Summary: We have heard numerous stories about Jesus’ temptation. Yet, perhaps the amazing thing of the story of Christ’s temptations is that He knows our story so well.
Heaven’s Empathy for You and Me
Movement One: Jesus was tempted
Set Stage: (Bracket discussion by familiarity). Questions: We know this story, don’t we? You have heard it preached many times? You have studied it in Bible studies and Sunday School haven’t you? I think we would all say that we know it pretty well, wouldn’t we? Two gospel describe this encounter.
Story: (Retell the story with some practical and theological emphases:)
1) Luke doesn’t say the reason for going was temptation;
2) Experience of temptation to fulfill physical wants/needs/desires
Illustration: Woodpecker hunting for bugs select a tree and begin to search. If he finds nothing or the wood is too hard, he moves over just a little and begins again. He repeats this process until he meets success.
3) Experience temptation to gain world power (temptation to Lordship)
4) Experience temptation to fulfill religious followership
5) Luke closes with the cryptic remark that Satan left until an opportune time.
Transition: Yes, we know that story well. We can identify with the temptations with which Christ was confronted, can’t we?
Movement Two: We are tempted
Humorous Illustration: A young man was restricted from driving the car because of poor grades. Yet he continued to carry his car keys everytime he left the house. One day his dad reminded him that he was restricted from driving, and asked why he was taking his car keys out with him. The boys response, "I was just being prepared in case I was tempted to go for a drive."
Repetition - Yes, we know that story well. Can’t you identify with the temptations with which Christ was confronted? Not the exact temptations, but the pulls to satisfy your own needs, pull a power grab, or become popular.
Negative Biblical characters:
1) We know how bad Ananias and Sapphira were. They want recognition but don’t want to pay the price
2) We know how bad Demas was. He loves the world and the things it promises
3) We know how bad Simon the Sorcerer was. He sees the things of God as a way to line the pockets
4) We know how bad the Pharisees were. They use religiousness to flaunt their relationship with God
Positive Biblical characters:
5) But James and John can desire to be great
6) But David can be overcome by his sexual desires
7) But Peter can argue with God’s plan
8) But Martha can fill her time with superficial pursuits and less important activities
9) But Paul can let us know that he struggled spiritually without giving us the particulars.
10) Consider A. C. who found it difficult to be in an intimate relationship without being involved in sex
11) Consider G. R. who found it hard to say no when he was around alcohol as an alcoholic
12) Consider B. B. who spent more and more time at work while the family became more resentful of his absence.
13) Consider A. T. who was confronted with what to do about illegal practices at his place of employment.
14) Consider R. W. who felt there was something more she could be doing for Christ’s service with her beautiful voice, but new it would cost her tremendously