Summary: The Lord Jesus shows how to overcome temptations before they derail, degrade and disappoint us.
Three Temptations for Three Needs Overcome By Three Answers from Jesus (Matt. 4:1-11)
Most people forget that it is not a sin to be tempted but to yield to temptations. Remember temptations are merely opportunities to sin, but God always provides a way of escape so that we can handle any temptations that comes our way. (I Cor. 10:13)
1. Temptation #1 - Self-satisfaction:
After fasting for forty days and nights the Lord Jesus became very hungry. The devil came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, change these stones into loaves of bread." But Jesus said, "No! The Scriptures say, "Man shall live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." The Lord Jesus insisted that people need more than bread for their physical sustenance, they must feed on the Word of God.
2. Need #1 - The devil tried to use the real physical need of hunger to tempt Christ into succumbing to temptation to turn the stones into bread. Satan often uses a legitimate need but tempts us by seeking to fulfill that need in an illegitimate way. Many people have doubts that God can provide for their physical, financial and human needs. Satan sought to exploit a weakness of hunger, impatience in the Lord Jesus to prove His Sonship.
3. Answer #1 - The Lord Jesus answer the devil by proclaiming that the word of God is sufficient to sustain, sanctify and to support us in the most desperate hour of temptation. "How can a young man keep his way pure, by keeping it according to your word. Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you." (Psa. 119:9,11) Memorize the scripture and it will preserve you from sin, self-destruction and disobedience.
Focus on God's purpose not your own.
4. Temptation #2 - Self-accomplishment:
The devil took Jesus to Jerusalem, to the highest point in the Temple and said, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down - (Jump off and I will catch you) . Then Satan quoted scripture saying, "He orders his angels to protect you. And they will hold you with their hands to keep you from sinking your foot on a stone."
5. Need #2 - The devil tried to tempt Jesus by using an emotional need for security. Satan often tempts people by causing them to question if God will really provide their security financially, physically, socially, vocationally, behaviorally, and mentally.
6. Answer #2 - The Lord Jesus said, "The Scripture also say, "You shall not test or tempt the Lord your God." Jesus refutes the notion that we have to rely on our pride, human efforts and sincere personal efforts to accomplish things. "It is not by power or by might but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts. This mountain will be removed by my Spirit says the Lord." (Zech. 4:6,7)
Focus on God's plan not your own.
7. Temptation #3 - Self-glorification:
The devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him the nations of the world and all their glory. "I will give it all to you, if you will fall down and worship me." The devil often tempts us by making us question who is really going to rule in our lives, our ministries and in our families. Remember, the Lord is the sovereign king of all circumstances. (Romans 8:28,29)