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Resisting the Devil & Temptation – Matthew 4:3-11

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

January 28, 2007

INTRODUCTION – Bad news & good news Bad news: You have an enemy – who hates your guts and wants to destroy or at least de-mobilize you; and he has thousands of demons at his command; thousands of years of experience; and lots of power to pull of his intentions.

Good news: Jesus Christ resisted him to perfection as a man; has destroyed His works as both man and God; He is continuing to destroy them primarily through His church; and He has left us an example to follow – with the full expectation that we will overcome and resist the devil like He did.

All of the New Testament writers spoke of our enemy. All of them had this expectation that we would successfully resist him.

I. The Call to Resist Temptation & the Devil Eph. 6:13 “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day,…” James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil and He will flee from you.” I Peter 5:9 “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

Our ability to resist the devil is in a great way dependent upon our ability to discern his schemes. Paul said to the Corinthians that he and his co-workers “were not ignorant of his schemes” speaking of Satan. He commanded the church in Ephesus in ch. 6 vs. 11 to “put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

So to be a fruitful victorious disciple of Jesus Christ – we have to both have the mind of Christ; and know the way the devil thinks and works.

II. Lessons from Jesus’s Temptations – Matt. 4:3-11

A. 1st Temptation vs. 3,4

1. The temptation – vs. 3 Some think Satan was trying to challenge Jesus as to whether he really was the son of God. Kind of “you’re not the Son of God; “yes I am” ; “no you’re not” ; “yes I am” ; “then prove it!”

Translation of “ei” if or since. Phil. 2:1 “therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion.” Col. 3:1 “Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

2. The scheme – Satan reminded Jesus of His position & tried to get him to abuse it. C’mon Jesus – You are the Son of God. You created the earth. You created these rocks here at your feet. You have just successfully fasted for 40 days. No one is around. Show your stuff! You can do whatever you want!

3. Jesus’s response – v. 4 “Man” not Son of God – shall not live on bread alone,….Jesus didn’t fall for the position trip. He was absolutely committed to denying the right to live as God while He was on the earth. While He was indeed the Son of God. And while it is true “all things are held together in Him.” He knew that title did not give Him the right to do whatever He wanted, whenever He wanted – especially while He was on the earth living and ministering as a man.

When I moved to San Jose CA at the ripe age of 19 and began to get settled in the Christian community there – I began to learn of the Biblical concept “freedom in Christ.” It comes from passages like, Rom. 14:17 “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Col. 2:16 “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or new moon or a Sabbath day.”…..

Ex. Bread winner deserves to spend like he wants. I work hard all day; dealing with all kinds of pressure; carrying all kinds of responsibilities….

I’m also a servant to my family – called by God to lay my life down for my family. Called to leave an inheritance for my children and their children.

4. The second scheme – Satan will always try to get us to focus on our physical needs instead of our spiritual ones. He has an amazing ability to so exaggerate and magnify our physical needs, to the point that we lose sight of our spiritual needs – that in fact are of far more significance and importance than our physical needs.

Jesus had literally fasted for forty days from food. To say he was hungry was a huge understatement.

“Man shall not live by bread alone; but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

We would be hard pressed to find a man or a woman who has been mightily used of God down through the ages, who had not at some point come to terms with what was really important in life.

Job knew what was important, when he said in ch. 23:12, “I have not departed from the command of his lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”

King Solomon after indulging in every physical pleasure known to man for a season, and after acquiring untold riches wrote – some time after that in Prov. 8:10,11 “Take my instruction and not silver, And knowledge rather than choicest gold. For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.”

4. The principle: We must learn to see our needs from God’s perspective, & we must trust Him to meet them in His perfect timing. V.3,4

From God’s perspective, Jesus’s spiritual needs were of far greater importance and significance than His physical needs. The same is true of us. But the enemy has been very successful in western culture of making us think our physical needs of 3 square meals a day, 8 hours of sleep at night, recreation 2or 3 times a week, relaxation in front of the tube every evening after a long hard day at work, a $3.00 + coffee before I head off to work every morning, are rights that we have the right to hold on to.

Jesus Christ, fasted for 40 days during which He obviously meditated on and perhaps even memorized the book of Deuteronomy – because He knew that His need to have the mind of His Father, and to be an instrument fully usable in His hands, was far more important than having His belly full and His muscles bulging.

By the way if you have never studied this passage, all three of Jesus’s responses to the evil one are quotations from the book of Deuteronomy. And it is highly doubtful that after each temptation Jesus said to the devil, “uh could you hold that thought,… there is a verse somewhere in the Bible that might speak to that…. Just hold on a minute. I know its in there.”

How are your devotions these days folks? Are you putting Him first in the mornings?

I have a habit (don’t laugh at me or spread this around town) … but I have a habit of reading a portion of the book “Power Through Prayer” by E.M. Bounds every day when I spend some time in the bathroom in our master bedroom. Being the regular person that I am, this morning was no exception. And I want to read a couple of excerpts to you from my reading this morning. And by the way – I always use the lucky dip method… p. 119, 120 “Hurry, everywhere …. p.122 “Said William…..

My intention up until this morning was to take you through all three of these temptations. But I believe the Holy Spirit has instructed me to not rush ahead; but instead to let this one lesson go deep into our souls.

To help with that I want to give you a handout I put together some time ago. I know some of you have seen it. But all of us are going to go through it together. And then we are going to cry out to God together to make sure we don’t leave this room without something having changed in our value system this morning.

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