Summary: This sermons says that Christians should be aware of the different areas of life that the devil would tempt us and know how to deal with them.
LIFE’S AREAS OF TEMPTATION
ILLUSTRATIONS People in other nations who print signs in English often make interesting, and sometimes humorous mistakes. A sign in a Paris hotel read, "Please leave your values at the front desk." Many a traveler far from home and its restraints has done exactly that. Real values cannot be laid aside that easily; not if they are sincerely held! We cannot take the advice of Oscar Wilde who wrote; "The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it." That's funny at first, but the longer you think about it you find it sad. Sin, temptation, spiritual values, cannot be lightly brushed aside with shallow humor.-(Robert Shannon, Preaching March/April 1998)
After the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted or tested by the devil. Depending on the intention at hand, the temptation or test can be positive in which one proves his or her faithfulness or trustworthiness. Or it could be negative, in which one is entice to fail. The test could come in the form of challenge, seduction, burden, sufferings, threat, and an offense.
In the case of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ it was both – to prove his trustworthiness and to entice him to failure.
The temptation of Jesus is not just relevant to our Lord as the Messiah but also instructional for all of His followers. If the Christ was tempted, then His followers would experience it too. What I would like for us to focus on is the areas of our personal lives that the devil intends to attack us. Christ’s personal experience with the devil gave us an insight which aspect of our lives we would experience temptation or testing.
How does the devil tempt us?
1. Every person would be tempted in the area of what is NECESSARY IN LIFE (vv. 2-4).
The first temptation is related to His needs. The text said that he was hungry since he fasted for forty days and forty nights. The devil assumed that he needs to eat and challenged to use His power if he is truly the Son of God to turn the stones into bread. “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
The response of Jesus indicates what is necessary in order for man to live in this world. The devil implied that bread alone is what we need to live. Bread is a metaphor for our physical or material provisions. Jesus however indicates that bread alone is not enough. He said that we live on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
“Word” refers to the spoken word of God as recorded in the Scriptures. Spoken word of God signifies His will, desires, and plan for our lives. Bread will give you the energy to live but the Word of God would give you the guidance on how to live safely, wisely, productively, relationally, ethically, and morally.
ILLUSTRATION Your automobile needs gasoline to cause the engine to run but without a map you won’t be able to go to your destination safely and promptly. In the same way, man needs material provision in order to live but Word of God would show him how to live meaningfully and significantly.
The devil however deceives us by suggesting that what we need is simply the material provision. He wanted us to believe that if our material needs are met then we are good. As a result, a lot of people today are focus on securing their material needs and ignoring their spiritual needs which is more essential in life.
John 4:32–34 (NIV) 32But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” 34 “My food,” said Jesus “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
Jesus indicated that the will of God provides purpose and meaning of His existence. When that purpose is achieved then he accomplished the reason for His coming. Life is not just about existing but understanding the purpose of our existence and achieves it. In order for us to understand the purpose of our existence, we turn to the Word of God that reveals every aspect of our existence.
Therefore it is of prime importance that we understand what it is really necessary in order to live. The devil tempts us so we would fail in life. In addition, we need to pass this test of knowing what is necessary in life in order for us to invest in more lasting endeavor.
1 John 2:16–17 (NIV) 16For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.