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Facing Temptation

(Matthew 4:1-11)

Lesson 6 -- first quarter 2010
January 10, 2010

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2010

Introductory questions to chew

Does God expect me to live "by every word" (Matthew 4:4) that comes from Him?

Do I question and challenge God's character, integrity, and purposes?

How do the kingdoms and glory of this world affect me?

Am I keeping my worship and service exclusively for God alone?

What (and for what) is my knowledge of God's Word?

How shall I prepare now for temptations later?

What can I learn from my last defeat during temptation?

Jesus, tempted as we are!

Christ was tempted in all points as we are and yet without sin. Was this due only to His divinity? If this were so, His exemplary victory would have no practical significance for us since we are not divine.

So, to what factors can we attribute His victories over the tempter? Let's look at three.

The Lord came to do the will of the Father. Nothing would interfere with the execution of the Father's plan. Jesus responded to every situation (challenges, temptations, opportunities) on the basis of His commitment to the Father. Were we to live with the same frame of mind, we would discover a powerful resource in experiencing victory. Most of our temptations come to us as an appeal to our selves. So our commitment to the Lord and His plan must exceed our interest in ourselves.

Jesus knew the danger of entertaining temptation. He did not pause to consider and study the temptations. That was one point of Eve's failure, and according to James, where most humans fail. Jesus resisted the Devil right away. Until we learn to resist the Devil by saying "NO!" promptly, we will not experience consistent victory over temptations.

Good chess players know the best defense is a strong offense. So in real life. Jesus didn't settle for resisting the Devil by just saying "NO!" to him and his temptations. Jesus launched a deliberate offensive by using pertinent Scriptures. This approach rejects Satan's ideas with God's holy point of view. It also brings our mind in line with God's way of thinking and reaffirms our desire to be true to our devotion to Him.

Memorize Scriptures that respond to the temptations that plague you in a special way. I picked verses for only seven categories.

SEXUAL LUST: "...The body is not for fornication..." (1 Corinthians 6:13).

Proverbs 6:25; Matthew 5:28; Romans 6:12; 13:14; Galatians 5:16,24; 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 John 2:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3
REJECTION OF AUTHORITY: "...There is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God" (Romans 13:1).
Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14,17; Romans 13:2; 1 Samuel 15:23
IMPATIENCE WITH OLDER ONES: "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man..." (Leviticus 19:32).
Ecclesiastes 7:8; Luke 21:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:24; James 1:4; Romans 12:10; Ephesians 6:2; 1 Peter 5:5
MATERIAL GAIN: "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase" (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
1 Timothy 6:6,8; Psalm 37:16; Proverbs 15:16; 30:8-9; Matthew 6:31-33; Hebrews 13:5; Ecclesiastes 1:8; Isaiah 55:2; Deuteronomy 6:10-12
PRIDE IN LOOKS: "For all flesh is as grass..." (1 Peter 1:24).
Proverbs 31:30; Ezekiel 16:15; 1 Peter 3:3-4; 1 Timothy 4:8; Jeremiah 4:30; Psalm 90:17; 147:10; Proverbs 20:29; 31:25
PLEASURE: "...Make confession unto the LORD God...and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land..." (Ezra 10:11).
1 Chronicles 29:17; Psalm 5:4; Proverbs 21:17; Ecclesiastes 2:1; 12:1; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Timothy 5:6; James 5:5; Luke 16:25; 2 Timothy 3:4
SELF-PITY: "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others" (Philippians 2:4).
Job 6:14; 19:21; Romans 12:15; Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 12:3,12
Remember, though, that it is useless to quote the Scripture if we are not living the Scripture! The power of the Word isn't tapped by rote repetition but by daily life application. How else could you take Psalm 1:2-3, 37:31, 119:11, Luke 4:4 and 1 John 2:14?

This concludes my comments based on the passage for the International Bible Study. To read my comments on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications, click here: Faithful Unto Death.

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