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Scripture Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16

Matthew 4:1-11: The Messiah Begins His Work

(His Temptations)



1.  Our attention is turned from the glorious scene of His baptism to the desolate scenes of rugged wilderness where Christ engages Satan in spiritual warfare (Matt. 4:1).

2.  Matt. 4:1-11: The first contest in a continuing spiritual conflict (Luke 4:13; 22:28). Christians are also in this conflict (Eph. 6:12).

3.  Though weakened and isolated from men, Jesus resisted Satan’s temptations, teaching us how to overcome temptation (Jas. 4:6-7).



  A.  Jesus was Divinely led into the Wilderness for a Special, Divine Purpose, Matt. 4:1; Mk. 1:12.

    1.  Led (driven) into the wilderness, not into temptation!

    2.  Full of the Holy Spirit; Temptations existed throughout this 40-day period, Lk. 4:1-2.

  B.  The Divine Purpose in His Temptations: To Help Us.

    1.  Equip Him to be a merciful and faithful High Priest, Heb. 2:17.

    2.  To fully experience the allurements of temptation in order to help us in our temptations, Heb. 2:17-18.

       a.  Jesus understands the suffering of temptation.

       b.  Jesus is able to aid us in our temptations, Heb. 4:15-16.

  C.  To Show His Superiority Over Sin and Satan.

      -This first victory signaled the complete victory to come (Gen. 3:15).



  A.  At a Time of Intense Desires, Jas. 1:14.

      -Satan provided the enticements to unlawfully fulfill desires (sin).

    1.  Desires Jesus must have been experiencing:

       a.  Hunger, Matt. 4:2.

       b.  Desire to identify himself as the Messiah (Son of God), 4:3.

       c.  Desire to trust God, 4:6.

       d.  Desire to rule over God’s kingdom, 3:2; 4:9.

    2.  Satan uses innocent, righteous desires to tempt us to fulfill them unlawfully (sin).

       a.  cf. Desire to teach gospel (unauthorized arrangements); to help the needy (unauthorized church involvement); trust God (violate His word in demonstrating that trust)…

  B.  Satan tried to Disguise the Sinfulness of the Action.

    1.  Stones: “Use your power to satisfy your hunger.” 4:2-4 (Misuse of His power).  -Instead, Jesus trusted God to provide.

    2.  Satan now works upon that trust: “Throw yourself down” and “Show your trust in God!” 4:6-7

    3.  “Give you rule / Worship me and you can receive your universal dominion immediately!” 4:8-10 (cf. Jno. 18:37).

       a.  Escape suffering and death (“cup” will pass and goal achieved!)

       b.  Counterfeit dominion, Lk. 4:6-7.

    4.  Satan’s device lessens the seriousness of the offense (2 Cor. 2:11)

       a.  Dancing (to be accepted, fun); immodest clothing (Cool, comfortable, fashionable); alcohol (my life, relax, etc.)…

       b.  Hearts can harden to the seriousness of sin, Heb. 3:13.

  C.  Full-Range of Temptations, Heb. 4:15; Lk. 4:13.

    1.  Lust of flesh:  Satisfy a normal desire sinfully (cf. sexual desire by fornication, 1 Cor. 6:13, 18).

    2.  Pride of life (ambition): Show he is Messiah and his trust in God.

       -Testing God through unnecessary dangers.

    3.  Lust of eyes:  Reign with power (Messiah’s right, Matt. 3:2).

       -But at what cost? Not by denying God!  Matt. 16:26


III.  HOW DID JESUS WITHSTAND TEMPTATION (keys to overcoming temptation), Matt. 4:1-11.

  A.  Remember what Sustains Us: The word of God, 4:3-4.

    1.  Lust of flesh: Instant gratification appears to satisfy but is unrewarding, cf. Gal. 5:19-21.

    2.  Every word of God (every God-appointed means), Deut. 8:2-3.

  B.  Humility before the sovereign God: Humble reverence, 4:5-7.

    1.  Pride of life:  Elevation of self to position of expecting God to do our bidding rather than the opposite, cf. Jas. 4:6-7; Deut. 6:16.

    2.  Trust God rather than self.

  C.  Our Responsibility toward God: Worship and serve Him, 4:8-10

    1.  Lust of eyes: Our eyes of faith must be set on God, 1 Pet. 5:8-9.

    2.  Our eyes must be single, Matt. 6:22-24.



  A.  The Skill of Satan, 2 Cor. 11:3.

      -He adapts temptations to our situations when desire is strong and resistance is weak; tempting us with a full range of temptations.

  B.  How to Resist Satan (Jas. 4:7):

    1.  Reverence for God’s will and knowledge of God’s word.

    2.  Appeal to Scripture (Psa. 119:11): Their authority (4:4), harmony (4:7) and application (4:10).

    3.  Sober, watchful and resist in faith – Accomplished! 1 Pet. 5:8-9

  C.  Temptation and Sin are Two Different Things, Heb. 4:15; Jas. 1:14-15.

  D.  We must Go to Jesus when we are Tempted, Heb. 12:1-3.

    1.  We can bear them and escape, 1 Cor. 10:13.

    2.  He knows our difficulties and as High Priest offers relief from sin and temptations (Heb. 4:15-16; 2:18).

    3.  Cast your anxieties of sin onto Him; Resist Satan and remain steadfast, 1 Pet. 5:6-7 (8-9).

    4.  Satan will flee (until an opportune time), Lk. 4:13.



1.  Jesus refused to abuse His divine power (4:3-4); He did not tempt God (4:6-7); He would not conquer world by denying God (4:8-10).

2.  Therefore, He was refreshed and comforted by God (4:11).

3.  He showed His power (and ultimate victory) over Satan (1 Jno. 3:8).

4.  Place your confidence in Him.