AS the Tempter said to our Blessed Lord, he says to each of us, "If thou be the child of God." As his first object was to create a doubt in His mind, whether that voice, which He heard at His baptism, was a true voice or no, so his first endeavour is to create in our minds a doubt, whether the echo of that voice, which we heard in our baptism, proclaiming us to be children of God in Him, was a true echo or no. He knows that, as the life of the Son of God stood in faith, so the life of us, the adopted children of God, stands in faith. He knows that, if we doubt the witness, which God gives us of our adoption, we give up that life, as He would have given up His own amazing life, if He had hearkened to that temptation.
Believe that,--every moment the tempter would have you doubt your calling and adoption of God, would have you seeking some other evidence of it, than the fact that He stamped you His at baptism,--believe that thus he would rob you of all the fruits of the life, which belongs to you as children of God. To some he gives sops; he stupefies them, that they may forget their birthright, may never know what it means. To some he gives potions, which make them feverish and restless, that they may not he content with God's witness, but may crave for some signs, such as the Jews asked of our Lord. But, with all, his purpose is the same. It is to destroy the life of faith. It is to separate us from the Son, even as he would have separated Him from the Father.
And, secondly, as he would rob us of the life of faith, so he would rob us too of the life of obedience. He would make us think that the privilege, which God gives us, in making us His children, is that we should have some great power, that we should be higher than our brethren, that we should be able to command. He would take from us the blessed truth, (which is the very staff of our being,) that our privilege is to submit and to obey,--to show forth God's power and not our own power,--to be servants, not masters.
Lastly, in both these ways, the tempter would be taking from you the life of love, that power of helping your brethren, which he wished to take from your Lord and Master. While we abide by faith in the Son of God claiming the portion and inheritance of children in Him, while we are content to submit to Him, to be commanded and not to command, God useth us for this purpose, God worketh in us to will and to do His good pleasure. To some He may give one station in His Church, to some another. Some may have a larger part of His vineyard to cultivate, some smaller. But all are His servants, all are performing His errands, all, in their own sphere and vocation, are the ministers of Him, who came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.
It is this life of faith, of obedience, of love, which the Son of God would day by day be renewing in you. He calls you to that altar now, that He may renew it in you, that He may acknowledge you as His Father's children, that He may give you a heart to serve Him, that He may give you power to love your brethren even as yourselves. There He will answer the tempter's suggestions for you, as He answered them for Himself; there He will perform a greater wonder than that to which the Evil Spirit invited Him. He will not command stones to be made bread; He will take the bread, and say, "Thou also shalt live by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Eat; this is my body."--Christmas Day and other Sermons, p 168.