The Life and Death of Jesus – Part 1

The Temptation

February 21, 2021

            Today is the first Sunday of Lent. Lent has been a tradition in the church since the year 325. It started before there were any denominations. It started about the same time the books that were to be in the New Testament were confirmed. The experience of the church is that having seasons like Advent and lent are good discipleship tools. They help us remember and apply the foundational stories of our faith.

            Lent is traditionally a time of prayer and repentance. If you use this period well, it can enhance your spiritual life. As you lean into God and as you remember what Jesus has done for you by dying for you, it has a way deepening your walk with God.

            This morning I am starting a new series called “The life and death of Jesus.” I am hoping that two things will happened. One is that you will draw closer to Jesus – after all our spiritual lives are based on abiding in that relationship. The second thing I hope will happen is that God will show our own heart and affirm what is good and give us the grace to repent where it is not good. As I said, Lent is meant to be a season of repentance.

            I used to see repentance as something that was negative. It was like I was groveling before God begging for his forgiveness. But I have learned that God is so willing to forgive us when we turn to him. We don’t have to grovel for his forgiveness – he gives it to us graciously and willingly.

            Repentance is asking for forgiveness for what we have done wrong, but what it does is reorient our lives, so we are travelling in harmony with God, not pulling away from him.

            I have come to see that God uses repentance like we might use an anti-venom injection. We have all been bitten by the snake of sin. The poison goes into our souls and distorts them. The symptoms may be different – for some it will be anger and self-protection, for others it will be hatred and vengeance, for others it be withdrawal and fear – and the list could go on.

            Our soul gets poisoned and distorted. We tend then to believe lies about God and ourselves. So, we live wounded in this world. But, God gives us repentance as his anti-venom. We confess our sin and turn from them. We confess the lies that we have believed, and we confess the truth that God has revealed. In doing this God applies the work of that Jesus did on the cross for us and takes out the poison and heals our distorted souls. It moves us from death to life.

            This is not just something that happens when we come to the Lord in salvation – it is something that God does periodically all the way through our lives as people of faith.

            This past week I was praying with a group of ministers. I had the privilege to lead one minister through this process and he received freedom in a particular area because he repented, and God showed him a lie that he was believing – And God also showed him the truth about who he has made him.

            I believe that this season of lent can be could be one where God takes a lot of poison out of your soul, so that you live in the freedom God designed for you to live in.


            This morning we are going to take a look at the temptation of Jesus.

Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

            The Bible says Jesus gets you. He empathizes with you. He has been tempted just like you. This morning we are going to look at some of the ways that he was tempted. At first glance the stories may seem far removed from your life. After all, you don’t regularly get offered the kingdoms of the world – but I think you will find you face the same temptations of Jesus and maybe unlike Jesus you have succumbed to those temptations.

            If you have God is offering you the grace of freedom, the anti-venom shot – through repentance that will allow you to be restored into who you were meant to be.

            Here is what you need to know. Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good – that is the role of religion. Jesus came to make dead people live.

            What you need to understand about Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness is that it wasn’t about whether Jesus would be bad or good. It was about whether he would live or die. When you experience real temptation towards sin, that is what it is about with you too. It is not about whether you are bad or good. It is about whether you are going to poison your soul or whether your soul will live.

            The wages of sin is death. Sin brings death. Sin is not as much about being bad or being wrong as much as it is about poisoning your soul.

            Come with me to Luke 4

Luke 4:1–4 (NIV)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

            First note that Jesus was tempted for 40 days. So, we are just getting the highlight temptations. He faced a lot more than was recorded here. But I think Luke included these three because they are fundamental temptations that we face.

            Jesus had been fasting and he was hungry. It was when he was vulnerable that Satan came along – and the first thing he does is question his identity. “If you are the Son of God.”

            The fundamental temptation of Satan is usually in the area of our identity. He desperately wants to lie to you about who you are. He will come along and say –“if you are a child of God” and then point to all your faults. If you are a child of God you wouldn’t do those things. He will tell you lies about yourself.

            That is why we just spent a whole series on the lies we tell ourselves – because Satan is a liar and he will tell you things like, “if you just tried harder you wouldn’t give into temptation – you are just useless.” When the truth is, we change indirectly as we push into God.

            He will tell you that God only loves you when your good – and you’re not good. He will tell you that you are a sinner – so just get comfortable with your sin. He will tell you that you are not enough. He lies. His biggest lies are reserved for what you believe about yourself and what you believe about God.


            Satan says to Jesus. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

            He is saying to Jesus, if you are the son of God then you ought to have a place of privilege. You ought t be able to spend your spirituality on that which makes you comfortable. What Satan is trying to get Jesus to do – is to make his spirituality all about him. He was trying to get Jesus to use his spiritual power for his own ends.

            As you know, there is nothing wrong with making bread. Jesus did it when fed the 5000 with 5 loaves of bread. But, Jesus is urging him to use his power for his comfort. Don’t trust God for your provision make it happen yourself. Your life is all about you. If you don’t look after yourself then what do you expect.

            Satan is trying to get Jesus to be self-referenced instead of God referenced. Satan is trying to get Jesus to make his life all about his comfort. But Jesus quotes scripture by saying,  “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”  In other words, it is not all about me or my comfort.

            I get this temptation. First, he calls into question our identity. If you really are a child of God – then should you not be comfortable. Make your faith all about meeting your needs. Make your faith all about getting what you want.

            Satan would love you to make your faith all about you. Because your faith just becomes another tool to trying and get you save your own life. But Jesus has told us that those who try to save their lives will lose them, but those who lose their life for me and the gospel will find them.

            When you make your life all about you, you lose your life. When you make your life about God, and let him have his way in your life, you will find life – real life abundant life.

            I wish I had the time to dwell here – because I see so many people trying to make their own spiritual bread – and that is a recipe for disaster.


            Let’s move onto the second temptation. This is the temptation to create your own God.

Luke 4:5–8 (NIV)

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

            So, the devil lead Jesus up to high place and shows Jesus a vision of all the kingdom of this world. Babylon, Jerusalem, Rome, Athens and said Jesus – I will give you all their authority.

            And you need to understand that it was his to give.

2 Corinthians 4:4 (NLT)  calls Satan the god of this world.

Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe.

            Until Satan is bound at the end of time, he has authority in this world. He doesn’t have any authority over you as a believer unless you give it to him by participating the works of his kingdom or believing a lie, but he has authority in this world.

            Now he is saying to Jesus, I have authority and I will give it to you. Jesus doesn’t dispute that he has authority. He just says the price tag is too high. You are asking me to worship you when only God is due worship.

            Now just think of what Jesus could have done with that authority. With that kind of authority, he could have righted the injustices that Rome was perpetrating. He could have influenced Greek thought. He could have moved people towards a better standard of living.

            What the devil was offering was a crossless messiahship.  All Jesus had to do was worship him. The definition of worship is to pay or to give yourself to that which you supremely value.

            Jesus, you are on a mission to make the world a better place – just worship me and I will give you the authority to carry it out.

            One of Jesus’ highest values was his mission. But he refused to let the mission become supremely valuable. God must always be number one.

            What are your highest values – maybe you have a mission, maybe it is church life, maybe it is making money, maybe it is raising a family, maybe it your career. Maybe it just making yourself comfortable.

            There are nothing wrong with any of those things, until they become the main thing. If you value important things more than you value God, you have in effect changed gods. You have exchanged worshipping the God who is, to something else that you have put on a pedestal. In effect, you end of worshipping what Satan wants. In effect you end of worshipping Satan himself without knowing it.

If you done that the way back is repentance. Lord I acknowledge that I have made important things in my life more important than you. I have made a god of them. Forgive me. I choose to hold you as the highest good in my life.

            Jesus chose not to yield to this temptation.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

            My prayer is that we would live out the same exclusive worship of God.


            The last temptation. This temptation is not only to prove yourself – it is to prove God – and not in a good way.

Luke 4:9-12

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! 10 For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you.

11 And they will hold you up with their hands

so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.”

12 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”

            You may have noticed that each time Jesus is tempted he uses the scripture to defend himself. So, look what Satan does, he uses scripture against Jesus.

            Satan questions Jesus identity again. If you really are the son of God, then the scriptures say you can jump off a cliff and the angels will catch you. So, prove yourself – prove God.

            It took me a long time walking with Jesus to understand that the scriptures themselves, the very words of God can be used to bring death.


Ungodly Fear – (end times, loss of salvation)


            The way to combat this kind of stuff is to the know the scripture better – so that you can fight fire with fire. Better yet know the God of the scripture and who He is.

            Now back to this particular temptation. The devil says, if you are who you say you are, and God’s promises are what the bible says they are – then put God to the test. Jump off this cliff and you should be fine.

            Let me give you the modern-day equivalents of this. The devil comes to us and says if you really are a Christian and God is a gracious as he says – then it really doesn’t matter what you do – God will forgive you.

            The answer is the same. Luke 4:12

12 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”

            It is never a good idea to presume on grace. That temptation comes from the evil one.


            We have entered the season of lent. It is a season where we examine our hearts and if necessary – repent. And as we said at the beginning, repentance is a wonderful thing. It is God’s anti-venom dose to poison of sin.

            As I have been going through this maybe you have seen your life in the reflections of these temptations. You have bought into evil one’s questioning of your identity. You started to doubt God and what he has done for you. Or maybe you have bought into the temptation to make your own bread and make this life all about you. Or maybe you have bought into the temptation to make the important things in your life more important than God. Maybe Satan has use scripture to create fear or bind you in legalism. Or maybe he has cause you to test God by presuming on grace.

            If you have given into any of these temptations – and we all have at some point in our lives – if you are there right now then you have been bitten by the viper of sin, and the poison is causing your soul to suffer.

            Jesus offers you the antidote. Choose to repent, and have what Jesus did for you applied to you. The way you do that is you pray a prayer like this.

            Lord Jesus – I have given into temptation (Put sins on the screen) please forgive me. I chose to believe Satan’s lies rather than the truth. I chose to turn towards you and the truth. I accept your forgiveness.

            Now I would invite you to silently join in with a joint prayer of confession.

Sermon Questions – The Life and Death of Jesus – Part 1

The Temptation – February 21, 2021

Luke 4:1-12


1. What are you grateful for today?

2. What stood out for you in this week’s sermon or the above Scripture?

Digging In

3. The sermon said that repentance was like an anti-venom injection. In what ways are these things parallel to one another?

4. Read Hebrews 4:15. Do you have any problem believing that Jesus is who this verse says he is? Why or Why not?

5. The sermon said, “Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good – that is the role of religion. Jesus came to make dead people live.” What do you think/How do you feel about that statement?

6. Read Luke 4:1-4 – How was Jesus tempted in the area of his identity, and how does Satan tempt us in the area of our identity?

7. In the temptation to make a stone bread, Satan was tempting Jesus to spend his spiritual power on making himself comfortable – to make his spirituality all about him. How are we tempted to do the same thing, and what is the problem with this?

8. Read Luke 4:5-8. One of Jesus’ highest values was his mission. The temptation was to take something of high value and make it of supreme value – taking God’s place.

  • How can we do this?
  • What is the problem with this?
  • What is the way back from this?

9.  Read Luke 4:9-12. You see in this temptation that Satan uses scripture. How can Satan use scripture against us? How do we guard against this temptation?

10. In this temptation Satan says, if you are who you say you are, and God promises what he promises then you should be able to jump of a cliff and be safe. How does he tempt us in the same way?

11. Jesus replies (vs 12) don’t test God. How does this apply to us?

Personal Application

12. We started off talking about repentance. Take a moment and see if that is appropriate for you to engage in.