Summary: Jesus’ pattern for overcoming temptation...
Defeating the Enemy’s Advance
Our series has to do with preparing the way for Christ’s coming. He deserves the throne of our lives, to construct a lifestyle of kingdom living in us. There is a Kingdom, which God wants to happen in your life, giving you His purpose, favor, and peace.
In Matthew 4, we find Jesus beginning His mission, given to Him by the Father. His baptism has occurred. The Holy Spirit came upon Him. The Father spoke of His approval and declared His Son’s royal identity. Jesus’ purpose is in motion, but there is a battle to be fought, an enemy to be faced, a battle against Satan on the grounds of temptation.
It is one of the most monumental and mysterious spiritual battles of all time is recounted-the personal confrontation between Jesus Christ and Satan. The devil’s temptations directed at Jesus in the wilderness of Judea were observed by no other human being. He was entirely alone, and it is therefore obvious that we could know nothing of what transpired there unless Jesus Himself had told His disciples of it. He reveals the victory secret, as it were, of His momentous struggle with Satan.
If Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan declared His royalty; His testing in the wilderness demonstrated it. Here Jesus proved He was worthy to receive and to reign over the kingdom His Father would give Him.
The setting for this encounter is no accident. The wilderness of Matthew 4 has significant meaning. Eremos, means solitary place, a lonely place without the aid of friends. It implies a place, where Satan rules, a place of separation.
It has been suggested by some Bible teachers that Jesus entered the wilderness with a specific purpose of engaging Satan on his own ground, where Jesus would intentionally allow Satan to tempt Him, but without success. Jesus enters a world held captive under the curse of sin to free it from Satan’s grasp by living a sinless life yet dying a sinner’s death.
It seems that Matthew had two primary purposes in presenting Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness. First, Jesus’ victory demonstrated His divine kingship, His royal power to resist the only other great ruler and dominion in the universe, Satan himself. Second, Jesus’ victory over temptation is an example, a pattern that we might follow and overcome the advances of Satan’s rule over our lives.
To prepare the way for Christ to rule in us means we must reject Satan’s attempts to rule us through temptation. To participate in the Kingdom of Christ, we must live victoriously over sin.
1. A Prepared Awareness
The first step in defeating temptation is readiness. No soldier enters the fray of battle without preparation. No athlete competes with to win without preparing. Jesus did not enter the wilderness without a prepared awareness. Jesus entered the battle completely ready.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil…
Our first line of preparation is the Leading / Infilling of the Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus’ was conceived by the Holy Spirit at His birth, but we must also recognize that Jesus lived His life and engaged in ministry by the Power of the Holy Spirit. He would face temptation in the power of the Holy Spirit, as well.
v Ephesians 5:17-18 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
The Holy Spirit is our internal line of defense and our discerning guide into God’s will. His presence guards us in seasons of temptation, empowering us to live victoriously.
Temptation is “common place” in this world. Jesus did not forgo the experience. He was subject to the “tempter” as Satan is referred to in Matthew 4:3. One of Satan’s most common scriptural names is the devil, from diabolos, which means accuser or slanderer. Among the many other names given him are: the ruler of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the god of this world… Satan met Eve in the garden of Eden. He met Jesus in the wilderness. King David was tempted, while reigning on the throne od Israel. He met Peter beside a campfire. He enticed Judas, while he was still one of the 12. Ananias and Sapphira were tempted while members of the early church. There is no place in this world, where his temptation cannot strike.
Only through Jesus can we overcome. Our hope is in Jesus.
v Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.