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The Third Sermon

Matt. 4. ver. 4. But he answering said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

It was a good service that Elisha (2. Kings 6. 9[1]) did, to tell the king of the trains[2] laid for him, when they lay in Ambush against him. And even this is the first use that we have of our Savior’s Temptations.

It warns us afore-hand of the Devil’s coming, so that we may have time to prepare ourselves accordingly. For as at that time the Devil came upon Christ when hunger pinched him: so where we are in any distress, we are to look for temptations[3].

This temptation hath two parts. First comes (Si)[4] a distrust: Secondly follows unlawful means. Having laid this foundation, that bread is necessary to bee had when one is hungry, he infers that God helps not, nor supplies thy want[5]: Therefore, God is not thy Father, Mat. 7. 9[6] and therefore, depend no longer on him, but shift for yourself[7]. This is the effect of the Devil’s argument.

The Fathers[8] upon the words Eph. 6. 16. (Take the shield of faith, to quench all the fiery darts of the Devil:) do note, that about every one of the darts or temptations of the Devil, there are (as it were) balls of wildfire. For being to assault our obedience, & knowing that faith is our shield: to that end he uses the arrowhead, which is distrust in God; about which is fire, to wit, the using of unlawful means, to consume our obedience, which will consume our shield of faith, and so make way for the dart to kill or wound vs. So that his drift is, to bring our adoption or Sonship to a Si[9].

There is no doubt, but Christ was able to have turned stones into bread: but why would he not then follow the Devil’s advice? The Devil by saying, Say unto these stones, seems to acknowledge, that he had the force to have done it, even by his bare word: for even stones are said to hears voice of God, and to obey his commandment;[10] and not only God’s, but even Gods’ servants, as 1. Kings 13. 5 when the man of GOD had pronounced, that the altar should rent in sunder, it did so.[11] And Matt. 27. 51. when Jesus cried out with a loud voice, the vail of the Temple rent in twain, the earth did quake, and the stones were cloven. The dead men are worse than stones, yet they in their graves heard his voice.[12]

And not only was he able to turn stones into bread, but into men also, as children to Abraham of stones, Matt. 3. 9.[13] If therefore it had pleased him, he was as well able at this time to have turned stones into bread, as after he turned water into wine, John 2. 10.[14]

It was no less possible to him (no doubt) to have saved himself, when theJews scoffingly bad [15] him, Matt. 27. 42. as to have saved others; and to have come down from the Cross being alive;[16] as it was after for him, not only being dead and buried, but a great stone being over him, to remove it, and come out of the grave, Matt. 28. 2. He had power to both, but not will alike to both.[17]

But why would he not here use his power, for the satisfying of his hunger, and follow the Devil’s advice.

In setting down the history of turning water into wine, it is thus farther said, that he did it, that his disciples might believe in him, John 2. 11.[18]

That was the reason that moved him to the working of that miracle: and because there was no such cause here, he did it not.[19] For the Devil would not believe in him (he knew) though he had done it. The Devil desired him, but to have him show what he could do, for a need only, for a vaunt of his power.[20]

Wherein we see the humor [nature] of pride, that made him at the first to fall.

It is the same temptation that his kinsfolks [relatives] used, No man dooth anie thing secretly, that seeketh to bee famous: if thou doost these things, shewe thy selfe to the world.[21]  But see how unfitly the temptation hangs together. He should rather have said, If you be hungry; than If you be the Son of God: and then rather have bid him fast forty days more, than turn the stones into bread.

If it had been to have made a Son of God, Christ would have done it: but not to have showed himself to be the Son of God.[22]

But it may be asked, why did Christ vouchsafe to give him any answer at all; whereas he might have commanded him to silence, and tormented him before his time, and have punished him for his sauciness?[23] When Peter tempted him, he cut him up very sharply, saying; Come behind me Satan, Mark. 8. 33. Why did he not answer the Devil so? He might have enjoined him [stopped him by means of an order]  and thrown him into the bottomless pit, Luke 8. 31. or at the least bidden him, Avoid Satan, vers. 10.[24]

Augustine answers this doubt, that Christ answered in the like time, to teach us to answer[25]: willing us thereby (as Abimelech did his soldiers) to do as he had done before, Judges 9. 48. So, Christ is our example, John 13. 15. and bids us do as he has done. Christ is our Captain, he has gone before us, and shewed us how to behave ourselves in fight: when the Devil assaults us with distrust, then are we to ward it off with a Text of God’s providence; and so of the rest, as he has done before us.

Our Savior’s shield, whereby (we see) he bears off all the Devil’s darts, is covered all over with Scriptum est [Latin, it is written]. We have here a brief view of the Church’s armory, Cant. 4. 4[26] of the Tower of David, built for defense. Here be the shields wherewith Solomon’s Temple was hanged, and which Paulcalleth The weapons of our warfare, 2. Cor. 10. 4. not carnal [physical as opposed to spiritual] but mighty (through GOD) to cast down holds.[27]


When we fall into troubles, the Devil will come with the word “If.”

Our defense against temptation is the shield of faith. Andrews takes this from the discussion of “spiritual battle” in Ephesians 6. The Devil will throw fiery darts and we protect ourselves by means of the shield of faith. The passage from Ephesians reads:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:10–20, ESV)

Andrews picks up on this language and uses it to analyze the conflict faced by Jesus. Jesus is directly faced with Satan. Satan throws darts of temptation. How does one stop the dart? With a shield. The shield is faith.

What then will defeat a shield of faith? Distrust. How is that distrust sought? By the word “If.”

This is an interesting bit of work by Andrews. The temptation passage makes no express mention of “spiritual warfare”; and Paul makes no allusion to the Temptation of Jesus. On what basis can Andrews justify this use?

It cannot be based upon a narrow understanding of each book of the Bible being a stand-alone document. Andrews sees the text as a whole.

Second, he thinks through the implications of each text. If one is directly confronted by Satan with the aim of Satan destroying your soul, this would be the very definition of spiritual warfare. What does the Bible say about spiritual warfare? Ephesians 6 has the longest discussion of this concept.

In that text I see that Satan throws darts, and it is a shield of faith which extinguishes those darts. What then would defeat “faith?” Doubt is the defeater of faith.

Third, he comes back to the temptation text: How does Satan seek to defeat Jesus at the first? By causing doubt: just as the Serpent did in the Garden. Doubt is the first move. How is the doubt generated, by the “If” question. In the previous sermon Andrews noted that an exhausted, famished, near dead Jesus could be prey to such a question. That voice from 40 days ago, did you really hear that? Are you really who you think you are? Is all of this real?

Andrews then anticipates the next question which may arise. Why didn’t Jesus just turn the stones into bread, so the Devil would leave him alone. Jesus performed miracles for a purpose; not just to do things. In John 2, the water is turned to wine as a sign, a pointer for the disciples to know who he really was. But why perform a miracle for the Devil? He wouldn’t believe and worship; he wouldn’t go away.

Andrews then notes an interesting parallel, the mockers at the cross structured the same taunt/temptation: If you are the Son of God, then you should save yourself. The Devil said feed yourself. The mockers said come down from the cross. While Jesus could have done both, he was not going to permit his mission to be dictated by his enemies. Jesus bore the cross and then rose from the dead. He saved himself, in his own time.

Another question arises: Do you see how Andrews anticipates questions which may occur to those listening. He signals yet another objection by saying, “But it may be asked.” This is an important movement in any sermon (or good lecture). What would trouble someone here?

The next question is Why didn’t Jesus just tell the Devil to shove off? Jesus was comfortable rebuking Peter, when he said something out of place. Jesus could have ended the Devil’s work right there.

Augustine answered the question by saying, the Lord suffered the temptation to give us an example to follow. When the Devil shows up with his “If”, trying to dislodge our faith, we are to answer with the text. The words, “It is written” are on the shield. Use it. Our weapons are not physical, they are spiritual.

[1] “Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.” And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.” (2 Kings 6:8–10, ESV)

[2] Here the word “train” means a “decoy” or “trick”. It seems to be metaphorical from the concept “to drag along.” So Elisha saw how to avoid an ambush, as did Jesus in his temptation.

[3] Whenever we find ourselves presented some difficulty, we should expect that our trouble will be accompanied by a temptation.

[4] “Si” is Latin for “if.” The “si” probably emphasizes the formality of the logical structure, If X is true, then Y. If you are the Son of God, then make these stones bread.

[5] God will not provide you with anything you lack.

[6] “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?” (Matthew 7:9, ESV) The implication is that if God were really your father, he would give you bread and not a stone. A good father would do this. You admit the same yourself. But here you are with stones and not with bread. This is an interesting observation by Andrews: The Sermon on the Mount came after the Temptation. Jesus is here alluding to the temptation, both in terms of structure: bread and stones; but also in terms of implication/application: What a father does.

[7] To “shift for yourself” is to take care of yourself without receiving help from others.

[8] The theologians, commentators, pastors previously in the Church. It is useful to note that Andrews, like the others who were of the Reformation (Andrews being third generation) did not discount the theological world prior to Luther (as it seems many contemporary protestants thinks necessary). He does not automatically agree with the consensus, but he does give it consideration.

[9] Our defense in temptation is faith. Paul references the “shield of faith” in our spiritual combat. Eph. 6:16. Therefore, to disarm us, the Devil must defeat that shield. This he does by seeking to make us doubt. He raises that doubt by means of an “If” (Latin, Si).

[10] By making this the basis of the temptation, the Devil ironically acknowledges that Jesus is who he claimed to be.

[11] “And behold, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel. Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make offerings. And the man cried against the altar by the word of the Lord and said, “O altar, altar, thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who make offerings on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’ ” And he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign that the Lord has spoken: ‘Behold, the altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.’ ” And when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him.” And his hand, which he stretched out against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar also was torn down, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.” (1 Kings 13:1–5, ESV)

[12] “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” (Matthew 27:50–53, ESV)

[13] “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:7–9, ESV)

[14] “His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”” (John 2:5–10, ESV)

[15] Bad is the archaic past tense of “to bid”, that is, to order or direct.

[16] Those who mocked Jesus at his death were following in the same pattern as the Devil in this temptation. If you are the Son of God, then you should just come down of the Cross. Jesus plainly had the power, because he soon did the far greater task of resurrecting from the dead and moving the stone from his grave.

[17] While Jesus had the ability to either come down from the cross or to raise from the dead, he did not desire to do both things. He did not come down from the cross, not from a lack of ability but from his own desire.

[18] The determination of Jesus to exercise extraordinary power was dictated toward some greater goal. “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:11, ESV) The miracle was given as a “sign” to bring about the disciples’ belief.

[19] Performing the miracle would not bring about the Devil’s belief. Therefore, there was no need to perform the sign.

[20] The Devil wanted Jesus to perform the miracle for the purpose of Jesus “showing off” (vaunt) his power.

[21] “So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”” (John 7:3–4, ESV)

[22] He had no need to prove himself. He was unconcerned with fame or the opinion of others.  “But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:24–25, ESV)

[23] Why did Jesus even take the trouble to answer the Devil. He could have forced the Devil to be quiet and sent him to punishment for being so disrespectful of God.

[24] “Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ ”” (Matthew 4:10, ESV)

[25] By answering in this manner, Christ gave us an example of how to respond to temptation.

[26] “Your neck is like the tower of David, built in rows of stone; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors.” (Song of Solomon 4:4, ESV)

[27] “I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:1–4, ESV)