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

Matthew 4:1-11 - The Mount of Temptation

Good evening. It is a great honor to address you tonight. I had planned to start with a light-hearted comment about the 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 a moment to jot down your response to this question in your conference notebook. I tried to find a survey online that posed this question but was unsuccessful. 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 aspects of our calling.

Open your Bibles to Matthew 4:1-11. I have titled my message "Waiting on God in the Wilderness." Pastors and leaders, 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 as the second Adam, He would succeed where Adam failed, securing our righteousness in Him. Tonight, I want to explore this story from the perspective of what we can learn from Christ about resisting temptation.

Pastors and leaders, at some point, the Spirit will lead you into the wilderness. What is the wilderness? It is where challenging circumstances provide a fertile ground for powerful temptations. 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. Just as the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness (verse 1), God did not tempt Jesus, but allowed Satan to tempt Him, similar to Job's experience.

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 humanity failed. The wilderness may tempt us to resort to sinful measures to escape suffering, a challenge we will also face.

While it is acceptable to seek relief from suffering through legitimate means, there are times when God allows us to endure hardships without an easy way out to test our faith. Jesus faced a similar situation.

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

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

The core lie in this temptation was impatience for God's provision. Jesus, though hungry, resisted the urge to act independently of His Father. Pastors and ministries are often tempted to compromise financially instead of trusting God. Are you waiting on God for provision during financial challenges?

Turning stones into bread would have contradicted Christ's mission to live and suffer as a man. Jesus performed miracles to fulfill His Father's will and demonstrate His identity, not for personal convenience. It would have also shown a lack of trust in the Father's care.

How did Jesus respond to this temptation (v. 4)? His quotes from Deuteronomy 6-8 draw parallels between Israel's wilderness temptation and His own. Christ emphasized 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, prioritize Scripture memory to combat temptation.

Now, onto the second temptation.

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

This temptation challenges us to understand why Jesus would consider such an act. Satan misused Scripture to tempt Jesus into seeking recognition through a miraculous display. Pastors may struggle with seeking recognition or comparing themselves to others.

Desiring praise from influential figures can lead to spiritual downfall. Guard your heart against seeking recognition through worldly means. Jesus chose to submit to God's will, even if it meant rejection by His people.

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

This temptation offers Jesus an earthly kingdom without suffering. Pastors may wrestle with discontent or ambition for higher positions. Jesus rejected this offer, choosing to embrace the cross and God's timing for exaltation.

God exalts the humble. Trust in God's timing and purpose, and He will lift you up. Jesus' victory over Satan demonstrates that God's plan surpasses any worldly recognition.

Conclusion: Life after the Wilderness

After enduring the wilderness, several outcomes follow:

1. The Devil Flees.

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Endure through temptation, and God will provide a way out. Satan's authority is limited, and intense temptation does not last forever.

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

After Satan's departure, God sends angels to minister to Jesus. God's provision often follows moments of intense testing to strengthen our faith. Anticipate God's provision and resist settling for lesser substitutes.

3. The Father Receives Glory.

God is glorified through our victories over temptation. Your triumph over the devil brings glory to God and inspires others in their faith journey.

4. God's People Are Saved.

Our choices in the wilderness impact not only ourselves but also those we lead. Your battle with temptation influences generations. Take courage, fight with faith, and lead by example.

Put on God's armor, rely on His word, and pray without ceasing. Remember, Jesus has already defeated Satan, and through Him, you can also overcome. Worship Jesus for His victory on your behalf.

Let us pray.