Summary: Jesus shows us how to deal with Satan; face him head on.
A Messiah Who Fights
Text: Matt. 4:1-11
1. Illustration: "If we wish to be free...we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms, and to the God of hosts, is all that is left us...It is vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" (Patrick Henry)
2. Last week we talked about Jesus setting an example for us. Today we are going to talk about another kind of example that Jesus sets for us; how to stand and fight.
3. Our text shows us that even Jesus was involved in spiritual warfare. He faced:
a. Physical Fight
b. Mental Fight
c. Spiritual Fight
4. Read Matt. 4:1-11
Proposition: Jesus shows us how to deal with Satan; face him head on.
Transition: Jesus had to face a...
I. Physical Fight (1-4)
A. To Be Tempted
1. There are some fascinating insights in this first verse.
2. First, we see that "Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness..."
a. It was the Holy Spirit that led Him into a difficult place where His character would be severely tested.
b. The temptation was providentially arranged by God as a test of the Messiah’s character (NLT Study Bible).
c. Deuteronomy 8:2 (NLT)
Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.
d. Take heart, my friends, even Jesus was tested to prove His character. So when testing comes your way don’t let the devil convince you that there is something wrong with you, because Jesus was there before you.
e. Take heart, my friends, because Jesus passed the test and so can you.
f. The Holy Spirit leads us into difficult situations so that we might become stronger.
3. The other interesting thing in this verse is the reason the Spirit led Him into the wilderness was "to be tempted there by the devil."
a. First, notice what it does not say. It does not say that they Spirit led Him into the wilderness and tempted Him. It says He was led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil.
b. James 1:13-14 (NLT)
And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.
c. God does not tempt you, it is your own sinful desires, exploited by the devil, that are tempting you.
d. God allows you to be tempted so that you learn how to overcome your weakness.
4. So how do we overcome our weakness? Let see how Jesus did it. Matthew tells us, "For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry."
a. Jesus dealt with temptation with fasting and prayer.
b. "Wait a minute, Pastor, it just says that Jesus fasted. Where do you see the word prayer?"
c. First, whenever Scripture talks about fasting it is always accompanied by prayer, and even when it’s not explicit, it is always implicit.
d. Second, this is Jesus we are talking about. Can you imagine Jesus going forty days without praying? Can you imagine Jesus going into a spiritual battle without prayer?
e. If you want to break physical bondage, which in reality is spiritual bondage, you had better spend some time in fasting and prayer.
5. Now notice how the devil attacks Jesus. It says, "During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
a. The devil knew that Jesus had been without food for a month and a half, and He was hungry.
b. He knows what our weakness is and he will do whatever he has to do to exploit that weakness.
c. In the garden, he hit Eve’s area of weakness. Hunger wasn’t her weakness; her weakness was pride.
d. Genesis 3:1-5 (NLT)
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”...“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”