Summary: Our focus needs to be on God, not our flesh. Our focus needs to be on God, not false faith. Our focus needs to be on God, not on false gods.
“All This I Will Give You”
Sun Tzu was a general in China about 500 BC. If we relate this time to other world events, the Jews were in captivity and the prophets Haggai and Zechariah were preaching. About 520, the Jews began to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem and we can read about this in the book of Nehemiah. Why is this man Sun Tzu so important? This man was a general and collected many essays on warfare and dealing with military matters. His collection is called the ’Art of War.’ Many of his ideas spread to Japan and other Asian countries and even spread to France just before the revolution.
The works of Sun Tzu have been widely known in the United States since the mid-1970s. Diplomat Henry
Kissinger has made reference to Sun Tzu and the principles for the conduct of warfare has been the subject of serious study in U.S. military circles for many years. ’The Art of War’ as applied to business, sports, diplomacy and personal lives has been popularized in American business and management texts. Sun Tzu may be the most frequently quoted Chinese personality in the world today.
The ancient Chinese warrior Sun Tzu taught his men to "know your enemy" before going into battle. For if "you know your enemy and know yourself," he wrote, "you need not fear the result of a hundred battles." But, Sun Tzu warned, "If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat."
This man’s ideas about warfare have been applied to many different areas of life by different people. One of the things that he taught, was that you should know your enemy. When you know you enemy, you need not fear the outcome of battles. For Christians, we face spiritual battles each day. We face off against temptation and the lure of the world each and every day. We face off against our adversary, Satan, each and every day of our lives. If we understand him better, we will be empowered by God’s Word to overcome temptation and sin in our lives.
We have seen in Genesis 3 how Satan lies and tells half-lies to tempt us.
We have seen in Job 1 and 2 that Satan uses selfishness to draw us away from God.
Today we will study our adversary again and see another weapon that he uses against us. Satan offers us idols to take the place of God in our lives. He does this on a consistent basis. I would like to look at Matthew chapter 4 today and study the temptation of Jesus that is recorded there. This temptation of Jesus gives us several ways that we can study our adversary and be prepared for him.
READ MATTHEW 4:1-11
As I looked at this passage, I see that Satan is trying to distract Jesus from keeping His focus on the Heavenly Father and wants Him focused elsewhere. Satan wants to entice Jesus away from God. Satan wants to entice us away from God. How does he do that? How did he do it with Jesus? Satan enticed Jesus to first focus on the flesh. Satan also enticed Jesus to focus on false faith. Then, Satan enticed Jesus to focus on false gods.
I. FOCUS ON THE FLESH (4:1-4)
When we begin to look at this passage in Matthew 4, we see that Jesus had preparations for the temptations. We see in chapter 3 that Jesus had just had a mountaintop experience with His baptism. The Holy Spirit leads Jesus into the desert. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are– yet was without sin.” Matthew 4 records just one of the times that Jesus was tempted.
Jesus fasts for 40 days and 40 nights. I recall recently in a Sunday School class that we looked at this ’40
days’ all throughout Scripture and it indicates a time of renewal or cleansing or a period in which you do something for God.
* God purified the earth with rain for 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7)
* Moses received the 10 commandments after being on the mountain for 40 days (Exodus 34)
* The 12 spies went into the land and spied it out for 40 days and nights (Numbers 13)
* Elijah was strengthened by God and traveled for 40 days and nights to reach Horeb (1 Kings 19)
* Jesus remained with the disciples 40 days after His resurrection (Acts 1)
The end of verse 2 makes a statement that shows the humanity of Jesus and perhaps the humor of the Apostle Matthew, “He was hungry.” Jesus, in the flesh, was going to be tested. Jesus was a human being like you and I and He was about to be severely tested. His body was now prepared as was His spirit. Verse 3 tells us that the tempter, Satan, came to Him.