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SermonSuite March 5, 2017
Matthew 4:1-11
Romans 5:12-19
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Psalm 32
From Pulpit to Pew is a free weekly newsletter from designed to assist clergy with their sermon-writing tasks. Each newsletter includes an article from SermonSuite on the art of preaching, as well as quality sermon illustrations relating to the weekly lectionary texts. In addition to the homiletics article and sermon illustrations are SermonSuite highlights for the week and a listing of all resources available from SermonSuite for the week's lectionary readings.
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In this issue:
  • Jesus Tempted in Us — Sermon by David O. Bales excerpted from To The Cross and Beyond: Cycle A Gospel Sermons for Lent and Easter based on Matthew 4:1-11. (SermonStudio)
  • Yes and No — Worship resources and meditation based on Matthew 4:1-11 by Robert A. Beringer excerpted from Bright Intervals: 40 Brief Worship Services and Meditations for Any Occasion (SermonStudio).
  • Weak and Strong — Children's sermon based on Matthew 4:1-11 from CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus).

To The Cross and Beyond: Cycle A Gospel Sermons for Lent and Easter

Jesus Tempted in Us
Sermon by David O. Bales excerpted from To The Cross and Beyond: Cycle A Gospel Sermons for Lent and Easter based on Matthew 4:1-11. (SermonStudio)

It's good to be here with you. Ten days ago my wife and I were visiting our daughter and son-in-law in central Mexico. In Mexico City they took us to the National Palace in which hangs a painting of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. I'm intrigued by this painting. Hidalgo was leader in the Mexican war for independence from Spain; but, by the time people wanted a portrait of him, he was dead. Half a century later Joaquin Ramirez painted a picture of him but used his own brother's face.

The face of one's brother as the leader for independence is a good way to consider Jesus. Jesus has the face of our true brother (or "sister" if you want to think of him that way -- that wouldn't bother Jesus). Not that Jesus is "just like one of us." That's not how it works. Our Christian faith has a long history of making Jesus into the person we are, just like us -- Democrat if we're Democrats, Republican if we're Republicans, capitalist if we're capitalists, communist if we're communists. That's not the way Jesus has our true brother's face. We can try herding Jesus into the small corral of our little ideas; yet Jesus keeps showing up, instead, as our true brother, trying to free us to live for God. Jesus isn't always what we expect or what we want, but Jesus our true brother brings God to us and us to God. We see in this morning's text how Jesus is our true brother when he's tempted.

We usually think of temptations as Satan trying to get us to do what's wrong. I always remember the pastor and his wife in the 1930s. They lived on almost nothing. One day the pastor comes home and here's his wife in this gorgeous dress. "Where'd you get that dress?"

"Bought it today," she says sheepishly.

"How much did it cost?"

"Ten dollars."

"Ten dollars!" the pastor smacks his head with his hand. "We don't have that kind of money."

The wife looks down and says quietly, "I know, but the devil made me to do it."

"When that happens," the pastor shouts, "you're supposed to say, 'Get behind me, Satan.' "

"I did," she says. "And he said, 'Looks good from back here too.' "

That's not quite the same as Jesus' temptations. The devil isn't struggling every time to get Jesus to do what's completely wrong so much as to do some things for the wrong reason. It's a struggle! The word "temptation" in the New Testament also means a trial or a struggle. Matthew chapter 4 records a lot of spiritual struggle going on in this deserted spot of Palestine. Because Jesus is our brother, he's out in the wilderness struggling against Satan on our behalf. Jesus didn't just die for us. He was born for us, was baptized for us, and was tempted for us. Jesus is the person who lived for God and others. He's doing this for us.

These stories of Jesus'struggle with Satan aren't recorded so we'll admire Jesus, but so Jesus'Spirit may become active in our lives now and so the pattern of Jesus'life becomes the pattern in ours. "Because he himself was tested by what he suffered," the book of Hebrews says, "he is able to help those who are being tested" (Hebrews 2:18). Because the risen Jesus lives in us, every temptation we endure is a temptation of Jesus in us. Jesus' defeating the devil early in his public ministry becomes a present reality when scripture is read and preached, when we listen to his Spirit in our heart, and also when we listen to the testimony of Christian history.

Consider some Christians who've been tempted with Jesus. Jesus' first struggle was to meet his immediate needs instead of trusting God: "You hungry?" Satan said. "Just turn these stones into bread." Albert Schweitzer earned doctorates in theology, philosophy, and music. He was renowned in each discipline. He was on the road to further achievement and greater acclaim. But he read the gospels about our true brother Jesus. He returned to college for six years to become a medical doctor. Then Doctor, Doctor, Doctor, Doctor Schweitzer went to the unhealthiest climate in the world to care for the neediest of the earth's here for the rest of the sermon

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Worship Resources for
Lent 1

Bright Intervals: 40 Brief Worship Services and Meditations for Any Occasion
Yes and No
Worship resources and meditation based on Matthew 4:1-11 by Robert A. Beringer excerpted from Bright Intervals: 40 Brief Worship Services and Meditations for Any Occasion (SermonStudio).

Greeting and Call To Worship
Stand, therefore, having your loins girded with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness!

Opening Prayer
O God of compassion, we turn to you in the midst of a world that often wants its own will done instead of your will. Daily we are challenged in our walk of faith with the Living Christ. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, that we may act with boldness in serving Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Lord's Prayer

Special Hymn
"Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus"
The author of this hymn, George Duffield, was inspired to write these stirring words in response to the death of a close friend, Dudley Tyng. Tyng had been a young pastor in Philadelphia in 1858. He was such an effective preacher that at a revival in Philadelphia, he once had 1,000 people give their hearts to Christ. A few weeks after this revival, Tyng was watching a cornshelling machine when his arm caught in the machinery and was terribly mangled. Friends gathered around Tyng's bed as he lay dying. Someone asked, "Dudley, do you have any last message for your friends?" "Tell them to stand up for Jesus!" George Duffield was so touched by this message that he wrote the words we will now sing.

Scripture Reading
Matthew here for more resources

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!: Cycle A Gospel Sermons for Lent and Easter


Mary Austin
Walls and Temptations

Matthew 4:1-11
Readers of the Fox News website may believe that construction of a border wall with Mexico has already started -- a headline the other day stated “Trump administration makes first tangible step to building border wall,” and was accompanied by a picture of an already existing structure. What has been built, each day of this new administration, is a border wall between Trump supporters -- who are pleased with the president -- and others who are afraid and angry. 
     Trump himself seems determined to draw dividing lines between the people who support him and those who don’t. The president has been using the phrase “enemy of the people,” a relic of Stalin’s Russia, to attack the media in recent speeches. His staff also reportedly excluded critical news organizations from a White House press event.
     In this time of high emotion, there are strong temptations for all of us. We come into Lent tempted by stony self-righteousness, which looks like filling bread for us. We see ourselves at the pinnacle of reason, and people with other beliefs as deeply flawed. The temptations to divide, label, and take refuge in our certainty are strong this Lent.  
     These temptations offer us a refuge from all the uncertainty around us, but Jesus calls us in a different direction as Lent begins. He offers us a place of hungry humility instead, if we’re willing to go there....more
The Temptation Of His Life

Robert Penn Warren wrote a novel called All The King's Men. It was the story of a governor of Louisiana and his rise to power. His name was Willie Stark. At the end of his story he is shot down dead.1 Here was a man who gained a kingdom and lost all he ever had.
     Two thousand years earlier a man from Galilee said, "What would it profit a man if he gained the whole world and lost his soul?" Perhaps when He made that statement He was not only addressing it to those who heard Him, but also was looking back to a time of decision in His own life.
     There is something so very curious about the man from Galilee. He has captivated the imaginations of people throughout twenty centuries. He transcends time and place, culture and custom, race and language. Something there is in Him that always speaks clearly to us. We see it throughout the gospels, everywhere He went, in everything He said and did. Son of God and Son of Man, we know He became one of us....more
Sandra Herrmann
Being sinners
It’s the beginning of Lent, and having worshiped on Ash Wednesday, we have declared that we are separated from God by our own doing. Oh, wait. We probably evaded that idea by talking about “the sins of man.” That does not absolve any of us. WE are sinners. WE disappoint and offend each other on a daily basis. (If you think that’s not you, ask your spouse or children.)...more
Keith Wagner
A Little Soul Searching
Matthew 4:1-11

Several years ago there was a television program that was called "Super Nanny." The show was about a British woman who visited homes where the children were completely out of control. After a few weeks the families were miraculously transformed and the children were well behaved. One of the major problems that parents had with their children was their inability to say, "no."...more
Janice Scott
The sin of Adam
It always strikes me as strange that St Paul puts so much emphasis on Adam's sin, but that the Church has consistently blamed Eve for the introduction of sin into the world. In fact, if we stick strictly to the story in Genesis, it was neither Adam nor Eve but the serpent who introduced sin, for the serpent lied to Eve and put temptation in her path (Genesis 3:1-6)....more
Mary Kay Eichelman
Object: A beautifully wrapped present or gift bag
What do you think of when you see a beautiful present (let kids respond) Maybe birthdays...Let's imagine that it is your mom's or dad's birthday and you want to give them something very special. We are often anxious for them to open our gift first and to notice our amazing gift and kindness....more

Children's sermon
The Giant Book Of Children's Sermons: Matthew To Revelation

Weak and strong
Children's sermon based on Matthew 4:1-11 from CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus).

Object: none

Today is the first Sunday in Lent. Who remembers what Lent is? (see if someone can tell you) Lent is the season right before Easter. It's the time when we begin to prepare for Jesus' death and resurrection. Lent is a serious time. We think and pray about hard things during this time.

In today's lesson, Jesus goes into the wilderness to spend some time alone. He fasted for 40 days and nights -- that means that he didn't eat anything. Forty days is a long time! The Bible tells us that afterward he was famished. He was probably also very weak because he had gone so long without food. While he was so weak, the Devil appeared to him and began to challenge him. It was very hard for Jesus to be strong and resist him, but Jesus was able to do it. He took the strength he needed from God, and he was able to withstand the Devil's tricks.

We've talked before about how God sent Jesus to find out what being human is really like. Jesus experienced the same things we do -- and then some.

His human life was probably harder than ours will ever be. Because he knows what it feels like to be weak, hungry and lonely, Jesus can help us when we feel those things too. His time in the desert teaches us that we can go to God when we need strength and help. Jesus was completely weak, but God was still strong. God gave his strength to Jesus and helped him get through his time of trial.

When we are weak and having a hard time, God can give us his strength too. We are weak, but he is strong -- just like it says in the song "Jesus loves me"! For our prayer today, let's sing "Jesus loves me."

Prayer: Sing the song here to read on the web

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