Summary: What tempts you? How do you resist? We often find it difficult to not give in. Let's follow Jesus into the desert as he experiences the same temptations as we do.
You can listen to the podcast of this sermon here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/697261/7412800
Following Jesus Into the Desert
• [video - the marshmallow test] We’re not so very different than these amazingly cute kids. First conducted at Stanford U. in 1972.
• We sneak up on the edge of giving in to temptation, we rationalize it, justify it, and struggle constantly to delay our gratification.
• But some of the results of that sociology/psychology test are fascinating. This was a longitudinal test. They follow the original test subjects for decades. They discovered that the kids who waited and withstood the temptation to eat the marshmallow had a greater likelihood of personal and professional success later in life. They were more likely to form significant and long-lasting relationships.
• It seems reasonable to conclude that, no matter what stage of life we are in, the better we learn to manage our temptations, the greater the blessings we will experience.
• So it’s no accident that the glorification of Jesus at his baptism (this is my son, whom I love) is followed immediately by being sent to the wilderness for the final preparation for His ministry.
• We follow our Lord and King into that desert temptation to learn and emulate His words and deeds.
Matthew 4:1–2 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.
• Matthew tells us that Jesus, in His humanity, was put to the test.
• The early Greek was a word that meant to lure with a bait. Over time, it carried a dual meaning of “temptation to sin” as well as “a trial with a beneficial purpose.
When you are tempted, you are in a trying situation that reveals your character and tests your commitment.
• This is exactly what happens to Jesus.
Matthew 4:3–10 NLT
3 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.”
4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ ”
7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’”
8 Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”
10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’”
• It’s important to note something about this test:
• Satan (accuser) never acts. He incites Jesus to act with a a question each time to raise doubt.
• If (or since) you are declared the son of God, you should be able to act like it.
• He goes after:
o perceived needs (v. 3)
o Goals (v. 5-6)
o Our ego/will (v. 8-9)
• Jesus’ consistent answer is to counter the doubt/accusation with scripture. (vv. 4, 7, 10)
• It’s important to realize, however, that just knowing the words in the Bible won’t prevent us from giving in to temptation.
• Even Satan knew the words. He certainly didn't apply them properly.
• Jesus knew the scriptures and had the character to apply them.
When it comes to temptation, character counts.
• Being able to both know the word and apply it are the way to resist temptation.
• When we are tempted, we are in a trying situation that reveals our character and tests, our commitment, we must begin by understanding two things:
• First, tests, trials are inevitable.
1 Corinthians 10:12–13 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
Matthew 26:41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”
• While these trials and temptations are inevitable, we can conquer them.