HANDOUT FOR THE SERMON: Our Own Wilderness. (A closer look at Jesus in the Wilderness, Matthew 4 and what we may learn from this story.) November 19th, 2023, 9:30 a.m. Manchester, TN
Introduction: Open your Bibles to Matthew chapter 4 as we will read a particular story about the life of Jesus on earth. Bible stories are important and should be read repeatedly. Every time you read a story; the story is the same. The story never changes, but you do. You are different, such as older, wiser, more experienced or in a different stage in your life with a different perspective. The story will “hit” you in a different way so that you most likely will learn something new.
Lesson: Let us read, Matthew 4:1-11. What does this story mean to you? Ask yourself: “What is the point of the story?” What may I learn from this story? Scripture about Jesus: Hebrews 5:8, Psalm 40:7-8, Hebrews 10:9, Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 22:24
- LEARN TO APPRECIATE THE SETTING OF THE STORY. As for this story, a wonderful thing had just happened as Jesus had just been baptized. The Holy Spirit was poured out on Him by God the Father. Then we read about the story of Jesus being led out into the wilderness and told not to eat for 40 days. God had designed a testing for Jesus. Jesus encompassed great temptations. God allows Jesus to be tempted by Satan just as God may allow His people today to be tempted by Satan.
The reality of Addictive Behavior. It is true that mankind has the tendency for addictive behavior. Satan is aware of this and is very cunning in using this to his advantage. There is an acronym used in reference to addictive behavior: H.A.L.T. = HALT. It stands for hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Jesus would have been experiencing at least 3 of these in His wilderness trial of 40 days. It is during times such as these that we are most susceptible to sin or doing something wrong. Notice in verses 1 and 11 it is God who led Jesus out into the wilderness. It was God’s will that Jesus undergoes these challenges. God may lead you into challenges and struggles for your learning and maybe even for you to become stronger.
Help is always available. In verse 11, after Jesus had gone through His testing, we learn that God sent the angels to minister to Jesus. The angels came out to help Him. Notice they did not come on day 1, 10, 20 or even 30! They came after it was all over! When we have our days of testing we want them to be over as soon as possible! We want it just for a minute and then be gone! Temptation and testing can last many years and God allows us to go through such because He wants to lead us out of it. He wants to bless us and help us. Jesus proved His faithfulness to God. He learned obedience, the result of faithfulness, Hebrews 5:8.
- WHAT ARE OUR TAKEAWAY, FROM THIS STORY? Matthew 4:3-11
- Stones to Bread Challenge. Verse 3
- Pinnacle of the Temple Challenge. Verse 5
- Top of a Very High Mountain Challenge. Verse 8
The Word of God is Really Important. God’s word is a very big deal. Reading it and studying it is crucial to your spiritual walk. No matter what age you are, studying it is valuable to you. As a teenager do you realize how important it is? It is the best way to answer arguments and give you direction and wisdom in the choices you make.
The Devils Tactics are Common. The Devil is very effective in tempting us, but He is not that creative. He continues to use the same things on mankind repeatedly. The ‘world” and Satan are the same thing. So as the world tempts you so Satan tempts you. The devil has three main tricks that He uses repeatedly on us. Read 1 John 2:15-17
- Appeals to your physical sight. He uses our own eyes against us. See something you like and want. He makes it look good, seem important and valuable to you so you must have it.
- Appeals to your flesh. It is with our flesh that we taste, touch, and feel. So, He appeals to us with things that will taste good, feel good and appeal to your sensuality. Something that feels good to or in our bodies, thus, we have substance abuse, gluttony, physical abuse, and immorality.
- Appeals to our own pride. This is probably the most powerful of all. We tell ourselves we deserve it. In fact, we feel we deserve to come first, we deserve more than we get because of who we are! So, in the end we tell ourselves: “I deserve this and I don’t care what others think, say, feel or how it may affect others in my life.” This is the boastful pride of life.
Let us go to Genesis 3:1-7 In the Garden you see this happening for the first time. The Devil, the serpent is so cunning and crafty. Eve looked at it, the eye! Wanted to eat it, the taste. It would make her wise, the appeal to her pride of life! Matthew 4:3-11 helps us recognize what happens when we are tempted. God never tempts you but when you are tempted it is always Satan tempting you. You choose to give in and make a bad choice! The Devil is getting to us through our eyes, our flesh, and our pride.
- Stones to bread? V.3 Why this temptation? Well just ask Jesus: When was the last time you ate?
- Throw yourself off the temple? V.5 Well Jesus, you are the son of God. You deserve to be rescued.
- Give you all the kingdoms of the world? V.8 I can give all this to you NOW!! You don’t have to wait. Plus, you won’t have to die then!
THIS LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOU! You have been created by God for His purpose. His work requires self-sacrifice. You will be mistreated by others. We want to avoid problems, challenges, and sacrifice. In closing let us look at three things.
THE DEVIL “GETS IN” YOUR HEAD & SAYS: YOU DO FOR YOU! Don’t wait for God to come or the angels to come help you. Jesus showed us how! Jesus answered Satan with “I do not live for myself!” It is not about me and my stomach. I am here for God and I am here to do God’s will.
THE DEVIL WHISPERS TO YOU: MAKE GOD DO FOR YOU. Are you waiting for God to fix things for you? Are you expecting God to supply all your wants? Are you making demands from God? Do we say: “I will jump but God better get me!” Have we forgotten what God is worthy of, are we trying to make Him honor us? Jesus responded, we do not test God in this way! Jesus without any sin, knew and understood He had no right to make demands of God.
THE DEVIL STEPS IN AND SAYS- LET ME DO IT. He steps up and says I will help you. I will give you what you want. I will get you what you deserve. God hasn’t come through for you, so I will. The world will give you what you want. Consider the story of the prodigal son, Luke 15. Where did he end up? Satan will give you what you want but you will end up worshipping Him for is. Jesus responded: I worship God and Him alone!
SUMMARY: God wants us to learn how to handle sin and deal properly with Satan’s attempts to get to us. From Matthew 4:1-11 you can read and learn from this story of Jesus being tempted. Jesus is showing us how we can reject the wrong. Jesus wants to help us stay away from sin. Remember you are a vessel of God, a vessel God needs, and He has no use for dirty, filthy vessels marred by sin, deceit, and pride.
Please remember you have been created by God for His purpose. His work will require self-sacrifice. Go out there and meet the world “walking with Jesus” keeping in mind the many stories of Jesus interacting with the world and Satan!
Remember Satan will not leave you alone. He did not leave Jesus alone, Matthew 16:21–23. Jesus understood His mission was to do His father’s will. From the text mention we learn that Peter said, God forbid. We need to and will protect you. Peter begged Jesus “do not do this Jesus!” Jesus responded: “Get behind me, Satan!” Satan was still trying to stop Jesus and he did so through one of the disciples of Jesus. Why did Jesus say this to Peter? Because he was thinking and sounding like Satan!
Mankind is most concerned with self! The Child of God was to be used by God not Satan! I want to go to heaven and be with God but I don’t want to lose anything, give up anything nor let it cost me anything. If that is your desire, you will not make it to heaven.