The temptation of Jesus Christ is very stirring and informative! It consists of multiple failed attempts by the devil to get the Lord Jesus to sin. The devilís goal was to get the sinless Lord Jesus to become guilty of sin and defiled! From the temptation of Christ, you will learn how the Lord Jesus Christ successfully resisted the devilís temptations on three occasions. In this expository bible study, we will focus on Matthew 4:1-11, where Satan tempts Jesus. The setting started with the Lord Jesus in the desert, but progressed to the Temple in Jerusalem, then to a high mountain, showing the devil uses our visual abilities to tempt. That fact about sinful temptation is a definite advantage for the blind, who will not be distracted by what they see physically.
Matthew 4:1-11Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." (Mat 4:1-3)We learn from verse 10 that it was Satan who was tempting Jesus, but here it says the devil. Hence, the devil and Satan are two ways to identify the same evil creature. Other names for the devil are:
evil one (1 Jn. 2:13),
father of lies (Jn. 8:44),
enemy (1 Pet. 5:8),
the tempter (1 Thess. 3:5),
prince of this world (John 12:31), etc.
At this temptation of Jesus Christ, when the Lord is hungry, the devil brings up food! He wants Jesus to perform a miracle by changing the stones to bread to prove to him that he is the Son of God. The devil knew Jesus had the ability to do that or there would be no temptation. How the Lord Jesus resisted the devilís temptation is significant!
How To Resist TemptationJesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Mat 4:4)How to resist temptation begins with not ignoring the temptation or trying to reason with the devil. He also didnít ponder the devilís suggestion! Instead, Jesus responded with Godís word. The Lord Jesus quoted a passage from the book of Deuteronomy: "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." That was the perfect way to resist temptation as shown by the Lord Jesusí example. He stood firm on scripture and quoted it.
The Devilís Temptations Will Never Remind You of the GUILT Associated With Sin
Jesus Temptation #2Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" (Mat 4:5,6)Note: the sly evil one can quote scripture too. The devil also cited Deuteronomy, just like Jesus did! Never forget that the devil can quote scripture! Since the devil can quote scripture, donít think that just because someone is quoting scripture that he/she is doing Godís will or is accurately using that scripture! There are many false teachers in the church who are sadly very proficient with providing deception in the church! Again, there are many ravenous wolves in sheepís clothing in our day and the list of false prophets today continues to grow! They can all use scripture, like the devil can.Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" (Mat 4:7)Again, the Lord Jesus answered the devil with Godís truth, the deciding factor for all spiritual authority! For Jesus to intentionally throw himself down from the highest point of the Temple, for God to protect him via his holy angels would be a violation of the scripture to not "test God"! That is what snake handlers do by intentionally handling rattlesnakes! VERY IMPORTANT! Jesus said "It is ALSO written." In other words, if the devil was correctly using the scripture he quoted, it wouldnít clash with the one Jesus cited about testing God! That is like Joseph Prince ministries misusing scripture to teach the heresy of once saved always saved! If scripture is used properly, it will be a consistent and harmonious theme without contradiction from verse to verse. Two other examples of a blatant misuse, besides Joseph Prince, would be the Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovahís Witnesses wrongly teaching Jesus is the archangel Michael and all the many heretics who smear the Christian holy image with the teaching that Paul, after his conversion, was the chief of sinners! SHOCKING! Those three distortions have been the downfall of many souls.
Jesus Temptation #3Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." (Mat 4:8,9)Here it is shown that the devil has the ability to produce visions. Such has proven to be a source of great deception for the destruction of souls among Catholics, Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists, especially. That also helps us explain life after death experiences (also called near death experiences) which contradict Godís word. They are from the devil too! Jesusí temptation here was a power temptation. Worldly power is really what the devil tempted Jesus with there. For that temptation of Jesus to be valid, the devil would have to really possess all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor! Shocking, but he is the ruler (or prince) of this world (Jn. 12:31) now! He is such an ego maniac, wanting worship so badly, that he was willing to exchange all that for Jesusí worship! Sad, but true -- Satan worship is going to be commonplace in the last generation (Rev. 13:4), as will be the Harry Potter practice of the magic arts (Rev. 9:21 cf. 21:8)!Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" (Mat 4:10)Again, the Lord Jesus answered with the written word of God. That is the way to successfully resist temptation. Also, this final temptation of Jesus has Jesus commanding Satan to go away from him.Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Mat 4:11)
Jesus Was Tempted With ALL SinShocking as it may seem, Jesus was tempted at other times, though we have no clear detailed record as we do here in Matthew 4:1-11. In Hebrews we read:For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. (Heb 4:15)Throughout Jesusí earthly ministry, he was viciously opposed by the religious hierarchy of the day and all during that same time he was being tempted by the devil to sin! He alone was sinless (Rom. 3:23), and the Catholic belief that Mary was sinless too is not only mariolatry, it is also idolatrous! The temptation of Jesus Christ from Matthew 4:1-11 has revealed various important truths for our protection from evil:
The Temptation of Christ and Resisting Temptation SummaryTo successfully resist sinful temptations, answer with the word of God. Let Godís word control you. Do NOT ponder the pleasures of that sin for a short season (Heb. 11:25) or try to reason with the devil. When the enemiesí thoughts and imaginations enter your mind, cast them down immediately.
The devil knows the bible and can quote scripture. His servants can do the same!
The devil can come as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14) and perform visions and experiences. Test all visions, experiences, testimonies, etc. with the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16,17).
The word of God is final spiritual authority and settles the issue! The devil will try to lure you away from scripture. Godís word is light and truth, while the devilís kingdom is darkness and lies.
The devil wants our worship! God alone is to be worshiped.
NO creature regardless who it is, should be "worshiped" as Mary is. See Vatican Council II statement about her! Remember the aforementioned truths about the temptation of Jesus Christ from Matthew 4:1-11.
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