How Jesus’ Temptation Helps Us to Overcome Temptation
I recently preached a message entitled “A Lesson from the Champ.” It is a message on overcoming temptation. Testing and temptation is something we all face in life, whether we are believers or not. We are all faced with situations where we have to choose between right or wrong, good or best, faithful or unfaithful, smart or not so smart. How do we know which choices to make and how do we have the strength or courage to make the right choice when everything inside of us is screaming to make the wrong choice? Did Jesus ever have to face anything like that? Yes! He did!
He Was Led By the Spirit!
Immediately after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, the Bible tells us that He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. We read about this encounter in Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus had just had a real mountain top experience. He was baptized by John. John himself said he was not worthy to baptize Jesus, but needed to be baptized by Him. After the baptism while Jesus was still in the river, the physical presence of the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus “like a dove.” How amazing that must have been. The, the affirming voice of God the Father spoke from the Heavens, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Notice that God the Father was extremely pleased by Jesus decision to be baptized, just as He is well pleased when we follow Jesus’ example by baptism.
“You Gotta Train if you Wanna Win!”
It is hard for me to imagine what that must have meant to Jesus, or how thrilled and excited He must have been. It seems that sometimes we downplay Jesus’ own emotions when we think of these events of His life, but this was a thrilling experience for Him and those who witnessed it. Then, immediately after this awesome experience He is led out to be tempted. He begins with a 40 day fast. He spends 40 days in isolation and prayer and fasting in preparation to do battle with the enemy. At the end of this 40 days of fasting, when Jesus was physically weak, hungry, and exhausted, Satan comes to tempt Him with three temptations that must have been very difficult for Him.
This Was a Spiritual Boxing Match!
Because I see this as a spiritual war and a brutal encounter between the Savior and the enemy, when I prepared this sermon I used the analogy of a boxing match. I see it as the heavy weight championship of the universe. Since Jesus won, He is the Champ! He has some lessons for us. In fact, if we follow the same strategy that Jesus used to defeat the devil then we can have the same kind of victory when we are tempted and have to duke it out with the devil. So you will see or hear several references to boxers of the past and present era. It was kind of fun to prepare and hopefully that made it more fun to listen to and more practical to apply. I mention in the message about a list of Scripture memory verses that deal with overcoming temptation. You can also download those here.
40 Days in the Word before 40 Days in the Wilderness!
“It is written!” These words helped Jesus overcome temptation. Jesus quoted Scripture that He had previously studied, meditated on, and memorized in order to win the victory over temptation. Jesus handled these temptations the same way that you and I must overcome temptation. He did not use His divine powers to overcome temptation. He used the same resources that are available to all of us. Memorizing Scripture is an important key to victory. This message is a part of the 40 Days in the Word series we are doing at Highland Terrace. Jesus was able to Win 40 Days in the Wilderness because He had first done 40 Days in the Word!
Listen and Look for the different Sermon Parts!
If you are “into” sermon preparation, you may be able to pick up on the different parts of the sermon from the RINO introduction to the explanation, illustration, and application, and of course, the conclusion and invitation. Feel free to leave some comments in the comment box at the bottom of this article.
This is also a message that I used in my previous series 40 Days with Jesus.
Feel free to download the sermon notes here.
You can listen to the message below or watch the video.
The link for the VIDEO below opens in a new window at the Vimeo website. This is a video of the entire worship service at HTBC on 2/12/2012. The sermon begins at about 25 and 1/2 minutes into the service, but you can drag the courser forward to that point in the video.
Thanks and Be Blessed! And remember, You gotta train if you wanna win!
Your fellow boxer,
PS If you have time check out my new Daily Worship Journal: A Personal Time with God at Amazon. Click Below