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Summary: Temptation is NOT SIN - It is rather an opportunity for spiritual growth and greatness. In today’s sermon we will see: Temptation from God’s Perspective Temptation from Satan’s Perspective And How To Overcome Temptation

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“Overcoming Temptation”

02/17/2008

by

Dcn. Chris Nerreau

Text: Matthew 4:1-11

INTRODUCTION: May the words of my lips and the meditation of my heart be always acceptable in thy sight, giving praise, glory and honor to Your name our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen!

Webster’s dictionary defines the word “temptation” in this way – “to lure, entice, draw or pull towards.” I understand temptation all to well…

ILLUSTRATION: When I was a kid, I loved fruit roll ups (actually I still do). I can remember my mother coming home from the grocery store, she would say the same thing every time – “these groceries need to last for two weeks, don’t eat them all in one day!” Then she would say – “and Chris, the fruit roll ups are for school lunch, don’t take any without asking.” Of course late in the evening while everyone was asleep, I would sneak down the stairs, through the kitchen and into the cupboard, all the while thinking to myself – “tomorrow my mom will find out and I am going to be in big trouble! This is stupid!” Yet the temptation was to great. Once I ate one fruit roll up, what did it matter, I was already in trouble so I ate two or three of them.

Does this story sound familiar to you? We have all been there, faced with a moment of temptation. I’ll bet you knew that temptation is one Satan’s most powerful tools in separating us from fellowship with God, but what I bet you did not know that God can use temptation as well, not to separate but to strengthen us.

PROPOSITION: The Bible says (James 1:13) “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one.” But, while God does not tempt us, but He does allow us to be tempted.

ORIENTATION: Today I want to discuss why, as we see:

• Temptation From God’s Perspective – v.1

• Temptation From Satan’s Perspective – v. 3-9

• Overcoming Temptation – v.11

TRANSITION: So let’s begin Matthews narrative by looking at the…

I. Temptation From God’s Perspective – V.1

EXPLAINATION: I want to being by saying something that I believe we need to hear – “To be tempted is not a sin.”

HEBREWS 2:13 TEACHES US:

1. IT IS NOT SIN, BECAUSE JESUS WAS TEMPTED: Hebrews 2:13 “For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.”

Look with me if you will at our passage today:

Observation – (v. 1)

v.1 “Jesus was led up by the Spirit”

Often times we think that it was the devil who planned the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, but if you look at the passage more closely you will see that it was the Holy Spirit who drove Jesus out into the wilderness. Why?

 Having just been baptized, received the Holy Spirit and Heard His Fathers voice, Jesus now is driven into the wilderness for a few reasons:

• To prepare for the suffering of the ministry – Sometimes it takes a desert to prepare us for a storm…

• To show that He was the new “Adam” – In Genesis 3:12 Adam confesses that He gave into temptation (which is sin) Christ the “New Adam” did not.

• To help us as we suffer with a full understanding of temptations power.

Interpretation – (v. 13, 14)

• God’s perspective is not like ours, He see the good in all things, even temptation! (Romans 8:28 – God uses all things for good…)

• God see’s temptation not as a hindrance but an opportunity for spiritual growth, an opportunity to overcome and an opportunity to trust in Him!

• In our passage today, we can see the glorious victory of Christ, as He prevails against temptation, so in that sense even temptation by the Devil can be used by God as a good thing.

• So we see that from God’s perspective – Temptation is a great tool to grow us spiritually.

Illustration – Pastor Church Swindoll once said - “Where there is no temptation, there can be little claim to virtue.”

This is exactly what I mean, that we are called to overcome temptation as a means of growing in spiritual virtue. And it is in this sense that God see’s temptation as an opportunity for success…

Application – Today are you being tempted? From what perspective are you viewing this temptation? Do you automatically consider it a bad thing? Or could it be that God is providing an opportunity for spiritual growth?

• How would your life change if you could in fact overcome this particular temptation?

• In order to overcome temptation in your life, you have first got to stop allowing Satan to define it! It is not sinful to be tempted, and temptation can be overcome!

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