Strengthened in temptation

Published 7:57 pm Friday, January 8, 2010

Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11

Aim: To show the pupil how Jesus was victorious when tempted, thus strengthening Him in His humanity to face future temptations.

Golden Text: “Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him” (Matthew 4:11).

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One of the great evidences that Jesus Christ is the Divine Son of God and incarnate man is the fact that He met and defeated every temptation victoriously. He never sinned. Sin is defined as anything that is not in harmony with God in His character and work. Jesus was man, but He never sinned; therefore, He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him.

I. Jesus was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-2). The devil was made by the Son of God. All things and beings were created by Him and for Him (John 1:1-5). The devil is the fallen angel Lucifer, the son of the morning. He opposes the triune God and seeks to set up a throne and be god (Isaiah 14:8-16). It is fitting that when the second person of the trinity, the Son of God, becomes a man that he should be tested as all other men. When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit drove Him into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. The supernatural battle continues as Satan seeks to defeat and make the Son of God in flesh sin. Jesus was in all points tempted as man, yet did not sin.

II. The devil tempted Jesus to act apart from the will and Word of God (Matthew 4:2-4). Satan came to Jesus after He had fasted for 40 days and nights (vs. 2). Physically Jesus was hungry. The devil suggested that Jesus turn the small stones to bread to satisfy his physical hunger.

Jesus answered, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (vs. 4). Here He indicated that the will and commandments of God are more important than the satisfying of physical needs. The spiritual is more important than the physical. Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3.

III. The devil took Jesus up into Jerusalem, to the pinnacle of the temple and asked Him to jump off the tower and the angels would catch Him (Matthew 4:5-7). This was a temptation to act apart from God’s will and expect God would take care of Him even if He were foolish enough to jump. This is tempting God! To act outside God’s will and expect Him to take care of us is wrong.

Jesus answered the devil’s quoting of Scriptures out of context by quoting again from Deuteronomy 6:16, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

IV. Still trying to get Jesus to sin against God, Satan took Him to a mountain top where he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8-10). This was a miraculous feat, which was designed to entice Jesus to bow before Satan and worship him.

Jesus again used Scripture to defeat the devil.

“Get thee hence, Satan: For it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Deuteronomy 6:13).

The devil did not own the world and its kingdoms. It all belongs to Christ. He made it. He sustains it. Satan can do neither. He is an angel, a created being made by God.

These temptations are designed to appeal to man’s three basic areas of temptation.

First, the fleshly life. The devil wants man to live by his fleshly desires, not the eternal Word of God.

Second, the appearance before men, satisfy the world (society that left God out). Pressure from worldly men and ways must ever be rejected in order to follow the will of God.

Third, the devil wants to be worshipped. Only God is to be worshipped. He alone has the authority and right to expect that His creation honor, worship and obey Him at all costs.

Jesus met the temptations and did not sin. He was strengthened to meet future temptation.

The same is true of the believer. Be victorious and you will be strengthened as well.