Personal Spiritual Disciplines, Sermons, Topical Studies

How to Fight Temptation (Gen 3 & Matthew 4)

–          So from the very beginning we see that the enemy is more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

  • Why is that important for us to know?
    • It is important because if we try to defeat the enemy with our own wits and intellect we will fail every time.

–          In order to know how to defeat an enemy you first need to know how the enemy is attacking.

–          Here we see that that Eve passes the first test.  The enemy comes and challenges God’s Word and Eve responds by quoting God’s Word back to him.

–          This is important for us to know because here we see that we have to know God’s Word in order to save us from falling into temptation.

  1. We all are bent towards thinking that we are the most important being in the universe.
  2. Illustration of how our frustrations and anger shows how we believe we could be a better god.
  3. The irony of the serpent’s remarks should not be overlooked. The couple, unlike the serpent, has been made in the image of God (1:26–27). In this way they are already like God. Moreover, being in the image of God, they are expected to exercise authority over all the beasts of the field, which includes the serpent. By obeying the serpent, however, they betray the trust placed in them by God. This is not merely an act of disobedience; it is an act of treachery. Those who were meant to govern the earth on God’s behalf instead rebel against their divine King and obey one of his creatures.

  1. Up to this point in history, Eve had barely even noticed the tree that they were not to eat from.
  2. They were not lacking anything; therefore, they had no needs that could be met by adding this one fruit to their diet.
  3. This all changes when it is promised to make her wise.  Now all the other fruit in the garden appears to be dull and nothing will satisfy her, but the forbidden fruit.

In this passage, we also get a glimpse of how men and women will act differently towards temptation.

–          God has created men to be Leaders, Protectors, and Providers.

–          However, what do we find Adam doing in this passage?

–          That is right you almost forget Adam is there, but we know that he is there because he takes of the fruit in verse 6.

–          Here we see that in the face of temptation men will be tempted to respond with passivity.

–          That is why the enemy first goes to Eve to tempt her, he is challenging God’s created order.

Christianity is not a spectator sport.  It is something in which we become totally involved.  And we know this to be true, we do not become better at football by sitting on the sidelines watching the game, we get better by training and participating.

Passivity is one of the main enemies of biblical masculinity and it is most obvious where it is needed most.  It is a pattern of waiting on the sidelines until you are specifically asked to step in.  Even worse than that, it can be a pattern of trying to duck out of responsibilities or to run away from challenges.  Men who think conflict should be avoided, or who refuse to engage with those who would harm the body of Christ or their family, not only model passivity but also fail in their responsibilities as protectors.  If our sinful desires are allowed to run wild, then it will ultimately destroy human beings.  Not only yours, but also those around you as we see in our passage today.  (Stinson & Dumas, 2011)

Summary of Genesis 3:1-6

–          Here we see that Adam was tempted in paradise, but failed, Jesus will be tempted in the harshness of the wilderness, but was victorious.

Could Jesus have sinned?

–          By a show of hands who thinks Jesus could have sinned, now who thinks that Jesus could not have sinned?  Well you both would be right.  Jesus is fully man therefore he was fully tempted.  However, Jesus is fully God, therefore, God cannot be tempted.  To help you get your brain around this difficult truth, I want you to think of someone that you love most on this earth.  Now I want you to picture imagine that someone wants you to murder them.  Although you could physically murder them, at the same time it would be impossible for you ever to do it.

  1. Jesus beats this temptation by using Deuteronomy 8:3 which shows us that spiritual nourishment is more significant than physical nourishment.

  1. In the second temptation (Mt. 4.5-7) Satan misapplied Scripture (Ps. 91.11,12) in an attempt to get Jesus to jump from the highest point of the temple as a means to test God’s faithfulness to His word, i.e., to protect Jesus from physical harm.  The main point of this temptation is to show us that God is not to be tested concerning his faithfulness.
  2. Jesus refused to create an artificial situation to test the faithfulness and protection of God.  His reply teaches us that the Son of God would live in a relationship of trust that needs no tests.  Jesus rested in the shelter of the Father’s unshakeable security.
  3. Adam and Eve fail to trust in God’s Word for their good, Jesus affirms God’s Word and His goodness by not even needing to put it to the test.

  1. Adam and Eve were tempted to be as wise as God, Jesus is tempted to exchange the end-time exaltation by the Father for a right-now exaltation of a snake.
  2. We too need to compare our eternal joy that God offers us with the short-term pleasures that the world offers.

Summary of Matthew 4:1-11

–          Jesus not only faces the same temptations that we face and that Adam faced in the garden, he defeats them while being physically weak from the wilderness.

So we have answered the questions Why is There Evil in this World and Why Does Temptation Even Exist?

–          We know that evil exists in this world because the sin of Adam separated us from God and allowed sin to come into this world.

–          We know that we are tempted because the problem is not that we sin, the problem is that we are sinners.

–          The reason why some of us keep falling back into sin is because we keep trying to deal with sin as a verb instead of sin as a noun.  We try to fix a particular sin, instead of trying to change our hearts.

What can be done to fix it?

–          Adam was the first man and failed when he was tempted causing all humanity to inherit his sinful nature.

–          Jesus is the new man and is victorious against temptation and provides a way for all humanity to come back into the right standing with God.

So what is the main point of this message?  Try harder at not being a sinner? 

No, this message is not a self-help sermon on how to defeat temptation and sin. 

–          I am not calling us to legalism because legalism says God will love you if you change.  I am calling you to respond to the Gospel, because the Gospel says I will change you because I love you.

–          Asking you to defeat sin with your own will power is impossible because we face a war on 3 fronts.  We are tempted to sin by our own flesh, we are tempted to sin by the world, and we are tempted to sin by the enemy.


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