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 Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

            Jim Grant in Reader’s Digest told about someone else who faced temptation. An overweight businessman decided it was time to shed some excess pounds. He took his new diet seriously, even changing his driving route to avoid his favorite bakery. One morning, however, he showed up at work with a gigantic coffee cake. Everyone in the office scolded him, but his smile remained nonetheless. “This is a special coffee cake,” he explained. “I accidentally drove by the bakery this morning and there in the window was a host of goodies. I felt it was no accident, so I prayed, ‘Lord, if you want me to have one of those delicious coffee cakes, let there be a parking spot open right in front.’ And sure enough, the eighth time around the block, there it was!”

All of us know what it is to enter the wilderness of temptation. The temptation is part of the human condition.

Imagine a salesman knocking at your door.  You open the door, and he tells you what he is selling.  At that point, if you’re not interested, it’s not hard to say, “Sorry, I’m not interested.  Try the nice folks next door.” But suppose you invite this person into your home…

Now he sits down in your living room and makes his presentation.  He shows you the product.  He talks to you about how much you need this and how much better your life will be if you have it.  Some relationship begins to be formed and your mind and your heart become engaged. Now it’s harder to say “No.”

This is what it means to “enter into” temptation.  You’re engaged with it, connected to it.  You let it inside and its sitting in your living room.  The temptation that landed in your flesh has found a place in your affections.

 

 When temptation comes

             Comes after blessing

Temptation comes after blessing. I think of the story of Job, and how he had all a man could ask for. He had a wife, children, friends, and wealth. It was after a great time of blessing in the life of Jesus that He was tempted by Satan. It came right after his baptism. The Holy Spirit had descended on Him in the form of a dove, and the Heavenly Father proudly said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”Have you ever had temptation hit you out of nowhere? I think the most dangerous time a temptation can come is when we least expect, when everything is going great. Times of temptation that we are more inclined to give in is when we are at our mountaintop experience. Satan has a way of making bad things look good. Things that we know we shouldn’t do have a certain enticement for them. It’s like were tied to a rope and somebody is slowly pulling us in. We have the power to resist, but, we won’t because we like what we see at the other end.

Comes with weakness

Temptation comes at our weakness. Satan is very  strategic in his attacks. He also has a kingdom of followers who does his work. Satan will attack our weaknesses. He will scout you out. If he see’s that your marriage is struggling, we will attack your family, if he see’s that you struggle with depression, we will attack your identity. The apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment him.  This could of been a physical injury, sickness, or just simply the persecution he was suffering because of his faith in Christ.  Paul pleaded with him to take it away but, God’s response was “My grace is enough, for my power is perfected in weakness. We might be tempted to give up when things aren’t going well. When we are facing opposition, obstacles, and oppressors, but, God tells us greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world.

Comes when we are alone

Temptation comes when we are most vulnerable. For many of us that is when we are alone. We were made to in community with each other. To meet together as much as possible to encourage and pray with one another. One of Satan’s best kept secrets is his divide and conquer methods. A house divided against itself cannot stand so we need to have our foundation built on Christ!

Comes before the blessing

Temptation also usually comes not just after a blessing but, before God is going to do something great in your life! I remember a time about eight years not too long after I was saved  that I met this girl who was blinded claimed she could see Angels  and Demons. She told me that there were demons who were trying to prevent the predestined ministry I was called to do. I didn’t think much of it at the time but, in the next 3 years I got in a total of 3 car accidents. None of them were my fault. A lot of times before God in going to do a great work through us, he has to do a great work in us.

 The three temptations

 DESIRE

Illustration:I once read about a young blind girl from France who was given a New Testament in raised letters. She was so excited and read it so much that the tips of her fingers became very calloused so that she could no longer feel the characters. She started crying because now she couldn’t read the Bible at all. As she wept, she pressed the Scripture to her lips and was surprised that her lips were more sensitive than her fingers and she could actually read with her lips. She spent the night moving her lips along the raised letters of her Bible. Oh, that we would desire the Word as much as that. (Lou Nicholes Missionary/Author).

Jesus had fasted 40 days and forty nights. It’s obvious that he was hungry, so Satan tried to tempt Jesus using His desire for food. Satan does the same thing to us today. He will look and wait for us at the moment of weakness and pounce on us. He is a roaring lion who seeks to kill and destroy. He will wait until our relationship isn’t going well to entice us into unfaithfulness. He will wait until loneliness and depression before he entices us with something that looks attractive to the lust of the eyes. James 1:14-15 says this: But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. We have this desire to take control of things. To take  things in our own hands. We get the desire to lie instead of telling the truth because we want to control the situation. We have that desire to envy because we want to have control of what we have. So we steal to get it. We are tempted to have sex before marriage because we want control. We want it in our timing not God’s timing. If you wake up next to your girlfriend or boyfriend the next morning, that’s not love, that’s lust.

We have this temptation to ask will God provide for my needs? Satan will encourage this by saying the world things such as “It’s okay, no one has morals anymore”, that doesn’t apply to use c’mon were in the 21st century now. It’s okay to live with your girlfriend and boyfriend.

Like the Adam and Eve story: “Did God really say that? Surely you will not die but, you will be like God.” Satan temps Jesus by telling him to turn stones into bread but, see how Jesus responds: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” He shut up Satan with that temptation from the Word of God.

 

 

 DECEPTION

Illustration: He all have been mislead at one point. Like the used car salesman who gives you a pitch to buy a used car and tells you the car runs great but, fails to tell you that the brakes don’t work. Even though it might sound like he was telling the truth, he was distorting the truth and that’s exactly what deception is. It was successful for Satan in the garden with Adam and Eve but, Satan soon found out it wouldn’t be successful with God’s Son. We see here the second temptation. Satan tells Jesus to throw himself down from the temple surely God will send his angels to catch you. Satan is using the temptation of deception here  and is attempting to get Jesus to dare his father to rescue Him. Do we do this sometimes? Do we put ourselves in situations where we are daring God to rescue us? Are we giving in to the temptation of deception and deceiving ourselves or others? That’s why we must be careful who we choose as our friends and what stuff we allow ourselves to be around. We do these foolish things like having sex before marriage and then ask “God, why did you allow this to happen to me” or we go out drinking and driving then complain and blame God for everything that happened. God will rescue us from our failures and mistakes, but, don’t allow that to be an excuse to test God! In the first temptation we see Jesus fight back by quoting scripture and the devil flees, but, in the second temptation the Satan throws scripture at Jesus trying to deceive him into doing what he wants him to do. Jesus didn’t only the Word but he knew what the Word meant and he discerned it. If you only know the Word that will only help you so much, you need to know what it means and discern it.!

 

 

 DOUBT

In the final temptation, Satan shows Jesus all the glory of the world , and tells him everything can be his but, only if he bows down and worships him. Satan tempts us the same way today with materialism and power. Tries to tell us that we need to look a certain way. Satan was telling Jesus the king of kings that he didn’t have to go to the cross, that he could take the easy way out. I think later in the ministry of Jesus, he looks back at this temptation when he says For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Satan will try to tempt us with the glories of the world and the pride of life. He will try to cause doubt about who we are in Christ as he attempted to cause doubt about who Jesus was. Once again, Jesus responds with scripture and says “you must worship the Lord your God and serve him only” Worship is much more than singing a few songs every day. We have an opportunity to worship with every breath we take. We need to take a stand on God’s Word and refuse to bow down to the feet of Satan and the world.

We can rest assured after we face temptations of many kinds God will give us comfort as he did with his son as he sent angels to his aid. We can also tell Satan to be gone. If we resist the devil he will flee from us.

We can resist temptation through the power of God’s Word. So pick up your sword and be prepared for battle. To live a resurrected life you have to be ready to fight the enemy, who seeks to kill and destroy.

Watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyzG7F-CS7U

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