Summary: Jesus is our model for overcoming temptation.


MATTHEW 4:1-11

November 12, 2000

INTRODUCTION: G.H. Charnley, in The Skylark’s Bargain, tells the story of a young skylark who discovered one day a man who would give him worms for a feather. He made a deal – one feather for two worms. The next day the lark was flying high in the sky with his father. The older bird said, “You know, son, we skylarks should be the happiest of all birds. See our brave wings! They lift us high in the air, nearer and nearer to God.” But the young bird did not hear, for all he saw was an old man with worms. Down he flew, plucked two feathers from his wings and had a feast. Day after day this went on. Autumn came and it was time to fly south. But the young skylark couldn’t do it. He had exchanged the power of his young wings for worms.

TRANSITION THOUGHT: Today I want to talk to us about the power of temptation and the model for overcoming temptations in our lives. Jesus is always the example, and as we saw in our Scripture lesson for the day, Jesus shows us the way through Temptation. The reality of life, however, is that our constant temptation is to exchange wings for worms. We must find a The “Way” out.

THESIS SENTENCE: Jesus is our model for overcoming temptation.



A. Temptation comes on the heels of some great event in life.

1. Matthew chapters 1-3 tell the story of the birth of Jesus until His baptism/confirmation.

2. The second chapter of Jesus’ life is about to begin. He has waited for many years for this date in time. He is about to embark on a whole new adventure, and how does it begin?

3. As Jesus comes up out of the water, the very voice of God speaks, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”

4. It can’t get any better than that, the very voice of God proclaiming the true identity of Jesus, as His one and only Son. And, not only did God proclaim Him to be His Son, but the Son with whom He is “WELL PLEASED.”

5. Have you ever been to a Wedding and the Pastor Announced to the congregation, “May I please introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. John Doe.” It is a time of celebration. It is a time for pomp and circumstance. Jesus has arrived. The time could be no higher!

B. Temptation comes at the weakest points in life.

1. “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry (4:2).”

2. Not only had something extravagant happened in Jesus life, but now he is at one of the weakest times in his life: the end of a prolonged fast.

3. One little aside here, the Spirit of God did not tempt Jesus, but lead him to the desert where the devil would tempt him. There is much that could be said about this, but suffice it to say, the devil is the one who does all the tempting to sin! 4. Have you ever fasted? Can you imagine the condition of the body and mind after 40 days? The scripture plainly says, “HE WAS HUNGRY.” Can you hear His stomach growling? Can you feel the pains of hunger? Can you feel the weakness?

C. High times and weak times often come back to back and both leave us incredibly susceptible to temptation.




Our text gives us three pictures of temptation:

A. Temptation looks like satisfying natural desires.

1. Jesus was hungry and the tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell the stones to become bread (v. 3).”

2. What is wrong with this picture? Jesus is the Son of God and has command of all the power of God. Why not make Stones into bread?

3. Temptation is seen in this context as satisfying natural needs in unnatural ways. Jesus knew the hunger he had would not be filled with Him miss appropriating His power.

ILLUSTRATION: In counseling there is a term called “self-medicating.” It is when we try to fill some need in our life with a substitute that does not meet the real need: Low self esteem with over aggression, loneliness with Sex, inhibition with Alcohol, depression with drugs, and the list goes on!

4. We all have physical appetites that need to be satisfied, but the tempter wants us to fill those appetites in ways that are not pleasing to God, in unnatural ways.

B. Temptation looks like SELF-VALIDATION.

1. The tempter comes once more to Jesus and tempts Him to Tempt God. 2. An aside here: did you note that the tempter knows the scriptures? He quotes Psalm 91: 11 and 12 to Jesus as an affirmation of what God will do Concerning Him (Verse 6).

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