Triumphant Over Temptation

Theme: Learning from Jesus' wilderness experience how to say no to temptations.

Text: Matthew 4:1-11,

Introductory Remarks:
We live in a world filled with many temptations. I don't know of any place on the face of the earth where we can go to be free from them. Temptation is something that is common to everyone. No one, not even Jesus was exempt from them. "Jesus was tempted in all pints like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian believers about their battles with temptation said, "But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience"(1 Cor. 10:13  NLT). When Jesus said "In this world you shall have trouble" (John 16:33), He could have also said it about temptation. The truth is that as long as we're in this world we will continuously be facing an external enemy (the world and its lure), and internal enemy (the flesh and its carnal desires), and an infernal enemy (the devil and his enticing suggestions) --all presenting us with temptations that demand a response.

How we respond to those temptations will determine whether they become stumbling stones to our spiritual defeat or stepping stones to spiritual growth and victory in our Christian walk.

In this lesson, as we look at the way our Lord Jesus handled the temptations Satan put before Him, we are going to learn how we too can follow His example and be triumphant over temptation.

Why Jesus Was Tempted

A.  The word used for Jesus' temptation in Matthew 4:1 is the Greek word "Pierazo" which means to tempt - to solicit - to seduce - to entice a person to do evil.

  1. Please note that while it was the Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted - it was not the Holy Spirit that did the tempting - Satan did that.
  2. The Scripture declares God does not tempt us. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil; neither tempteth He any man" (James 1:13).
  3. Kenneth Wuest in his Expanded Translation of the New Testament renders Matthew 4:1 to read "Then was Jesus led up into the uninhabited region for the purpose of being put to the test of the devil - that test being in the form of a solicitation to do evil."
  4. It is important that we understand that the wilderness testing of Jesus was not to prove something about Him to the Father, but to prove something about Jesus to the devil.
  5. Jesus had already gotten the Father's approval at His water baptism. The Father had said, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).
  6. In His wilderness temptation, Jesus would prove His superiority over the devil. He would not heed to the voice of the tempter as the first Adam had done under similar temptations. What the first Adam lost with his "yes" to Satan's temptations, the second Adam would eventually regain with His "no".
  1. Three purposes God had in mind for allowing Jesus to be tempted by Satan.
  1. For the purpose of Identification.
  1. It was to prepare Jesus to be our  High Priest ministering on our behalf before the throne of God.
  2. To effectively minister and speak as our High Priest, advocate and mediator in a compassionate and understanding way before the throne - it was necessary for Him to be tempted in all points as we are so He would understand the warfare that goes on in our minds when tempted.
  3. Christ know from personal experience what we are going through mentally and emotionally during times of temptation because He endured the same temptations.
  4. Hebrews 4: 14-16 (Wuest Translations)..."for we do not have a High Priest who is not able to enter experientally into a fellow feeling with our infirmities, but one who has been tempted in all points like as we are - without win. Let us be coming therefore with boldness to the throne of Grace, in order that we may procure mercy and find grace for seasonable help."
  5. Hebrews 2:18 (Wuest Translation)..."For in that He suffered, having Himself been tempted and put to the test, He is able to run to the cry of those who are being tempted and put to the test and bring them aid."
  6. Christ is the perfect "Sympathizer" because He can identify with and feel for any persons circumstances.
  1. For the purpose of Illumination
  1. In the Old Testament, Satan operated in the shadows. Very few references are made about him. But we know he was busy at work just the same.

  2. In the New Testament, God suddenly shines the spotlight on him and he is seen for what he really is - "the thief who comes to steal   - kill - and destroy" John 10:10).

  3. The event in the wilderness exposed Satan and brought him into the light where we could see him at work.

  1. For the purpose of Information

  1. Jesus was tempted by Satan so He could expose the enemy's tactics to us in order to show us the way of victory over our enemy.

  2. When temptations come to us, we have the same resources at our disposal that Jesus used when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness.

  3. Christ triumphantly overcame temptation by doing three things:

    1.He spent time alone with God.
    2.He made sure He was led by the Spirit of God.
    3.He relied upon the Scriptures as a weapon to be used.

How Jesus Was Tempted

  1. The devil knows human nature.

  1. He knows when to tempt a person.

  2. He knows what to tempt a person with.

  3. He know where to tempt a person.

  4. He'll tempt us in the wilderness experiences of life when we're feeling alone and without .

  5. He'll tempt us in the valley experiences of life when we're suffering severe moments of weakness both physically and mentally.

  6. He'll tempt us on the mountain top experiences of life when we're confident that we've got everything under control.

  1. The devil tempted Jesus to do three things.

  1. To prove who He was by using His power for personal reasons (verses 2-4).
    a.  Jesus was asked to satisfy a normal human bodily appetite by use of the miracle power of God in a way it was not intended to be used.

  2. To reveal who He was by doing the spectacular (verses 5-7).
    a.  He was tempted to presume upon the Father's power and protection. He was tempted to deliberately put Himself in a position (circumstance) where God must perform a miracle to rescue Him. 

  3. To surrender who He was by compromise (verse 11).
    a.  Satan offered Jesus an easier way than the Father's way to receive the Kingdoms of this World. Father's way was the cross first and then the crown.
    b. If Jesus would worship Satan then Satan would give Jesus the Kingdoms of this World without the cross.

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