Sermon:
Defeating the Enemy’s Advance
Matthew 4:1-11
Our series has to do with preparing the way for Christ’s coming. He deserves the throne of our lives, to construct a lifestyle of kingdom living in us. There is a Kingdom, which God wants to happen in your life, giving you His purpose, favor, and peace.
In Matthew 4, we find Jesus beginning His mission, given to Him by the Father. His baptism has occurred. The Holy Spirit came upon Him. The Father spoke of His approval and declared His Son’s royal identity. Jesus’ purpose is in motion, but there is a battle to be fought, an enemy to be faced, a battle against Satan on the grounds of temptation.
It is one of the most monumental and mysterious spiritual battles of all time is recounted-the personal confrontation between Jesus Christ and Satan. The devil’s temptations directed at Jesus in the wilderness of Judea were observed by no other human being. He was entirely alone, and it is therefore obvious that we could know nothing of what transpired there unless Jesus Himself had told His disciples of it. He reveals the victory secret, as it were, of His momentous struggle with Satan.
If Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan declared His royalty; His testing in the wilderness demonstrated it. Here Jesus proved He was worthy to receive and to reign over the kingdom His Father would give Him.
The setting for this encounter is no accident. The wilderness of Matthew 4 has significant meaning. Eremos, means solitary place, a lonely place without the aid of friends. It implies a place, where Satan rules, a place of separation.
It has been suggested by some Bible teachers that Jesus entered the wilderness with a specific purpose of engaging Satan on his own ground, where Jesus would intentionally allow Satan to tempt Him, but without success. Jesus enters a world held captive under the curse of sin to free it from Satan’s grasp by living a sinless life yet dying a sinner’s death.
It seems that Matthew had two primary purposes in presenting Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness. First, Jesus’ victory demonstrated His divine kingship, His royal power to resist the only other great ruler and dominion in the universe, Satan himself. Second, Jesus’ victory over temptation is an example, a pattern that we might follow and overcome the advances of Satan’s rule over our lives.
To prepare the way for Christ to rule in us means we must reject Satan’s attempts to rule us through temptation. To participate in the Kingdom of Christ, we must live victoriously over sin.
1. A Prepared Awareness
The first step in defeating temptation is readiness. No soldier enters the fray of battle without preparation. No athlete competes with to win without preparing. Jesus did not enter the wilderness without a prepared awareness. Jesus entered the battle completely ready.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil…
Our first line of preparation is the Leading / Infilling of the Holy Spirit. We believe