The Temptation of Christ — Part 1

"Turn These Stone into Bread"

Sermon delivered on October 29th, 2017
Morning Service

By: Pastor Greg Hocson

Scripture Text: Luke 4:1-14



In the next few days evil will be glorified. Witches, sorcerers, familiar spirits, zombies, death and demons will be promoted as something fun and harmless. In the minds of many who celebrate Halloween, Satan and demons and evil are just imaginary things and not to be taken seriously. 


But we who are true followers of Jesus we don't make light of these things. We know that Satan is not a myth. He is real and is alive and active, seeking to destroy people. We are aware that Satan attacks and assaults people and one of the greatest weapons he uses is to persuade men and women, boys and girls that he does not exist. And he is succeeding. There are multitudes running around having fun believing Satan's deception.


Another powerful weapon that Satan uses to ruin people is temptation. Temptation is a constant reality from the beginning. Adam and Eve were tempted in the garden. Everyone faces temptation. Even the Son of God was tempted by Satan. Before He ever began His earthly ministry, as soon as He was declared the Son of God at His baptism, He was severely tempted by Satan for forty days in the wilderness. 


Satan is a powerful enemy. He is dangerous and crafty. How do we defend ourselves against his attack? Fortunately, we have one who has gone before us and withstood the onslaught and came out victorious. This morning consider with me the adversary, the assault, the answer and the applications.


I - The Adversary

There are three distinct names given to him in these temptations. In Mark he is called Satan, in Luke he is called the devil, and in Matthew he is called the tempter. All these titles are very descriptive of who our adversary is and what he does. 

Mark 1:13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.


Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2: Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.


Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2: And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3: And when the tempter came to him....


Satan is a word signifying an adversary, an enemy, one who lies in wait for another. 

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:


Devil means a false accuser or slanderer. He accuses God and  men. He accuses God before man and then accuses men before God.

Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.


Tempter is self-explanatory. He tempts. He solicits people to do evil. He entices them to fall. Temptation is his business and work. Satan is given over and wholly to it. He takes a delight in it.  He loves to see men and women, boys and girls give in to temptation. 


This is the character of our great adversary. So I don't understand why anyone would dress up like these characters unless he is fascinated with evil and darkness? 


II - The Assault

1. The First Temptation

How does Satan initiate the temptation? His approach has not changed. He comes to Jesus the same way he approached Eve. The serpent approached Eve with a question casting doubt to what God has said. 

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2: And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4:  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:


Now he approached our Lord casting doubt to what the Father has said. 

Luke 4:3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 


Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

Satan initiated his temptation by raising questions to the trustworthiness of the Word of God. This is exactly the same place where he attacked our first parents. 


Remember this is immediately after Christ's baptism where we are told that the Father declared Him to be the Son of God. 

Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.


God the Father had spoken and by His word He had declared Jesus to be His Son. Here we see Satan assault Jesus' faith and confidence in the Word of God. Are you really the Son of God? If you are the Son of God why are you in this wilderness? Why are you alone? Why are you starving? Is this the way God treats His son? And if you really are the Son of God, then turn these stone into bread.


Here was Jesus in a time of hunger, so the Devil set the bait with bread. As Thomas Adams said "Satan, like a fisher, baits his hook according to the appetite of the fish!" Satan attacks the Word of God in a time of pain, suffering, starving, and most inconvenient time. 


Paul writing to the Thessalonian believers says this ...

1 Thessalonians 3:5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.

We need to recognize that the tempter who tempted Jesus is the same tempter who is still at work in this world today. This is why we are to live our lives alertly. May we not be like the world who takes our great enemy lightly.


1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Be sober minded. Be serious about the things of God. Brethren, if there is nothing else you take away from today, I pray you take this away. This battle is a serious one.


III - The Answer

How did our Lord respond to the devil's assault?

Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. 


Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 


Our Lord countered Satan's temptation with Scripture. "It is written ...".  It is written — God said. He wisely refused to enter into any debate and discussion and instead quoted from ...

Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

Our Lord has a high regard for the word of God. He appealed to what was written in the Scriptures. It is written means - "It has been written, and stands written.The Scripture is trustworthy and it shall stand forever. 


Our Lord withstands the suggestion of Satan by quoting the Word of God. Bread would taste so good right now but I don't live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of  my Father. 

John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat (food, bread) is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.


John 8:29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

The Father was always with Him, sustaining and providing for Him.


This is how we should respond any time we are tempted to sin. We have to understand that our Lord is not simply quoting the Scripture, He is obeying the Scripture. What our Lord is saying to the enemy is that life does not consist of and preserved by bread alone. The preservation of life does not depend upon bread alone. Man is to live a life of faith in and dependence on God. So our Lord in His response to Satan assault, focuses on the trustworthiness of and obedience to the Word of God.


IV - The Applications

1. Temptation is Common to All

Temptation is universal. No one is exempt from temptation. If Jesus Christ the Son of God was tempted when He was on earth, surely the children of God are not exempted from temptation.  


1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13: There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.


Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.


2. Temptation is Not Sin

As Frederick P. Wood said this, "Temptation is not sin! It is the call to battle!"


As J. Wilbur Chapman explained "Temptation is the tempter looking through the key-hole into the room where you are living; sin is your drawing back the bolt and making it possible for him to enter."


We need to understand that to be tempted may cause us much pain and sorrow, but it is not sin. It is only sin when we yield to it. Temptation is possible without sin. Our Lord was tempted, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus Christ has gone through every temptation, just in the same way as we have, and yet who is without sin.


Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin; 

Each victory will help you some other to win; 

Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue, 

Look ever to Jesus, He'll carry you through.


3. Temptation Can Be Resisted

We don't have to yield to temptation. How are we to resist temptation? How are we overcome the deeds of the flesh? Our Lord gives us a clear pattern of how to experience victory in times of temptation. Jesus' pattern for us to follow is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and filled with the Holy Word! Our Lord was able to overcome the enemy's temptation, not because He was the Son of God but because He was filled of the Spirit and was filled with the Word of God!


Are you filled? Are you memorizing God's Word? How is your Quiet Time? As Vance Havner said "An empty heart is an invitation to the devil.


Here is one of the many reasons why we need to diligently read, memorize, meditate and study our Bibles. The Word is the sword of the Spirit. We can never fight a good fight, if we do not use it as our principal weapon. The Word is the lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. So fill your mind with the Word of God.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.


The strongest weapon in Satan's arsenal is no match for the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.