Summary: ’A Place of Temptation - Jesus’ (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Matthew chapter 4 verse 1-11.
• Oscar Wilde who once said that:
• “He could resist everything except temptation.”
• An old cartoon had the two characters looking at each other;
• The caption below them said:
“How come opportunity knocks only once, but temptation beats the door down everyday?”
TO THINGS TO NOTE BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION:
(1). Being tempted is not sinning,
• No one sins when they are tempted to do wrong.
• The Bible makes it very clear, that we only sin IF we give into temptation,
• Ill: Being tempted to cheat on my tax returns is not a sin;
• But if I give into that temptation and write down false information – then I sin.
(2). Temptation or testing is not always a negative, a bad experience
• Temptation or testing is not always a negative, a bad experience,
• We tend to think of it in that way.
Quote William Barcley:
• "Temptation is not meant to make us sin; it is meant to enable us to conquer sin.
• It is not meant to make us bad, it is meant to make us good.
• It is not meant to weaken us,
• It is meant to make us emerge stronger and finer and purer from the ordeal.
• Temptation is not the penalty of being a man, temptation is the glory of being a man, Temptation is the test which comes to every man whom God wishes to use.
• So, then, we must think of this whole incident,
• Not so much the TEMPTING, as the TESTING of Jesus".
• Often when we buy things e.g. My Computer,
• Has a little sticker on it that says "Hardware tested".
• That is not put on my computer for negative reasons, but positive.
• The product has been examined and proven to be the genuine article in working order!
• This temptation very much proves Jesus to be the genuine article;
• The real deal, the authentic article - the Son of the Living God.
Notice 3 things to note (by way of introduction):
• All found in Verse 1:
• "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil”.
(1). It was the Spirit of God who led Jesus into the desert:
• Life of course is full of highs & lows.
• Quote: “If you were never in the valley, you could never appreciate the mountain top.”
• Now having just experienced the high and holy experience of his baptism, (MT)
• Jesus will now face a tough, down to earth experience in the wilderness. (V)
Quote: Warren Wiersbe:
“Jesus was not tempted so that the Father could learn anything about his Son, for the Father had already given his divine approval (i.e. previous verses Baptism)
Jesus was tempted so that every creature in heaven, on earth, or under the earth might know that Jesus Christ is the conqueror. He exposed Satan and his tactics, and defeated Satan. Because of his victory, we can have victory over the tempter”.
(2). It was the devil who tempted him:
• The devil is of course a spiritual being,
• More powerful than human beings but no-where near as powerful as God.
• The devil is a real spiritual being.
• Ill: Not the caricature we often see portrayed with red horns and a pitch fork.
• (a). In contrast to God who is omnipresent (everywhere)
• But the devil can only be in one place at one time.
• (b). In contrast to God who is omnipotent (all-powerful)
• The devil has limited power - but he is still very powerful,
• e.g. Archangel Michael could not defeat him in his own strength (book of Jude verse 9)
• (c). In contrast to God who is omniscient (all-knowing)
• The devil has limited knowledge - and he is still very, very clever!
• He knows that at certain times we are more vulnerable than at any other times,
• To fall prey to his scheming wiles.
• Now in our passage (Matthew chapter 4 verses 1-11):
• He picks what would seem to be the most perfect moment,
• To try to tempt Jesus into sinning, into disobeying his father.
The reason this would appear to be the perfect moment to trap Jesus is because:
• Jesus is just starting out on his public ministry,
• He is inexperienced as an itinerant preacher,
• He is fresh from his baptism,
• Where God the Father has just declared his pleasure with him,
• That probably put Jesus on a spiritual high,
• Now in verse 1-2 their is a contrast of emotions:
• He is alone in the wilderness,