When we look at the start of Jesus’ earthly ministry, we have a great contrast that starts off with Jesus being immersed in the river by John, and the glory of the Father and the Spirit shining on Him. Immediately afterward, we are taken to the dry, barren wilderness, where another spiritual being has plans for the would-be Savior of mankind. We often look at the awesome response of Christ to Satan’s temptations, and forget to see that Jesus was also fully human on top of being fully God.
Preachers and solid Christians view temptation and sin as an ugly, disgusting disease that destroys from within and erodes our lives with God and with one another. While the later is true, the first part of that statement can be deceiving. The truth is this: Satan isn’t about using what you think is ugly or nasty—he brings out his best to pull you away. Just as Jesus has a plan for you in this life, so too does Satan—one that involves self-fulfillment, self-pleasure, and self-love.
READ MATTHEW 4:1-11
I. SATAN WILL HELP YOU FOCUS ONLY ON PHYSICAL WANTS (1-4)
A. Jesus was hungry, and Satan brings up a very exciting idea – Make
some bread. He would provide bread to the 5,000 later, why not go
ahead and get some practice and meet His own needs? It’s a win-win!
1. Satan often uses our physical needs and wants to lead us astray.
2. One survey of Christian men and women indicated that out of 1000
polled, 50% of men, and 20% of women had an addiction to
pornography. Over 60% of the women surveyed struggled with lust,
and 40% even had succumbed to sexual sin (SOURCE:
3. These aren’t people lost in the shuffle of the world; these are our
brothers and sisters in Christ! Why? It all comes down to what we
B. Jesus realized that we needed to be fed by more than just the physical,
we need the spiritual!
1. His response to Satan’s challenge is to feed upon the Word of God,
and to live on it in times of difficulty.
2. Our physical focus has to be able to be put into subjection (I
Corinthians 9:27), and make it walk according to the Spirit!
3. Jesus was buffeting His body to be used for the Lord. We need to
take note of His example when we feel physically weak!
(TRANSITION: Satan’s plan just doesn’t stop on the first attempt. He keeps
coming after Jesus, and us!)
II. SATAN WILL FULFILL YOUR DESIRE FOR ENTERTAINMENT OVER DOCTRINE (5-7).
A. Satan takes Jesus on top of the Temple for a very specific reason. Every
morning on the roof of the Temple a priest would stand waiting to blow
the trumpet at dawn, calling the men to the morning sacrifice.
1. They are looking for someone to come and entertain their notion of
2. Satan’s plan was simple—get Jesus to entertain the people with
their personal expectations and they (and He) could forget His real
3. We have people today who come to worship, not Christ, but their
own desires to feel joy, excitement…to meet their expectations!
B. Once again, Jesus comes out and takes His stand against such idolatry.
1. He once again quotes the Scripture! Even when Satan goes back
and quotes a complete misinterpretation of the Word, Jesus stands
against him and says NO!
2. How do we respond when people say things like, “Oh, it’s ok to
drink! Even Paul told Timothy it was cool!” or “It doesn’t matter what
you believe, as long as you believe in something!”
3. Is it ok to compromise our morals in order to fit in or be entertained?
(TRANSITION: So Satan has one more great deal to make Jesus.)
III. SATAN ONLY ASKS THAT YOU FORGET GOD (8-11).
A. “No biggie…If there’s no God, then there is no sin!” Seems like a simple
answer doesn’t it?
1. This is the ultimate weapon in Satan’s arsenal. It has worked since
the days of Noah, it worked in the times of Christ, and it still is with
2. Many of the people of Jesus’ time lived to satisfy their own desires.
Promiscuity, homosexuality, and pedophilia was rampant. People
worshiped 1000 different ways, under a 1000 different names.
Alcohol and drug use were tearing countries apart.
3. In 2,000 years, Satan has different means to help us to forget God,
but they are based on the very same principles they always have.
And we STILL fall for it! We are in the same rut we have been in!
What answer do we have?
B. Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the
Lord your God, and serve him only.’” What will our response be?
1. THERE’S THE PLAN! Once again, Christ challenges the devil with
the Word, and with the central focus of this scripture! WORSHIP
2. Will we be ok to compromise? “Ah, who cares if we still have a little
sin in our lives? Everyone sins, so why not go ahead and indulge?”
3. Or will we be standing firm with Christ? Will we tell Satan to get out?
Tell sin to take a hike? Tell the world we won’t back down and we
won’t embrace its way of thinking.
Satan will try his best to make you think following Jesus is the worst decision you could ever make! The truth is that Christ’s plan will always lead to life, while Satan’s only lasts for a season, and then kills us. The wages of sin is death, and sin is born out of our submission to temptation. Jesus is calling you to submit to something as well, to come through your own wilderness temptation. He wants to help you come through it as the winner and to offer you a new life based not on selfishness, but selflessness.