Summary: Jesus wasn’t not only led into the desert to have communion with the Father, according to Matt.4.1, He was brought to this dry place to be “tempted.”
A Man in the Wilderness
(Lenten Season Series: 1 of 7)
March 16, 2014 Chester FBC, Chester, IL Dr. Mike Fogerson, speaker
A Matt. 4.1-11 (Have the congregation read this text as a responsive reading here or at an earlier time in the service.)
B Jesus wasn’t not only led into the desert to have communion with the Father, according to Matt.4.1, He was brought to this dry place to be “tempted.”
1 The word “tempted” can mean either “I tempt” or “I test.”
a In a sense, temptation & testing are the heads & tails of the same coin.
aa The devil tempts, The Father tests.
bb A temptation is a trap that is meant to get us to against God’s will; a test tries to get us to prove ourselves faithful to God’s will.
b According to Scripture God never tempts anybody to do evil. (James 1.13, “Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.)
aa He will use circumstances to test our character/faithfulness with the intended purpose of a solid outcome (passing the test.)
bb IL. Abraham was tested when he took Isaac to the top of Mt. Moriah. (Hebrews 11:17 (NASB) By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, . . .”
c Satan is tempting Jesus to go contrary of the Father’s will.
aa At the end of Jesus’ 40 day fast in the desert, the enemy attacks Jesus with three different temptations.
bb Jesus is tired, hungry, lonely, stretched physically/emotionally/spiritually . . .then comes the temptation!
cc The enemy rarely makes a frontal assault, but rather waits until we’re sidetracked, weary, & weak. (That’s why it seems we become inundated all at one time; he get’s one punch to land and then he immediately starts attacking on several fronts simultaneously.)
2 Temptation must be seen in the context of testing, because God is in control of both the tempter & and the circumstances, and He will never allow a person to be tempted beyond what they can endure.
a 1 Cor. 10.13; “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
aa In other words, Satan doesn’t tempt us without God knowing about it.
bb For example, when Satan tempted Job to go contrary to the will of God, Satan tempted Job, but God was testing his faithfulness . . . Job passed with flying colors!
cc With Joseph in Genesis, his brothers sold him into slavery (Satanic attack) but God used those same circumstance for good. (Gen. 50.20; "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”)
b A temptation in the hands of Satan turns to a test in the hands of God.
aa Jesus is on mission (to do the Father’s perfect will.)
bb The devil has a mission as well & that is to get Jesus to go contrary to the Father’s will.
cc At the end of the temptation, Satan’s tempting fails to achieve its goal but Jesus passes the test with flying colors.
B It is this testing that prepares Jesus to be our sympathetic High Priest. Heb. 2.17-18; “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”
1 Jesus faced temptation as a man, not as the Son of God.
a (IL.) XBOX games typically have what are called “cheat codes” which gives the player an advantage (unlimited life, ammo, juggernaut, extra lives, etc.).
aa Jesus didn’t use the “cheat code” of His divinity to overcome the enemy.
bb Satan wanted Jesus to cheat & use His super awesome deity power to cheat on the test.
b Jesus faced temptation the way we do . . . as an ordinary person.
aa Matt. 1.4, “It is written, Man . . .”
bb We don’t have super awesome God powers, we don’t have the cheat codes . . . it wouldn’t have been a big deal for Jesus to be tempted if He couldn’t sin.
c He faced temptation with the same resources we have at our disposal;
aa The Power of the Holy Ghost (Matt. 4.1) (He’s packing heat: Holy Ghost Fire)