Sunday, February 10, 2008

Jesus Words - Temptation Matthew 4:1-11


I am talking about temptation. I mention this to Bonnie and I say there are 3 things you have to watch out for. She immediately lists 3 things: the devil, a man with blue eyes named Steve, and her mother. Now, they weren’t the 3 things I was thinking of, but 2 of those 3 spell danger- I’ll leave that decision up to you…


Context: temptation is especially (found) effective in the low places of life


Jesus is in a place of need – hungry and thirsty, defenses are low. There is a strategy here by Satan. He adds layer upon layer of stress. There is a principle in wrestling: Get on top, and stay on top. Let the guy on the bottom do all the work. Satan comes alongside and tries 3 times to get Jesus to sin when He is tired and hungry and worn down. Let me digress a minute.


My brother Dan loves to fish in New Brunswick. He is very good at it. He can pull in 8 good size smallmouth bass while I am still working on my first one. Same boat. Same side of the boat. Same lure.


James 1:13-15 "13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death."
Temptation here is pictured as a fisherman and the lure, or the hunter and the decoys; drawing the prey away from their place of safety. Temptation is the start of something that will end in sin if we are not careful.


There is also a pattern here: Desire (lust) – sinful desire – sinful action = death (Romans 6:23)
Hunger – wanting more than you need - gluttony
Money – wanting more, pulled out of proportion - greed


Conversation: Found in the temptations


There are three main area of life we are tempted in according to 1 John. It is interesting to note that they match up with what was said in the Garden of Eden, and with what jesus experienced in His encounter with Satan. They also line up with 3 things in the world today! They are listed below.


Gen 3:6, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”
1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”


1) verse 4: Lust of the flesh: stones to bread/the tree was good for food/money
2) verse 7: Lust of the eyes: Kingdoms of the world/delight to the eyes/sex
3) verse 10: Pride of Life: Fall from the temple/desirable to make one wise/power


Adam and Eve disobeyed the revealed will of God, believed the lie of Satan, and placed their wills above God’s.

Calling: Found in Jesus’ responses - How do we deal with temptation?


Get connected. Temptation is much stronger when we are distracted, out of routine, out of support. A study done of pastors who have had a moral failure found that almost every one of those people surveyed did not have anyone they were responsible to personally. You can’t do it alone, get connected. Many churches provide small groups for this purpose, to at least give you an option of plugging into a place where you can connect regularly.


Matthew 4:4: Know the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” 2 Timothy 3:16 - “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;”
Study it, memorize it, and meditate on it.


Matthew 4:7 Walk in the Spirit. Romans 8:14 – “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
Pray without ceasing. Always have in the back of your mind that you are a son or daughter of God. That’s who you are.


Matthew 4:10 One focus. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about pursuing why He created us. We all have a “purpose”.

4 comments:

Chris said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this. I am a pastor and am presently studying through the different types of temptation. It's just great to hear someone else talk it out. I found it through Google, I'll be sure to come back - I may use the illustration about fishing it's it's cool. Thanks!
Chris

Steve said...

Glad there was something there for you to take. I talk a bit more about temptation up on June 29/08. You may want to check that sermon out too.
Steve

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your interpretation on Temptation. Found it also via google, I'm preparing for a Bible Study we have about Matt 4:1-11 'The Temptation of Jesus'. This piece has just opened up the Living Word of God more to me and has helped me to share more 'Truth' with my Church. Keep up the Good work.
Jerry, NZ

Steve G said...

Thanks for your comments, Jerry. It is great to be part of the universal church - the one that makes us brothers and sisters the world over.

Stay close to God,
Steve