Temptation – the Devil Round 1 (Luke 4:1-2) When was the last time you were tempted? I mean deeply tempted to do or to say exactly what you knew in your heart you were not to do or say? Likely, it wasn’t some new temptation. Likely, it was the same O thing that habitually shows up ever so often. How did it work out for you? Did you resist and overcome the temptation? Or, were you defeated again giving in to your temptation? What was it? Safe to say it was sin tempting you. What is your beloved sin that is such temptation to you? How many times have you confessed it to God and tried to never do it again? You know it breaks God’s heart, disgusts you, hurts you, and hurts others.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 4

Temptation – The Devil Round 1 (Luke 4:1-2)

by Pastor Delbert Young

Temptation – The Devil Round 1 (Luke 4:1-2) video audio

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Temptations – The Devil Round 1 – Luke 4:1-2

Scriptures: Hebrews 12:1; Proverbs 24:16; Romans 7:23-24; John 10:10; Luke 4:1-2; Matthew 6:9-13; 1 Corinthians 15:45; Luke 4:2; Luke 4:2-3; Luke 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:2-3

When was the last time you were tempted? I mean deeply tempted to do or to say exactly what you knew in your heart you were not to do or say? Likely, it wasn’t some new temptation. Likely, it was the same O thing that habitually shows up ever so often. How did it work out for you? Did you resist and overcome the temptation? Or, were you defeated again giving in to your temptation? What was it? Safe to say it was sin tempting you. What is your beloved sin that is such temptation to you? How many times have you confessed it to God and tried to never do it again? You know it breaks God’s heart, disgusts you, hurts you, and hurts others.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and THE SIN THAT SO EASILY ENTANGLES, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Everyone has a sin. It hinders you and even though we know God, angels, and the great cloud of witnesses watch us, we do it anyway again and again. You’re not alone and you keep trying.

Proverbs 24:16 for though a RIGHTEOUS MAN falls seven times, HE RISES AGAIN, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.

Righteous people repeatedly fall, but repeatedly get up, confess, and keep trying. That’s what makes us righteous. The wicked don’t keep trying and go to the calamity of hell. Even the apostle Paul, who suffered for Jesus probably more than anyone in history and did more for Jesus than anyone in history, honestly confessed even after years of loving Christ how sin held him prisoner and still was at work in him.

Romans 7:23-24 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and MAKING ME A PRISONER OF THE LAW OF SIN at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Sin’s temptation is a constant enemy we fight all the days of our lives, but it must be fought. If you don’t it will imprison you, rob you, destroy you, and kill you bringing you to calamity.

We will take a couple of weeks to look at the temptations Jesus experienced. Some may not relate to what I preach every week, but one thing is certain. Every one of us relates to temptation. I want each of us to (1) get a better understanding of temptation; (2) how temptation comes, and (3) how we are to resist and overcome it before it destroys you bringing you to calamity. That’s what Jesus shows us in Luke 4 as Luke gives an amazing snapshot of temptations coming on Jesus.

Temptation is not sin. Some think they’ve already fallen to sin when a temptation comes. No. Jesus was tempted, but didn’t sin. It’s not sin unless you give in to temptation. Temptation is not sin. Giving in to temptation is sin.

Jesus and the devil fish for men, but use different bait. The bait the devil uses will be the bait most enticing to you – food, sex, lust, adultery, laziness, drugs, getting high, fame, power, money, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, security, comfort, anger, and on and on. He has an endless tackle box and endless live well full of bait. We know exactly the bait most tempting to us. It’s with that bait the devil baits his hook. He will give you whatever will compel you to take the hook. He will let you run with it, swallow it deep, and then he will set the hook. He will then reel you in as his trophy to destruction and death.

John 10:10 The thief comes only TO STEAL AND KILL AND DESTROY; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

How does the devil come? Let’s get an image. A hook of the devil is high blood pressure, diabetes, knee and hip joint replacements, heart problems, and an eventual heart attack, but you wouldn’t bite that hook. So, he puts food, lots of food loaded with salt and fats on the hook tempting you to over eat and become a glutton. Addiction, loss of motivation, over dosing, arrest, and incarceration would not tempt you, so he baits the hook with alcohol and drugs that make you feel better and get high. The devil doesn’t come saying I want to tempt you with divorce, tearing apart your children emotionally and mentally, and ripping your heart apart. Instead, he baits the hook with lust, or by magnifying a fault of your spouse, or with “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.”

The bait the devil uses and will give you is the bait most enticing to you. “Delbert, you said the devil will give it to you. Does he?” Oh yes. Realizing this is an important part of overcoming temptation. I’ll show you the devil offered Jesus anything Jesus wanted and said it was the devil’s to give. Jesus didn’t dispute that. The catch is it will lead you to death and destruction, not to a happier and better life.

Let’s begin looking at and learning from the temptations of Jesus.

Luke 4:1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was LED BY THE SPIRIT IN THE DESERT, where FOR FORTY DAYS HE WAS TEMPTED BY THE DEVIL. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

Just baptized at the Jordan by John the Baptizer, maybe still wet, Jesus was off to temptations. His first act of ministry was not to preach, teach, or do miracles. It was to BE TEMPTED. Every wonder what the first thing you would do if you were Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to minister? I don’t think placing yourself in a position to be severely TEMPTED BY THE DEVIL would be it.

An important aspect of water baptism, Holy Spirit baptism, and being recognized as a child of God is a prelude to severe temptation. Most people think becoming a child of God makes life easier. No. It makes life better, but not immediately easier. It gets easier, but initially there are many temptations. All your problems are not going to just go away. However, you now have the power and ability to overcome your problems.

Jesus was led by the Spirit in the desert where he was tempted. Mark 1:12 says “the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness” (KJV). When led by the Spirit, we will find ourselves in some desert places and greatly tempted. It’s not all cake and ice cream when a person is Spirit filled and Spirit led. The Spirit of God will take you, drive you, where you will be tempted, not to where you can’t. Do you remember how Jesus told us to pray? Let’s rehearse it.

Matthew 6:9-13 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come… And LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, but deliver us from the evil one.’

There’s an authentic reason to pray that, but how many of us do, or realize what we are praying? Can we get our heads wrapped around this thought? Sometimes, we are in temptation because God led, or even drove, us there. Why? It’s there our heart will be tested to see what is in it. It’s not to see how strong or weak you are. It’s to see what’s in your heart. I’ll show you shortly. You must know what’s in your heart so it won’t destroy you, kill you, and bring you to calamity. God already knows, temptation will show you.

Jesus went to the wilderness where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. It was forty days of temptations, not only three temptations. All the temptations are summarized by the three we read here.

Jesus ate nothing during those days. Have you ever fasted? I’ve been on two or three forty day fasts. I don’t know how many ten day and three day fasts. Here is what’s interesting. I’m not sure I was always fasting for the right reason. Most people fast to get something from God, but a primary purpose of a fast is to be tempted by the devil to see what’s in our heart. That was the primary, if not only, reason (only time) Jesus ate nothing during those days. We have a snapshot of the heart of Jesus. Have you ever fasted not asking God for anything other than reveal to you through temptation what is in your heart? You might be truly amazed at what’s in there.

As we saw, the genealogy of Jesus went back to Adam who swallowed the hook, failed, and became a trophy. Adam was removed from his paradise and driven into his wilderness separated from God. Jesus goes to the wilderness and picked up where Adam left off.

1 Corinthians 15:45 So it is written: “The FIRST man Adam became a living being”; the LAST ADAM, a life-giving spirit.

The first Adam failed. The last Adam, Jesus, picked it up where the first Adam failed. Jesus could not show us the way to God unless he succeeded where the first Adam failed. Jesus had to be tempted by the same serpent/devil and same degree of temptation. Let’s read verse 2 again.

Luke 4:2 where for forty days he was tempted BY THE DEVIL. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them HE WAS HUNGRY.

There are several things here we need to talk about which set up the temptations. First, the belief people have concerning the devil is multifaceted. Some people don’t believe the devil exists. They say that’s a primitive man-made solution excusing man’s failures. They say today we have telescopes and the microscopes. We don’t see the devil or demons or God or angels out there or inside people, so they are not real. They don’t see the wind either, but it’s real. They don’t see smells either, but they’re real. If that’s your thinking, I say you are already defeated and the devil has you exactly where he wants you.

Some people think they are smarter than the devil. They think they can get the bait off the hook without being hooked. To those, I say you don’t know how it works. We all know from experience the devil will let you run with the bait for a season swallowing it, but he will set the hook and snatch a knot in your fish tail. Then it’s too late. You’ve swallowed the hook and you can’t get off. No matter how you fight, jump, jerk, or run, you become the devil’s trophy.

The devil is a real enemy. He’s portrayed like a cartoon character with the little horns, pitchfork, and pointed tail. We easily see him coming in the cartoons. How do we know who he is? He’s the funny looking red guy. That’s not how he comes. He baits your hook with what you want. He’ll tempt you through marketing on TV, or an all you can eat buffet, or with a slow driver in the left lane, with a lustful image, whatever it takes. He’s subtle, crafty, and sly. You’re not smarter than the devil.

Jesus was hungry, tired, and drained. Your physical condition will add to the devil’s ability to tempt you. We all become grouchy when hungry and tired. Be aware of your physical condition. The devil will come when you are weak and drained as he did Jesus.

Jesus was alone in the wilderness. Too many people do life alone. What I mean is they have no accountability. We need people we respect and give the right to tell us when they see us nibbling at the bait. You don’t need people who religiously judge you. You do need people who will lovingly ask accountability questions to keep you from being all alone in your wilderness.

Luke 4:2-3 …he was hungry. The devil said to him, “IF YOU ARE the Son of God, tell this stone to become BREAD.”

Jesus’ hunger, an attack on his identity, and the temptation are closely linked. Twice in these temptations the devil attacked the identity of Jesus with, “If you are the Son of God…” Your life comes out of your identity. Your life is a product of who you truly believe you are. For example, if a person believes they are a victim, they will live their life as a victim. If you believe you are no good and a failure that will determine how you live your life. Your identity will determine who you marry, the type person you marry, your education level, how you pay your bills, the house in which you live, how you raise your children, the job you take, and every element of life. That’s real identity theft.

Who you believe you are, your identity, determines the life you live. Who you believe you are will construct you or destruct you. Something doesn’t need to be true to be destructive. It only needs to be believed. A lie believed becomes devastating to the person believing the lie. God said clearly at the baptism to Jesus, “YOU are my Son, whom I love; with YOU I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). God gave Jesus his identity.

The devil comes to you saying, “Are you really a child of God. Are you truly forgiven? If you are a child of God, wouldn’t God provide for you what you hunger for? God doesn’t want you to be hungry. Turn what you have into what you hunger for.” So we take things God gave us and use it for personal hungers.

Jesus was hungry – peinao {pi-nah’-o} to “pine” – to hunger, be hungry, to suffer want, to be needy, to crave ardently, to seek with eager desire. Jesus craved ardently food. He had eager desire for food – bread – and it was as severe a temptation, but where is the temptation. Is it a sin to eat bread?

Could Jesus turn a stone into bread? Certainly he could. He told water to become wine. He told fish and loaves to multiply. He told a fig tree to die. He told the wind and sea to calm. He could tell a stone to become bread. The temptation wasn’t to misuse his power. Jesus’ response to the temptation – “Man does not live by bread alone” – shows the temptation was his appetite.

I was thinking about this. Is it a sin to eat bread? No, not unless eating is temptation as it is with many of us. I believe Jesus really enjoyed eating (Luk 7:34; 5:29). Think about it. Jesus must have enjoyed eating if eating was a temptation.

Many of the temptations you and I experience do not appear to be sin in and of themselves, such as eating. It’s not a sin to eat unless we turn eating into gluttony. We turn things into sin with our own power of excess. For example, wine, drugs, eating, sex, hobbies, work, even sleeping and taking time off, etc. are good God given things, but we turn all good things into things to satisfy our personal appetites.

The devil comes to us saying, “Come on. This isn’t really sin. Do a little more. Take what God has given you to be good and turn it into excess to satisfy your personal appetite. It will feel good. God won’t mind. There’s nothing wrong with that is there? Has God said you can’t eat of the tree? Hey! It’s your tree. It’s in your garden. You can eat if you want. Turn this stone into bread. Go ahead.”

There’s a tremendous connection between what you hunger for, your identity temptation. Jesus responded with the written word of God.

Luke 4:4 Jesus answered, “IT IS WRITTEN: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.'”

Jesus REFERENCED (only referenced) Deuteronomy 8:3, but didn’t quote the context, verse, or even the book from which it came. I’ll paraphrase so we can get my point. “It is written somewhere in the scriptures…” “The Bible says…” We’ve been told we must “know the Bible” and we should, but it’s not necessary to know exactly where it is written. Jesus did know. I don’t mean to imply he didn’t. He is the Word of God, but had it been necessary to give book, chapter, verse, and context Jesus would have done it. Jesus REFERENCED. He simply said, “It is written…” All you have to know is, “The Bible says…” IT IS WRITTEN…

Ask you a question. If your very life, your family and children, the life of generations coming after you, depended on your ability to know what is written, how would it go? The truth is your family, children, and generations to come do depend on it. It’s from Deuteronomy referenced and we will see that temptation is to reveal our hearts.

Deuteronomy 8:2-3 Remember how the LORD your God LED YOU all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to TEST YOU IN ORDER TO KNOW WHAT WAS IN YOUR HEART, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to HUNGER AND THEN feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that MAN DOES NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Moses instructed the children of Israel to remember their ancestors didn’t do very well with their hunger. They complained and wanted to return to Egypt. In their hearts were the fish of Egypt, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic (Num 11:5). They died in the wilderness. For forty years God LED them with the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night in the wilderness to test them. The hunger of the new generation was a test/temptation by God to see WHAT WAS IN THEIR HEART. Would they do things God’s way, or fall to the temptation of the devil.

Temptation is for you. God leads us to be tempted. It’s to see what is in our hearts. You must know what’s there, how to see it coming, and how to defeat it.

Other Related Sermons:

Temptation – Round 2 – video audio notes Luke 4:1-8

Easter Nonsense – sermon video audio notes

I SEE GRACE pt 2 – Easter sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young