The Temptation of Christ

The Temptation of ChristText: Matthew 4:1-11

After His baptism, Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted. Satan tried to get Him to sin, but Jesus never once gave in to any temptation. He set an example for us, showing how to handle temptations.

The Nature of This Temptation

  • There are two types of temptations – testing (Hebrews 3:9) which comes from without; desire to sin (James 1:14) which comes from within
  • Failing to make a distinction between the two can lead to confusion
  • Jesus was TESTED by the devil, but did not DESIRE TO SIN – He is our example (1 Peter 2:21); not only to commit no sin, but to overcome the desire to sin

How Satan Tempted Jesus

  • Turn stones into bread (v. 3-4) – tempted with something that was not wrong in itself (cf. 1 Timothy 4:4); God was going to provide for Jesus later (v. 11), He did not have to follow the devil’s way; some things may not be inherently wrong in themselves, but are wrong in certain situations (1 Corinthians 11:22; 5:11; Romans 14:21)
  • Jump from the pinnacle of the temple (v. 5-7) – Satan twisted Scripture to tempt Jesus to sin; Satan’s interpretation broke the first rule hermeneutics (John 10:35); many twist the Scriptures to teach/believe/practice error (2 Peter 3:16)
  • Worship Satan (v. 8-10) – tempted Him to sin in order to obtain a positive outcome (“the ends justify the means”); God expects us to fulfill His plan through the means of following His will (Romans 3:8); we cannot focus so much on the goal that we ignore HOW we accomplish it (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:17)

Satan’s Appeal

  • Desire for instant gratification (v. 3) – turn stones to bread; satisfy hunger NOW, not later; many do not want to wait for their reward (Galatians 6:9); so they give it up for something inferior/temporary (2 Timothy 4:10)
  • Pride (v. 6) – He would have received A LOT of attention if He fell from the temple unharmed; many think too highly of self (Proverbs 16:18)
  • The easy way (v. 9) – receive kingdoms without having to suffer death on the cross; many do not want to face hardships (cf. 2 Timothy 3:12), so they wither away (Luke 8:13)

How Jesus Overcame the Temptations

  • He quoted Scripture – we must study the word of God (2 Timothy 2:15); we must know it well enough to recognize when it is being misused (Matthew 7:15)
  • He was patient – impatience can lead to sin when patience would produce no sin (cf. Hebrews 13:4; Ephesians 4:28)
  • He trusted in God’s plan – we must realize that God knows better than we do (Isaiah 55:8-9); we must put our trust in Him rather than ourselves (Proverbs 3:5)

Conclusion

  • If we want to overcome the devil and His temptations, we must (1) know God’s word, (2) patiently endure, and (3) trust in God and in His plan
  • If we will do these things, we can overcome temptation AND reach the reward of heaven in the end

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