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Matthew 4:1-11

When Tempation Comes a Knocking

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Weekend Messages
  • April 29, 2018

Temptation surrounds us. Since the Fall, no one is exempt from it. Yet, as believers in Jesus Christ we are called to be slaves of righteousness, not slaves of sin (Romans 6). In Matthew 4, we will discover important principles for overcoming temptation when it comes knocking by looking at the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture
When Temptation Comes a Knocking

Matthew 4:1-11


Matthew 10:16, Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.

1. We live in a fallen world where truth is called a lie and lies are embraced as truth.

2. Temptation surrounds us. Since the Fall, no one is exempt from it.

3. Yet, as believers in Jesus Christ we are called to be slaves of righteousness, not slaves of sin (Romans 6).

4. Tonight, we are going to discover important principles for overcoming temptation when it comes knocking by looking at the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Matthew 4:1-11


1. In Matthew 3:15, Jesus was baptized “to fulfill all righteousness”. This marked the start of His public ministry. Through baptism, Jesus identified with those He came to save so that they may enter His kingdom.

2. In Matthew 4:1, we’re told that Jesus was immediately “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil”. Why?

  • a. Not to confirm that Jesus is the Son of God. He is. 
  • b. Not to receive the Father’s approval. Jesus had it! When He was baptized, the Father declared, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
  • c. It was the Father’s will for Jesus to be tempted so that He would be identified with us, fallen humanity, and to show creation that Jesus is our Conqueror!

3. Jesus also exposed Satan and his schemes so that we may learn from Christ’s example and experience His victory over temptation.

Transition – Let’s look at Satan’s schemes to discover how Jesus was victorious so that we may walk in His victory!

I. There Are Three Forms of Temptation

According to 1 John 2:16, temptation comes in one of three forms.

1 John 2:16, For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

A. The Lust of the Flesh (2-4)

1. In Matthew 4:2, we’re told that Jesus “fasted for forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.”

2. While physically weak because of fasting, Satan attacked Jesus.

3. Satan’s first temptation appears to be straightforward, turn stones into bread. But there’s more to the temptation.

4. Let’s paraphrase the temptation. “If You are the Son of God, use Your authority to satisfy your body’s desire for food.”

5. Eating bread is not a sin! But at this point, the Father did not want Jesus to eat bread. It was God’s will for Jesus to fast. Later, the angels would minister to Jesus and probably gave Him bread to eat (11).

6. So, the enemy tempted Jesus to satisfy His flesh, even though it was contrary to His Father’s will; to exercise His authority over His body and not submit to the Father’s authority.

7. It was an appeal to satisfy the physical appetite, similar to how he tempted Eve.

Genesis 3:1, And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?’”

APPL – The appeal to satisfy the flesh is strong! The flesh always seeks to gratify itself and Satan repeatedly pushes that button with one temptation after another!

ILLUS – My love for M&M’s

9. Jesus’ answered Satan with God’s Word, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

  • a. Jesus came to do the will of the Father!

John 5:30, I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

  • b. Therefore, Jesus was content with temporary hunger because He lived to do the Father’s will and refused to submit to Satan’s enticement.

APPL – When we put our physical needs ahead of our spiritual needs, we sin. And if we let circumstances dictate our actions versus God, we sin! Feeding on and obeying God’s Word is more important than food!

1 Corinthians 9:26-27, Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

Trans – Where Adam and Eve failed, Jesus was victorious!

B. The Boastful Pride of Life (5-7)

1. At that time, some Jews believed that Messiah would suddenly appear in the sky and come down to His temple because of Malachi 3:1.

Malachi 3:1, And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple;

2. There are several facets to Satan’s scheme.

  • a. Humanly speaking, the Temple was the perfect place to reveal Jesus as the Son of God because someone was always there!
  • b. But God had a different plan for Jesus.
  • c. Satan sought to undermine God’s plan. He tempted Jesus to “show off” or “prove” that He was the Son of God by jumping off the pinnacle of the Temple which was 450 feet above the Kidron Valley. To follow Satan and accommodate the expectations of others is not God’s will, it’s sin!
  • d. Since Jesus answered the first temptation with Scripture, Satan used Scripture to entice Jesus to jump and “show off”.

Psalm 91:11-12, For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hand, lest you strike your foot against a stone. 

  • e. Like Satan’s temptation of Eve, it was an appeal to pursue personal gain.

Genesis 3:4, And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die!”

APPL – The flesh always seeks to personal gain, especially if it appears there is no cost or consequence!

APPL – But Satan misquoted the passage and intentionally left out, “in all your ways”. This passage means that God will protect the person who is following God’s will. We must be very careful to rightly understand and apply God’s Word.

ILLUS – Pastor Chuck Smith once told the story of when his son was about to get a spanking and decided to quote the Bible, thinking it might help him.

3. Again, Jesus responded with God’s Word, “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test” (Deuteronomy 6:16).

APPL – If Jesus yielded to Satan’s temptation and jumped, He would have been testing God by forcing Him to do something outside of His will! If we put ourselves in a place that forces God to intervene contrary to His will or Word, we are putting God to the test, making God man’s servant rather than man God’s servant.

ILLUS – “Is God able to heal your diabetes? Then take a step off this pinnacle and stop taking your insulin.” If we do this, have we not asked God to move at our command?

APPL – Too many people are concerned with their outward circumstances and are oblivious as to how God wants to change the inner man.

James 1:2-4, Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Trans – Where Adam and Eve failed once more, Jesus was victorious once again!

C. The Lust of the Eyes (8-10)

1. For the third temptation, Satan took Jesus to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in all their glory. He offered them to Jesus if He would bow down and worship him, just once!

2. Does Satan have the authority to offer the kingdoms of this world to Jesus?

  • a. Paul wrote that Satan is the god of this world. At this time, he holds great influence over much of the world.

1 Corinthians 4:4, … in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving…

  • b. But the kingdoms are not Satan’s forever, and ultimately God is still on the throne!

3. What was the nature of this temptation? Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms without having to endure the cross! Just bow down once! The infinite Son of God worshiping the finite, fallen foe. A shortcut to the kingdom!

4. Like Satan’s temptation of Eve, it was an appeal to power and glory.

Genesis 3:5, … you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

APPL – The flesh always seeks to glorify self, just look at the selfies on Facebook or Instagram!

5. For the third time, Jesus used God’s Word to respond to Satan. “You shall worship the LORD your God, and serve Him only.”

APPL – We can only serve one master!

Matthew 6:24, No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other.

APPL – The Father had already promised Jesus the Kingdom, not temporal but eternal!

Psalm 2:8, Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

  • Jesus knew there were no shortcuts to the Kingdom. It was the Father’s will that He would carry a cross before He wore a crown!
  • If we want to share in Christ’s glory, then we must be prepared to share in His sufferings.

1 Peter 5:10, And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Trans – Where Adam and Eve failed on all three points, Jesus was victorious! 

II. A Battleplan for Overcoming Temptation

A. Before: Strengthen yourself in Christ

1. It’s only a matter of time until we are tempted.

2. So, we need to be prepared in advance, before the temptation comes.

3. This is not a formula. It is an application of all that God has made available to us through Jesus Christ.

APPL – Each day, we must choose to put on Christ so that we may stand firm against Satan’s schemes and not give into the lusts of our flesh!

Ephesians 6:10-11, Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

Romans 13:14, But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lust.

APPL – In order to put on Christ each day, we must be in communion with Christ through prayer so that we may receive His power and ask for His protection.

Philippians 4:6-7, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

APPL – In order to combat the enemies lies we must know and be strengthened by the truth of God’s Word.

Psalm 119:28, 30, Strengthen me according to Your word. 

I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.

B. During: Take Every Thought Captive in Christ

1. Temptation is not sin!

Hebrews 4:15, For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

2. Temptation becomes sin when we allow ourselves to be carried away by our own lust.

James 1:14-15, But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

APPL – Therefore, the moment a tempting thought comes to mind, take that thought captive, reject it in the name of Jesus Christ, and choose to fill you mind with godly thoughts!

2 Corinthians 10:5, … and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ

Philippians 4:8, Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

Matthew 4:1-11        NASB


1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." 4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'" 5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'he will command his angels concerning you'; and 'on their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
7 Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'you shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" 8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'you shall worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.


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