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A three-year-old entered the kitchen when his mother was busy elsewhere in the house. She had told him not to get into the cookies. But in her absence he pulled a kitchen chair over to the counter and climbed up on it. Then he took the lid off the cookie jar and had just gotten a cookie into his mouth when his mother entered the room and demanded to know what he was doing. The three-year-old looked at her with big, innocent eyes and said, "I just climbed up here to smell the cookies, and my tooth got caught on one of them."
Today we look at the temptation of Christ in the wilderness. Last Sunday I preached about the baptism of Jesus Christ. One prominent point of my
message was the fact that at His baptism, it was shown that Jesus would save His people by suffering and dying. At one point in my message I also pointed out that for Him to die for our sins, He must be spotless and without sin. We know this from the Old Testament, where sacrifices had to be spotless in order to be acceptable by God. So at the very beginning of His ministry, Jesus is required to face the strongest temptations the devil could bring against Him. We can see this from v.1, where we see that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness. The language of Mk. 1:12 is even stronger, “Immediately the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness.” Why did the Holy Spirit insist that Jesus go into the wilderness? It was for the express purpose of being tested by the devil.
Ill.--As the Union Pacific Railroad was being constructed, an elaborate trestle bridge was built across a large canyon in the West. Wanting to test the bridge, the builder loaded a train with enough extra cars and equipment to double its normal payload. The train was then driven to the middle of the bridge, where it stayed an entire day. One worker asked, “Are you trying to break this bridge?”
“No,” the builder replied, “I’m trying to prove that the bridge won’t break.” In the same way, the temptations Jesus faced weren’t designed by God to see if Christ would sin, but to prove that He wouldn’t.
I believe Matthew’s main purpose for this account was to affirm yet again that Jesus Christ is the sinless Son of God, the promised Messiah. But I believe this text of Scripture also has a practical application. Jesus exposed Satan and his tactics, and He defeated Satan. Because of His victory, we can have victory over the tempter.
All too often temptations come our way, and we are defeated by them. The devil gets the victory over our lives. Did you yield to temptation last night? How about this morning? Well God wants you to be able to share in the victory of Christ over temptation. So be sure to listen carefully this morning, and I will share with you some ways you can have victory over temptation.
Now beginning in v.3 Satan assails the Son of God with 3 powerful temptations. Let’s examine each of these temptations together. In vv.3-4 we see:
I. CHRIST WAS VICTORIOUS OVER PASSION.
Let me give you a little background to this temptation. Now Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days and nights. He no doubt was preparing Himself spiritually for the ministry He was about to begin. Now with that background, I want to share with you a few principles that I gleaned from the first temptation:
The devil’s main purpose was to overthrow the
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