GRACE BIBLE CHURCH

04-22-2022

PASTOR ROBERT R. MCLAUGHLIN

GBIBLE.ORG

 PDF: GBC04222022NOTES

Christian Soldier 68, Doctrine Of Kenosis, Part 9, Matthew 4, Our Lord’s Evidence Testing.

 

Now, we have been noting the evidence testing of our Lord and how:

 

He passed the first test which was to use the Word of God as His divine solution to the temptations of Satan.

 

We begin with the fact that:

 

The humanity of Jesus Christ underwent evidence testing at the beginning of His three-year earthly ministry.

 

The three parts of His evidence testing challenged His relationship to:

 

  1. The Holy Spirit; (MAT 4:1-4.
  2. The Word of God; (MAT 4:5-7).
  3. The plan of God; (MAT 4:8-10).

 

So,

 

To stay in context, let's look at the evidence testing of the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ at spiritual maturity.

 

First of all:

 

Inside the PPOG, the humanity of Christ advanced through all stages of spiritual growth, reaching maturity at an early age; LUK 2:40, LUK 2:52.

 

Matthew 4 records the evidence testing of our Lord, which was the first event in His public ministry.

 

He had spent thirty years in preparation for a three-year ministry.

 

And….

 

An individual who lives a prepared life, is also prepared even to die at any time.

 

The point is that:

 

If one is told about an event beforehand, they can be adequately prepare even to die, if necessary.

 

You can let things go or pass at certain times, but don't forget what they were, why they happened, and other consequences, that may be involved so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

 

Yes, it’s true that we must forgive others, but many times we simply cannot forget.

 

Our Lord was at the threshold of executing the plan of the Father which would climax in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and session.

 

The context in Matthew describes the shift of Christ's ministry from private to public.

 

Now:

 

At the outset of His public ministry, He was immediately taken into the desert, alone, to face evidence testing.

For in MAT 4:1 we read Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

 

A lesson for the believer can be found in the first word of MAT 4:1.

 

"Then" indicates that evidence testing was the first item on the agenda for Christ's public ministry.

 

And this reveals to us that:

 

The Christian life begins with growth, not with service.

 

And…….

 

The quality of Christian service improves as the believer accelerates his spiritual growth through each increment of suffering for blessing.

 

Three persons were involved in the testing of Christ: the humanity of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the devil.

 

The humanity of Christ was residing inside the PPOG.

 

He was therefore filled with the Holy Spirit, as He had been ever since His virgin birth.

 

Notice in MAT 4:1, that Jesus was led by the same enabling power of the Spirit that leads the mature believer in the PPOG.

 

MAT 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

 

Now remember:

 

There are three parties involved in our Lord’s temptations: Our Lord, God the Holy Spirit, and the devil.

 

This means that the third-party present in this temptation was the defense attorney of the appeal trial, Satan himself.

 

Although the humanity of Christ was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit, the devil would be the one who would administer the testing.

 

Intense physical duress was part of the circumstances for Christ's evidence testing as He had been in the desert and went without food for forty days.

 

Therefore, in MAT 4:2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.

 

Now,

 

This does not mean that he was not hungry during those 40 days and nights because He had those feelings during that time.

 

The humanity of Christ was hungry every day for all forty days He spent alone in the desert.

 

He was famished and probably already was suffering sharp, constant physical pain when evidence testing began.

The first part of our Lord's evidence testing attacked His relationship with God the Holy Spirit.

 

MAT 4:3 And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God [and you are], command that these stones become bread."

 

Now, Satan knows the Bible!

 

Satan knows theology.

 

Although he lives to exalt himself and oppose God, Satan knows from observation a great deal of true doctrine; GEN 3:1; JAM 1:22.

 

So…..,

 

He approached Jesus with a true point of doctrine only to suggest a false conclusion.

 

Christ is the Son of God = that is accurate information.

 

"Son of God" is our Lord's first royal title as divine royalty; His first royal family as a member of the Trinity.

 

At the time Satan was speaking, Christ held two royal titles.

 

His first royal title, “Son of God”  is eternal in nature; He has always been God.

 

His second title, "Son of David," was acquired at the moment of His virgin birth, His entrance into the human dynasty of King David.

 

Now,

 

Three years after His evidence testing, Christ would win His third royal title, which would be awarded to Him upon His ascension and session at the right hand of the Father in heaven = King of kings, Lord of lords; REV 1:6.

 

REV 1:6 and He has made us a kingdom of priests to His God and Father;

 

We are His Kingdom!

 

We are His kings.

 

We are His lords.

 

We are His new Royal Family.

 

 

However, as usual, Satan took his usual arrogant approach.

 

Do you know that Satan is not only a liar and the father of deception but, he is also deceived himself and, of course, being deceived He doesn’t even know it.

 

He used the true doctrine of Christ's royalty as a weapon against our Lord.

 

This was the very doctrine that threatened Satan's arrogant plans.

 

In fact,

 

Satan would be strategically and tactically defeated as part of the doctrine of Christ's royalty, especially how it relates to the humanity of Christ in hypostatic union.

 

So……..

 

In a subtle attempt to trip our Lord into defeat, Satan virtually granted Him the victory in advance, without really knowing what he was actually doing.

 

How did Satan virtually grant Christ the victory?

 

Because….

 

Little did the devil realize that he was also allowing our Lord to reveal to us, how to handle evidence testing.

 

Evidence testing is Satan's cross examination of every witness presented by God in the historical trial of all fallen angels.

 

Inside the PPOG for his life, the humanity of Christ advanced through all stages of spiritual growth, reaching spiritual maturity at an early age.

 

And therefore,

 

He was immediately taken into the desert, alone, to face evidence testing.

 

The issue is this:

 

If the humanity of Christ even sins once during this test then He cannot go to the cross and die for the sins of the whole world.

 

Therefore,

 

He will not only be tempted like we are but He will be tempted far beyond anyone of us; HEB 4:15.

Note that…..

 

In evidence testing and the angelic conflict, God the Holy Spirit is also the one who leads us to the test.

 

The Holy Spirit will lead us to the test but He will not tempt us.

 

That's why

 

JAM 1:13 "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone."

 

The humanity of Christ was hungry every day for all forty days He spent alone in the desert.

 

Now, the first part of our Lord's evidence testing attacked His relationship with God the Holy Spirit.

 

So in MAT 4:3 And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God [and I know you are], command that these stones become bread."

As I said, Satan knows the Bible!

 

Satan knows theology.

 

Christ is the Son of God, that’s accurate information.

 

So, Satan took his usual arrogant approach.

 

He is such an arrogant pompous ass of a liar that he used the true doctrine of Christ's royalty as a weapon against our Lord.

 

And this was the very doctrine that threatened Satan's arrogant plans.

 

The basis for Satan's first attack = his knowledge that the deity of Christ has the power to accomplish any miracle that He desires to as God.

 

Satan knew that the deity of Christ was faithfully sustaining the universe at that very moment, COL 1:17; HEB 1:3.

 

COL 1:17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

 

HEB 1:3 “He upholds all things by the word of His power.”

 

The act of turning stones into bread would have been a small matter for divine omnipotence.

 

So,

 

This first part of our Lord's evidence testing was an attempt by Satan to persuade Jesus Christ as the God-man to exercise His deity contrary to the Father's plan.

 

Satan tempted the Lord to operate independently of the Holy Spirit, who was the Father's provision in the PPOG for sustaining Christ's humanity during His first advent.

 

His first advent always refers to when He came into the world for the first time and He said in HEB 10:5 “But a body Thou hast prepared for Me;”

To fulfill the mission that He voluntarily accepted from God the Father in eternity past, our Lord had to rely on the system of provisions that the Father provided for Him by means of the Holy Spirit.

 

This means that He did not use His own divine attributes independently to benefit, sustain, or glorify Himself = The True Doctrine of Kenosis.

 

All Satan wanted Jesus Christ to do was to use His deity independently of the Father's plan to show that in His humanity our Lord would not depend on the Father's provision but on His own ability to provide for Himself.

 

Furthermore,

 

Our Lord was preparing the way for the PPOG and the Church-age believer's dependence on the power of God.

 

Turn stones into bread?

 

Omnipotence could have turned the whole mountain into bread.

 

However,

 

This would have compromised the function of His humanity under the sustaining ministry of the Holy Spirit.

 

The three parts of His evidence testing challenged His relationship to:

 

  1. The Holy Spirit; (MAT 4:1-4.
  2. The Word of God; (MAT 4:5-7).
  3. The plan of God; (MAT 4:8-10).

 

The first phase of Christ's evidence testing teaches that miracles are not a legitimate solution to evidence testing, just as miracles are never the solution to any category of suffering for blessing.

 

One of the easiest things for God to do is to perform a miracle because it requires no cooperation from human volition.

 

Dramatic displays of supernatural power do not fulfill the purpose of evidence testing.

 

Miracles require only divine sovereignty, whereas evidence testing spotlights human positive volition in Jesus Christ during the first incarnation as He remained inside the PPOG.

 

This means that it is easier for God to perform a miracle than it is for God to heal a marriage.

 

Open the Red Sea = no difficulty at all for God.

 

Solving problems in marriage or relationships = much more difficult for God because it requires human consent or volition.

 

And God cannot violate the free will of man.

 

He cannot interfere with man’s decisions and make him choose.

 

Therefore,……

 

He did not sin, though His temptations and His pressures were a million times greater than any we would ever face.

 

Though He had no old sin nature inside to tempt Him, Satan himself tempted Him personally, something Satan did only with Adam and Eve.

 

Our Lord's temptations were real and far greater than anything we could ever face.

 

Those who reside in the predesigned plan do not need miracles.

 

Especially in light of the fact that MAT 24:24 says "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders,

 

Or in:

 

2TH 2:9 The false prophet is the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders.

 

In REV 13:13 He [the false prophet] performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.

 

Even demons know that their job is to deceive believers by using miracles signs and wonders; REV 6:14.

 

REV 16:14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world,

 

Therefore, our Lord refused this temptation.

 

Though it was not written as of yet in the human realm, the Bible is the mind of Christ and therefore it was available to the deity of Christ who knows all things.

 

David described the omniscience of the Lord in a fantastic way in PSA 139, and our Lord knew this.

 

Notice what He was thinking during His time of fasting.

 

This is an amazing Psalm that we will deal with verse by verse as a principle of the Christian Soldier that will be coming up.

 

However, for now let’s look at some of the thoughts our Lord had during His temptations.

 

PSA 139:1 (For the choir director. A Psalm of David.) O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known {me.}

 

PSA 139:2 Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar.

 

PSA 139:3 Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, And art intimately acquainted with all my ways.

 

PSA 139:4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all.

PSA 139:5 Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, And laid Thy hand upon me.

 

PSA 139:6 {Such} knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is {too} high, I cannot attain to it.

 

PSA 139:7   Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence?

 

PSA 139:8 If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.

 

PSA 139:9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

 

PSA 139:10 Even there Thy hand will lead me, And Thy right hand will lay hold of me.

 

PSA 139:11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,"

 

PSA 139:12 Even the darkness is not dark to Thee, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike {to Thee.}

 

PSA 139:13   For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb.

 

PSA 139:14 I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well.

 

PSA 139:15 My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.

 

PSA 139:16 Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained {for me}, When as yet there was not one of them.

 

PSA 139:17   How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

 

PSA 139:18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with Thee.

 

Now

 

As that passage spoke of the song that David wrote, there were also many applications our Lord could make as the God-man from His humanity.

 

And there are some principles in this passage that I must comment about because they do apply to our Doctrine of Kenosis.

 

For example;

 

God's knowledge is not based upon time.

 

It is not related to or limited by time.

 

We usually can go back and evaluate things that have happened in the past, see our failures and hopefully, learn from them.

We can even speculate about the future and even make some pretty accurate guesses.

 

But none of us knows exactly what will happen tomorrow.

 

As James said:

 

JAM 4:13   Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit."

 

JAM 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are {just} a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

 

JAM 4:15 Instead, {you ought} to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that."

 

 

 

Do you remember what our Lord said in LUK 12:19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years {to come;} take your ease, eat, drink {and} be merry."'

 

LUK 12:20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This {very} night your soul is required of you; and {now} who will own what you have prepared?'

 

LUK 12:21 "So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

 

We are slaves to time!

 

We are limited by time!

 

However,

 

God is not, and His knowledge is superimposed over time, including when He was being tempted by the devil in MAT 4.

 

We continue to learn as long as we live on this earth.

God has never had to learn a thing!

 

And….

 

Jesus was God, and is God and will be God forever.

 

And……

 

As God, He has always known everything including every thought, every motive, every event, and every action of every person who would ever live.

 

And He knew this billions and billions of years before they existed.

 

He knows the end from the beginning, according to ISA 46:6-11.

 

ISA 46:8  "Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors.

 

ISA 46:9 "Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; {I am} God, and there is no one like Me,

 

ISA 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'

 

ISA 46:11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned {it, surely} I will do it.

 

Notice verse 8 again, it says:

 

Remember this and be assured, recall it to mind you transgressors, and be assured, or show yourselves men, which means to have assurance and confidence.

 

This is why when a believer who understands the omniscience of our Lord it is a very comforting attribute to understand!

Very comforting when you think about our Lord possessing omniscience but refusing to use it when He was tempted by the devil.

 

And why did He refuse it?

 

Because in HEB 12:3, you and I were the joy that was set before Him, and He loved us, says the Doctrine of Kenosis.

 

Because our Lord has omniscience, it means that there is nothing in your life that could ever happen that God didn't know about billions and billions of years ago.

 

And……

 

Knowing about it, and being perfect, He provided a perfect provision and perfect solution for every problem we would ever face!

 

Our Lord shared this principle with His disciples when He said in MAT 10:29-30;

 

MAT 10:29 "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And {yet} not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.

 

MAT 10:30 "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And, yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your father’s knowledge,” verse 30 "but the very hairs of your head are numbered."

 

Now, because He is omniscient, He knows what is best for those who trust Him!

 

This means that…..

 

Although there are times that we may not understand the adversities and the sufferings which come into our lives, yet in the end, we will discover that God knew exactly what we needed and what was best for us.

 

As an example of this principle; TLJC said to Peter in JOH 13:7 "What I'm doing you do not realize now, but you shall understand later on"

No one in the human race can ever really understand in depth the principle of omniscience, we can only touch the surface!

 

As the Apostle Paul said in Rom 11:33;

 

ROM 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable are His ways.”

 

However, it is God’s intention that every believer come to understand everything in the Bible, and that is "in time," right now.

 

Anything which God did not intend for us to know was not included in the canon of scripture.

 

As DEU 29:29  “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and our children forever.”

 

 

Certainly, you will not understand the doctrinal content of the Bible all at once, for knowledge is built on knowledge, but if you stay with it long enough it can be done!

 

And it should be done!

 

Every book in the Bible was written by a human author who understood what he was recording.

 

Therefore, we can understand what we desire to know!

 

It is true that the Holy Spirit is our teacher but that is only as much as we submit to His ministry.

 

However, God gave us a system to understand the things of God through faith, but we must choose to believe it or not.

 

Knowing this divine attribute of omniscience, should increases your personal love for God as all the divine attributes should all do.

 

So, there are things written in the Bible such as REV 13:11 “And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.”

 

REV 13:12 “And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.”

 

REV 13:13 “And he performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.”

 

REV 13:14 “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.”

 

Now…..

 

Our Lord didn’t study this passage, but we know now it was in His mind as the Son of God and available to Him if He choose, which is another reason why He didn’t.

 

The first Adam was temptable and peccable, i.e., capable of being tempted and capable of yielding to temptation.

 

But our Lord, the last Adam, was able not to sin and as God He was not able to sin.

 

All the way from the virgin birth to the cross, resurrection, ascension and session, the humanity of our Lord functioned in the original predesigned plan, the place of virtue, His very own palace.

 

And….

 

You and I also can also have our very own palace or a mansion in this life called the PPOG or we can live in panic palace which is in the dungeon of the cosmic system.

This is why our Lord said in  JOH 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.

 

Believe God and believe Me, our Lord was saying that in JOH 14:2 "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

 

JOH 14:3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you [hopefully our very own], I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, {there} you may be also.

 

That is with Him in heaven forever.

 

JOH 14:4 "And you know the way where I am going."

 

Again, this is a LUK 6:40 principle:

 

LUK 6:40 "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

Through learning from Him about how to handle temptations from Satan and his kingdom of darkness, we can become just like him right not.

 

As He is so are we in this present world says the apostle John in 1JO 3:1-2.

 

1JO 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and {such} we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

 

1JO 3:2 Beloved, now [positionally] we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears [Rapture], we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.

 

That is, in His perfect resurrected form because as soon as we sin, we step out of the PPOG.

 

Inside the predesigned plan of God is purity; Titus 1:15.

 

As long as one remains inside the predesigned plan, the purity factor remains in status quo.

 

But as I have mentioned, our Lord's temptations were unique and real and far greater than anything we could ever face.

 

For example,

 

After forty days of no food, He was tempted to turn stones into bread.

 

When’s the last time, someone tempted you to turn a stone into a piece of bread?

 

Not in this life!

 

Unless you may be in a “nut house” or if I were to be a little bit more gentle and politically correct, maybe you have been in a “mentally challenged facility” for the under privileged…..

 

No matter what our Lord's temptations were unique and real and far greater than anything we could ever face; HEB 4:15.

 

If our Lord used His deity, He would have had to act independently of the Father's plan.

 

Those who reside in the predesigned plan do not need miracles.

 

Therefore, He refused this temptation.

 

The sinlessness of Adam before the Fall differs from the sinlessness of Christ during the First Advent.

 

The first Adam was temptable and peccable, i.e., capable of being tempted and capable of yielding to temptation.

 

But…..

 

Our Lord, the last Adam, was able not to sin because He remained inside the PPOG and He was not able to sin because He is deity or God; HAB 1:13.

 

HAB 1:13 Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You cannot even look upon sin or wickedness.

 

Because He as the last Adam and he went to the cross and died for our sins, we have a new creation, the only spiritual creation, 2CO 5:17, GAL 6:15.

 

GAL 6:15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

 

It is created by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, who enters each one into union with Christ.

 

In fact,

 

The “Last Adam” and the “new creation” is a synonym for the Royal Family.

 

So, Jesus Christ was born without an old sin nature.

 

Therefore, He could not be tempted from the inside.

 

All our Lord's temptations were real, but they came from Satan himself outwardly and not from within our Lord, as it does with us; ROM 7:17-18.

 

ROM 7:17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me.

 

ROM 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good {is} not.

 

The human nature of Christ was temptable, but in the predesigned plan, His purity was always intact.

 

For thirty-three years inside the predesigned plan, our Lord manufactured the highest virtue ever to exist in a human being.

 

Our Lord's temptations to His humanity not only came from outside, but He was tempted by Satan personally, MAT 4.

 

The divine nature of Christ was not temptable because immutability demands impeccability.

 

God cannot change.

 

Even if we are faithless, He does not change; 2TI 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.

 

In Titus 1:2,  we have the confidence of eternal life, from a God, who cannot lie.

 

And here is the motivation that comes from having the God that we do.

 

HEB 6:18  in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us.

 

So, the divine nature of Christ was not temptable because immutability demands impeccability.

 

Also, our Lord as God is sovereign.

 

Sovereignty cannot choose to sin.

 

He cannot do anything that would violate His nature.

 

The sovereignty of God cannot change His mind about sin.

 

The perfect righteousness of God cannot be corrupted by sin.

 

The justice of God is cannot be unfair.

 

Therefore, the deity of Christ cannot even look upon sin; HAB 1:13.

 

This is how the temptations of Christ and who He is, is  brought out in MAT 4 and also applies to our Doctrine of Kenosis.

 

There are so many principles that theologians have missed concerning kenosis.

 

Why?

 

Because it means such things as:

 

The humanity of Christ was temptable and peccable, but He remained in the purity of the predesigned plan.

 

He had human volition but used His volition within the love complex, an absolute place of virtue.

 

JOH 15:10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.

 

Now, things are not always what they appear to be and the fact that Jesus Christ is exceedingly hungry is not simply dieting.

 

Dieting is not fasting.

 

Fasting means to spend the time that ordinarily would be used for normal functions in life in contemplating doctrine and prayer.

 

In other words, the Bible study and prayer is a part of the true concept of fasting.

 

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