The Temptation of Jesus
and him only shall you serve.’”
Accompanying Mark Driscoll sermon: Jesus Without Sin
Accompanying Mark Chandler sermon: Temptation 2000 Years Later
Accompanying John MacArthur sermons: The Invincibility of the Messiah and The Temptation of the Messiah: Part 1
In his first sermon, MacArthur makes a few good points that stood out to me that I wanted to share. First, that is was absolutely imperative that Jesus demonstrate His invincibility over Satan and overcoming temptation - because He couldn't possibly save us if He couldn't defeat Satan Himself. Second, that this was not some accidental encounter with Satan. Jesus, being filled with the Spirit (as He also was) purposefully went into the desert to confront and defeat Satan. Third, that even though Jesus was tempted in every way that we are - it was different. Yes, we are tempted by Satan and circumstances and outward influences - as was Jesus. But we are also tempted on the inside due to our inherent sinful nature. And this was not true of Jesus. He was perfect and there was no internal bent towards sin. Fourth - Jesus withstood greater temptation than we ever will. You see, we never see the full extent of Satan's power because we give in sometimes, we sin sometimes. Satan "turns up the heat" until we cave. But with Jesus, Satan kept turning up the heat and turning up the heat until he had unleashed his maximum power - and Jesus never caves. Jesus does not give in to temptation. He couldn't - He is God and it is impossible for Him to sin. But that doesn't negate or minimize the temptation that He faced.
Mark Driscoll actually had a great analogy for this....
If two guys are at the gym and they’re spotting each other on their bench, which guy fully appreciates, understands the full weight of the bar, the guy who can’t lift it or the guy who can? Answer: the guy who can lift the full weight; he’s the one who truly knows the full weight of the bar. Jesus resisted all temptation. He’s the one who understands the full weight of temptation. You and I, eh, we get ten pounds up and then it collapses on our proverbial chest. He, for forty days, is continually resisting every temptation. He knows how heavy it is.
There is so much we can learn from this passage, it's incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed the sermons I listened to on this and I'm going to try as much as possible to squeeze some of the main points in here.
When Jesus became incarnate, He purposefully set aside His deity to become a man. Yes, He was fully man and fully God, but when He became a man, He set aside His deity and humbled Himself. He relied completely on the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out the will of the Father. All the time. And Satan's biggest temptation was to try to get Jesus to step outside of the Father's will and act out of His own will, which would be disobedience and, therefore, sin.
Jesus was tempted throughout the 40 days. This was a continual onslaught by Satan. And then, when Jesus is physically weak, when His humanity it at it's weakest state, when He is at His most vulnerable, Satan tries to strike the death blow.
Now, the first temptation doesn't seem like much of a temptation at first glance. After all, Jesus was hungry and it's certainly not sinful to eat when we're hungry. And He was perfectly capable of creating bread. But that wasn't the issue.
There were a few issues actually. First, was the simple fact that Satan was telling Jesus to do it. Any time you listen to anything Satan instructs you to do, you're sinning. Simple as that.
For us - often the things Satan tempts us with, aren't evil in and of themselves. But they can be evil if we're using them outside of God's plan. Sex is a beautiful gift between a husband and a wife, but it's a recipe for destruction if it's pre-marital, extra-marital or homosexual.
What Satan is trying to do, is to have Jesus doubt the Father's love and care for Him. "If you're really the Son of God, why are you poor? And hungry? And weak? Is this any way to be treated if you're the Son of God? Does God even love you? How can you say God loves you when He doesn't even provide for you. Look at you! You don't even have a home to live in! You left the splendor of heaven for this gig? "
For us, temptation is an attack on our identity in Christ.
Mark Driscoll (emphasis mine):
in Christ you have a new identity. You’re a new creation. God is now for you a new Father, the church is a new family, heaven is a new eternity, the Spirit of God in you is a new power. And Satan would come to you and say, “Are you really forgiven? Don’t you remember the horrible things you did? Are you sure God forgives you of that? God loves you? Are you sure that he loves you? You’re suffering right now.” Maybe like Jesus, you’re broke, homeless, poor, hungry, and lonely.
“You sure he loves you? It doesn’t look like he loves you. You sure that God adopted you into his family? It doesn’t seem like your Christian friends are all that helpful. It doesn’t seem like anyone else is really trying to serve you. Are you sure that God is your Father? Are you sure you’re a Christian? Are you sure you’re saved and loved and redeemed and cleansed and forgiven? All those big promises the Bible makes, if that was true, wouldn’t your life look a little better than it does right now?” And Satan will question your identity as a child of God as he questioned the identity of the Son of God.
I really want you to know that, in Christ, you get a new identity. And out of that identity, you live a new biography. That’s why the Bible says let us live up to what we’ve already attained. God loves us, saves us, forgives us, gives us his righteousness, adopts us, cares for us, prepares a place for us. Let’s just live up to what we’ve already attained. But if you forget your identity, you’ll destroy your biography.
And Satan’s a liar. John 8 says he is a liar. He’s the father of lies. Lying is his native language. He’s been lying since the beginning. And if he can lie to you like he lied to Jesus, and if he can get you to question your identity, he can destroy your life. He’s a liar. Something doesn’t need to be true to be devastating, it simply need be believed. And sometimes Satan just starts with a question, like he did Eve, like he did Jesus, like he does you. “Did God really say?” “Do you really think?”
And how does Jesus respond? With scripture!
When Satan comes at you, you need to know your Bible. If you don’t, you have no spiritual authority. Your spiritual authority is Jesus’ spiritual authority delegated to you. That comes from the Scriptures. When Ephesians and Hebrews say the Word of God is living and active, sharper than a double-edged sword, that it really is made for battle. And as Satan comes to you and as the battle of temptation rages in your life and your hook is being baited and your flesh is being tempted, Scripture is your only hope, and to know it well and to quote it from memory.
And, the question is, if all of human history hinged on your capacity, after forty days in the wilderness without food, the ability to quote Deuteronomy, how would it go?....
Some of you are younger, you’re single, you’re in a season of life, and you’re wasting it with television and the Internet. You’re wasting it with hobbies and entertainment, none of which is necessarily bad but is, oftentimes, not best, and that, when temptation comes and Satan comes, you will not be ready to do battle because you have not been preparing yourself for that war. Jesus is ready....
Does Satan leave him? No. See, some of you have been told wrongly. You’ve been told two lies, oftentimes by those who even claim to be pastors. The first is, “Oh, that stuff on the hook, it’s really not that enjoyable. Sex, money, fame, power, glory, nice clothes, someone to adore you, yeah, it’s not really that great.” The truth is, it is. That’s why people keep trying to get the bait off the hook. You always end up with the hook in your mouth, but people keep trying.
I’m not going to lie to you and say, “Oh, sex and eating and a glass of wine and a day off and somebody to rub your neck, that’s really bad. You don’t want that.” I’m not going to do that. The Bible says thou shalt not lie. The truth is, when the hook is baited, it’s usually with good things that become god-things and that’s a bad thing. It becomes something you’re willing to trade in for God, like Esau trades in his birthright. You’re willing to do that.
The second lie that is often told, sadly, is that if you just say no he’ll leave you alone. And sometimes you’ll even watch those Bible teachers say, “Quote a verse, tell him to go.” He doesn’t always go. He doesn’t just leave Jesus. It’s not like, “Oh, I heard Deuteronomy, now I got to go.” He keeps coming. He just re-baits the hook. He baits it again....
And Satan comes to Jesus and says it’s a worship issue. “I’ll make you comfortable, successful, powerful. I’ll fill your stomach. I’ll give you all the pleasures that your mind could even conceive of.”
How many of you right now, this is present, this isn’t ancient history for you, this is your life? I’ve been praying with people all day. Women coming up, “Yeah, I am addicted to drugs.” Guys, “I am addicted to alcohol.” “Yeah, I am addicted to sex.” “Yeah, I have taken the bait, the hook is in my mouth, I am dying.” Those are worship acts. Repentance is where we apologize to God. Our goal is not to eat less of the bait. Our goal is not to get the bait off the hook before it lodges in our mouth. Repentance is “I’m satisfied if I’m homeless and broke and hungry and alone like Jesus, because God is enough for me.”
And so Jesus responds again by quoting Deuteronomy. This time he quotes chapter six, verse thirteen. Jesus answered him, “It is written.” Back to the Scriptures. “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.”
Every act is an act of worship. We're either serving and worshiping God or we're serving and worshiping Satan.
Notice too, how Satan quotes scripture! Or rather, misquotes or quotes out of context.
Do you know that Satan knows the Bible? Do you know that? Do you know that if you’re sloppy with Scripture, he absolutely will destroy you.
Sometimes we're in a place where we feel pretty good - we don't feel like we're being tempted, our life's going well, we're good. Oh, we have to be so wary right then! Because if we're not careful, complacency sets in and that's just what Satan wants.
He wants all the soldiers to take the bullets out of the gun, to take their boots off when they go to bed, to forget where they left their helmet. He’ll be back. He’s just waiting. Your life is at stake, your soul is at stake, your legacy’s at stake.
Satan is real, he is powerful, and he is at work. We cannot ignore that. We must prepare for the onslaught, we must be ready to fight sin and our tendency to sin, and we must fight with the sword, with the Word. We must read, study and memorize so that we will be prepared for battle. Because it's coming, it's just a matter of when.
A couple things to learn from this passage in regards to our own temptation.
Jesus was able to resist temptation - even though He was in a place of severe physical weakness, and isolation.
That's going to be very hard for us to do. I'm sure you've noticed. When you're tired and/or hungry - aren't you grouchier? Harder to get along with? More impatient? I sure am.
When you're isolated - there's no one around to see if you mess up, no one to keep you accountable, no one to encourage you, no one to support you.
We need to do what we can to not put ourselves into those vulnerable positions. And when we have no choice (the baby's up all night, etc), we need to be vigilant and on guard.
But here's the great news - Jesus is your warrior king!
We’re not victorious. He is. We’re not righteous. He is. We don’t redeem ourselves from slavery to sin. He does. We don’t change ourselves. He changes us....
Jesus comes, and he identifies with us humbly. And he’s tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. And he goes to the cross, and what looks like the greatest defeat in the history of the world is the great victorious liberation of the captives who become the children of God. And Jesus substitutes himself on the cross. And he who is without any sin takes our place, suffers and dies in our place for our sins.
And he says that cancels, that cancels, friends, that cancels any right Satan has to you. You don’t belong to him. You belong to God. You’re not a slave, you’re an adopted son....
there is now no condemnation in Christ. There is conviction but not condemnation. The conviction should cause us to love Jesus, give him our sin, and go and sin no more, and walk in his great triumphant victory. Condemnation is paralyzing. Conviction is liberating. Condemnation will cause you to live out of an identity that is one who is stained and marred and broken and worthless and a failure.
And Jesus will give you a new identity as one who is changed, loved, healed, forgiven, and granted his perfect righteousness. Jesus’ victory is your victory. Jesus’ righteousness is your righteousness. Live up to what you’ve already obtained....
the Holy Spirit is your power. Jesus was filled and led by the Holy Spirit. How did Jesus resist temptation for forty days? Answer: by the power of God the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit who takes up residence in the children of God. You have the same presence and power of God the Holy Spirit in you that Jesus did. You can live as he did. You can defeat the temptation that comes to you as he did by the presence and the power, by being filled and led by God the Holy Spirit.....yielding to his purposes and presence and power so that you can follow in the life of Jesus by the enablement of the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t just stand back and say, “I’m keeping score, you need to do better.” Jesus dies to forgive, redeem, give new identity, sends the Holy Spirit to redeem, regenerate, transform, and give new power. That’s an amazingly loving, gracious God....
Biblical truth is your counterpunch. Satan will lie to you. You need to know the truth. Jesus says this in his high priestly prayer in John 17, “My prayer is that you protect them from the evil one. Father, sanctify them by the truth. Your Word is the truth.” Every Word of God, Proverbs 30:5–6, is flawless. This is the truth. When Satan comes, you need to know the Scriptures....
It’s not what has been done to you or what has been done by you, but it is what Christ has done for you. In the eyes of Christ, you are clean. You were forgiven. You were adopted. You were redeemed. You are beloved. You are, you are....
Escape is always possible....The truth is, you have two choices: the hook or the door. You either bite the hook or run out the door....1 Corinthians 10:13–14, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” Don’t worship anything or anyone other than God.
What he’s saying is this. When temptation comes, keep your senses. Look for the way out. There is a door of escape somewhere. There’s a way out of it. Some of you for so long, “Well, I’m already dating them. I’m already at the club. I’ve already logged onto the Internet. I already started this conversation, you know. I’m already halfway there.” Run. Run out the door of opportunity that God gives.
You have two choices, friends: the hook or the door. You bite the hook or run out the door. Your whole life, it utterly depends on the decisions you make in those moments. There’s always a way out. You and I, we love to always be the victim. “I couldn’t help it. It was not my fault, my friends blank, my life blank, this blank, God that.” No way. The door was open and your eyes were closed. And repentance is believing that. ....
Satan eventually taps out.... Resist the devil and he will, what? Flee from you. Eventually. Maybe it takes forty days....
repent whenever you tap out and fight another round. Some of you, Satan tempts you, you’re in a fight, and after a while you’re like, “Okay, I tap out, I give in, I’ll do what you want, I’ll believe what you want, I’ll behave how you want.” So, what do you do then? Fight some more, because...life is a battle with many rounds. Just because you tapped out in one round doesn’t mean it’s over. He’s going to be back anyways, just like he was to Jesus. He’s going to come back into Jesus’ life repeatedly. He’s going to, in fact, indwell and empower Judas Iscariot to murder him. This was just one round. The battle will rage all the way through the empty tomb.
And it rages all the way to this very day. Some of you come here having already tapped out. Repentance is acknowledging that you bit the hook rather than running out the door. It is acknowledging that Jesus is your only hope for escape and victory. It is confessing your sin to him in humility so that that control that Satan has in your life would be broken, that you could live a new life as a new creation as a new person with Christ....
be willing to fight, to fight for the glory of God and the good of your life and those who love you.
Jesus refused to doubt God's love, He refused to doubt His identity, He countered Satan's lies with God's truth, He was prepared for the battle, He was filled with the Spirit, He trusted in God's plan.
May we do the same!
Sorry this was so late, and so long! :)
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 4:9-13