The Walk Through Temptation
Community Group Discussion Guide
Sermon Summary: The walk through temptation looks at the experience of Jesus in the desert at the very beginning of His ministry. Jesus had just been baptized and was led by The Holy Spirit into the desert for a time of prayer and fasting. During this time Satan tempted Jesus. At the end of the forty days, Satan brought out three big temptations. With each temptation, Jesus quoted Scripture and refused to fall prey to Satan’s enticements. There are at least five lessons we can learn from this story on how to deal with temptation in our own lives.

Discussion Questions
1. Why do you think Satan is sometimes successful getting us to fall into temptation?
James 1:14  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

2. Our enemy seems to know when we are weakest, although he may at times tempt us when we are at our strongest. Explain why we must be on our guard at all times.
1 Pet 5:8  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Pet 5:9  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

3. We all face temptations of one kind or another, but there are certain situations that may contribute to our vulnerability to attack. There were four discussed in the message and highlighted with the acrostic H.A.L.T. (Hunger, Anger, Lonely, Tired). Discuss these situations and why they make us vulnerable.
Mark 14:38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Other Scriptures for this question- (1 Thes 4:3-5, James 1:19-21, Matt 6:33, Mark 13:37-38)

4. Jesus faced real temptation. He could have sinned but didn’t. What are some things Jesus did to overcome temptation?
Mat 4:10  Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"
Mark 1:35  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.



THE WALK THROUGH TEMPTATION
Luke 4:1-13

Our text for today is found in Luke 4:1-13 so go ahead and be turning there in your Bibles.
We'll take it verse by verse.

If we're going to walk The Walk Jesus walked, we're going to have to learn every detail we can about the way Jesus walked The Walk. What were His attitudes and actions? What did He know and how did He apply the things He knew to every situation He faced.

It's especially important when it comes to the topic we will address today. It's a topic everyone in this room faces. It's a topic we sometimes avoid because it makes us uncomfortable, or reminds us of our failures.

It's a topic we ignore to our peril!
It's one of the enemy's greatest weapons. Several things we should know going in...

Everyone faces temptation
It's not if it comes, but when it comes.

Not everyone faces the same temptation.

Don't look down on someone who struggles with something you don't struggle with. If you're honest you'll admit you've got your own struggles, just in different areas.

The temptations Jesus faced were real.

We have much to learn from the way Jesus dealt with His temptations.

These are just some of the  things we'll consider this morning. Let's PRAY and we'll begin.

PRAY!

Our story this morning is found at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry where we find Him in a desert. It is in this desert place that Jesus faces some very difficult temptations. It is a powerful story that has great lessons for each of us!

These lessons can and should be applied to the life of every follower of Christ as there are times The Walk will take us through life's desert places and we also will be tempted.
Let's look at the lessons we can learn from Jesus' experience...

Lesson #1
Temptation sometimes follows on the heal of our greatest spiritual experiences.

1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert,
Luke 4:1 (NIV)

What had happened at the Jordan River?

13Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.
Matthew 3:13 (NIV)

14But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Matthew 3:14 (NIV)

15Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
Matthew 3:15 (NIV)

16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.
Matthew 3:16 (NIV)

17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:17 (NIV)

What a powerful experience for Jesus! Heaven opened, The Spirit of God descended on Him, and the very voice of God said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

The very next verse begins Matthew's description of the desert experience of Jesus and the temptations. I don't know about you, but many times I'll have a mountain top experience and be so excited and thrilled about my relationship with Christ...

I'll be feeling as strong as ever, only to have the enemy unleash a barrage of weapons against me the very next day! Sometimes he doesn't even wait until the next day!

It's as if Satan wants us off that spiritual high as quickly as possible, so he attacks quickly.
He steps up the temptations, because if he can get you to mess up, then he can heap condemnation on you and make you doubt everything about your faith.

First there's the attacks on you! "If you were right with God you wouldn't even be tempted! Some Christian you are! You're no good! You're a hypocrite! You'll never be any better! Why even try?

Then there's the attacks on God…
"If God were real why would He even let you be tempted in the first place? He doesn't really care about you! It's all a big game and He's playing you to make you miserable. He's punishing you, and you deserve it!"

 And let me interject something here. There's a difference between condemnation and conviction. Condemnation comes from the enemy and is designed to put you down and to hurt you.

 You might remember in the Old Testament story of Job how Satan accused him of not really loving God. And then the book of Revelation talks about Satan being the accuser who likes to remind God of our mistakes day and night.

 Conviction, on the other hand, comes from God and is designed to keep you from making terrible mistakes. Conviction is designed to draw you to God's best! Listen to the way the writer of Psalms describes the conviction of God...

8Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
Psalm 25:8 (NIV)

9He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
Psalm 25:9 (NIV)

So don't your guard down even when things are really good and you feel strong in Christ. Always be on your guard! Satan's temptations lurk around every turn in the path.

Lesson #2
God doesn't tempt us!

1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert,
Luke 4:1 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert where He was to pray and fast and seek God's will as He was now ready to embark on His life's calling of ministry! However, God was not the one behind the temptations.

13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
James 1:13 (NIV)

As with Jesus, The Spirit of God will lead us to follow Him through this life and there will be times and places where He leads us that we will be tempted.

However, we must remember our purpose for being there is not to be tempted, but because we have a job to accomplish! However, Satan will always take advantage of any and every situation to try to get us off task by tempting us to stray off the path.

Remember the part of the Model Prayer...

13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’
Matthew 6:13 (NIV)

Jesus taught us to pray that when possible we be led along paths where the least temptation exist, but where we do encounter it, that we would have the strength of Almighty God to be delivered from the evil one! God's Word says...

13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

 This Scripture lets us know there is a way to avoid succumbing to temptation. In this world there's no way to avoid all temptation, but there is most definitely a way to say no to the temptation. In other words, temptation doesn't have to go any further than the temptation itself.

Before we move on, I must share one other important point on this lesson. As I said, God doesn't tempt us, though sometimes the places we are called to go will be wrought with temptations. And as we've seen, God already has a plan to help us stand up against those temptations.

 When God is leading you down a path, He will provide protection and power for anything that may come your way.

However, if you are not allowing God to lead you on the path He has called you to walk, and you are simply doing what you want and walking where you want, then you may be placing yourself in in a position to be tempted.

A few examples. If you are an alcoholic and you hangout at nightclubs and with people who are always drinking, you're placing yourself at high risk to fall.

If you struggle with the internet and the main times you get on the web is after everyone else has gone to bed, you are asking for trouble.

Or let's say you're tempted to spread that latest little bit of gossip about someone or get involved in a negative fest about someone. Remember, God's Word about judging. "Judge not that you be not judged!"

Jesus was tempted.
So it's not a sin to be tempted, but how we handle the temptation matters. It is a sin to tarry at the temptation. To dwell, to linger, to invite temptation, to flirt with, or to enjoy temptation because the next step in that parade is giving in to temptation!

Let me help you understand this concept. When I was a young Christian. I had a friend who made a comment about a young lady and the way she looked. I said something like, "Be careful there!" To which he replied, "It's not wrong to look as long as you don't lust!"

Listen to me. If I see a pretty lady, I can recognize that she is pretty, I'm not blind, but a lingering look is wrong and will lead to more than a simple recognition of her beauty.

 Let me give you a concept I've tried to live by. It's found in the Bible...

22Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22 (NIV)

 It's amazing to me that God's Word tells me I can resist the Devil and the Devil will flee from me, but I'm not to resist youthful lust, I'm to flee from it. Run!!!

 Another Scripture I've tried to live by is found in 1 Corinthians...

12So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
1 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV)

 Those who think they don't have to worry about temptation are the ones who are in the deepest danger of falling prey to it's seducing powers...

17The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.
Proverbs 16:17 (NIV)

18Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

Now some of you might think Jesus could never really understand the temptations you face because He lived in a different world, besides, He was God in the flesh, so how could He really know how I feel? Well, that's lesson three...

Lesson #3
Jesus understands our temptations because He was really tempted!

2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
Luke 4:2 (NIV)

Most of the time when we read the story of Jesus' temptations we think He simply face three temptations at the end of His forty days and that was it. Wrong!!!
Listen to that verse again...

2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
Luke 4:2 (NIV)

He was tempted by Satan the whole time He was in the desert. For forty days and nights. And it was during the time Jesus was fasting and trying to pray.

But some of you still might wonder if Jesus was really tempted? God's Word says this...

15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet was without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)

16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

So we have a High Priest who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet was without sin! And I want to go a step further…I don't think we can even imagine how difficult the temptations of Jesus were.

Again, we may think Jesus had it easier because He was God in the flesh. I beg to disagree. As well see in a moment, the temptations Jesus faced were epic and had far reaching consequences.

The burden Jesus carried is beyond my comprehension.  Add to that the fact Jesus literally faced Satan himself. To be sure, our enemy is roaming around seeking whom he may devour, however...

for most of us, Satan lets one of his junior devils deal with us or he just leaves us to our own device. God's Word says…

14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
James 1:14 (NIV)

This leads us to another very important lesson on temptation...

Lesson #4
Temptations will come when we are at our weakest!

2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
Luke 4:2 (NIV)

Anybody in here ever been without food for 40 days? I can't even imagine that. I've fasted for a few days at a time and that was hard.

 Satan knew Jesus would be tired physically, emotionally spent, probably a bit angry at the repeated attacks, lonely and hungry as all get outs!! So after 40 days of tempting Jesus, Satan tried three more big temptations on Jesus.

 But before we look at the big three, let me say a few words about the condition Jesus was in and how it relates to us today.

 I don't know about you, but temptations seem the strongest when I'm tired, when I'm hungry, when I'm feeling lonely, or when I'm feeling upset or angry about something.

 It's during those times it's hardest to resist the temptations. It's during those times we think we have an excuse. "I was tired." "I was discouraged!" "I just couldn't take anymore."

 The problem is this…When we give in to temptation, it just complicates our situation even more. We become more discouraged, our circumstances become more difficult and the terrible consequences are multiplied.

 A ministry called x3 Pure came up with this acrostic to help us remember some common triggers for temptation...

HALT

H unger
A nger
L onely
T ired

 Hunger - When your flesh is hungry, whether it be for food or for other pleasures, you are at an increased risk for falling prey to temptation. Ask God to help you know how to handle those desires in a Godly way.

3It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;
1 Thessalonians 4:3 (NIV)

4that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,
1 Thessalonians 4:4 (NIV)

5not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;
1 Thessalonians 4:5 (NIV)

 Anger - When we are angry, the enemy will use that anger to tempt us in all kinds of terrible ways. To say hurtful things and to do hurtful things. And some have even become angry enough to destroy another human being. Listen...

19My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
James 1:19 (NIV)

20for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
James 1:20 (NIV)

21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:21 (NIV)

Lonely -  When you are lonely you will be at an increased risk of making poor relationship choices. This is why I tell young people all the time to find their greatest satisfaction in their relationship with God before they go looking for a mate.

This doesn't mean they will no longer desire to find the person God has chosen to be their help mate in life, but it means they will have a much better chance of choosing well if they are not merely seeking to get rid of a desperate loneliness!

It's simple math! When two lonely, unhappy people go looking for happiness and find each other, unhappy plus unhappy does not equal happiness! It just never does!

33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

Tired - When we are physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually tired, we are vulnerable to the attack of the enemy. It is during these times we must seek God's strength through prayer!

 A perfect example of this is found when Simon Peter was with Jesus on the Mount of Olives, just before Jesus was arrested. Peter was tired and would be soon tempted to deny Jesus. Here's what Jesus told him...

37Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?
Mark 14:37 (NIV)

38Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Mark 14:38 (NIV)

 Lesson #5
Jesus Knew Better

3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Luke 4:3 (NIV)

What was the real temptation here? Have you ever seen how many rocks there are in Israel? Satan was saying "turn this barren land into an agricultural mecca and the people will follow you because you'll make them rich. Give them what they want and they'll follow you!"

If Jesus did that He could avoid the Cross and still have people follow Him. However, their motivation would not be love for God, but love for things and there would be no payment for sin!

 Jesus knew better than to buy that lie so He responded by saying...

4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’ ’”
Luke 4:4 (NIV)

 And Matthew's account of the temptation gives us a little more of what Jesus said...

4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ’”
Matthew 4:4 (NIV)

 In other words, the words that come from Satan's mouth are twisted lies. Only the words from the mouth of God are to be trusted.

 Then there was a second temptation...

5The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.
Luke 4:5 (NIV)

6And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.
Luke 4:6 (NIV)

7So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Luke 4:7 (NIV)

What was the real temptation here? Satan was trying to bargin with Jesus. "I'll give you the kingdoms of the world today. The souls of everyone alive today. But I get all the others, past and future!

 Jesus knew better. If He had made a bargain like that, you and I would have had no chance for salvation.

Jesus knew better than to buy that lie so He responded by saying...

8Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ’”
Luke 4:8 (NIV)

 And then a third temptation...

9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here.
Luke 4:9 (NIV)

10For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully;
Luke 4:10 (NIV)

11they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ’”
Luke 4:11 (NIV)

 What was the temptation here? Amaze the people with your powers and prove to them with fantastic, public miracles and you will become wildly popular. You'll be a superstar and everybody loves a superstar. But Jesus knew better!

 People who follow you because your popular or because your a superstar talent, will also abandon you when you're not so popular anymore. Their willingness to follow is not based on a relationship, but on a fad!

Jesus knew better than to buy that lie as well so He responded by saying...

12Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ’”
Luke 4:12 (NIV)

13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
Luke 4:13 (NIV)

 Don't think for a minute this was the last time Satan would tempt Jesus. It was not.
But here's what we can learn from the way Jesus handled these big three temptations...

He knew the one tempting Him was the father of lies!
He thought through the consequences of each temptation!
He knew the Word of God and applied it to each temptation!

When tempted, think about…

the source of the temptation!the consequences to yourself, to your family, and to others! the sadness and disappointment it will cause the heart of God!
When tempted...

P ray
R emember God's Word
A sk The Holy Spirit to fill you
Y ou know better

Pray -  pray continually
1 Th 5:17
 

Remember God's Word

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psa 119:11
 

Ask The Holy Spirit to fill you -

…be filled with the Spirit.
Eph 5:18  
 

You know better -

Flee the evil desires of youth...
2 Tim 2:22

 End Sermon here!

Can you imagine facing the task of carrying the weight of the sin of the whole world?

Have you ever faced spiritual battles so strong that your sweat turned to blood?

1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert,
Luke 4:1 (NIV)

2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
Luke 4:2 (NIV)

3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Luke 4:3 (NIV)

4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’ ’”
Luke 4:4 (NIV)

5The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.
Luke 4:5 (NIV)

6And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.
Luke 4:6 (NIV)

7So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Luke 4:7 (NIV)

8Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ’”
Luke 4:8 (NIV)

9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here.
Luke 4:9 (NIV)

10For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully;
Luke 4:10 (NIV)

11they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ’”
Luke 4:11 (NIV)

12Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ’”
Luke 4:12 (NIV)

13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
Luke 4:13 (NIV)

ETS: Jesus was led by The Spirit in the desert to fast and while there He was tempted by Satan.
ESS: As we walk through life there will be temptations.
OSS: I want my hearers to learn from Jesus' experience how to overcome temptation.

Probing Question: What are the lessons on temptation we can learn from Jesus' experience in the desert?

Unifying Word: Lessons

Transitional Sentence: What are the lessons we can learn from Jesus' experience in the desert?