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Summary: The title says it all!

Dealing with Temptation

Matthew 4:1-11

May 2, 2004


As we begin our time together in the Word of God, I would ask that you turn in your Bibles to Matthew 4. If you¡¦re using the Bibles in the seats, this is on page 682.

In December of last year, we began to look at the book of Matthew. And we continued on that track until we began the 40 Days of Purpose.

Now that¡¦s over, I want us to continue being people of purpose by studying the book of Matthew.

Originally I had only intended to look at the Sermon on the Mount, because it¡¦s so practical. And we¡¦ll be getting into that pretty soon. But there is a lot we can learn from the entire gospel.

And the theme that keeps going through my head for the book of Matthew is this: ¡§Real Christianity for real people.¡¨ Catchy, huh? My desire for our time in Matthew is that everyone who hears these messages will get the idea that Jesus had some very practical things for us, and that His words are relevant and applicable today.

And in our passage today, we see that very clearly. So please follow along as I read the first eleven verses of Matthew 4.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

4 Jesus answered, "It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ "

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:

" `He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands,

so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ "

7 Jesus answered him, "It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’¡¨

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ "

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Let me set the stage here: Jesus had just come off an awesome experience at His baptism.

And now He¡¦s in the desert, being tempted by the devil. He¡¦s hungry, thirsty, tired, worn, and weary. Anybody here been any of these? Okay.

And it¡¦s during this hard time that the devil comes up to Him and tries to get Him to fall.

He is facing major temptations. The devil is basically saying, ¡§I can make all this go away if you¡¦ll just do what I say.¡¨ That was the temptation. ¡§I¡¦ll make your life better and more enjoyable if you¡¦ll just do what I say.¡¨

You see, temptation always offers to make our life easier or better.

Well, today we¡¦re going to look at this beast of temptation, and we¡¦re going to find some practical ways to help us get past them and overcome them.

Now let me warn you up front that we are not going to cover everything there is to know about temptation and how to deal with it, okay?

No doubt you¡¦ve heard messages about this before, and I¡¦ll probably miss something you think I should have said.

But I¡¦m like everybody else in one sense ¡V when God is emphasizing something in my life, I kinda miss other things sometimes.

So today I¡¦ll be sharing some things that I think God would have me emphasize, okay? I¡¦m not ignoring other things, just focusing on these things.

So let¡¦s start to look at¡K

Keys to recognizing and handling temptation.

Parts of this message will be a bit of review from a message in the 40 Days of Purpose, when we dealt with becoming like Christ, which is the process we call discipleship. But I think you will find it helpful to review.

The first key to dealing with temptation is to¡K

1. Know what temptation really is.

Temptation is not sin. Temptation is the opportunity to sin.

How do we know that temptation is not sin? Because the Bible says right here in our passage that Jesus Himself was tempted, and the Bible is equally clear that Jesus did not sin.

So it¡¦s very important that we learn what temptation really is and how it operates. Let¡¦s take a look quickly at James 1:13-15, and I want to give us¡K

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