Text: Matthew 4:1-11; I John 2:15-16
Sermon in a Sentence: Live like sin is evil!
1John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
The sin that characterizes this world that we live in, can be broken down into three main categories. Every sin will fall into one of these three broad areas mentioned in I John 2:16. John says the three areas that make up this Sinful Trio are- lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
Scripture tells us that Jesus, during his earthly ministry, experienced the same temptations that you and I face. Matthew 4:1-11 gives us the account of Christ’s experience with this sinful trio.
I. Desires of the Flesh 4:2-4
Matt. 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Desires of the Flesh – desires which spring from the appetites and passions. Jesus had been fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. A 40 day fast is just about the most the human body can handle without doing permanent damage to the body. Just imagine Jesus has experienced 40 days with no food, when Satan comes to him and the first temptation involves food.
Principle: Satan will attack when your body is tired, weak, or exhausted.
Satan approached Christ and tailors the temptation specifically to the Son of God. He tempts Christ to turn stones into bread. Satan would not come to you and I with the same temptation because you and I are incapable of making rocks into food. But Jesus is capable, so Satan approaches the physical appetite of Christ in this first temptation. He knew where Jesus body was weak and in need and he focuses the temptation there.
What are some desires of the flesh that are often acted upon today?
Physical appetite; Sexual sins; you?
We should notice the response of Christ. The Son of God responded to Satan with Scripture- this verse is from Deuteronomy 8:2- De 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
II. Desires of the Eyes 4:5-7
Matt.5:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Desires of the Eyes: desires which are aroused by appeals made to our eyes. Satan tempts Jesus here through an appeal to his eyes. The pinnacle of the temple mentioned in verse 5 is believed to have been some 300 ft high above the floor of the Kidron Valley. It was so high that it has been said people would find it disorienting to stand and look out across the land from that height. To descend down the steps with that disorientation would have been no enjoyable task. So Satan tempts Christ to see the ground below and throw himself down there and avoid descending down as every other human being would do. Furthermore, this temptation if acted upon by Christ would no doubt have gained him a massive following of people, but it would not have been consistent with the message and work the Father sent him to do. The redemption plan Christ lived out was one of suffering and proclaiming the kingdom of heaven, not pointless miraculous events that did nothing to advance the Father’s plan.
Once again we should note how Jesus responds to Satan- he uses Scripture. This time it is Deut. 6:16- Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
III. Pride of Life 4:8-11
Matt.4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Pride of Life- this is the pride of possessions. The vain glory of the world. Satan’s final temptation of Christ involves offering him ‘the world’ if he will fall down and worship Satan. Once again this is a temptation tailored to Christ, because Satan essentially tells him- this is what I will do for you if you will ignore the plan of your Father. Satan says, take my offer now, forget about the suffering, the cross, the agony, and I will give you a kingdom immediately.
Jesus once again responds with Scripture- De 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. To accept the offer of Satan, may have brought immediate pleasure but it would come at the cost of forsaking the Father’s plan.
Satan desires for every believer to become so consumed with sin that they are ineffective in God’s plan.
Illustration: The consuming, self-destructinve nature of sin is like the technique used by Eskimos to kill wolves. First, the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allowsit to freeze. The he adds another layer of blood, and another, until the blade is completely concealed in a block of frozen blood.
Next the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovere the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and mor vigorously, lapping the blade until the keend edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder the wolf licks the blad in the arctic night. So great becomes his craving for the blood that the wolf does not notice the razor-sharp sting of the naked blade on his oen tongue, nor does he realize that his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his own blood. He just craves more and more until he drops dead in the snow.
We are consumed, the Bible warns, by our own lusts.
#1: Jesus faced the same kinds of temptation that you and I face today.
* this should give us confidence to fight the spiritual battle.
* this should give us hope that victory over sin is possible in Christ.
* this should give us perseverance to traverse the Christian walk.
#2: Respond to temptation with Scripture. The absolute necessity of memorizing God’s Word.
#3: Live like sin is evil! Christ actively avoided sin, was he tempted yes, but he did not sin. Our response to temptation may become sin. We need to live like sin is evil! There are several reasons sin is evil:
– Sin hinders the relationship between the believer and God. Much like a wall.
– Sin neglects the Father’s sovereign plan. (consumed with self)
– Sin destroys families, wrecks marriages, and makes the believer spiritually ineffective.
Live Like Sin is Evil!