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                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                    The Temptation Of Jesus (4:1-11)

INTRODUCTION

1. One of the blessings of having Jesus as our Savior is His ability to
   comfort and aid those who  are tempted...
   a. This is because He too was tempted - He 2:18
   b. He is sympathetic, and can provide mercy and grace to help in
      time of need - He 4:14-16

2. One of His greatest periods of temptation was at the beginning of
   His public ministry...
   a. Immediately following His baptism by John - Mt 3:13-17
   b. Just prior to starting His preaching ministry - Mt 4:12-17

3. Studying "The Temptation Of Jesus" can be fruitful for several
   reasons...
   a. It reminds us that Jesus can understand our own temptations
   b. It reveals how we can be more successful in overcoming temptation

[With that in mind and using Mt 4:1-11 as our basic text, let's begin
with...]

I. THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS REVIEWED

   A. THE SETTING OF THE TEMPTATIONS...
      1. Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness - Mt 4:1
         a. The same Spirit which descended upon Him in bodily form as
            dove - Mt 3:16; Lk 3:22
         b. It was likely the wilderness of Judea, a desolate place
      2. To be tempted by the devil - Mt 4:1
         a. It appears that this challenge was initiated by the Spirit
         b. For it was the Spirit who led Jesus to the wilderness for
            this purpose
      3. Where Jesus fasted and was tempted for forty days - Mt 4:2
         a. His fasting is reminiscent of Moses and Elijah - Exo 34:28;
            1Ki 19:8
         b. Luke reveals that temptations occurred over the period of
            forty days - Lk 4:2
         c. Mark mentions wild beasts - Mk 1:13
      -- Thus it was after forty days of temptation that we find Satan
         approaching Jesus for a "climax" involving three particular
         temptations

   B. THE CLIMAX OF THE TEMPTATIONS...
      1. The first temptation - Mt 4:3-4
         a. Satan's appeal to the lust of the flesh
            1) Having fasted for forty days, Jesus was naturally hungry
            2) Challenging Jesus' identity, Satan appeals to His
               fleshly hunger: "command that these stones become bread"
         b. Jesus responds with Scripture
            1) Quoting Deut 8:3, "Man shall not live by bread alone..."
            2) There is more to life than just fulfilling physical 
               desires; man is dependent upon the Word of God to truly
               live!
      2. The second temptation - Mt 4:5-7
         a.  Satan appeals to the pride of life
            1) Again challenging Jesus' identity, Satan sets Jesus on
               the pinnacle of the temple, tells Him to "throw Yourself
               down"
            2) Quoting scriptures himself, using Ps 91:11,12
         b. Jesus responds with Scripture
            1) Deut 6:16, "You shall not tempt the LORD your God"
            2) While the passage Satan quoted is true, it would be an
               abuse of it to purposely test God
      2. The third temptation - Mt 4:8-10
         a. Satan appeals to the lust of the eyes
            1) Taking Jesus to high mountain and showing Him the 
               kingdoms of the world
            2) Offering to give Jesus all the kingdoms if He will 
               worship Satan
         b. Jesus responds with Scripture
            1) Deut 6:13, "You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him
               only you shall serve"
            2) Though offered a shortcut to receiving power over the
               nations, Jesus does not take the easy path - cf. Re 2:
               26-27; 3:21

   C. AT THE END OF THE TEMPTATIONS...
      1. Angels came and ministered to Jesus - Mt 3:11
         a. Exactly what they did is not mentioned
         b. Perhaps they provided bodily nourishment (Hendricksen)
      2. This would not be the last time Satan would seek to tempt 
         Jesus - cf. Lk 4:13; Mt 16:21-23
      
[With forty days of overcoming temptation behind Him, especially the
temptation of taking a short cut to His rule as the Messiah, Jesus was
now prepared to begin His public ministry.

What observations might one make regarding "The Temptation Of Jesus"?
Here are a few...]

II. OBSERVATIONS FROM THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS

   A. WE HAVE THE SAME ADVERSARY...
      1. Jesus was tempted by the devil, and so are we - 1Pe 5:8-9
      2. The devil now directs his attention towards the disciples of
         Christ - Re 12:17
      -- We should not treat him lightly, for the conflict is real! 
         - Ep 6:12

   B. WE HAVE SIMILAR TEMPTATIONS...
      1. The lust of the flesh - e.g., immorality, especially when 
         young
      2. The lust of the eyes - e.g., materialism, especially when 
         middle-aged
      3. The pride of life - e.g., pride and arrogance, especially when
         elderly
      -- These we must overcome, if we wish to have the love of the 
         Father - 1Jn 2:15-16

   C. WE HAVE THE SAME TOOLS TO OVERCOME...
      1. Jesus appealed to the Word of God, and so can we - cf. Ep 6:17
      2. Jesus had faith in the plan of God (victory through 
         suffering), we need a similar shield of faith - Ep 6:16; cf.
         He 10:35-39
      3. Jesus undoubtedly prayed, for He taught us to use prayer in
         overcoming temptation - Mt 26:41
      -- The Word of God, faith, and prayer...against these the devil
         has no chance!

   D. WE HAVE SIMILAR BLESSINGS WHEN WE OVERCOME...
      1. Jesus was administered to by angels, angels will carry us home
         - cf. Lk 16:22
      2. Jesus received wonderful blessings when He ultimately overcame
         and ascended to heaven; He has promised similar blessings for
         us - cf. Re 2:10,26-27; 3:21

   E. WE CAN LEARN SOME IMPORTANT LESSONS...
      1. Material sustenance alone cannot truly satisfy, we need the
         spiritual sustenance from God's Word
      2. While we are to trust in the Lord, we should not foolishly
         tempt Him
      3. Scripture can easily be abused, as well as used - 2Pe 3:16
      4. The way to glory is not quick and easy, but long and hard 
         - Ac 14:22; Ro 2:7

CONCLUSION

1. But perhaps the greatest lesson to glean from "The Temptation Of
   Jesus" is that we have a Savior who in all things was made like
   us...
   a. That He might be our merciful and faithful High Priest - He 2:17
   b. That having suffered, being tempted, He can aid us who are
      tempted - He 2:18
   c. That He might be sympathetic, providing mercy and grace to help
      in time of need - He 4:15-16

2. Are you burdened with temptations?
   a. Look to Jesus as your example in learning how to overcome
      temptation in your life!
   b. Look to Jesus as your High Priest when you need to approach God
      in prayer and receive mercy and grace for those times when you
      succumbed to temptation!

As in all things, look to Jesus, as the writer to Hebrews exhorts us...

   "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who 
   for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising
   the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of
   God.

   For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against
   Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls."

                                   - He 12:2-3
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