Summary: We are always looking for the easy way to do everything.
Matthew 4: 1 – 11 / The Easy Way
Intro: The portly, gray-haired gentleman approached the lovely young woman as she sat on a bench in the mall drinking her coffee. He had noticed the beautiful diamond wedding ring on her left hand as he sat down next to her. He said, “Young lady, I will give you $50 to spend the weekend with me in Paris, France. Just call your husband and make some excuse to be gone for a few days.” The young lady promptly answered, “No!” “I’ll give you $100.” Again the answer was no. “I’ll give you $1,000.” With a little hesitation the answer came, “No.” “I’ll give you $10,000.” The young woman snapped back at the gentleman, “Just what type of woman to you think I am?” The older gentleman said, “I thought we had established that fact and were just haggling over price.”
I. What would it take? I have heard it said that every person has their price. Have you ever thought what your price might be? MT. 4: 1 – “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
A. The French poet, Charles Baudelaire once wrote, “The greatest trick the devil ever played was to make the world believe he doesn’t exist.”
B. We are all tempted everyday. We are tempted to be irresponsible and let God pick up the pieces from our dumb decisions. We make bad decisions and then expect God to save us.
C. There are some weeks when every minute of the week is jammed with work and stress with no day off in sight and I have no clue how I’m going to get a sermon written. It is at those times I hear a little voice in my head saying, “Just use and old one. No one will ever know.” BUT GOD AND I WOULD KNOW!
II. Mt 4: 2 – 11 The verses reveal 3 temptations Jesus endured. Jesus resisted these temptations rebuffing the devil at each turn with God’s word.
A. There are not really 3 temptations. There are three VARIATIONS of the same basic theme. The devil has a one track mind. He tempts his victims to go for the power. He knows there is no surer path to internal contradiction and self-destruction.
B. In Genesis 3:5 – When the serpent tempted Eve he said ”You will not surely die.” For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
C. The greatest temptation in the world is to think WE know best and WE have the POWER to do whatever WE and won’t have to suffer the consequences.
III. How can we trust in God’s goodness, avoid manipulating God, and not find our own sort cuts to God’s purposes?
A. I read a poem titled, “The Pit.” Let me share just a little of it with you. But first, picture in your mind’s eye a great pit: a pit perhaps of your own making or maybe devised for you by others. Visualize that pit into which you have fallen and cannot get out. A man fell into a pit and he couldn’t get out.
B. BUDDHA said: “You pit is only a state of mind.” A HINDU said: “This pit is for purging you and making you more perfect.” CONFUCIUS said: “If you would have listened to me, you would never have fallen into that pit.” A NEW AGE PERSON said: “Maybe you should network with some other pit dwellers.” A SELF-PITYING PERSON said: “You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen my pit.” A NEWS REPORTER said: “Could I have the exclusive story of your pit?” A FEDERAL BUREAUCRAT said: “Have you paid your taxes on that pit?” A COUNTY INSPETOR said: “Do you have a permit for that pit?” A REALIST said: “Yep, that’s a pit.” AN IDEALIST said: “The world shouldn’t have pits.” AN OPTIMIST said: “Things could be worse.” A PESSIMIST said: “Things will get worse.”
C. BUT JESUS, SEEING THE MAN, TOOK HIM BY THE HAND AND LIFTED HIM OUT OF THE PIT.
Conclu: A pit is an awful place to be, particularly a pit created by the power of sin and temptation. But we are not alone in THE PITS of our life. There is one who has managed to avoid the pit and who seeks to help us out of the pit. HIS name is Jesus, and through him God is able: able to help; able to save; able to redeem. He is not only able, he is willing. We don’t have to dwell in the pit. We can find the easy way out by reaching out to the one who has stretched out his hands for us. We can reach out to Christ Jesus, the easy way.