Summary: Prepare well to battle Satan by watching how Jesus’ handled temptation, and by trusting Jesus defeated temptation.
v When I was coaching high school basketball I learned that the key to defeating our opponents was to know them well.
Ø We’d even drive for hours to watch our opponents play.
Ø We’d study our opponents so thoroughly that we could teach our team their plays.
Ø The time spent scouting paid off because we beat many teams that had more talent than we.
v Human beings face a formidable opponent everyday - Satan.
Ø Satan is a fallen angel and has great power.
Ø His goal is to take as many of us to hell with him as possible.
Ø The Bible does more than warn us about Satan’s intent and his attacks. Our text give us the opportunity to watch Satan in action and to see how he can be defeated.
Ø We can prepare well to battle Satan by watching how Jesus handled temptation and by trusting that Jesus defeated temptation.
v After Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness where Jesus stayed by himself for 40 days and 40 nights.
Ø During this time he didn’t eat anything. Being the human being that he was, he was hungry at the end of those 40 days.
Ø Though Satan had been tempting Jesus that whole time, we only hear about the last three temptations.
v Satan began by saying, “Since you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.”
Ø I’ve always been puzzled by this temptation. What would be so wrong for Jesus to do what Satan suggested? We learn why it would have been wrong from Jesus’ answer. He said: “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
Ø Jesus was telling Satan that it isn’t food that sustains us but God’s Word. Now Jesus wasn’t thinking about Bible study but about the creating and sustaining power of the words God speaks. The only reason bread fills us and energizes us because God tells it to. Without his Word, bread and every other kind of food would be useless to us. If that’s true, then God can certainly sustain us without food. That’s exactly what God the Father had done for Jesus during those 40 days in the wilderness. Even though he didn’t have a bit of food during that time, God the Father miraculously sustained him. Therefore had Jesus relieved his physical hunger by turning the stones into bread through his own power instead of relying on his Father to provide, Jesus would have committed the sin of distrust.
Ø Satan still uses that temptation on us today. If money is tight at home so that we don’t think we’re going to make ends meet, we may be tempted to fudge on our timecard at work so that our paycheck will be bigger at the end of the month. Or we may be tempted to save money by taking some office supplies home from work for personal use. Any time we think that there is a better way to provide for ourselves than to trust in God’s continuing care we fall for this temptation of Satan’s.
v Satan didn’t seem to be the least bit discouraged when Jesus defeated him in that first round. Satan showed great resourcefulness when he took Jesus to the high point of the temple in Jerusalem and told him to jump down (a distance perhaps of about 450 ft. if this was the side of the temple that hung over the Kidron Valley). Satan even quoted Scripture to show how God had promised to send his angels to protect his people.
Ø In the first temptation Satan had tried to get Jesus to show lack of trust in his heavenly Father, and now he was trying to lead him into a false trust.
Ø Although Satan had used Scripture to back up his point, Jesus responded with another passage to show how Satan had twisted God’s promises. Jesus said: “It is written: “Don’t test the Lord your God.”
Ø While God has promised to care for us he doesn’t want us to take foolish chances. It’s sinful to think that we can drive recklessly or to fill our bodies with junk food and not exercise saying: “When your time is up, it’s up.” In one sense that’s true but God has told us to care for ourselves all the while trusting that he will watch over us. By our carelessness we can shorten our lives by foolish chances we take. So while God has promised to watch over us and to protect us, we are to go about our God-given responsibilities with due diligence to our own safety (look both ways before crossing the street, walking instead of running when at the pool, etc.).