Sweet Temptation

Posted: June 28, 2015 in TLCC
Tags: , , ,

bite-out-of-an-appleWanderlust. Food Porn. School Pride. Envy. Anger. Sloth. Gluttony. I think social media is desensitizing the seven deadly sins making us feel “it’s ok”.

Compare Matthew’s account with Luke’s account. The reason is mostly the style of writing. Matthew was writing for the Jewish people (hence the chronological order, notice the word “Again, Then, And”) while Luke was writing for the Gentile people (climatic order). It’s like two people going to the theme park. One would tell the story from the beginning while the other would tell which rides he likes best.

(1-2) And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.

Jesus, after his baptism (a public declaration of who he is), is (a) full of the Holy Spirit and (b) was led by the Spirit to be tempted in the wilderness.

Temptations, trials and afflictions are part of a Christian life. So if someone tells you that a Christian’s life should be smooth sailing, all blessings, consider this…Jesus was tested. The Spirit led Jesus in the wilderness to be tempted.

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

James wrote to the believers saying…

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Trials refine a person and brings out the character in a person. God allows these things happen to test our faith.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Cor. 10:13)

We know we can respond to temptations because of God’s character. His faithfulness. So let us study the temptation of Jesus Christ in three parts.

Temptation #1: Physical desire (lust of the flesh)
(3-4)The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”

Man shall not live by bread alone. We don’t live to eat. We live for the glory of God. Yet many times, we believe the lies of the enemy that we “need” to allow our lust to consume us. It’s our “nature”.

Temptation #2: Power (lust of the eyes)
(5-8) And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”
And Jesus answered him,
“It is written,‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”

Absolute power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. In the temptation of Christ, this was one lie. Jesus owns the world, not Satan.

Pastor Rodel Buban, in a message at The Living Christian Church, said, “kelan pa may pag-aari ang demonyo?” (Since when did the devil own anything?)

Jesus points us to worship God instead. We worship little gods but Jesus points us back to worship God.

Temptation #3: Fame (Pride of life)
(9-12) And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and
“‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

This temptation was meant to bypass the plan of God. To have fame instantly. How many of us wants shortcuts to success?

How did Jesus respond? Three times he used Scriptures to fight. Temptation can be fought when we are fully grounded in His word.

your word I have hidden in my heart that I may not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11)

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17)

Temptation is fought when we know that God is not our servant. It is the other way around. Jesus responded by prioritizing God instead of the self. Fighting temptation is actually a heart issue.

Whatever help we can offer people who are struggling with sin has to be aimed at transforming hearts, not behavior. (Francis Chan)

In one blog article by Jon Bloom, he told a story of Ulysses and Jason in the same situation with the sirens. Ulysses chose to tie himself in the mast of the ship while Jason chose to get Orpheus, a skilled musician to overwhelm the song of the sirens.

In short, we need to fight temptation by replacing it with something more that we love. Replace temptation with the love for God.

We need to get back to reading Scriptures. His promises are there. That’s the only weapon we have against the enemy. We need to learn how to love God more than just avoiding temptation. We need to seek Him.

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