Summary: Part 7 in preaching through the book of Matthew. Looking at the temptation of Jesus.

Sermon-2/4/07-Matt. 4:1-11-The Temptation of Christ

Intro. 2 examples of How to avoid temptation: 1) Joke

2) Benedict of Nursia (c. 480-543 AD) sought to avoid temptation by wearing a rough hair shirt and living in a cave for 3 years, where his food was lowered to him on a cord. He once threw himself into a clump of thorns and briars until his body was covered with bleeding wounds, but he found no escape from temptation. It followed him wherever he went and in whatever he did.

Vs. 1 context-Led into the wilderness-Throughout his public ministry we will see Jesus often get away to lonely places by himself to prepare for a particularly significant event (now at beginning of ministry, before calling disciples, before feeding 5,000, before walking on water, before crucifixion) a pattern in the life of Christ-example for us to follow.

The devil-The tempter-the devil-Greek word diabolos (accuser) This is not a symbol for evil or some emblem of the man’s propensity toward corruption

“The devil is an intelligent, powerful spirit-being that is thoroughly evil and is directly involved in perpetrating evil in the lives of individuals as well as on a much larger scale. He is not an abstraction, either as a personification of the inner corrupt self or in the sense of a symbolic representation of organized evil.”(Clint Arnold)

Fasting-Probably total abstention from food, but not drink.

-used to of focusing your attention in prayer by disciplining yourself. Jesus was preparing himself for his public ministry by spending this extended period of time with His father, who had just confirmed their relationship in the baptism.

In that context, the devil comes to tempt Christ-help us see what we can learn from this temptation.

I. Parallels in the Temptation of Christ

A. To Adam

How had Satan tempted the first Adam? By appealing to his appetite, “eat the fruit” and it had worked so well with the first Adam that he tries it again now with the second Adam, Christ.

But we see Jesus as the Son of God fulfills what Adam, the first “son” of God in the creation, failed to accomplish. The first Adam failed in the best of conditions, Jesus as the last Adam succeeds in the worst. Death was the result of Adam’s sin, but Jesus suffering and temptation will enable him to make atonement for his people and bring life.

B. To the Children of Israel:

Simply the latest in a series of illusions that Matthew has made comparing the early life of Christ to Israel’s history.

-flight to Egypt

-Called out of Egypt

-40 days of fasting in the desert to Israel’s 40 years of testing in the desert.

-First temptation of the children of Israel in the desert, no water, complained-God supplied, no food, complained, God supplied manna, first temptation of Christ, no food-Christ trusted God.

- The parallel is made even stronger when we see that each of Jesus replies to the tempter comes from Deuteronomy, Moses final book to the Israelites.

In the first temptation when Jesus responds he is quoting from Deut. 8:3

-In Deut. 8:2 Moses reminded the people of Israel that God had led them for 40 years in the desert to humble and to test them. One of the tests was through hunger and God’s miraculous provision of manna. The purpose of the test was to teach them that “man does not live…”(Deut. 8:3)

Israel should have taken God at His Word that he would care for them, even when they were in an area that had no apparent means of feeding so many. If it was God’s will for them to be there, they needed to trust Him when he said that He would take care of them. For Jesus, since it is God’s will for Him to be in the desert as a man who relies not on his own ability to create food but on God’s ability to supply it, Jesus cannot go contrary to the Father’s will. Jesus trusts what His Father has revealed to be his will.

II. Satan tried to provide shortcuts through the Temptation of Christ.

Each of these temptations was a shortcut to something that was going to be Christ’s at some point in time. Satan was tempting Christ to take a shortcut, get it the easy way, short term gain for long term pain.

A. Shortcut to food

Fasted for 40 days & he was hungry!! Satan’s temptation “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread”

Jesus has it within His powers to do that, later he multiplies loaves and fishes to feed 5000 and 4000 people. But at this point it is not God’s will for Him to acquire food miraculously.

A temptation is not always trying to get a person to do something that is inherently sinful. It is not inherently wrong to turn stones into bread. But the Father’s will for the Son at this time is to fast, not to eat. The question is really what is the Father’s will for the Son?

In time God would provide food for Christ, but this was not the way.

The temptation for us is to do God’s will, obey and be faithful. When we know what God wants us to do, we must be faithful and follow His leading, trusting Him to provide.

(Application-we must obey and be faithful to what we know to be God’s will and trust him to provide-giving/stewardship-money, time etc.)

B. Shortcut to a following

Pinacle of the temple-This may refer to the southwest corner of the Temple mount. According to Josephus, there was a designated spot on the corner of the Temple mount high above the houses and shops below from which the priest stood when blowing the trumpet. Probably about 450 feet above the Kidron valley, Why did Satan did Satan choose the height of the temple? To provide an quick and easy way for Christ to gain a following.

Listen to the verses Satan quotes from Psalm 91:11-12, where the psalmist asserts God’s protecting care for the faithful in Israel. Imagine the reaction if Christ had done this. Because, once again Jesus has the ability to do what the devil tempts him to do. Later in Matthew, at the time of his arrest, Jesus states that if he wanted, he could call on His Father to rescue him by sending more than 12 legions of angels (26:53).

So, if Jesus were to cast himself off the high place of the temple and the angels rescued him, think of the reaction of the people! That kind of display would gain Jesus an instant following of people who believed he was the messiah, but that was not the way God had planned for Jesus to gain followers-.

-In fact the devil’s quotation is a blatant misuse of Scripture to try to manipulate Jesus. The original context in Psalms does not imply that God will send protecting care for every harmful situation.

And Jesus sees through the devil’s twisting of scripture and replies from Deuteronomy 4:7. (see also Deut. 6:13).


C. Shortcut to a kingdom

Satan takes him up to a mountain, perhaps Mt. Hermon, located at Israel’s northern border. It is the tallest mountain in Israel. Any empire that wished to conquer Israel from the north had to pass by Mt. Hermon. …Through out the centuries the different kings and kingdoms that had ruled the land had build fortresses and cities in the foothills of Mt. Hermon.

-No other mountain in Israel so exemplifies political control of the land.

Satan takes Christ there and says, “I will give you all these kingdoms if you will only worship me.”

Those kingdoms are the very reason Christ came to earth. His ultimate purpose is to gather the nations into the kingdom of God. But before He sits on his royal throne, he must hang on the cross.

-So here the devil offers another shortcut. Jesus can bypass the cross, but taking the shortcut requires an immense condition: He must give up the will of his Father in heaven to worship the devil on earth.

-The Father’s will for Jesus life is the cross, but Satan tries to sidetrack him from that mission by getting him to take a shortcut to gain kingdom that will someday be his the hard way.

Third quote from the book of Deuteronomy (6:13)

III. The Root of All Temptation seen in the Temptation of Christ.

“You will be like God.”

In each of these temptations what is Satan trying to get Jesus to do? Put his own personal will and desires above the will of God the Father.

Root of all sin-You will be like God. No longer dependant on Him, but independent.

Satan-Is. 14:13-14;

Adam & Eve-Gen. 3:4-5

At it’s core sin is the when we act on the desire to cast off God’s will and have our own way, that is when we try to make ourselves the god of our own life.

IV. Lessons Learned from the Temptation of Christ.

How we can avoid temptation

Walk in the Spirit-Matt. 4:1-led by the spirit, eph. 5:18-be filled (controlled) with the Spirit, live in submission to His will, 2 weeks.

Know the Word-Psalm 119:9-11

B. We worship God because we have given our lives over to Him.

One last thing to be reminded of as we leave this passage is that God The Father alone is worthy of worship. When we worship God it is a tangible demonstration that we have given over the rule of our lives to God’s will.

(App. End with worship of God)