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 tonight, but poor Roland was tasked with covering 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 upon 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, as the second Adam, He would succeed where Adam failed, securing our righteous standing in Him. Tonight, 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 provide an entry point for Satan to influence us. Physical harm, health issues, financial crises, 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 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 restricts our escape without compromising our convictions. This was the situation Jesus faced.

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

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

The underlying lie in this temptation was impatience for God's provision. Although Jesus was starving, 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 unbiblical practices instead of waiting on God.

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

Christ's response to the first temptation was rooted in Scripture, highlighting the significance of meditating on God's word to resist temptation.

This leads us to the second temptation.

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

This temptation is challenging to grasp. 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 off 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 to manipulate God for recognition, choosing to submit to God's will despite rejection. God ultimately exalted Christ, surpassing any recognition Satan could offer.

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

This temptation offers a more relatable scenario. Satan promised Jesus an earthly kingdom without suffering. Pastors can also struggle with discontent and desire for promotion. Jesus refused Satan's offer, choosing to embrace the cross and follow God's will.

Christ's victory over temptation resulted in God's exaltation, emphasizing the importance of humility and trusting in God's timing for promotion.

Conclusion: Life after the Wilderness

After the wilderness, Satan flees, God meets our needs, God receives glory, and God's people are saved. The choices we make in the wilderness impact more than just ourselves; they affect generations. Put on God's armor, trust in His provision, and pray without ceasing.

If you feel you have failed, remember that Christ's victory over temptation is the foundation of our victory. Worship Jesus for what He has done for you. Let us pray.