baptized for any of those reasons.  He did not need to repent of His sins, He was close to God; because He was God, and He did not need a new direction for His life. 

            Why was Jesus baptized then?  Jesus was baptized to identify with each man and women, each child, each youth in our sinful, human, and broken condition.  Jesus was walking in our footsteps when He was baptized in the Jordan River.   

            After Jesus was baptized the Father blesses Jesus with the Holy Spirit and these words are expressed.  “You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.”  (Luke 3:22)

            God blesses Jesus.  He is pleased with Jesus.  Jesus stands in the Jordan and receives the blessing of His Father. 

 

4.)        If we are to walk in the footsteps of Jesus we must stand by the Jordan and hear our need to repent, and to then wait for blessings that God will pour on us.  As we stand in the Jordan we repent, we desire a new direction, and we want God to be close.  How will you get in the Jordan? 

            Once we are in the Jordan we need to hear the words of our Heavenly Father.  As the Father blessed Jesus when He was in the Jordan so too does our Father want to bless us.          

           

5.)        Here are two sections of scripture from the Old Testament to let God use to bless us. 

            Isaiah 43:4 says, “You are precious and honored in my sight…I love  you.”  (NIV)

            Psalm 139:13, 14, 17, 18, says, “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!   Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.  When I awake, I am still with you.”  (NIV)

            Let those words of blessing wash over you like the water that can wash you in your Jordan.     

            God said to Jesus in Luke 3:22, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”   (Pour out water from a pitcher into a basin.)

 

6.)        After Jesus was baptized by John, blessed by God and filled with the Holy Spirit, He was led into the wilderness where He was tempted for 40 days.   He did not eat food and prepared for the ministry He came to earth for.  (Picture) 

            Here is a picture of what the Judean Wilderness looked like.   It is desolate; no food, no buildings and towns, lots of empty places where it seems God is absent.  In the wilderness Jesus is tempted by Satan.  We can read this in Luke 4:1 – 13. 

 

7.)        Jesus was tempted to make the stones turn into bread.  He was tempted to worship Satan for the Kingdom and majesty of the earth.  He was tempted to test God put demands on the relationship.    

            How did Jesus walk away from temptation?   He spoke scripture to Satan.  He, the Son of God, did not defeat temptation alone.  He called upon the inspired words of God, through the Holy Spirit, to defeat Satan and the three temptations. 

            Jesus faced temptation.  Each of us face temptation.   Consider the ways Jesus was tempted and see if these are areas that you get tempted in.  

           

8.)        The first temptation was food, an immediate pleasure or desire.  When we are vulnerable Satan tries to deter or destroy our life and mission with something quick, something pleasurable, something that will not satisfy.   When you are hungry bread will satisfy you for a few hours, but not for a lifetime. 

            What are the immediate temptations that we battle and struggle with?   For some it might be food, internet pornography, spending habits, gossiping, etc.  It might be other immediate things that will make us feel good for a few hours but miserable later.  Temptation has a name we all know.  The first temptation is generally an immediate need or desire.      

           

The second temptation was in purpose and focus. There are lots of things we can give ourselves to in life. You might be tempted in your values.  You might be giving your time in things that take away worship from God.  You might be investing your whole life into your work.  You might be striving for some human dream that is only temporary?  You might be attaining more material things.  We can lose our soul and worship God for good things, but things that distract us from God.    

           

The third temptation is that of testing God?  Do you put demands and expectations on God with your faith?  Do you believe that if God really loved you and you loved God then you would not suffer?   We might have the idea that “if” God was real in our world we would have a certain guarantee in life that no harm would come our way.  Our faith might be abandoned when bad things begin to happen.     We can be tempted to have a faith that is good only when good things are happening. 

 

9.)        When Jesus was tempted He spoke scripture to Satan.   He needed the Spirit and God’s Word to give strength. 

            When we are tempted we need to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and speak scripture.  A scripture to defeat temptation are the words that Jesus gave in Mathew 6:9 – 13.        

            “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”   

 

10.)      In the next 6 weeks I encourage you to find a wilderness place to be alone with God.  A place where there might not be any food, a place where you are not doing, acquiring, or focusing on big things, a place where you strip from your heart any expectations of God and yourself.  In this wilderness as you face temptation let the Lord’s Prayer strengthen you. 

 

11.)      As we walk in the footsteps of Jesus consider this. 

            For some reason, human beings can't walk in a straight line. There's just something about our inner orientation that causes us to walk in a crooked or warped way. That's the conclusion of Robert Krulwich, science correspondent for NPR. In an interview on Morning Edition, Krulwich cites a study from Jan Souman, a scientist from Germany, who blindfolded his subjects and then asked them to walk for an hour in a straight line. Without exception, people couldn't do it. Of course everybody thinks they're walking in a straight line, until they remove the blindfolds and sees their crooked path.  Krulwich observed,

            This tendency has been studied now for at least a century. We animated field tests from the 1920s, so you can literally see what happens to men who are blindfolded and told to walk across a field in a straight line, or swim across a lake in a straight line …, and they couldn't. In the animation, you see them going in these strange loop-de-loops in either direction. Apparently, there's a profound inability in humans to [walk] straight.

            According to this research, there's only one way we can walk in a straight line: by focusing on something ahead of us—like a building, a landmark, or a mountain. If we can fix our eyes on something ahead of us, we can make ourselves avoid our normal crooked course. Kurlwich concludes, "Without external cues, there's apparently something in us that makes us turn [from a straight path]."  Steve Inskeep, "Mystery: Why We Can't Walk Straight?" NPR: Morning Edition (11-22-10)

 

12.)      Hebrews 12:2 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”  We look to Jesus as the focal point of our walk this season of Lent.      

           

Closing Prayer