2024 FBFI Session 4: Tuesday, June 11, 7:00 pm (Kristopher Schaal)

Matthew 4:1-11 - The Mount of Temptation

Good evening. It is indeed a privilege to address you tonight. I was going to start with a joke about my extensive topic for this evening, but poor Roland was tasked with the entire Sermon on the Mount, so I have no room to complain. I am grateful for the two hours I have been given to delve into this subject.

Setting jokes aside, let's dive right in.

"What is the hardest part of the Christian life?" Take 30 seconds to jot down your answer to that question in your conference notebook. I tried to find a survey online that posed this question, but I couldn't find one. I am genuinely curious about the top answers. Have you finished writing? How many of you wrote something down? Perhaps some of you mentioned "fighting sin." I am unsure of the other responses you may have come up with. I will take a bold guess. Did anyone write this? I would venture to say that waiting on God is one of the most challenging things we are called to do.

Open your Bibles to Matthew 4:1-11. I have titled my sermon "Waiting on God in the Wilderness." Pastor, leader, you must wait on God for your provision, recognition, and promotion (Matthew 4:1-11).


In Matthew 3, Jesus is baptized, marking the beginning of His public ministry. The Father speaks from heaven, and the Spirit descends upon Christ, symbolizing His reliance on the Spirit for His earthly ministry. Immediately after His baptism, Jesus is led into the wilderness to face the devil.

This event holds immense significance in Christ's life. Jesus had to demonstrate that He, as the second Adam, would succeed where Adam failed, securing our righteous standing in Him. Tonight, however, I want to explore this story through the lens of what we can learn from Christ about resisting temptation.

Pastor, leader, at some point, the Spirit will lead you into the wilderness. What is the wilderness? It is where challenging circumstances set the stage for powerful temptation. For Jesus, these circumstances included physical hunger, weakness, isolation, exposure, and pain.

It was the Father's will for Jesus to fast in the wilderness. He had water but no food. After forty days, Jesus began to experience "true hunger," a sign that the body is about to consume muscle tissue to survive. In simple terms, He was starving. Then Satan arrives with his three best temptations.

Difficult circumstances can often open the door for Satan to influence our thoughts. Physical harm, a health crisis, financial struggles, betrayal, loss, accidents, or conflicts can make us vulnerable to temptation. Lies that seemed absurd during good times suddenly make sense. Be vigilant!

Remember, God ordains the wilderness. Brothers and sisters, who led Jesus into the wilderness according to verse 1? It was the Spirit. God did not tempt Jesus, but similar to Job's experience, He allowed Satan to tempt Him.

God and Satan have dual purposes in temptation. Satan aims to lead us to sin, while God tests us to demonstrate that Christ succeeded where Adam, Israel, and humanity failed. The biggest temptation Christ faced in the wilderness was to resort to sinful measures to avoid suffering, a temptation we also encounter.

While there is nothing wrong with seeking relief from suffering through legitimate means, there are times when God allows us to face challenges without an easy way out. Jesus faced such a situation.

Now, let's examine the devil's temptations.

Temptation #1: "Stones into Bread" (v. 3)

The underlying lie in this temptation was "you can't wait for Your Father's provision." Although Jesus was hungry, Satan's assertion seemed valid. The devil also appealed to Christ's status, questioning why the Son of God should starve in the wilderness. Pastors and ministries are often tempted not to trust God with their finances, resorting to shortcuts instead of waiting on God.

Why would it have been sinful for Jesus to turn stones into bread? Firstly, it would have contradicted Christ's mission to live and suffer as a man. Secondly, it would have shown a lack of trust in His Father. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 in response, emphasizing the importance of relying on God's word over physical sustenance.

Christ's reliance on Scripture for resisting temptation highlights the significance of meditating on God's word. If you are in the wilderness, consider prioritizing Scripture memorization to navigate challenges.

This leads us to the second temptation.

Temptation #2: "Jump off a Cliff" (vv. 5-7)

This temptation is challenging to understand. Satan took Jesus to the temple's pinnacle and misused Scripture to tempt Him. Jesus refuted the devil by quoting Scripture, emphasizing the importance of interpreting Scripture with Scripture.

The background of this temptation seems to stem from a legend that the Messiah would perform a miraculous jump from the temple to prove His identity. Satan tempted Jesus with the desire for recognition, a temptation pastors often face, leading to comparisons and jealousy.

Jesus rejected the temptation, choosing to submit to God's will, even if it meant rejection by His people. God ultimately exalted Christ, surpassing any recognition Satan could offer.

Temptation #3: "Crown without a Cross" (vv. 8-11)

In this temptation, Satan offered Jesus an earthly kingdom without suffering. Pastors may struggle with discontent or desire for promotion. Jesus refused the offer, choosing to embrace the cross. God exalted Christ, demonstrating that true promotion comes from Him.

After the wilderness, several outcomes follow:

1. The Devil Flees.

Satan has no authority over the Son of God. While we lack the same authority, James 4:7 encourages us to resist the devil, who will eventually flee. Endure, for intense temptation does not last forever.

2. God Meets Your Need (v. 11).

Once Satan departs, the Father sends angels to minister to His Son, likely providing physical sustenance. God often meets our needs after testing our faith to strengthen it.

3. The Father Receives Glory.

God is glorified through our victories over temptation. As we emerge victorious, we bring glory to God, just as Jesus did.

4. God's People Are Saved.

Christ's victory over temptation ensured our salvation. Our choices in battling temptation impact not only us but also those around us. Take courage and fight the spiritual battle with faith and prayer.

If you feel you have failed, remember that Christ's victory over temptation is on your behalf. Worship Jesus for what He has done for you. You can have victory because He has already defeated Satan.

Let's pray.