In this sermon, Pastor Neil begins a series on “The Travels of Jesus,” looking first at the way Jesus was tempted. We can draw on His strength to resist temptation. Here are some excerpts:
Have you just given up trying to resist temptation in some area of your life? Isn’t it true that sometimes (if not often) we just give up and give in to temptation because it is easier than resisting the devil and saying “No” to him?
Jesus knows way more about temptation and its power than we ever will. People who continue to resist it without giving in are the ones who feel the weight of it most fully. And nobody has ever resisted temptation the way Jesus has. The Bible tells us that “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted”(Hebrews 2:18) – which means, us. The Bible also tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are – yet He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus knows all about temptation. But He never, ever gave in to it. Even when suffering was the result…
…[N]otice how Jesus responds. He responds by appealing to God’s Word, going directly to the inspired, revealed Word of God. He goes to the Bible for guidance and direction. I want you to see – I believe God wants you to see – that the same resources and strategies that were available to Jesus during this ordeal of temptation are available to you and me today. What are those resources?
The first is prayer: There is never a time when it is not time to pray. This is supremely true when you are facing temptation of any kind. It is always the right time to ask the Lord for help, for protection, for grace and strength to resist the devil and withstand the tactics of the tempter, and to pray for a way of escape, just as God promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13… Whenever you face temptation, whatever the temptation may be, you can pray for God’s help to enable you to say “No” and to stand firm in faith and obedience.
The second resource to rely on in the face of temptation is the assurance of God’s love for you. At the baptism of Jesus, right before the time of temptation out in the wild, the Father declared His love for Jesus. He said: “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased” (Mathew 3:17). In His amazing grace, our Heavenly Father says the same thing to each of us… We are God’s sons and daughters by adoption… Even when you fail, when you give in to any temptation that gets the better of you, remember that you are loved and valued by God. And His grace is greater than all your sins.
The third resource you can rely on when you are tempted is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in your life. You are not alone. God the Holy Spirit – the third Person of the Trinity – is not only with you but lives in you. If you allow Him, if you give Him room in your life, if you will graciously submit to His leadership in both the big things and the little things of life, He will give you the grace, wisdom, and courage to say “No” to Satan whenever the enemy attacks.
The fourth resource, the one that takes center stage in Jesus’ testing in the wilderness, is the Word of God. Every time Satan comes to Jesus with a proposal, how does Jesus respond? He says: “It is written.”
Here is where the rubber meets the road for us: The same strategies and resources that worked for Jesus can work for you and me. In the name and power of Jesus, you can resist the devil, as it says in James 4:7, and the devil will flee from you. In the name and power of Jesus, you can defeat the devil. Giving in to temptation is not inevitable when you belong to Jesus, when you know you are loved and valued by God, when the Holy Spirit lives in you and is in the process of making you holy, when you have all the resources of prayer and God’s Word at your disposal, when you surrender in faith and love to the sovereign and gracious rule of the Lord Jesus in your life.
Pastor Neil has much more to say about this topic. Please click on the link below to hear the sermon in its entirety.