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The Messiah’s Plan for Facing Temptation (Matthew 4:1-11)

First Baptist Church http://fbcbartow.org

“The Messiah’s Plan for Facing Temptation”

(Matthew 4:1-11)

Series: God’s Fulfilled Promise [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

August 19, 2019

Introductory Comments:

Have you ever been in a moment of temptation and you wish that someone would give you a formula or a plan for getting out of the moment of temptation?

Well, Matthew points us to the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and we see that He was tempted, yet withstood the temptation. 

Let’s look at this passage together and see what we can learn. 

Turn to Matthew 4:1-11.

Read the Passage

Read Matthew 4:1-11

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written:

He will give his angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and began to serve him.

Let’s pray together.

(Prayer)

Remember, we’re seeing that Jesus is progressively taking steps to start His formal ministry. 

Jesus is now a full grown adult. 

John the Baptist has proclaimed His coming. 

He has been baptized and anointed by the Spirit of God. 

Now, Jesus is to be tempted before He goes full force into His ministry. 

(pause)

As we examine our passage this morning, we will behold three things about Jesus. 

First, . . .

I. Behold the temptation of Jesus (vv. 1-3) [on screen]

Verse 1 is very intriguing. 

First, notice that Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Spirit. The Spirit of God planned this moment. 

Second, notice that Satan is the one doing the tempting. 

We see three different titles used of Satan here. He is called the devil, the tempter, and Satan. 

The devil sought to destroy Jesus, and He seeks to destroy us. 

So, God is leading Jesus to be tempted, Satan is doing the actual tempting. 

It’s essential that we realize that God is not actually tempting Jesus. 

Remember, the book of James tells us in James 1:13: 

13 No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God,” since God is not tempted by evil, and he himself doesn’t tempt anyone.

God never tempts us.

However, sometimes God does mean to test us or prepare us by allowing us to be tempted. 

Again, as James says in James 1:2-4, 

2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

So, we must see that what Satan means for destroying us, God often means for building us up!

Recognizing this fact in the moment will prepare us to face temptation and allow God to use it for our good, rather than allowing Satan to use it for evil. 

Just as God used this moment to prepare Jesus for His ministry. 

(pause)

Verse 2 shows us that while in the wilderness Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. 

You may remember on our discussion of fasting, that fasting involves giving up something we need (food) in order to focus on something we need more (God). 

Jesus is giving up food in order to focus on His Father. 

It was in this moment of physical weakness that Satan sought to tempt Jesus and entice him to sin. 

(pause) 

Now, let us . . .

II. Behold the response of Jesus (vv. 4-10) [on screen]

Look at verses 4-10 again. 

4 He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written:

He will give his angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”

At the heart of Jesus’ responses to each temptation we hear these words: “It is written.”

Jesus responds to the devil’s temptations with the Word of God every single time. 

This is the crux, the center, the main ingredient of how to withstand the temptation of Satan: respond with the truth of God!

If you want to know the secret sauce to overcoming temptation it’s the Word of God, every time!

When you’re tempted to be selfish, remember Philippians 2:3: 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.

When you’re tempted to exercise prideful power over someone, remember Mark 10:45: 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

When you’re tempted not to forgive, remember Ephesians 4:32: 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

When you’re tempted to look at or listen to something you shouldn’t, remember Philippians 4:8: 8 Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.

When you’re tempted to think that God no longer loves you, remember Romans 8:38-39: 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When you’re tempted to worry or be anxious, remember Philippians 4:6-7: 6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

When you’re tempted to be fearful, remember Isaiah 41:10: 10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.

When you’re tempted to sin by the devil, point him back to the Word of God every single time!

That’s the key. The Word of God!

(pause)

Satan tempted Jesus in these three ways:

He tempted Jesus by appealing to his physical need, as He was hungry. 

I would imagine that if any of us had fasted for 40 days, we would be hungry. Remember, Jesus was human, so He certainly would have been hungry. 

Jesus needed physical provision, but He needed God more, and so do we!

Satan also tempted Jesus by appealing to his personal pride, as He was due special protection from angels because He was the Son of God. 

Satan is saying, “Hey, you’re the Son of God, you deserve special treatment. The angels will protect you if you jump off the temple.”

Jesus knows better. He’d rather be a humble obedient servant than put God to the test. He knows who He is and He knows His calling. 

Lastly, the devil tempted Jesus by appealing to his powerful rule, as He offered Jesus the throne to all the kingdoms of the world. 

The irony is that all the kingdoms of the world already belonged to Jesus. He created them!

Jesus had the same response every time when He was tempted: “It is written!” 

Finally, Jesus says, “Go away Satan!”

Remember, again, James says in James 4:7, 

7 Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

We will be tempted in multiple ways as Jesus was, but we should always go back to the Word of God, as Jesus did. 

(pause)

Finally, . . .

III. Behold the sinlessness of Jesus (v. 11) [on screen]

Look at verse 11. 

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and began to serve him.

We see that the devil left Jesus. Jesus was victorious. He withstood temptation and was sinless. 

He maintained His holiness and as a result was later able to fulfill His purpose of being the perfect holy sacrifice for sinners. 

(pause)

Afterwards, angels came and began to serve Him. 

This probably refers to them coming to refresh Him after His very long fast. 

He is, indeed, God, and worthy of being tended to by angels. 

Jesus is rejuvenated after He withstood Satan’s temptations. 

I believe that we also will be rejuvenated by the Spirit of God if we are faithful to Him and withstand the temptations of the devil. 

You might say, “Pastor Matt, I’ve been resisting for so long now!” Keep doing so! Keep resisting Satan and running to God and His Word! Don’t give up!

Without Jesus, we cannot help but sin. 

However, in Jesus, we have new life and have been set free from sin! 

We are no longer slaves to sin! 

We can access the same Holy Spirit that was with Jesus, and be obedient as Jesus was!

Concluding Thoughts:

Jesus did not give in to Satan’s temptations for multiple reasons. 

One reason He did not follow the devil’s temptation is that He knew that God had a specific mission for Him that didn’t have a shortcut. He was called to live a life of humble obedience and sacrifice. 

That’s what God calls us to as well: obedience and sacrifice.

You will be tempted, but God’s path is better than the devil’s. 

Let’s look at our bottom line for the week. 

Bottom Line: Jesus’ response when tempted provides a model of obedience for us.  [on screen]

(repeat)

So, here is the Messiah’s plan for facing temptation: 

    1. Understand that God may be leading you to the place of temptation. 
    1. When tempted, respond with the Word of God. 
    1. Resist the devil, and he will flee.

Here’s our weekly challenge this week:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

  1. When tempted, try to recall Scripture.  [on screen]

First of all, you have to know the Bible. 

So, immerse yourself in the Word of God!

You’ll be able to recognize the lies of Satan. 

When you’re tempted, return to the Word of God. 

  1. Develop a plan of obedience to confront temptation.  [on screen]

I think this would be helpful to actually write this out. 

Answer this question: “What will I do when I am tempted?

Plan ahead of time to be obedient. 

Closing:

Jesus was faithful and He is calling us to faithfulness. 

Satan said to Jesus as He is preparing for His ministry, “If you are the Son of God,” do this. However, Jesus knew God was calling Him to obedience and sacrifice. 

Years later, as Jesus was on the cross at the end of His ministry, the religious leaders would say to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, come off of this cross.” Yet, Jesus knew God was calling Him to obedience and sacrifice. He would resist the temptation to come off the cross. Why? So that we might know God and be called to a new life lived in obedience to God the Father. 

(Gospel Presentation)

(Closing Prayer)

Invitation Song – Living for Jesus (hymn number 282)

Benediction:

If you have any sort of spiritual decision that you would like to make, you can contact me or Pastor Richard and we would be glad to talk to you anytime.

We are continuing our series tonight called “An Expedition in the Bible.” I’d love for you to join us at 5:30 PM as we journey through the Bible together. 

Let’s dismiss by singing the Doxology. 

(Sing Doxology)

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