Temptation and Truth
- As Jesus enters the wilderness in Matthew 4, one of the questions that might come to our minds is this: why did he have to endure this season of testing in the first place? (Leaders – Brad talked about Jesus identifying with us in our weaknesses to 1. sympathize and 2. deliver us – he succeeds where we fail and where Israel failed – Hebrews 4:14-16 is a great reference)
- In Matthew 4:1 it says Jesus was tempted by “the Devil.” On Sunday Pastor Brad quoted C.S. Lewis who said “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” Who is Satan and how should we as Christians think correctly about him? (Leaders, you can reference 1 Peter 5:8 & John 4:4)
- Look at Matthew 4:3 and notice what Satan is taking aim at – Jesus’ hunger. What does Satan normally take aim at in our lives? How/What does he tempt us with? (Leaders: Brad spoke about how he takes aims at our good desires and inclinations and twists them, as well as things naturally appealing to us)
- In verses 4 and 7, Christ overcomes Satan’s temptations and twisting of Scripture with a correct application of Scripture. His example teaches us how important right application of scripture can be in the midst of trial and temptation. How can we be sure we’re rightly applying scripture to our present situation? (Leaders: Brad gave us three steps to aid us:
- Interpret each passage by what the rest of the Bible says, knowing the Bible doesn’t contradict itself. This rule is “scripture interprets scripture”,
- Ask yourself if you’re being Christ-centered by applying the question “Did Jesus have to die and rise again for my understanding of this passage to be true?”
- 3. When in doubt, just keep reading in order to get the full context of each verse – ask yourself how this fits into the surrounding verses/chapter/book.You can remember this rule as “context is king!”).
- The desires of Jesus are on full display in his trial in the wilderness. Ironically, Jesus uses desire to overcome these temptations – how does He do it? (Leaders: Brad said in the sermon that Jesus didn’t overcome temptation by simply denying his desires, but by cultivating desires deeper and truer/godly desires that pervade our hearts – we need to do the same by asking God to change our desires as we pour His word into our minds)
- As a takeaway, consider these questions in the week to come: How has testing revealed your heart in the past? And…what kinds of scripture are you memorizing to combat future temptations when they come?