Summary: A sermon that looks at the temptation of Jesus and encourages people to see the importance of God’s agenda in their lives.
Someone once said
Have you ever wondered why opportunity knocks once –
yet temptation bangs on the door constantly?
Do you find this true?
Supermarkets are aware that we are easily tempted.
Why do you think they place lollies, soft drinks and magazines at near the cash registers where we have to wait.
What are the things that tempt you?
To understand where our temptations may come from,
it is helpful to consider what drives us, what we have desires for.
What are your desires?
A good career!!
Desire to be strong!!
Desire to be seen to be successful, environmentally friendly, wealthy, loving,
Fill in the gap, how do you want other people to see you?
Perhaps your desire is to have a comfortable retirement.
Or to be the one who has all the answers.
What do you desire?
One of my desires is to be a good dad.
I have this as one of my desires so my kids are loved.
Now many of our desires,
much of what drives us are not necessarily bad.
Many of them are in fact quiet good.
However they also are potentially dangerous
They are potentially our weak points that each of us need to be aware of.
Satan can use them to lead us away from God and his approach to life.
Let’s have a look how this works.
As I said one of my desire is to be a good dad.
Most people would say this is a good.
What do you reckon, being a good dad is something good?
In my desire to be a good dad however at times I get angry with my children.
I get angry and I fall for the temptation to yell at them.
I have unjustly punished them.
At times I expect them to be perfect little angels 100% of the time.
And other times I let them get away with too much.
My desire to be a good dad on some occasions becomes more about how I look,
than about loving my kids.
To my kids I say sorry, I have fallen for Satan’s temptations to be more concerned about my desire to be seen to be a good dad,
than the reason why I have this desire, so you are loved.
The reality is Satan will use what our desires are in life to distract us, from God.
And this is falling for temptation.
In today’s Gospel reading Satan tempted Jesus with three things that most of at some stage will be tempted with.
Now first of all if we go to Matthew chapter 4 verse 1 we see that the Spirit of God lead Jesus into the wilderness.
God himself had placed Jesus in a situation where he could be tempted by Satan.
And look how Satan attempts to tempt Jesus
Now most of us are probably tempted by particular types of food.
Sometimes I wonder why my wife places the apples next to a block of chocolate.
Well Jesus was out in the wilderness fasting before he commenced his ministry.
So he could have been hungry.
So Satan says turn these stones into bread.
What an attractive proposition.
But he didn’t..
Satan also tempted Jesus by encouraging him to place himself at the centre of attention.
Imagine if Jesus had the turned the stones into bread.
Oh man I know some farmers at the moment looking out in their drought ridden paddocks who could use that miracle.
But Jesus was aware he was on his Father’s mission,
he didn’t need others to see him as someone spectacular.
And it wasn’t the time for him to be the centre of attention, nor the way.
Satan also tempted Jesus with a fraud.
He said to Jesus look you can have all the kingdoms of the world if you bow down and worship me.
That’s a bit like me saying to my daughter you can have all the money in your money box so long as you clean the bathroom.
She already owns the money.
And likewise Jesus already owns this world.
But thankfully Jesus responded
“You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only Him”
Are these not the same temptations the devil tempts us with?
Desire to provide for ourselves and our family.
Desire to have some power.
Desire to be seen to be good amongst others.
But these temptations are only part of the big temptation Satan places often in our lives
This is to stop focusing on God and God’s agenda,
and focus elsewhere.
And he does this by either
encouraging us to have as the number one priority in our life our own agenda,
or Satan’s agenda.
Satan will put questions in our mind like,
“surely God doesn’t want you to miss out” like the snake did in Genesis chapter 3