Yesterday at St. Matthew’s Erin and I both preached from Luke 4: 1-13, the temptation of Jesus. Each Sunday we preach from the same text, it’s one of the things that we to do help our church be unified through our three services. By the way, you can listen to any of our sermons by visiting the podcast portion of St. Matthew’s website.
Temptation is something that we all struggle with, and I think in reading what happened to Jesus, we can learn a lot about how we can deal with temptation ourselves. Listen to what the text says:
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” 4 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”
5 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’”
9 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,’
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.
As I read this text, there were (at least) four things that jumped out to me about temptation. And maybe this is one of the reasons Jesus was tempted, to show us how to resist it.
First, notice the devil attacks Jesus when He was weak. It says that Jesus had been fasting and was famished. And that is when the devil came at Him. You will face temptation. You will. Know that the devil knows your weakness. He will hit you there. You will face temptation in the spots where you are your weakest. Be aware. Be on guard. Know these places, know these spots. And don’t give temptation a foothold. Don’t play with fire. The devil knows where you are most vulnerable. Be on watch in those areas.
Second, the devil tries to make Jesus doubt. He tells Jesus, if you are the Son of God. Jesus knew who He was. The devil tried to make Him doubt. The devil will make us doubt. He’ll try to make us doubt God’s love. He’ll try to make us doubt our worth. He’ll try to make us doubt God’s truth. He will do all in His power to put those doubts in our minds. Don’t let him. Because you have to remember number three.
Third, the devil lies. If you don’t remember anything else about temptation. Remember this. Temptation is a lie. Temptation is a lie. It always is. It looks good. But it kills us. In the text the devil says that all authority has been given to him to give to whomever he wants. Nope. That’s God’s call, not His. He is lying. Temptation is always a lie. When you hear that voice, tempting you, always know that voice is a lie. If the devil’s lips are moving, they are lying. Temptation promises life and fun and ends in destruction. Temptation is always lie.
And last the devil misuses scripture. In the text, the devil quotes the bible to Jesus. But he is misusing it. Not everyone that quotes the bible is of God. Know your Bible. Remember your context. Be aware of the truth of God’s Word. The devil will try to use the Bible for harm and for destruction. So that means that you have to know the Bible for yourself. Read it. Study it. Pray with it. Make it yours. When you know the Bible, you will better be able to stand against those temptations.
Temptation is coming. We will all face it. Jesus faced it, so will we. And when it comes, may we find the grace to stand against it.
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