Summary: The strength to fight temptation is found only in Christ. Satan uses every effort to convince us to sin. We must remember to whom we belong.
World-acclaimed illusionist Roy Horn goes to work on Friday evening, October 3, 2003, amid a celebrative atmosphere. It is his 59th birthday, and more than a thousand friends have just thrown him a party. And now an audience of fifteen hundred people waits excitedly inside the Mirage Hotel for a show Horn and his partner are about to give. Since the late sixties, Siegfried Fischbach and Roy Horn's high energy performances with wild animals have earned them such an international reputation they are known simply by their first names—Siegfried and Roy.
About halfway into the performance, Horn appears in the spotlight with a six-year-old white male tiger in a routine he has performed hundreds of times. Suddenly, Horn slips on stage. His loss of footing startles the 600-pound animal, causing it to lunge at him. In self-defense, the illusionist attempts to beat the animal away with his hand-held microphone. The audience gasps as the tiger grabs Horn by the neck, and drags him offstage like a limp rag doll. Stage-crew members use fire extinguishers to distract the animal and free Roy. Rushed to a local hospital, Roy undergoes emergency surgery to save his life.
In thousands of performances over 35 years, Horn evades the dangers of his trade. Yet, one night, in an unexpected loss of footing, his career (and nearly his life) is lost.
A few nights after the tragic accident, Larry King interviews Horn's partner. As Siegfried Fischbach attempts to explain what went wrong, two little words stand out as the primary cause. "Roy slipped". Roy slipped, and it cost him dearly.
1. We sometimes use that analogy to explain our response to temptation. “I slipped. I didn’t mean to; I can’t help myself. God knows I’m weak in that area of my life; why does he allow me to be tempted?
2. This frames temptation as a form of punishment: that God somehow delights in punishing his people to their breakpoint. Nothing is further from the truth. OYBT Luke 4 (as you turn there…)
1. We should understand a few things before delving into Luke’s account of the temptation of Jesus. The Holy Spirit fills Jesus at his baptism (3:22) and as Jesus returns from the Jordan the Spirit leads him into the desert (wilderness), where for forty days he is tempted by the devil (4:2).
2. The Spirit leading Jesus to the wilderness is not surprising. The practice of going into the wilderness to seek deeper communion with God is widely attested in historical writings. In fact, the monastic movement began with this very premise.
3. In light of this, we must not presume (as some do) that the Spirit leads Jesus out to be tempted by the devil. Rather, he leads him into the wilderness for a time of deep communion with the Father. It is this communion with God, accompanied by fasting, that Satan seeks to destroy .
III. TEMPTATION OF JESUS
1. If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.
A. Satan uses discernment to coax Jesus into breaking fellowship with God. It is forty days since Jesus ate, according to Luke. You can make your own decision—after all, what could be more logical than food?
B. What is the harm in having something to eat? Surely, God won’t punish you!
C. What does he want you to do, starve?
2. Worship me and you can have it all.
A. Satan uses desire to lead Jesus away from the Father.
B. You can do better than this; God is holding you back.
C. Look at what others have; what do you have?
3. If you are the Son of God, prove it.
A. Satan uses doubt to lure Jesus out of fellowship (communion) with God.
B. If you belong to him, he will protect you from harm.
C. A loving Father will not allow you to get hurt.
IV. JESUS’ RESPONSE
1. In each instance, Jesus is faithful to God—using scripture to defend himself and his position. At one point, Satan even quotes scripture (Ps. 91:11-12) to make his point, but Jesus does not waver.
2. Jesus bewilders Satan’s efforts for two reasons:
A. Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit
i. The HS helps us in the midst of temptation. He guides us and comforts us, showing us what we must do.
ii. Jesus is willing to be filled with the Spirit; he does not intend to go it alone
B. Jesus remembers to whom he belongs
i. He seeks communion with God through obedience, fasting and prayer
ii. He knows the teachings, promises and salvation-history of the scriptures
iii. He remains faithful to God’s expectation; God sends him with purpose
V. FINDING STRENGTH TO FIGHT TEMPTATION
1. In Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Moses instructs the Israelites to remember to whom they belong. In the midst of their oppression, they cry out to God and he delivers them.