Summary: From the Lord’s example of His temptation in the wilderness we can learn of Satan’s schemes and how to have victory over his temptations.
Resist the Devil
Be careful what you read and how you read it. Words are important and they can often be misunderstood. Nothing demonstrates this better than some humorous headlines from 2005. These are serious headlines that somehow made it past the editor’s table. Read them literally to see what I mean.
1. Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
2. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
3. Miners Refuse to Work after Death
4. Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
5. War Dims Hope for Peace
6. If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
7. Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
8. Enfield Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
9. Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
10. Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge
11. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
12. Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
13. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
14. Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
15. Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
16. Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
It is absolutely essential that we know the Word of God and apply the Word of God accurately. Too many people have misused the Word to excuse their behavior and fallen victim to the attacks of Satan. Young people, it is essential that you know God’s Word, that you hide it in your heart. Many of you are preparing to head off into college, where the vast majority of educators make a mockery of Christianity. They scoff at our beliefs and at our principles and values. They will challenge what you believe at every juncture, so you must know what you believe and why you believe it.
The best example of preparedness is Jesus Christ. Jesus was the Son of God, and yet as a man He studied the Word. When faced with times of discouragement, despair and the deceit of the enemy, Jesus always turned to the written Word of God.
In Matthew 4 we have one of the greatest exchanges ever recorded. It was a classic battle between the devil and the Messiah. Jesus had just come from one of the high points in his lifetime. He had been baptized, and at His baptism His Heavenly Father had declared His Love for Jesus and Jesus had been anointed by the Spirit of God. Often wonderful spiritual experiences are followed by times of tremendous temptation. Have you ever noticed that Sunday mornings and afternoons can be times of great temptation and attack. The devil lies to us and tries to deceive us into staying away from church, or if we do go to church to distract us, and when we leave church arguments can occur in the family, or there can be all kinds of emotional and spiritual attacks.
He is addressed by several names in this passage: devil, Satan, and tempter. He is the deceiver, the slanderer and the father of lies. He will accuse you and condemn you and cause all manners of doubts and anxieties in your life. And he most often comes to us when we are vulnerable.
Notice that it is the Spirit of God that leads Jesus into the wilderness. God does not tempt us. We are tempted by the enemy of our souls who roams the earth seeking to devour us and keep us away from Christ. And we are tempted by our own lusts and fleshly nature that wars within us. John had written a warning that we are not to love the world.
‘For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world.” (I John 2:16)
God does not tempt us, but He will from time to time lead us into a situation, a trial or difficulty where we are tested, so that our faith may be strengthened and proved genuine.
It is in those week moments that Satan whispers His lies. He tries to get us to doubt, or to take matters into our own hands, or to walk away from the Lord. In this passage we see how Jesus resisted the devil and the devil fled from Him.
It begins with knowing God’s Word and fortifying our lives with His Word.
The Great Wall of China is so massive it can be seen from outer space. It was meant to keep the enemy out. But it failed? How? The enemy could bribe a gatekeeper to let them in. The Gatekeeper of our hearts must be faithful to the Word of God or the wall of restraint will do no good.
Let’s look at this encounter between Jesus and His accurate handling of the Word of God, and Satan and His lying and deceptive use of God’s Word.