Can we resist temptations?

Matthew 4:1-11

We are at liberty to do as we please. Yet, the consequences of our decisions can harm us. When Adam and Eve were told to avoid eating from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were told they would surely die. Their disobedience led them to be thrown out of the Garden of Eden.

When we are tempted, we are capable of giving into the temptations. We disobey God when we give into temptations. It is also entirely possible for us to be capable of resisting temptations. It would mean that we would be obeying God when we resist temptations. Can we resist temptations?

Jesus resisted temptations. How Jesus resisted temptation shows the power of God. He had gone without food for forty days and forty nights. I don’t know about you, but that is a long time to go without food! This Son of God, the Beloved, did just that, went without food for forty days and forty nights. I’m usually hungry after a long bike ride, I cannot imagine 40 days with no food! But the thing is, Jesus spent the time conversing with God the Father. Then the Spirit allowed Jesus to be tempted by the devil.

The tempter, the devil did not like these happenings. So the devil tempted Jesus.

A. First, the devil wanted to know if the Son of God would feed himself, from the rocks (4:3-4)
+++1. “If/since you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
+++2. Jesus was at liberty to do as he wanted at this request
+++3. Jesus chose to rely on Scriptures
+++4. “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
+++5. Jesus could have satisfied himself. But he chose to obey God. We do not live by the scrumptious desserts at a church potluck, but we live by the Scriptures. Can we resist temptations? It is beginning to look like we can resist temptations! What if another temptation comes our way?

B. Next, the devil wanted to see if Jesus trusted God (4:5-7)
+++1. The devil took Jesus from the wilderness to Jerusalem and the highest point of the Temple
+++2. “If/since you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you do not dash your foot against a stone.’” (Psalm 91:1)
+++3. Jesus was at liberty to do as he wanted at this request
+++4. Jesus chose to rely on Scriptures
+++5. “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Deuteronomy 6:16)
+++6. It would have been a sight to see a man jump off a tall building, land on the ground, and for him to walk away. It would have gotten lots of attention. But then, what other great feat would Jesus have to do to keep people’s attention? Can we resist temptations? For Jesus to obey God the Father it looks like Jesus had to trust God, even without throwing himself down off the top of the Temple. Why test God, when we already know he is proven to be faithful already? Besides, it is a display of disobedience to test God. How was the devil going to see Jesus give in to temptation?

C. The final temptation was to see if Jesus would worship the devil (4:8-10)
+++1. The devil then took Jesus to a high mountain to show Jesus all the kingdoms of the world
+++2. “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
+++3. Jesus was at liberty to do as he wanted at this request
+++4. Jesus chose to rely on Scriptures
+++5. How did Jesus rely on Scriptures?
++===+a. Rebuked Satan
++===+b. Quotes Scripture correctly
+===++c. “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” (Deuteronomy 6:13)
+++6. Can we resist temptations? We know Jesus was able to resist temptations. Jesus was obedient to God. How was Jesus obedient to God? Jesus worshiped and served God, only. The devil didn’t even consider at this point if Jesus was the Son of God. He wanted to distract Jesus into worshiping him. Jesus didn’t give into this temptation. How about us, can we resist temptations?

D. We have distinct lessons for us to resist temptations
+++1. Rely on God
+++2. We don’t need to show off how good God is (putting God to the test)
+++3. We can rely on the Scriptures to help us resist temptations
+++4. We have liberty to do as we want at any request from the devil
+++5. Temptations could lead us to abuse the freedom God has given us
+++6. We are free, accountable beings
+++7. When we give into temptations, we no longer reflect the image of God. We are reflecting our own image!
+++8. When we rely on God, we are more free than when we give into temptations. When we trust God, we are freer to be his children. When we know and live God’s ways, then we are free to be who God created us to be, namely, his children! Even when life has given us despair, pain, and agony, we can resist temptation. It is our choice. The good that God has for us surely does sound better than any temptation we face.

Jesus resisted temptations. Yes, we know Jesus is God here with us. So, it appears Jesus has power that we do not have. Yet, it is the same Jesus who is with us that makes it so we can resist temptation.

Satisfying our appetite will only make us fatter. Testing God only leads to our own demise. Worshiping the devil leads us away from God the Father. Giving into temptation can be avoided. We need not use our freedom for our own destruction.

We can resist temptations. Study the Bible. We already know the devil knows the Bible. We can know the Scripture so we can live. Pray to God. Our everyday trust in God keeps us from putting God to the test. Do fast. Worship and serve God. Our following Jesus keeps us obedient to God.

It is our choice. We can resist temptations. God has given us this freedom. Let’s use our freedom to obey God. The Son of God freely gave up his life so that we can freely live with God.

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