Summary: Sermon on the three temptations of Jesus.
The “If” of Temptation Luke 4:1-13
INTRO.: We are all tempted to sin. We know we shouldn’t, but we are often drawn like a moth to the flame. When we sin, we cannot say, “The Devil made me do it.” He really hasn’t that power. However, we must recognize we do have an enemy who will tempt us into betraying God if he can.
Even Jesus was tempted. The story of His temptation is in our text.
He had just experienced His baptism and coming of the Holy Spirit. He was “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Satan will attack us when we have experienced a spiritual “high.” Our guard is down.
We are often tempted when we are weak physically and emotionally. After 40 days without food, struggling against the flesh, He was weak and needy.
He was alone. No human companionship. This is frequently a time when Satan attacks. Jesus had a lot against Him as He faced Satan, yet He prevailed.
Some thoughts about the temptations of Jesus:
I. Temptation #1: "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." Vs. 3
A. Satan tempts by sowing seeds of doubt:
1. He knows Jesus is God’s Son, and doesn’t really question that.
2. Jesus knows it. The Father has told Him. 1:22
3. Satan is casting doubt on God’s love and ability to sustain Jesus.
B. He still begins many temptations with “if.”
1. “If God is a God of love why is there so much hunger and suffering in the world?””
2. “If He is a God of love, how can He condemn us for loving and living together outside marriage?”
3. “If God wants me to be happy, surely He would approve of my leaving one woman for another who makes me happier.”
4. In all this, we are tempted to doubt God’s love and wisdom.
C. But we need to remember God will provide for our needs, physical, emotional, spiritual. Luke 12:22-31
1. If God cares for birds and flowers, will He not feed and clothe His children?
2. It is His pleasure to give us the Kingdom.
3. Of course, our needs go far beyond food and clothing. So does His provision.
4. Trust God rather than your own power or wisdom.
II. Temptation #2: “if you worship me, it will all be yours. Vs. 7
A. Satan tempts with false promises.
1. He is father of liars. He could not deliver on His promise to Jesus.
2. And, of course, he didn’t intend to.
3. Jesus again won out over temptation with His superior knowledge of Scripture. Deut. 6:13
B. Satan tempts us to surrender to the flesh:
1. Many temptations promise happiness thru the flesh.
2. “If you take this drug, buy this car, follow this teacher, etc., you will find happiness.”
3. These are also false promises. Satan will not give us happiness, even if he could.
C. We need to remember there is only One Who is worthy of our allegiance.
1. Satan may promise us the world, but only God can give it.
2. He alone can make our lives happy and fulfilled. There are happy people who are not Christian, but they aren’t as happy as they could be.
3. Even if we gain the entire world, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” Mk. 8:36
III. Temptation #3: "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here.” Vs. 9. (He was about 450 feet from the ground.)
A. Satan wants us to try to use God rather than be used by God.
1. Jesus could have become famous, but that was not God’s plan.
2. Jesus came to fulfill God’s plan and there was no easy way.
3. Everything has its price. The price of success for Jesus was Calvary’s cross.
B. Satan may even twist Scripture to tempt us:
1. He saw how Jesus had used it to resist him and tries to turn it against Jesus.
2. ILLUS.: Someone even tried to justify homosexuality with “love your neighbor as yourself.”
3. Satan quotes Ps. 91:11,12 to make his point. Jesus comes back with Deut. 6:16.
4. Jesus doesn’t quote 17 & 18, but they reveal conditions under which God will bless.
C. We need to remember God is not just a “good luck” charm.
1. He wants a loving relationship with Us.
2. We tempt Him when we ignore Him until we are in desperate need.
3. We tempt Him thinking we can wait until we are old then come to Christ for salvation.
CONC.: Temptations will always come to us. Like Jesus, they may come when we are full of the Spirit. They may come when we are facing great physical and emotional need. When temptations come,
1. Never doubt God’s care and provision for you.
2. Continue to serve and worship God alone,
3. Remember, you belong to God and are called to serve Him, not Satan and not self.