A Story About Conquering Evil

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A Story About Conquering Evil
Sermon Discussion | Luke 4:1-15
Gabe Hagstrom

We picked up Dr. Luke’s account of Jesus in chapter 4. Jesus has just been baptized by John the Baptist and glorified by the appearance of the Holy Spirit and a vocal affirmation from His father. As Jesus begins His ministry, he first is drawn out to the wilderness to confront evil.

Evil is not something we as a culture attribute to many things. Are there any evil things still in the world? What things would we as a culture consider evil?

Let’s jump back into the story and read the first part of Luke 4:

1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him,

“It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”

9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,

“’He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’

11 and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. 14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

Luke 4:1-15 ESV

Duane pointed out a great parallel between this episode with the devil and the episode from the very beginning of the world with Adam and Eve where it all went wrong. Where we were removed from paradise, the home we were meant for.

I.  Paradise Lost

The Bible opens with Adam and Eve in paradise (Genesis 3). They have fellowship with God and a world to enjoy. They soon encounter temptation and encouraged by Satan succumb to it. They offend God and are consequently thrown out of paradise and into the wilderness.

What do you think Paradise for Adam and Eve was like? What would your personal paradise be like?

Jesus came down to set things right and he starts by heading to the wilderness to encounter temptation and Satan and begin the work of getting us back into paradise.

Why do you think Jesus headed to the wilderness to begin his ministry? Why did Jesus subject himself to temptation and Satan at all? Why not just avoid them? Are there any other parallels between Jesus episode with Satan and Adam and Eve’s?

II.  Paradise Won

In the wilderness, Jesus fasted for 40 days allowing Himself to be tempted under the worst of circumstances. It was then that Satan started his campaign making subtle suggestions to goad Jesus into sin.

First Satan uses the temptation that brought down Adam so long ago, he suggested that Jesus eat something. He says, “if you’re the Son of God turn these rocks into bread and eat.” Using a good desire (to eat) he suggests an evil solution. Jesus uses a verse from Deuteronomy 8 to refute and overcome the temptation.

Often good desires are used to lead us to sin by accomplishing them for the wrong reasons or in a sinful way. What are some good desires that are easily twisted?

Satan attacked Jesus 3 times with different temptations, each appealing to a specific weakness we as humans have. We don’t trust God to provide, we want to be glorified and we want to be in control.

Which of those three temptations has been especially in your life this week?

Jesus used scripture to hurdle temptation, a weapon that is readily available to us today.

What can you do to arm yourself with that weapon? What can we as a community group do to encourage us all to be ready to effectively battle temptation?

God sent Jesus out to the wilderness to be tempted under the worst circumstances, knowing that His Son could handle it. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we’re told he’ll never allow us to be tempted by anything we can’t handle.

What does that tell you about our God? Looking at the temptations in your life, what does that say about you and who God made you to be?

III.  Paradise People

In Acts 10:38, we read that God was with Jesus in the wilderness when He conquered temptation in the wilderness. We’re out here in the wilderness still, destined for paradise but not there yet. We know that like Jesus, God is with us, and won’t allow us to be tempted beyond our ability.

How close does God feel when you’re being tempted? As a person destined and assured for Paradise, why are we tempted to stray from that destination?

Duane pointed to some amazing pictures of the paradise to come. A paradise that we as a community group will enjoy together.

In Revelation 21:4 and Revelation 22:1-3 we see a picture of what we’re freely given:

Revelation 21:4 – He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

Revelation 22:1-3 – Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.

What things in those pictures sound especially sweet to you this week?

Pray Together

Pray as a group, thanking Jesus for giving us paradise again, and promising to strengthen us through any and all temptations.