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AVOIDING LIFES CLIFFS Tackling Temptation Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus was tempted so that every creature in heaven, on earth, or under the earth might know that Jesus Christ is the Conqueror. He exposed Satan and his tactics, and He defeated Satan. Because of His victory, we can have victory over the tempter.


I think that we all understand what temptation is.

There is a story told about A husband took his young daughter to the grocery store to help him buy groceries. In addition to the healthy items on his wife’s carefully prepared list, the two of them returned home with one of those big bags of M&Ms.

His wife said "Why did you buy this?" his wife asked. "You know M&Ms aren’t good for you!"

The husband said "don’t worry, honey, this bag of M&Ms has one-third less calories than usual."

The wife looks over the package. She says, "What makes you think that there are one-third less calories than usual?"

The husband says "Well, we ate about a third of the bag on the way home, so there’s one-third less calories than usual!"

We understand that temptation leads to trouble.

Such was the plight of man that I read about who was shopping in the mall with his wife when a shapely young woman in a short, form fitting dress walked by. He said as she walked by his eyes followed her, without looking up from the item she was examining his wife asked, “Was it worth the trouble that you are in? [Drew Anderson. (Tucson, Arizona) Reader’s Digest]

That’s the trouble with temptation.

This morning we are going to see Jesus meet and master temptation. In this passage we will see three general kinds of temptation that Satan is still using against us.

As we begin our study today it is necessary that we understand that these temptations were very much real. Mark Tells us that Jesus was THRUST into the wilderness by the spirit. Understand Jesus was consumed by MISSION. He was aware of what God had called him too. He was in the wilderness to futher strengthen His mission.

Just as Jesus was moved in the mission of God, every believer has been given a mission. You have a purpose and destiny from the Lord. The devil knows this as well, and so his plan is to distract you from that purpose and destiny. The tool he uses is by tempting you away from what God has for you.

But Jesus example tells us that we do not have to fall victm to temptations grip.


This account from Jesus life is recorded in three of the gospels; Matthew, Mark and Luke. Mark is the shortes, and simply says Jesus was thrust into the desert. Luke adds Jesus being full of the Spirit was led into the wilderness for 40 days.

No matter who you are, temptation will always be present. However, you do not have to be a victim of it. As we look at Jesus’ in your face encounter with temptation, we learn four essential lessons as we face temptation.

1. Don’t DENY it: Matthew 4:1-2 James 1:13a

Temptation is universal. There is no one who does not deal with it. Even Jesus had to deal with temptation.

Notice with me when the testing of Jesus came about (vv. 1-2). “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.’

First, Matthew records that this temptation of Jesus came directly after He was baptized. It was here that God the Father spoke and said, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased!” What a spiritual high. You will discover that testing will often come on the heels of a spiritual high point in your life.

Secondly, it came at time of physical weakness; Jesus had not eaten in 40 days. Temptations often come when we are a weakened state physically or emotionally, when we are exhausted and emotionally spent.

“In a survey on temptation among readers of the “Discipleship Journal”, the respondents noted temptations were more potent when they had neglected their time with God (81 percent) and when they were physically tired (57 percent). Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent.)” [Discipleship Journal, November / December, 1992.]

Third, this temptation came to Jesus when he was alone. We are the most susceptible to temptation when we are alone.

Here is the point, it does not matter how spiritual you are, you must always be on your guard against temptation. Luke says He was FULL of the Holy Spirit. While this did not exempt Jesus from the onslaught of temptation, I think an important lesson is we need to be filled with the spirit in order to be able to discern when the devil is trying to trip us up, and act accordingly.

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