Sermon # 7   Series: Matthew


            Title:              THE TEMPTATION OF CHRIST
            Text:              Matthew 4:1-11

            Scripture Reading:  Hebrews 2:1-18
            Subject:        Our Lord’s Temptation in The Wilderness

            Date:             Tuesday Evening – July 19, 1994
            Tape:            # Q-28




            As soon as our Lord was baptized, as soon as he began to publicly identify himself in this world as the Son of God, he was tempted of the devil. While he stayed in the carpenter’s shop, chipping away at wood, the devil was undisturbed. But as soon as he began to lay the axe to the root of satan’s kingdom, our Lord was tempted by the devil. The very first thing that is recorded concerning our Lord’s public ministry is his temptation. Notice the order of things. Our Lord was baptized. He was owned to be the Son of God. He was anointed by the Spirit of God. Then he was tempted. Here is a fact of life, from which there is no escape in this world – If you are a child of God, if the Spirit of God is in you, you will be tempted of the devil.


            The Temptation of Christ is a subject so deep and mysterious that no sensible man would imagine being able to understand, much less explain the facts that are clearly revealed concerning it. It is a subject shrouded in mystery. In fact, mystery is a vital aspect of all divine truth. Any doctrine that is not mysterious is not divine in its origin. That which God has revealed about himself in Holy Scripture is infinitely beyond human conception and comprehension. The infinite God cannot be comprehended by the puny mind of finite man.


            So, when we come to meditate upon, think about, and discuss the temptation of our Lord, we must begin with an acknowledged inability to comprehend the things we have before us. No man can understand what occurred in our Savior’s heart when he was tempted. But there is much revealed in the Book of God that we do not understand.



The basis of our faith is not our understanding of God’s Word, but the Word of God itself. Because this Book is the Word of God, we recognize that it is infinitely superior to human reason. Therefore we gladly submit our reason to God’s Revelation.




            This much we understand – Our Lord Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are, so that he might be touched with the feeling of our infinities; but he never succumbed to the temptation – He never sinned.




            There are five things that we need to learn from this passage of Holy Scripture.


  1. Satan is a real adversary to our souls.
  2. The Lord our God rules all things, absolutely.
  3. Our best defence in times of temptation is the Word of God.
  4. We have a great high Priest in heaven who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
  5. He who was tempted and triumphant for us will cause us to triumph over the tempter too.


I.  First, learn this – Satan Is A Real Adversary To Our Souls – (v. 1).


            Matthew understood that the devil is real, a personal adversary, a mighty foe with whom we must do battle continually. The fiend of hell is not afraid to assault the very throne of God, or the Son of God! In these eleven verses we are told three times that satan attacked the Lord of glory. Our Savior was “tempted of the devil.”


A.  The Devil is Real.


            It was the devil who brought sin into the world in the beginning. He vexed Job, who brought Lot to Sodom, deceived David, and caused Peter to fall so miserably. The Word of God calls him a “murderer,” a “liar,” and a “roaring lion” (John 8:44; I Pet. 5:8).


  1. The World is ruled by the wicked influence of satan (Eph. 2:1-3).
  2. Unbelieving men and women are taken captive by the devil at his will (II Tim. 2:26).
  3. Satan’s goal is the everlasting destruction of our souls – He seeks whom he may devour.


His malice is unrelenting. His hatred against us never abates. For nearly 6000 years he has been trying to do one thing – destroy and draw into hell those men and women he was created to serve.


B.  We must constantly watch and pray that we be not taken by his devices.


            His cunning and subtlety are greater than we can imagine. The prince of darkness often transforms himself into an “angel of light” and his ministers into “preachers of righteousness.” (I Cor. 11:13-14). Satan is with us wherever we live. He goes wherever we go. He never tires. He never sleeps. He never quits. If he can, he will destroy your soul! If we would be saved we must crucify the flesh and overcome the world; but we must also “resist the devil.”


II. Secondly, we see in this passage the fact that The Lord our God Rules All Things Absolutely.


            We know that God cannot be tempted to do evil and that he will never tempt any man to do evil – (James 1:13-15). But everyone who reads the Bible with understanding knows that God rules even in the temptations of his people (Ps. 76:10).


NOTE: Neither the fall of satan nor the temptation and sin of our father Adam took God by surprise.


A.  Notice the language of verse 1 – Our Lord Jesus was led, (Mark says “driven” 1:12), into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit “to be tempted of the devil.”



“Three things make a preacher – meditation, prayer, and temptation.” – Martin Luther


B.  The point I am making is this – The Lord our God is in control of our temptations, just as fully as he is in control of everything else in this world (I Cor. 10:13; I Thess. 5:16-24).


III. Thirdly, our Lord’s example in this passage teaches us that The Best Defence We Have In Times of Temptation Is The Word of God.


            Three times satan tempted our Lord with great offers that strongly appealed to his human nature. But three times our Lord foil satan’s temptations by asserting some portion of Holy Scripture as his reason for not doing as the devil suggested. This is just one of many reasons why we ought to make ourselves intimately and constantly family with Holy Scripture. It is not enough to have a Bible. Read it! It is not enough to carry a Bible to church. Make yourself familiar with its contents. Seek to understand its doctrine.


            “Knowledge of the Bible never comes by intuition. It can only be got by hard, regular, daily, attentive, wakeful reading.” – J.C. Ryle.



A.  You cannot fight the good fight of faith if you cannot use the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17).


B.  You cannot walk in the King’s highway if you do not walk by the light of His Word, which is “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our pathway” (Ps. 119:105).


  1. If you would know the way of salvation – Seek to know the Word of God.
  2. If you would live in this world for the glory of God, seek to know his Word.
  3. If you would escape the temptations of satan, bury yourself in the Word of God and the worship of God.


IV.  Above all else these eleven verses are written to teach and assure us that We Have A Great High Priest In Heaven Who Is touched With The Feeling Of Our Infirmities.



A.  The Sympathy of The Lord Jesus With Us Is A Truth Which Ought To Be Peculiarly Precious To Every Believer.


            Here is a treasury of consolation for tempted souls! We have a great, almighty Friend and Advocate in heaven, who foils for us in all our temptations, is touched with our infirmities, and enters into all our spiritual troubles and fears. Are you ever tempted by satan…


·        To Distrust God’s Providence? – So was Christ!


The Lord Jesus Christ is just the Savior that tempted people’s need! Let us flee to him for help and spread our troubles before him. You will always find that his ear is ready to hear, his heart is ready to feel, and his arm is ready to help. He understands our sorrows, temptations, and troubles!


B.  Certain questions are constantly asked by men when discussing the temptation of Christ, which I suppose I should answer.


1.         “Was it possible for our Savior to have sinned?” – The answer is “No. Absolutely, No!” He was without sin, without the ability to sin (Isa. 53:0; John 8:46; 14:30; II Cor. 5:21: Heb. 7:26).

2.         “If it was not possible for the Lord to sin, was the temptations real?” – The answer is “Yes. Absolutely, Yes!” (Heb. 4:15).


a.      He heard satan’s voice.

b.      The things satan tempted him with were things he desired.


c.      But there was no inward urge or desire to disobedience and sin!


Illus: As a trained musician is more sensitive to a tune, melody, or song that is off key than others, so the holy Son of God was more sensitive to satan’s temptations than we can ever imagine.


C.  Notice for a moment the three things satan tempted our Lord, as a man to do.


1.  An Act of Unbelief – (vv. 3-4) – “A true son will not doubt his father, and undertake to provide his own bread. He will wait to be fed by his father’s hand.” – C.H. Spurgeon


2.  An Act of Presumption – (vv. 5-8).



3.         An Act of Idolatry – (vv. 8-10). Imagine that. Christ at the devil’s feet. That is like the church and gospel of God being supported and promoted by theatrical performances and bingo games rather than the naked truth of God preached in the power of the Holy Spirit.


Illus: R.C’s Production!


            Should we ever hunger and be in poverty, as our Lord was, we must never yield to the temptation to do wrong to gain wealth, honor, or even a pressing need! Though we may have to endure seasons of apparent barrenness, the church of God must never seek to advance Christ’s kingdom by any means other than simple gospel preaching after the pattern of the New Testament!


D. As our Lord Jesus was tempted so we shall be.


            Satan will not treat us better than he treated our Master. Believers often find evil thoughts rising in their minds which they truly hate, doubts and sinful imaginations against which we honestly revolt, and there is in us an ungodly nature that yearns for the very things we hate and revolt against.


1.         Our greatest temptations will usually come after times of greatest privilege, communion, and usefulness. So it was with our Lord.

2.         Even be aware of your weakness in the flesh and your tendency to evil.

3.         Even keep in mind that our peace and comfort is in Christ our Substitute, not in some imaginary, inward, personal goodness!


V.  He Who Was Tempted and Triumphant for Us Will Also Cause Us To Be Triumphant Over The Tempter and His Temptations.