Summary: This message applies the temptation of Christ to our lives.
Background for temptation
q Temptation takes place after an emotional high – baptism of Christ.
q Temptation comes at a time of spiritual strength: communion of Father, Son and Spirit
q Temptation comes in the midst of spiritual service – fasting.
q Tempation comes at a time of physical weakness – hungry.
1. Temptation 1 – Meeting physical needs above spiritual needs
Conditions – hungry from the fast. Lit: starving.
Problem – Breaking of the fast would be at the dictates of physical necessity and Satanic invitation – not by spiritual conviction.
Reply: I’ll stay with spiritual reality.
Application: We must be careful not to place physical needs over spiritual reality.
1. Food – when our desire for food blocks spiritual growth and reality.
2. Rest or recreation – when R and R causes spiritual regression or injury to Christ’s cause. Yes, it is possible to play too much golf.
3. Sex – When sexuality is illicit or sinfully practices.
Illustration: Dr. Steward Anderson tells about a man named Bobby Leach from England who went over Niagara Falls in a barrel without being harmed. Years later, he was walking down the street and stepped on an orange peel. He had to be taken to the hospital with a badly fractured leg. Some great temptations, which roar around us like Niagara, may leave us unharmed. But a little, insignificant incident may cause our downfall simply because we are not looking for it.
2. Temptation 2 – Attaining Worldly Power and Esteem by submitting to THE worldly power
Conditions – Jesus is King of kings and Lord of Lords; Satan is the Prince of this world.
Problem: To accept kingdoms would be expedient and bring glory to Jesus but without bringing glory to the Father and his plan.
Reply: I’ll worship God rather than success. In other words, success for the believer is correct worship and service towards God.
Application. We must insure that the things we do are for God’s glory and not our own.
1. For the Christian who works in the world: realm of business and money must be harnassed for the glory of God.
Illustration: Seen clearly in the quandary of the Califonia Senate in 1957. By a 20-7 vote rejected as the state motto “In God we trust” in favor of “Eureka! I have found it” that celebrated the gold rush.
2. Will Rogers put it this way: Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.
3. Temptation 3 – Proving God’s power to uphold your own reputation
Conditions: He knew He was the God/man and had the care of the angels. In the past He had sent them here and there, including the angel of light, Lucifer.
Problem: prove your power. It’s even scriptural. Demonstrate your authority and power. Have you still got it?
Reply: God’s power is to be used in accordance with His will and His plan and for His glory – not for the aggrandizement of the individual.
Application – We must be careful to avoid demonstrations that call attention to ourselves. Those who have maintain they have spiritual gifts need to remember that true gifts of the Spirit call attention to Jesus, not to the possessor of the gift.
Result of the temptation of Christ?
1. Satan defeated for a time.
2. Exhaustion of Christ – Matthew 4. Now the angels come…plan was accomplished.
Have you been tempted lately? Graphic illustration of the NT truth:
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
He knows the power of temptation. He provides the power of forgiveness when we fail and the power to resist temptation when we follow. He changes us.
Augustine once passed a woman in the street that he had known sexually before he came to Jesus. She stopped him and asked, “Augustine. Do you not know me anymore? See, it is I!” Augustine looked and realizing the deliverance of Christ said, “but it is not I.”