Sermon for Lent 1 – 3.6.22

+ 1st Sunday in Lent – March 6th, 2022 +

Series C: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Romans 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“Lent in a Time of War”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, there is a war raging. Not the war in we’ve been hearing about in the headlines, between Russia and Ukraine. Though we pray for our Lutheran missionaries and our brothers and sisters in Christ suffering the horrors of war.

 

There is another war, one that lays siege to your heart, soul, body, and mind; a war that surrounds you on all fronts every day, every minute, every hour, every moment. A war for your body and soul, reason and emotions, your life, family and friends, and all that is good, true, and beautiful. It is a cosmic war, and yet a daily, personal struggle. “The line of good and evil,” writes Alexander Solzhenitsyn, “runs through us all.”

 

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

 

This war has been raging since Genesis 3 when the Satan rebelled against God, and tempted Adam and Eve to join his unrighteous mutiny, bringing sin, death, chaos, and evil into God’s good creation. And when we’re honest with ourselves we must admit that we are constantly losing this battle.

 

No strength of ours can match his might, we just sang. But for us fights the Valiant One. Jesus Christ enters the fray. Steps into the breach. Joins us in the trenches and takes up the battle for us.

 

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil.

 

This season of Lent is known as a season of preparation and repentance, and it is. Lent is a journey to Holy Week, to Jesus’ cross and empty tomb. On this first Sunday in Lent, St. Luke reminds us that Lent is also a journey into battle. A journey into Christ’s victory in his crucifixion and resurrection.

 

That’s what’s going on in today’s gospel reading from Luke 4. Jesus, the Lord of the heavenly armies, the Captain of our salvation steps onto the battlefield of the Judean wilderness to take the fight to Satan; to win where Adam lost. To bring victory to you who were lost in sin and death.

 

So we must avoid the temptation to turn Jesus’ temptation into some kind of three-step program to follow and defeat the devil. This story isn’t about you or me, not at first anyhow. It’s about the Son of God’s faithfulness to God the Father. How Jesus relies upon and lives solely by God’s Word. How Jesus hungers like we do, is tempted like we are, yet without sin. How Jesus overcame Satan and temptation for us who are so often overcome by temptation.

 

But unlike watching our favorite sports contests, say the Stanley Cup or the World Series, where we don’t know who will win or lose, you know who wins this battle. Not sin. Not death. Not Satan. Satan cannot win. Not in the wilderness. Not on the cross. And not over you. Jesus always wins. Jesus always conquers. Jesus is always victorious. For you.

 

This is why Jesus goes into the wilderness. And notice when Satan decides to strike. When Jesus has been in the wilderness for 40 days. Tired. Weak. Weary. Hungry. Exhausted. Jesus faces the full force and power of Satan’s temptations.

 

Satan tempts Jesus to fill his belly now, to worship him and receive all the kingdoms of the earth now, to throw himself down from the temple so that all will see now you are the Son of God. Satan’s strategy in the wilderness is to tempt Jesus to bypass the cross, grab the glory without the suffering. Keep Jesus from the cross at all costs.

 

Satan uses the same tactics on you as well. To keep you from the cross at all costs. To distract and deceive you. To lead you into doubt and despair. He attacks you in your weakness. Ever looked in your bank account or cupboard and wondered if God would provide; if you’re the Son of God turn these stones to bread? Ever looked at your body and illness, or your loved ones suffering and wondered, if you’re the Son of God why won’t you heal me? Ever thought about all the times you’ve given into the desires of your sinful flesh and thought, how could God possibly forgive and rescue me?

 

This is how Satan works. Sowing doubt and despair and deception. As he did in Eden, so he tempts us, on the one hand to dismiss and doubt what God has commanded and promised. Surely you won’t die. It’s not that big of a deal. Did God really say he would save you? And then, on the other hand, to tempt you to despair. To think you are unforgiveable, unsavable, unlovable. Defeated.

 

No matter the temptation, his strategy is always the same. Keep you from the cross.

 

It’s a good thing for you, then, that nothing, and no one will keep Jesus from going to the cross for you. It’s a good thing that for all his attacks and assaults, Satan is, and always will be a loser. Satan is defeated. Jesus wins the victory, here in the wilderness, and on the cross for you. It’s a good thing that Jesus is in the wilderness, fighting for you.

 

And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

 

That opportune time came. Jesus took the hill of Mt. Calvary. And there, hanging on the cross, suffering, bleeding, dying, nailed to the tree, Jesus waged war against Satan, sin, and death. Jesus took all your temptations, all your failings, and fallings, and giving into temptation, all our doubt and despair, sin and death, and he fought to the death for you.

 

Here in the wilderness of Luke 4, the enfleshed Word of God defeats every temptation of Satan with the Word of God. Jesus cannot lose. Jesus wins.

 

Same is true for you as we live in this Lenten time of war. No matter what your daily struggles are, or battles you are fighting. The Word of God defeats Satan. The Word of God in your baptism extinguishes all the fiery arrows Satan hurls at you. The Word of God in the forgiveness of sins defeats all Satan’s accusations against you. The Word of God in the Supper strengthens and nourishes you. The Word of God in the Scriptures is your sword, shield, and armor.

 

Yes, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, there is a war raging. Do not be afraid. For us fights the Valiant One. The Crucified and Risen One. Sin, death, and Satan are vanquished. Defeated. In the wilderness, on the cross, and each and every day until he returns again, Jesus fights for you. Jesus is victorious for you. Jesus won the battle for you.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977