Are You Victorious?

Exploring The Question, "How Do I Respond To Trials And Temptations?".

Dan Franklin
Mar 19, 2023    45m
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You may wonder, how should I respond to the trials and temptations in my life? This message of faith, taught from Matthew chapter four, reminds you that when you face temptation, turn to Jesus and remember his victory over sin. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Terry O'Brien: [00:00:19] Good morning, I'm Terry O'Brien, and I am blessed to be able to be part of this church family. I serve with delight with the Life Kids, they're just so much fun, and if you haven't tried it, you really should, and Mom to Mom, and Quiet Time on Monday morning. The scripture reading today is Matthew 4:1- 11, 1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” 5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” 11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him." This is the Word of God.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:15] Amen. Thank you, Terry. Good morning, everybody. And if you came in and you're still looking for a seat, there's plenty open, you can come on in. If you see somebody wandering around near your row and you want to be kind to them, you can scoot to the middle to give them a little bit of room. But I'm excited for what we get to go through today.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:33] I want to actually start by sharing a story. When I was 14 years old, I was part of a youth group and in that youth group, our youth pastor had invited our senior pastor to come and do a question-and-answer time with the youth group. And so we all got to write our questions in advance and turn them in. And the greatest thing that we got to do in writing these questions in advance is that we didn't have to put our names on them. So there are anonymous questions in advance, we could ask about anything, anything in the Bible, anything about sort of how to live a Christian life. And I still remember to this day, I still remember exactly what I wrote. And I also remember being glad that I didn't have to put my name to it. But whatever, 30 years later, I'm going to put my name to it with all of you. So what I wrote on that card was, Why is it so easy to do what's wrong and so hard to do what's right? I remembered that was the pressing question on my mind as a 14-year-old young man who had grown up in the church and wanted to follow Jesus, was looking to follow Jesus, but I just constantly found myself in this battle and asking the question, why does it seem so easy to do what's wrong and so difficult to do what's right?

Dan Franklin: [00:03:53] But I still remember when my youth pastor got to that question and read it off to our senior pastor. They got to mine, and nobody knew it was mine except me. Why is it so easy to do what's wrong and so hard to do what's right? And I remember waiting eagerly for what our senior pastor was going to say about this. Do you want to know what he said? Yes. I don't remember. I feel a little bad about that, but here's what I do remember, I genuinely don't remember what he said, but here's what I do remember. I remember that when the question was read, every other student sort of groaned in agreement with it, the same way that a lot of you did when I just read it off this morning. And I remember the first words that our senior pastor said, yup, this is the question we all deal with. I still can't remember exactly what he said, but what I do remember is that I left that saying, that was not just my experience as one 14-year-old young man, that was the general experience, that people were saying, yeah, why is it so easy to do what's wrong and so difficult to do what's right?

Dan Franklin: [00:05:04] We find this in all kinds of areas of our life. I mean, it goes into things that don't even have anything to do with sin and the temptation toward sin. It is a lot easier to eat a donut than to eat a salad. Amen? It just is. And there's nothing wrong with eating a donut, but if we're looking to get healthy, the hard thing is that we're like, well, it's easy to eat the unhealthy foods, and it's difficult to eat the healthy foods. And then when we begin to think of, as we're looking to follow Jesus, we just find ourselves consistently running up against the idea that the hard thing is the right thing, and the easy thing is often the wrong thing. It is much easier to mouth off than to hold your tongue. It is much easier to spread gossip than to keep a secret. It's much easier to spend than to save and to give. It's much easier to blow up in anger than to exercise forgiveness. Even as a church, as we're talking about the idea of we want is that committed members to be serving on Sundays, it's much easier to receive than to give. It's much easier to stay home than to serve.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:18] We constantly run up against this, and when we do, when we find ourselves at any point, and usually, it's several times during the day, but there are times that we really feel we're at that point where we're saying, I can go in one direction and one direction is the easy, wrong thing, and the other direction is the much more difficult right thing, when we're at that crisis point, what we call that is temptation. We're going to be talking about temptation today, and specifically what we're going to look to deal with is how we respond to temptation.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:50] We are going to walk through the story of the temptation of Jesus. You've already heard it read, it's in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 4:1-11. If you're not there now in your Bible, you can get there. If you're using your phone as a Bible, you can type that into your phone. Matthew chapter 4:1-11. And I've got up on the screen what we're going to get to see in this. How do we respond to temptation? Well, when we face temptation, we look to Jesus. And what I want to say going into this is some of you are like, are you supposed to give the answer to the question at the beginning of the sermon? What I want you to know is that what, in your head right now, you think this means is probably not what it actually means. But we're going to see in this passage that when we face temptation, we look to Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:40] And so, Matthew chapter 4, verses 1 through 11 is the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. And we'll start with verses 1 through 2, tell us the setting of this before we get into the actual temptation. So verse 1 says, "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." This is the setup for what we're going to encounter, and you may even notice in verse 1, not only do we have Jesus, but we have two different sorts of persons acting upon Jesus. We have the Spirit leading him into the wilderness, and we have the devil tempting Him.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:21] First of all, I'm not going to spend tons and tons of time on this. Yeah, you're with me, the devil is real. The devil is not an idea, the devil is not a concept, the devil is not us just trying to make sense of things, the devil is real. And if you feel like this is a little bit hokey or you're like, you really believe in this devil with sort of the pitchfork and the tail. Well, no, that's a popular cartoon version, that's not what we're talking about. But if you are looking at the horrific evil in the world, you’ve got to find some explanation for it. And so before you turn your nose up at the idea, if you really believe in the devil, if you really believe in this evil being who's not just an impersonal force but is actually acting upon things. Yes, we absolutely do, we absolutely believe that there is a true enemy to God. Not his equal, but his enemy, and the enemy is coming to tempt Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:09] But just notice, before we get into this, who puts Jesus in the position to be tempted? the Spirit. We saw last week, if you were here, the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, descends on him in bodily form as a dove. And then the very first thing that the Spirit does is lead him into the wilderness to be tempted. Which brings up the question, with this temptation, who is in charge? Is God in charge of this temptation, or is the devil in charge of this temptation? Now, this brings up sort of another question with this that's important for us to understand from the Greek word for tempted there, and that's that when we speak in English, we would draw a pretty sharp distinction between temptation and testing. In the Greek, this isn't the case, it's the same Greek word for both. If you read the Bible and you read trial, test, and temptation, it's all one Greek word, which is confusing for us.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:21] But here's how I think this helps us, even with this passage, the Spirit's leading Jesus to be tempted in the wilderness. We know ultimately God is in charge of everything, so everything, even that Satan does, is somehow something that God is using for his ultimate good. But here's what I think that we can say when we experience different difficulties. You will experience challenges in your life where you'll be at that crossroad and you'll say, I can do the easy wrong thing, or I can do the much more difficult right thing. God puts those temptations and those trials in your life, and the reason that he does that is to refine you, and out of his infinite love, to shape you and conform you to the image of Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:07] We know from the Book of James that trials are for our maturity. So when you face tests and when you face challenges and difficulties, God is at work in your life, shaping you by his goodness into who you're meant to be. And at the same time, when we face those trials, the devil is looking to pounce on that and ruin you. So in some ways, even with this temptation of Jesus, you could say, well, whose idea is this? And we can say, well, on the one hand, the Spirit is the one who gets him there, and so God has a divine purpose for this, but the devil is pouncing upon the situation and wants to bring ruin. It's true of Jesus, and that's true of every one of us who faces trials and temptations.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:53] And finally, verse 2 then says, "After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry." This is going to be the lead in to the first temptation, this also is a reminder that throughout the Gospel of Matthew, the life of Jesus is paralleling the life of Israel. So 40 years in the wilderness of testing for the nation of Israel, 40 days in the wilderness of testing from Jesus. And I do love that captain obvious at the end of the verse says, he was hungry. Like, yeah, that makes sense, it doesn't need to be spelled out, but it's spelled out because that leads right into the first temptation in verses 3 and 4. In Temptation number one, we read, "The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:45] Now, as we take this in, first of all, it's not hard to see where this temptation would come from, he's fasted, and he hasn't eaten in 40 days, this would be the most tempting idea. You also notice how Satan addresses him, if you are the son of God. Last week we read the baptism story of Jesus, and in this story, after Jesus' baptism, God, the Father speaks from heaven and says, this is my son, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” The devil plays right on that and says, alright, if you're God's son, if you're his beloved son, if you're the son in whom he's well pleased, if you are the Son of God, go ahead and tell these stones to become bread. And the devil here is playing on something that he plays on, not just with Jesus, but with all of us, and that's that some temptations are just about our physical appetites. Jesus is hungry, so he tempts us with food. And sometimes we're tempted by just excessive amounts of food to try to fill ourselves up. And sometimes we're tempted with excessive amounts of alcohol to sort of drown our sorrows away. And sometimes we're tempted with putting drugs into our body to either make us feel relief or rest or excitement. And we're tempted by all kinds of sexual appetites. And we're tempted by laziness. We're tempted sometimes by things that just have to do with the impulses of our bodies, it's a massive area of temptation, and it's the first one that the devil uses here, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.".

Dan Franklin: [00:14:38] Now, before we get into Jesus' response, I just want to pose the question. Would this be wrong? Are some of you thinking this right now? Some of you are thinking, why would that be so wrong? I mean, it's not wrong to eat. It's not wrong to eat bread. Why would it be so bad? Why would Jesus be doing something wrong if he just said, great idea, I'm hungry, I'll turn these stones into bread? But we're going to find out the reason why Jesus doesn't do this by how he responds in verse 4.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:13] Verse 4, "Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” We'll see this pattern in all three temptations, Jesus quotes Scripture back at the devil, and he quotes Scripture from Deuteronomy chapter 8. And if you're like me and when you read this, you're saying, why can't he just make the stones into bread? Why is this a problem? The answer to this is revealed in the context of what Jesus is quoting from here, and so this is Deuteronomy chapter 8, verse 3.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:49] But here's what I want to do, I'm going to put it up on the screen. I want to read all of Deuteronomy chapter 8, verses 2 and 3, and then we'll get more insight into what's going on here. So here's what it says, this is Moses speaking to the people of Israel, "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands." Tests do two things, they refine us and they expose us, that's what he's saying. Now, look at where he goes in verse 3, he says, "He humbled you, causing you to hunger." There's a parallel situation, he caused you to hunger as part of the test, as part of the trial, "And then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." So Jesus quotes just that last part, but the whole passage would have been something in his mind. And here's what this whole passage is about, that Moses is saying to the people of Israel, God tested you and he tested you in part with hunger. And the whole purpose of that, the reason why he let you hunger for a while before he fed you, the whole purpose of that hunger was so that you would learn that there's something even more important than food. Eventually, God was going to feed you, but it was so that you would learn through the hunger that there's something you should be hungering for even more than bread, and that's that you should be hungering to hear God's voice. So Jesus says no to the temptation because the whole purpose of his physical hunger during this time is that he would learn and be refined in the idea that he is longing for his Father even more than he is longing for food.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:47] Now, this feels kind of timely because some of us right now, we are observing the 40-day season of Lent leading up to Easter, not because we have to do it, but because we choose to do it and we said that this is a good thing to do to prepare our hearts for Easter. And during that season of time, if you're observing Lent, you're fasting from something, and some of you are fasting from something that's food related. Like I know for a fact that some of you are fasting from sweets, and whether it's no sugar at all or no chocolate, or no desserts, that's what you're fasting from. And I'm sorry, just go with me on this next part, I'm not trying to trigger anyone, but I'm going to guess if you're fasting from sweets, then there have been times during the past couple of weeks where it has felt like the only thing important is for you to get a sweet right then. You're just like, oh, the only thing my body is longing for is just a cookie or a brownie or a donut. I apologize that we've got them out there, but it is Sunday and in Lent, you take a break on Sunday, so anyway, it's going to be okay. But there have probably been times where your whole body has just been like, all I want is a sweet. And when that happens, what we're meant to do is to remember in that moment that there's something even sweeter than chocolate, that there's something even more satisfying than that donut, that there's something that brings us even more delight than those desserts, and that's Jesus. We fast so that we remember that there's something much more important that we're longing for. And Jesus here turns down the offer to turn the stones into bread, because he says there's something more important than my physical appetites and desires, and that's to draw near to God and to obey Him. Israel didn't do so well with this test of hunger, but Jesus passes with flying colors, temptation number one.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:44] Then in verses 5 through 7, we get into temptation number two, and here we get a transportation issue also. It says, "Then the devil took him..." And the word took him, could be translated, transported him, "The devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple." Now, this is going to happen again in verse 8, the same Greek word that could be translated, transported. He starts in the wilderness, and he ends up in the holy city, in Jerusalem, at the temple. Potentially, the second and third temptations involve visions, involving the devil giving Jesus visions of things because he's transported him. So he takes him to the temple, takes him to the highest point in the temple. And then we read this in verse 6, “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written." The devil is like, if you can quote scripture to me, I'm going to quote some scripture to you. And he quotes from Psalm 91 verses 11 and 12, "He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." So here's what the devil is doing, he's quoting from a psalm that's basically about God making promises to those who take refuge in him. It says if you come to me for refuge, if you come to me in your hopeless moments, here's what I'm going to do, I am going to take care of you. And the devil is saying to Jesus, well, if he's going to do that for just sort of the average person seeking refuge in God, how much more is he going to do this for you? Go ahead and throw yourself down, and he won't let you hit the ground.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:23] Jesus responds to this in verse 7 by quoting Scripture once again, right back to him, "Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Now, here's a question I want to ask before making sure we understand Jesus response here, and that's why would this have even appealed to Jesus? Have you ever noticed, I don't know, have you ever noticed that the things that you're tempted to do are things that appeal to you? Like you're not tempted to eat kale salad? You're tempted to do things that actually appeal to you. So the question is, why would it appeal to Jesus to throw himself down off of this high point in the temple so that God would rescue him and keep him from falling? And on first glance, we might say, well, maybe it was because everybody watching would be so impressed with this, and Jesus would have all of these accolades. And that's possible, but that's probably not the case because there's no mention of other people even being there. It seems like the temptation is this, the temptation is that if Jesus jumps down and the Father saves him, then Jesus will no longer have to exercise any faith at all in the idea that God is with Him.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:23] Now, for some of you, right now, your mind might be spinning, and you might be saying, Jesus had to exercise faith that God was with him. Yeah, he absolutely did. Hebrews chapter 12 talks about Jesus as the author and perfecter of faith, which in part means, he lived the ultimate life of faith. In his humanity, Jesus was living a life of faith, and so it seems like the temptation here is, hey, if you jump down and if God saves you, you'll have your miracle, and you'll no longer have to wonder. Now, here's one of the reasons why we can be pretty sure that's what the temptation was, it's because of the verse that Jesus quotes back. Once again, Jesus seems to love Deuteronomy here, so he quotes from Deuteronomy again. This is chapter 6, verse 16, let me put the whole verse up because there are a couple of words at the end of it, "Do not put the LORD your God to the test as you did at Massah."

Dan Franklin: [00:23:43] We all know what happened at Massah, right? I don't even need to say it, you guys all know, we can just skip it. I'm just kidding, we're like, what happened at Massah? Here's what happened at Massah, Israel tested God. And here's how they tested God, they were thirsty, and they needed water, and they said to God, you better miraculously bring us water. This was not simply the cry of a desperate people saying, God, please help us; this was the nation of Israel saying to God, unless you get us water, we're done with you. There's a big difference between desperately coming to God and crying out for help and saying to God, I will not trust and obey you unless. And some of you might have even been thinking this when you think of the testing idea, Jesus says, don't put the Lord your God to the test. And some of you might be thinking, do I do that sometimes? And the short answer is, maybe you do, but listen to what I'm about to say so that you can understand what it means to put the Lord your God to the test. If you sometimes come to God and you say, I am really struggling in my faith, I need you to do something. I need something, I need some help, some sign, some direction, I need something, I want to trust you so badly and I'm struggling, please help me. That is a prayer that God loves to answer, that is a prayer of faith.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:10] It's very similar to what the man prays in the gospels when he says to Jesus, I believe, help me in my unbelief. It's like, I do believe, I want to believe, you've got to help me. I'm going to say there are a lot of times when it comes to my family and myself and us as a church that I'll pray something like this. I'll say, Father, we're going to follow you, we're going to trust you, we're going to do what you've called us to do; as we do this, please, along the way, give us glimpses of the fruit of what we're doing so that we don't get discouraged. Please, just give us some glimpse, some idea, that this is working and that you're going to bring a reward from this because otherwise, we might lose heart. That is not testing God, that is desperately asking for God to help us. But it would be testing God if we said, God, we're going to obey you and what you've called us to do if we win the lottery, we're going to obey you in what we do if you give me a husband, if you give me a wife, if we can have a baby, if I get this job, if I get into this college, if you do this, God, then I will trust you. That is testing the Lord, and Jesus says, no way. I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to tell the Father, I will follow you if you, fill in the blank.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:35] By the way, the Gospels are full of people coming to Jesus and saying, show us a sign. Jesus showed lots of signs, but he did not respond well to the demand, we will only follow you if you do what we're telling you to do. Israel, on the other hand, at Massah, proved that they were not up for this test, they failed. But Jesus lives it again, and he passes the test, that's temptation number two.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:03] Now let's look at the final one, and on this one, the devil pretty much abandons all subtlety at all. In verse 8, "Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain." By the way, quick aside, the temptations keep escalating in intensity, they also keep escalating in elevation. He starts in the wilderness, he goes to a high point in the temple, and now he's at the highest mountain. This is probably a vision, again, because it's a mountain that's high enough for him to see "all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor." And in verse 9 we read, “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:42] He once again has abandoned all subtlety, there's no way that Jesus could look at this and say, well, maybe this is okay to do. He knows it's not okay to do, and yet there is a real temptation here. We could look at this and we could say, well, Satan can't do that, he's offering something he can't do. That's not true, Satan is offering something that he can do here. Jesus himself, even in John chapter 12 verse 31, he calls Satan the prince of this world, Satan has a level of dominion over our world right now. So he says, hey, I can give you all the kingdoms of the world right now, all you got to do is bow down and worship me. And part of the temptation for Jesus here would have been that Jesus knew that he deserved that, and that Jesus even knew that that was his eventual destiny. At the very end of the Gospel of Matthew, right before the last two verses, where Jesus says, "Go and make disciples of all nations." Jesus says, in Matthew 28:18, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been entrusted to me." So this was Jesus's destiny. What the devil was offering him was to get it now, to get it fast.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:02] And by the way, when we think of our own temptations, here's the deal, Satan can't offer us anything remotely as great as what God can offer us. But you know what Satan can do? He can offer it fast. And I don't know if you've noticed, but just about every temptation is to get something fast. We get our own revenge because we want fast vindication. We give in to lust because we want fast pleasure. We give in to greed because we want fast security or fast prosperity. We have the temptation to give in to something that will get us what we want fast.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:44] Jesus is being offered something that he should get and that he will get, but he's being offered to get it now without the cross. And so here's how Jesus responds in verse 10, "Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” And by the way, we'll look at Jesus' words here, but first of all, I want to show you verse 11. Verse 11 says, "The devil left him, and angels came and attended him." James chapter 4, verse 7 says, "Resist the devil." And some of you know the end, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." This doesn't mean that we have control over everything going on in the Spiritual realm, but here Jesus says, away from me, Satan, and Satan leaves. Resist the devil and He will flee from you. Indulge the devil, and he's going to stick around; resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:43] So he says, "Worship the Lord your God and serve him only." This is once again a quotation from Deuteronomy. This is Deuteronomy chapter 6, verse 13, and here's what we get to remember again, Israel didn't pass the test of hunger. Israel didn't pass the test of testing God. Did Israel pass the test of worshiping God and serving him only? We know that they didn't. If nothing else, we know that in Exodus Chapter 32, when Moses comes down from the mountain and finds them worshiping a golden calf. There are times that Israel was faithful to God, but they were not faithful all the time to worship and serve him only. Jesus once again passes the test where Israel fails, he chose to worship God only and Satan flees away.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:43] Now, I said at the beginning, if we're looking at this, if we're saying, what do we learn from Jesus' temptation? What do we learn about our temptations? We learn that when we face temptation, we look to Jesus. And so it would be easy for us to look at Matthew chapter 4, verses 1 through 11, and say, well when we face temptation, we should do what Jesus did. That sounds like pretty safe ground to be on. When we face temptation, we should do what Jesus did. And what did Jesus do? Well, really, two things, we could say He chose to obey God and he quoted scripture. So if we're looking at our own temptations, we should say, well, we should do that.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:13] First of all, we should decide in our hearts, no matter what I face, no matter what comes, I'm going to choose obedience to God, I'm going to choose the hard right thing. And then secondly, we should memorize enough verses to be able to quote back at Satan when he tempts us. So if we're going to follow Jesus' lead, all right, let's do that, let's make sure that we've decided that we're going to obey, and let's make sure that we're ready to quote scripture back at Satan. And what I want to say is both of those are very good things to do, but neither of those are the main takeaway from this passage. And they're not what I mean when I say when we face temptation, we look to Jesus. Because if we go only that route, here's what we're doing, what we're basically deciding is that our own willpower will bring us victory. How many here, I'm going to ask you to be vulnerable for a second, how many of you have ever once, even once in your life, done something wrong that you knew was wrong? Anybody? All right, a few of you. I see a few hands, I see a hand over there, we all have done this. So that if we're saying, hey, from this point on, here's our strategy. our strategy is to decide not to sin, even though I'm going to bet you've decided that a lot of times before. And our slightly better-added strategy is to say, well, I'm going to fight fire with fire, I'm going to quote scripture back at Satan.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:39] That is not what this passage is about, this passage is not about you, this passage is about Jesus. Our main takeaway is not that we learn something about us, it's that we learn something about Jesus. And so here's the key to this whole thing, when we look to Jesus, we look to him not to learn that we can do it, we look to him to learn that he did it. We see Jesus victorious here in this passage, and then we know we can be led to victory because he already won the victory.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:12] And some of you know this, but this is not the last time that the devil tempted Jesus. In fact, in the parallel passage to this, in the Gospel of Luke, at the end, it says the devil left him until an opportune time. And almost everybody agrees that the opportune time was in the garden, right before the cross. And in the garden right before the cross, we see Jesus wrestling with what's about to happen, and he clearly doesn't want to do it, but he wants to be obedient. And Jesus follows through with the cross, going to the cross and covering all of our sins, and he is raised to life victorious for all of us. We look at the passage of Jesus' temptation, and our big takeaway is we need to look to Jesus, not primarily to figure out how we can do it, but to be reminded that he did it, to be reminded that he fought the victory, and he won the victory.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:08] So, you know, as we're looking at this, and if you walked away and you said, well, but still, I want to know what I do when I do face temptation. Let's talk about that now for a little while because we all do. What do we do when we face temptation? Well, first of all, I'd say, even though I said it's not the main point, if one of your strategies is to say, I need to memorize some scripture to quote back at the tempter, that's really wise, that would be really wise to do. Here, I want to give you a slightly more specific suggestion, though, if you're going to do this. My suggestion is that you don't focus simply on verses that tell you not to do the bad thing, you probably already know not to do it. I want to encourage you to memorize scriptures that point to the good promises of God so that you can remember who He is. If you're in the height of temptation and you're being tempted towards lust and you basically quote a passage that says do not lust, and you're like, that's my ammunition. My ammunition is to say, no, I'm not supposed to do that. I don't know how successful you're going to be. But if you're in the height of temptation and you quote back to Satan Romans 8:32 which says, "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?", you might suddenly start to believe that God is good, and God is trustworthy and you might do what He says. If you're in the height of temptation and you're thinking, I might as well give in because I know I'm going to eventually. Maybe you need to quote back at the devil, Philippians chapter 1, verse 6, "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." If you're in the height of temptation about stuff and about accumulating money, maybe you need to quote back to the tempter Hebrews chapter 13, verses 5 and 6, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” If you're going to quote scripture, my suggestion is, quote, The promises of God, that's what keeps us going.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:37] But apart from that, let me give four other points that have to do with the way that we look to Jesus, because we look to him as an example, but that's not the main way we look to him. So let's walk through these.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:50] We look to Jesus, first of all, to remember who we are. Do you remember again the way that Satan in the first two temptations tempted Jesus? If you are the Son of God. Now you and I are not the Son of God in the same way that Jesus is the Son of God, he is the eternal Son of God. But because of what Jesus has done through His sacrifice and resurrection, if we come to him by faith, we are adopted sons and daughters of God. When we face temptation, we look to Jesus because He reminds us who we are. He reminds us that sin is not our default behavior. We are rejecting our true identity every time we sin. So we look to Jesus because when we look to Him, we remember what he did for us, and we remember who we are.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:46] Secondly, we look to Jesus to remember how it ends. Do you remember how this passage ended? Victory for Jesus, defeat for the devil. One day, when Jesus returns it won't just be defeat for the devil, it will be destruction for the devil. When we look to Jesus, we remember that he is victorious and that it all one day will fade away. And we remember that when we choose sin, we are actively choosing the losing side, so we look to Jesus, and we remember how it ends.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:24] Here's the third one, and this is a big one, we look to Jesus to remember that he struggled, we look to Jesus to remember that He was truly tempted. And Hebrews chapter 4, verse 15 says this, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin." And I know many of us can look at this and we can say, but was he really tempted in every way that we are? Some of you might be thinking, did he really have a second cousin who was a girl who stole $2,000 from him and that he wanted to get it back? All right, don't get that specific, if we get that specific, we're going to find that it's foolishness. The idea is not that Jesus experienced the minutia of every individual temptation that you had; the point is that Jesus experienced deeper heat of temptation than you ever have. If you think that your temptations are deeper, just think about this. If you were in a sauna and you were trying to outlast everyone else in a sauna, but people kept ditching out of the sauna as it got hotter and hotter until only one person was left, which person felt the most heat from the sauna? One guy knows the right answer. It's not a trick question, it's the last person in there. We're looking at Jesus and we're like, well, he didn't fail, so he can't possibly know what I went through. He didn't fail, and that means he faced hotter temptations than any of us did. He knows and when you look to him, he's with you and he loves you. And he's not saying, shape up, what's your problem? He's saying, I know how difficult it is.

Dan Franklin: [00:41:23] And finally, we look to Jesus to remember that he's with us. Because of what Jesus has done, he is with us through the Holy Spirit. When you are facing temptation, Jesus is not shouting down directions from heaven, he is right next to you, looking to take on the battle with you. He will never leave you; he will never forsake you, he's not far off, he's near. And so we look to Jesus, not just desperately trying to remember what he did in this situation, we look to Jesus knowing that he is near and that he's with us and that he'll never leave us and he'll never forsake us. We look to Jesus not to remember how He did it, we look to Jesus to remember that He did it. And because of that, we share in His victory.

Dan Franklin: [00:42:16] Here's what I want to encourage us to do, I want to encourage you right now in your mind, and maybe you've already been thinking about it, to think about the area of life right now where temptation is hottest for you. Where you are saying maybe it's an area of sin, maybe it's an area of doubt, but there's some area where you're saying this is really the battlefront right now, and whatever that area is, I want you to look back on these four realities that I put up there. When it comes to your lust, when it comes to your doubt, when it comes to your anger, when it comes to your gossip, when it comes to whatever temptation is most severe, remember who you are, remember how it ends, remember that Jesus struggled too, and remember that He is with you.

Dan Franklin: [00:43:08] And I want to invite us to continue to take in that reality as we get to move into what we get to do next, which is not only preparing to respond in worship but preparing to take communion. If you're going to be helping out with communion, you can head to the back right now. I feel like this is a very appropriate next step for us to take because if we're looking at this passage and the main takeaway that we're meant to have is to remember that Jesus won the victory, we get to do that when we take communion. We remember that his body was broken for us. We remember that his blood was shed for us. And so as we experience this next time, these next moments and take communion, here's what I want to invite you to take in. If there's sin that you need to confess, this is absolutely the time to do it. If there are ways that you need to commit, this is absolutely the time to do it. But don't use this time as the time that you're saying I am going to do it, use this as the time to celebrate that he did it. Most of us probably want to leave today saying I'm never going to sin again, but if we know ourselves well enough, we know that's probably not likely. We don't have to resolve ourselves to defeat, but it is wise if we say, what am I going to do? How am I going to live in the reality of the fact that Jesus has won the victory and the victory that He's calling me to is already won by his sacrifice?

Dan Franklin: [00:44:41] So as we prepare to take the elements together, let me pray for us. Father, thank you so much for the grace that you have poured out for us in Jesus, thank you, that he won a victory that we couldn't win, and thank you that we win that victory simply through our faith in Him. Father, I pray for those who feel stuck, who feel frustrated, and who feel discouraged. And Father, I pray that we would revel in the victory and grace of Jesus now, I pray that we will know in the deepest parts of ourselves the forgiveness that we have in him, and I pray that we will have hope in the future victory that we have in him. Lead us to victory, lead us to tell Satan to flee, and Father, lead us to the joy of the grace that you've poured out as we remember the sacrifice of Jesus for us. I pray this in His name. Amen.



Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848