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Summary: In the temptation of our Lord Jesus Christ we learn that not matter what the physical or emotional temptation one faces, doing the will of God will always lead to manna from heaven.


Matthew 4:1-11

Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567

Ever since creation Satan has been tempting humanity to sin against God. With names such as the Enemy (Matthew 13:39), Evil One (John 17:15), Father of Lies (John 8:44), Lawless One (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10), and ruler of Darkness (Ephesians 6:12) and Demons (Luke 11:15); one would think that no person would ever listen to such a being! If he clearly showed off any of these titles, then yes most people would reject him. As it is, this master of lies chooses to hide his true identity by transforming himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). This original seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty (Ezekiel 28:12) has masterfully been devouring (1 Peter 5:8) and deceiving humanity ever since the beginning of time!

Having been created with free will presents each person with the challenge of figuring out what to do with all of those life decisions. Humans have the right to do anything they want but as Paul points out, not all decisions that we make are beneficial to our wellbeing. We have not been given free will to do as we please but instead so that we might be able to choose to obey God. One merely needs to turn a scant few pages in the Bible to find out that when free will is restricted in any way, “do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:16), humans can be easily tempted to use their free will to disobey God. The first Adam’s temptation led to disobedience and death. The following sermon is going to examine how the second Adam, Jesus Christ, was able to overcome His wilderness temptations by keeping His focus solely on the will of God.

Jesus’ Victories over Wilderness Temptations

Before we look at Matthew 4:1-11, I would like to first review a hermeneutical link between this passage and that of 1 John 2:15-18.

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 2:15-17, NIV

The renowned English open air preacher and evangelist George Whitefield masterfully draws a link between this passage and that of Jesus’ temptation. As stated earlier, free will has been given to humanity so that we can make choices that please God. Each person has the choice to either obey God and be righteous in or disobey Him and sin. John states that humans choose the later because they lust after the things of this world. Since Jesus is both human and God (Matthew 1:18), Satan tempted Jesus by appealing to the same human lusts as listed by John: (1) lust of the flesh “tell the stones to become bread,” (2) pride of life “throw yourself down” and (3) lust of the eyes “all this I will give you.” In each instance Jesus is victorious because He chose to use his free will to obey God. Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

Temptation 1: Jesus’ Victory Over the Lust of the Flesh

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 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.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:1-4, NIV

Verse number one begins by stating that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit. This passage does not say that Jesus was forced but instead made a conscious decision to follow the Spirit of God. Time and time again in Scripture we find that Jesus sought the will of God the Father in Heaven before making any major decisions. For example, before Jesus chose the twelve disciples (Luke 6:12) and before He went to the cross (Matthew 26:36), He prayed to God for advice and comfort. In each of these instances Jesus had the choice to either obey or reject His Father’s advice. Even though Jesus had the authority to lay down His life or take it back up (John 10:18), He willfully chose to be a sacrifice for our sins because of His desire to always do the will of His Father (John 6:38). The word “led” in verse one is significant because if Jesus was forced to obey then He would not have been tempted and His victory over Satan would mean nothing to us who have free will!

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