Summary: A look at Jesus’ time in the wilderness and how it relates to our struggle to resist temptation.
Dakota Community Church
February 25, 2007
The Ongoing Temptation
Read Matthew 4:1-11
The kind of Jesus you follow says a lot about your beliefs concerning Christianity.
Do you serve a happy face Jesus, or have you met the Jesus of the Bible? I am just saying that Jesus was fully engaged emotionally in all that it means to live on a fallen planet.
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.
But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!
He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…
"O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?
…He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area…
And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
Everything is not a-ok all the time. Jesus suffered and when you follow Him you will experience suffering from time to time as well. Some people will reject you because you identify with Jesus. The enemy will target you because you identify with Jesus. The Spirit will lead you to do some things that you do not want to do.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
The Spirit of God will lead you to places and circumstances that are difficult. Difficult, even painful circumstance do not mean a missing of the call.
Just because the marriage is tough doesn’t mean you married the wrong guy!
Just because you are having a tough time financially doesn’t mean you took the wrong job or that God is uncaring.
Paul says in one place that a great window of opportunity has opened for him to minister in Asia and that there are many who are opposing him. Look what he says to the church in Philippi:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
When the Spirit leads the enemy usually shows up to run interference.
How many have found it difficult already to stick to your lent commitments?
The temptation is:
1. To doubt who God says we are.
What happened just before the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to fast and pray?
The baptism and the declaration from heaven that, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
What does the tempter open with?
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
He goes right to the heart of who he is, and he’ll do it to you too.
The devil tells him that being hungry, experiencing lack, is incompatible with him being the son of God.
Has the enemy ever tempted you to doubt that you are who God says you are?
I said last week that I have been struggling since coming out here with a sense of worthlessness.
Listen, our identity does not come from what we do; it does not come from our work in the church or outside of it – those things flow from who we are – and who we are is who God has made us to be.
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
The temptation is:
2. To doubt the heart of God.
Wrapped up in this same temptation is the temptation to doubt the goodness of Gods heart towards us. Can we really trust the heart of God?
If God is really good, if God is really a loving Father, how can this negative circumstance persist? It must all be a lie.
Suffering must mean that God isn’t good. It is easy to believe in a good God when times are good, but does God change if the circumstances change?
Can God bring peace and fulfillment to those who live in third world conditions?
Is the abundant life reserved for those who live in first world economies?