A Conversation About Temptation
We all feel it. We all understand it, in a sense, because it’s all around us.
It’s in ads online, it’s in movies and tv shows, it’s in our heads and our hearts. How do we navigate it? How do we resist it? Do we even want to?
Jesus experienced temptation for forty days and nights as he wandered in the wilderness. He faced the onslaught of pressure from the evil one to succumb to fleshly, sinful desires, in the same way that you and I do daily.
It’s a passage that brings comfort in knowing that, as Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
But it’s a passage that brings a challenge for us as well because, as we’ll see from the text, responding to temptation the way Jesus did comes down to a few simple choices.
As we come face to face with our own responses to temptation, I’m praying that God will open our hearts to hear what he has to say, and that we will be receptive to the changes he wants to make in our lives.
As this whole series has been, this is another “line in the sand” kind of message. It’s a convicting word from Matthew 4 this week, one we all need to hear.
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Conversations with Jesus
A Conversation About Temptation
Matthew 4:1-11 (Satan)
May 24, 2020
Resisting temptation, as Jesus did, comes down to a few simple choices.
1. Self-satisfaction or humble dependence? (v. 1–4)
Israel demanded its bread, but died in the wilderness. Jesus denied himself bread, retained his righteousness and lived by faithful submission to God’s word.―D.A. Carson
Remember, he is not, like you, a pure spirit. Never having been a human (Oh the abominable advantage of the Enemy’s!) you don’t realize how enslaved they are to the pressure of the ordinary.
I once had a patient, a sound atheist, who used to read in the British Museum. One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way. The Enemy, of course, was at his elbow in a moment…If I had lost my head and begun to attempt a defence by argument I should have been undone. But I was not such a fool. I struck instantly at the part of the man which I had best under my control and suggested that it was just about time he had some lunch.―C.S. Lewis
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.―Luke 14:26–27
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.―Luke 14:33
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies
of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.―Romans 12:1
2. Make my own truth or believe God? (v. 5–7)
You shall not put the Lord your God to the test as you tested him at Massah.―Deuteronomy 6:16
When I face temptation, it’s critical God’s Word is…
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3. Hold desperately to control or submit wholeheartedly? (v. 8–11)
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.―Proverbs 16:6
Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.
―Pastor John Owen