Temptation – Round 2 (Luke 4:1-8) I was thinking about this. If your three biggest temptations were written in the Bible to be read by trillions of people for eternity, what would be written? I’m not certain I would want my three biggest temptations written. How about you? Here’s the deal. The devil was saying, (I’m paraphrasing) “Look! Here’s what you want most in life. You will give everything to have this. You are willing to die for this! I can give it to you much easier. You can take a shortcut. I can make it happen, but you must worship me.”
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 4
Temptation – Round 2 (Luke 4:1-8)
by Pastor Delbert Young
Temptation – Round 2 – Luke 4:1-8
Scriptures: Luke 4:1-2; Matthew 6:9-13; Deuteronomy 8:2-3; Luke 4:5; Genesis 3:1; Job 1:6-12; Luke 4:5-7; Romans 1:25; Luke 9:23; Matthew 4:9; Luke 4:8; Exodus 23:24-25; Deuteronomy 6:13-14
We are talking about temptation from Luke 4. I read a story told about a little boy in a grocery store. The boy was standing near an open box of peanut butter cookies. “Now then, young man,” said the grocer as he approached the young man. “What are you up to?” “Nothing,” replied the boy: “Nothing.” “Well it looks to me like you were trying to take a cookie.” “You’re wrong, mister, I’m trying not to!” That’s a good innocent picture of temptation. There are temptations from the time we were children until we die.
I really dislike taking time recapping, but last time we saw some amazingly important truths that need to be reviewed. We all experience temptations. According to Hebrews 12:1, we all have a temptation referred to as “the sin” that so easily entangles and hinders our lives. Even though a great cloud of witnesses of saints, Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are watching, we still fall into temptation again. However, what makes us righteous is though we repeatedly fall (seven times), we repeatedly get up, confess it, and fight again (Pro 24:16) wondering if we will defeat this thing before we die. Every single person who has ever lived has had to battle temptations. Even Jesus Christ was tempted. The apostle Paul said after years of love and service and suffering for the Lord, sin still made him wretched (Rom 7:24).
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…
Jesus didn’t have only three temptations. It was forty days of temptations summarized into three rounds of fighting (1Jn 2:16).
Jesus was led by the Spirit in the desert where he was tempted by the devil. Mark 1:12 says “the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness” (KJV). The Spirit of God will lead even drive you, into temptation. I know our religious minds have difficulty with that, but that’s what the Bible teaches and that’s what Jesus taught.
Matthew 6:9-13 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, but deliver us from evil [evil one – NIV]
Sometimes, we are in temptation because God led, or drove, us there. WHY? Here was the big thought I wanted us to get last week. It is in temptation your heart will be tested so you can see what is in it. It’s not to see how strong, weak, spiritual you are, or how many scriptures you can quote. It’s to see what’s in your heart.
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.
That was the passage Jesus referenced in round one to overcome the temptation. The bottom line of temptation is to reveal what is in our hearts and we are led there by God the Spirit. We will never overcome temptation until we first realize TEMPTATION IS FOR OUR GOOD. Temptation is a positive thing and perhaps the only way to truly know what is in your heart. You must know what’s in your heart so it won’t steal, kill, or destroy you (Jn 10:10). God already knows what’s in your heart, temptation will show you.
That was round one and Jesus won the round, but the devil didn’t tap out. The buzzer sounded for round 2.
Luke 4:5 THE DEVIL LED HIM up to a high place…
The Spirit leads or drives us TO temptation. The devil takes over and leads us DURING temptation. He is created to do just that.
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more SUBTIL than any beast of the field WHICH THE LORD GOD HAD MADE. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
God made the serpent/devil (same being – Rev 12:9 – great dragon, old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan) to be subtil and crafty. I want to show you a picture of how a temptation is set up.
(The Message Bible) Job 1:6-12 One day when the angels came to report to GOD, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. GOD singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?” Satan answered GOD, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.” GOD said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him–honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.” Satan retorted, “So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of HIS HEART? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does–he can’t lose! “But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? HE’D CURSE YOU RIGHT TO YOUR FACE, that’s what.” GOD replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead–do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of GOD
Job’s temptation to curse God was instigated (led) by God himself. The temptation was to curse God. Satan would bring it out of Job’s heart. Boundaries were set by God and Satan/devil took over and led during the temptation. When we are in temptation, we need to know we are being led by the devil. God is watching. There are boundaries, but we need to know the devil is leading us with temptation. By the way, though encouraged to curse God by his wife, Job never did (Job 2:9-10). Job overcame temptation and God blessed him abundantly.
Back to Luke and round 2 of the fight between Jesus and the devil.
Luke 4:5-7 The devil led him up to a high place and SHOWED HIM in an instant ALL the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I WILL GIVE YOU ALL THEIR AUTHORITY AND SPLENDOR, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you WORSHIP ME, it will ALL BE YOURS.”
The temptation was authority and splendor and seems pretty much all Jesus wanted. Could the devil give ALL? Jesus didn’t say the devil couldn’t. But, if he can, there is one catch: “worship me.” Jesus would need to refocus his worship. The first temptation related to the lust of the flesh (1Jn 2:6). This temptation relates to the lust of the eyes as the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world. How many kingdoms of the world are there? Innumerable! The point is that’s lots of authority and lots of splendor. The devil said Jesus could have it ALL… WITHOUT THE CROSS.
Remember, this was a severe temptation for Jesus. Just as we talked earlier about the thing that severely tempts you, this was a most severe temptation for Jesus. Jesus wanted all the authority and splendor of all the kingdoms of the world. He had to want all if this was a legitimate temptation.
I was thinking about this. If your three biggest temptations were written in the Bible to be read by trillions of people for eternity, what would be written? I’m not certain I would want my three biggest temptations written. How about you?
Here’s the deal. The devil was saying, (I’m paraphrasing) “Look! Here’s what you want most in life. You will give everything to have this. You are willing to die for this! I can give it to you much easier. You can take a shortcut. I can make it happen, but you must worship me.”
So, I ask you, what do you really want most in life? What is IT you would give anything to acquire? In fact, you’ve worked toward and waited for IT all your life. What is IT that gives you authority and splendor? What comprises your kingdom? What has, does, or could refocus your worship? Identifying IT is imperative for your resisting temptation.
Authority and splendor is associated with what we most desire in life and what we most desire in life is connected to what we worship. Unknowingly, we all have and are tempted to worship the devil and many do. You say, Delbert I would never do devil worship. That’s not how he comes to us. He doesn’t show up as the red guy with horns, pitchfork, and pointed tail. As we talked last time, he doesn’t come as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and death? The devil baits that hook with temptations of not exercising, eating lots of unhealthy fattening sweet salty food, becoming overweight, drinking too much, or smoking too much. He doesn’t come as debt and bankruptcy? The devil baits the hook with temptations of buying a house, cars, expensive clothes, and things that bring our kingdom of splendor and authority – ALL we want. We end up serving and worshiping it. Here’s what the scriptures say.
Romans 1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and WORSHIPED AND SERVED CREATED THINGS RATHER THAN THE CREATOR — who is forever praised. Amen.
The devil takes us to a high place to show us (lust of the eyes) all we want as he did Jesus. It is things that will, in our eyes, help give us all we desire and give us the authority and splendor we want in life. It may be a big house, new cars, name brand clothes, an occupation, hobby, dream, that boyfriend or girlfriend, i.e. ALL that makes up your authority and splendor. You fall into the temptation, acquire IT, but find you now serve IT, the created thing. You now have to work to pay for IT, pay to paint IT, repair IT, spend all your extra time and money with and on IT, the created thing. You can’t serve God as you should, give to the kingdom of God as you’d like, or worship God with all your heart because you are serving, giving, and worshiping the devil through the created thing. You fell into temptation. It’s become your authority and splendor – your kingdom – without the cross.
Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up HIS CROSS daily and follow me.
Instead we’ve come after the temptation like a fish after the bait. You don’t have a financial problem. You HAVE A WORSHIP PROBLEM. You don’t have a marital problem. Some place in your marriage there’s a worship problem. You don’t have an addiction problem. You have a worship problem. At some point, you took the devil’s shortcut attempting to avoid taking up your cross.
Last time we saw temptation will reveal what is in our heart concerning our identity. The devil said, “If you are the son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Our identity is linked to our hunger and fleshly appetites in life. Temptation will show us our fleshly appetites and who we truly are concerning them. We see today temptation will show us who we truly worship. TEMPTATION WILL REVEAL TO YOU WHO YOU TRULY WORSHIP IN YOUR HEART.
Matthew 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt FALL DOWN AND WORSHIP ME.
Luke doesn’t write the fall down part. I think that’s good as we know EVERYTHING we do is either bringing God glory or the devil glory. We don’t have to fall down to do worship. How we eat, how we work, how we dress, how we raise our children, how we pay our bills, how we give, how we talk, what we write on Facebook, and on and on are all acts of worship given toward God or given toward the devil. Worship is not only twenty minutes at church on Sunday. Jesus wasn’t in church. He was in temptation in his wilderness. Right there, all alone in wilderness, Jesus was tempted with authority and splendor to worship the devil. In the middle of temptation, Jesus decided who he would worship.
What I am attempting to get us to see today concerning Temptation – Round 2 is how temptation reveals who we truly worship in our heart even in our wilderness, alone moments. Maybe I can use this to show worship is something we do all the time either to God or to the devil. I’ve talked much about the problem I have with inconsiderate people operating a vehicle on the highways. They call themselves drivers. I call them something else. I’ve been told by many, you have this same problem… the TEMPTATION to go road rage on them. When I road rage on someone slowing me down and interfering with my authority and splendor, who am I worshiping? If someone were to observe me pitch a road rage fit, would they think I’m a man of God? So to whom am I bringing glory, God or the devil?
Temptation will show us who we truly worship in our heart. My point is all the kingdoms of the world – everything in life connects to worshiping God or worshiping the devil.
Luke 4:8 Jesus answered, “IT IS WRITTEN: ‘WORSHIP the Lord your God and serve him only.'”
We talked about “It is written” last time. Jesus didn’t give chapter and verse (I know they didn’t have them then), or even the book names for the reference (they did have that). We’ve heard people teach this like you’ve got to be able to turn straight to it, or quote it exactly. No. You just need to know It is written somewhere in the Bible. You might say, “The Bible says…” Now, you need to know it is written and the context it is written in. Of course Jesus could have gone directly to it, but that’s not what he did. In fact, I couldn’t find a verse that exactly said what Jesus said. The scriptures do record it and it is written in part in several places… somewhere. I’ll show us from two scriptures and different books, Exodus 23:25 and Deuteronomy 6:13.
Exodus 23:24-25 Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you
But don’t only say, it is written, live what the scriptures say. Don’t only quote the scriptures, live the scriptures. It means nothing to quote it if you don’t live it. Jesus, in the middle of his temptation decided who he would worship and serve.
Deuteronomy 6:13-14 Fear the LORD your God, SERVE HIM ONLY and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you
The context of both is actually serving and worshiping created things – golden calf, Ashtaroth poles, Ball, idols, etc. We do the same with created things. Jesus used the written word to overcome temptation by living the word of God, not by only quoting it. What if I before road raging on an inconsiderate driver were to say, “It’s written in the Bible, “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only,” do you think I might calm down realizing if I don’t calm down, I’m worshiping the devil? In the wilderness of that temptation I am seeing what’s in my heart instead of seeing the irresponsible driver in front of me. Which will I worship – God or the devil? To which will I bring glory?
How about a person tempted to go into debt for something they actually can’t afford and will force them to serve the thing? What if they said, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only”? How about someone tempted with drugs, alcohol, nicotine – “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only”? The temptation reveals what is in our heart and who we worship.
Temptation – Round 2 is over. Buzzer sounds. Jesus won the round. They go to their places getting ready for Temptation – Round 3. Someone will tap out. It’s not going to be Jesus. I pray it’s not you or me.
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