Summary: Temptation is the bridge that leads to sin should be choose to cross it.
Matthew 4: 1 - 11
Intro: Drew Anderson from Tucson, Arizona wrote of his experience in Reader’s Digest. He was shopping in a mall with his wife when a shapely young woman in a very short, form fitting dress walked by. He said as she walked by his gaze followed her. Without looking up from the item she was examining, his wife asked, “Was it worth the trouble that you are in?”
I Temptations come in all sizes and shapes. I ask you this morning for a show of hands. If you believe temptation is sin, raise your hand. If you believe temptation is NOT sin, raise your hand.
A Temptations are all opportunities. They are opportunities that either strengthen or corrupt us.
B In our gospel lesson today, we encounter Jesus in the wilderness with Satan. This passage is known as “the temptation of Christ.”
C We learn from this passage that temptation is NOT sin. Temptation is pressure to give in to influences that lead away from God and into sin. Think of temptation as a bridge into sin only if we cross it.
II Look closely at this passage. This is clearly a verbal battle between Jesus and Satan.
A The first 2 temptations begin with the word, “IF” (GK. e?/ ei) which can also be translated by the word “SINCE”.
B Satan is making an argument on a fact that he assumed is true. He knows that Jesus has the power to do it.
C For Jesus, the temptation is to use His God-given power for self-gratification.
III We are often tempted by people, things, or situations that lure us into becoming a spoiled child of God.
A We are tempted to act in irresponsible ways and then pray for God to pick up the pieces caused by our dumb decisions.
B We are tempted to cut corners to get what we want or what we think we need. We live beyond our means and pray for God to bail us out. We neglect or abuse our bodies and pray God will not allow disease to strike.
C Some televangelists suggest that if we do certain things, pray certain prayers, and live a certain way, God will answer all our prayers with a “YES!”
Concl: A trusting relationship with God does not ask for miraculous exceptions to the limitations of human life. We will never defeat evil by compromising with it. We are tempted to measure God’s value to us by the realization of our own desires rather than conforming ourselves, our desires and our values to God’s will. During this period of Lent let us seek to orient our lives toward God by following the word of Jesus to Satan in Matthew 4 10: “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”