THE 3 TEMPTATIONS OF SATAN

Written by “Ella”

I would like you to turn to 1Jn_2:16 : “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” I submit to you today that these are the three areas of temptation satan uses that every believer will face in his/her christian walk.

 

Satan is very crafty and clever but he cannot remove your feet from the road of righteousness without your consent. His goal is to convince you that God’s Word is a lie and he is greater than God and God’s Word. If he is successful, in getting a foothold in your life, he will steal, kill and destroy you in your walk with the Lord.

 

I would like you to turn to 2Co_11:3. Paul was addressing the Corinthian church when he states, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. “ Paul saw in the Corinthian church that the temptations of satan had been trying to corrupt the minds of the believers with his subtleties. So how was satan trying to influence them? To answer that question we have to go to Gen 3:1. We will read verses 1-5:

 

Now the serpent was more subtle 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?

Gen 3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

Gen 3:3 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.

Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

 

God gave Adam and Eve a simple command, you shall not touch or eat the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden. Now look how satan questions God’s authority, usurps God’s authority and begins to influence Eve’s thinking in verses 3 and 4: “Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Eve gave satan audience by listening to him. She then thought on what he said and reasoned in her mind that satan was right. Satan got his foothold and sin was conceived. “Eve then saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

 

Eve lusted after the forbidden tree and its fruit with her eyes. She reasoned that the forbidden fruit was  good for food and the lust of her flesh wanted to eat it. She then thought on how eating of the  forbidden fruit would make her wise and the pride of life, which makes one think more highly of  oneself took over and she plucked the fruit off the tree and her and Adam ate it. Satan accomplished his mission with his 3 temptations: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Adam and Eve now faced the consequences of their grievous sin before God and were banished from the garden of Eden. I want to pause a minute to go a little deeper and look at what satan accomplished and why Adam and Eve’s sin was so grievous before God.

 

Eve questioned God’s command. She thought she had a better plan than God which usurped God’s authority. She shared it with Adam. Adam was the head of his household and he allowed his wife to compromise his belief in the truth of God’s Word, usurp his position of authority given by God, and he became an active and willing participant in sin against God. Because of the desire to be wise as gods, they elevated themselves to the level of God and they became their own idol and committed the sin of idolatry.

 

Once confronted by God, did Adam and Eve, show remorse, take responsibility for their choices, and repent and ask God for forgiveness? Absolutely not. They placed the finger of blame on everyone else. Look at Gen 3:11-13: “ And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”  Now you can see why God banished them from His garden and pronounced stiff judgment on them for their sins.

 

So let’s go back to Paul and the Corinthian church. Paul was reminding the Corinthian church of how Eve was beguiled by satan and he did not want to see the church fall into that same trap as she did. To be beguiled means to be wholely seduced. That is your mind, will, heart and strength (the fullness of  your being) becomes enslaved or wholely seduced to the will of satan. Why was Paul so concerned? As  a minister of God’s Word, Paul was responsible to teach and admonish those whom God has placed in  his path. Jesus told us in Mark 12:30: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Paul  knew if the Corinthian church continued on the path they were going, that they would be violating  God’s commandment and invoke God’s judgment upon them.

 

Lets look at another example of satan attempting to wholely seduce someone with his 3 temptations. Go to Matthew 4, we will be looking at verses1-11:

Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Mat 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.

Mat 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.

Mat 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.

Mat 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

Mat 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Mat 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

Mat 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Mat 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

 

Now Jesus had been fasting for forty days and forty nights and He was hungry. Satan knew Jesus, so he had to be craftier than usual. He recognized Jesus’ as the Son of God and he knew as a man he would have to appeal to Jesus’ human need to satisfy his hunger. So satan attempts to tempt Jesus by asking Jesus to prove He is the Son of God by commanding the stones be made bread. Verse 4 is Jesus’ response to satan,”It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Jesus was stating that man is not only nourished by bread but that man is also nourished by the Word of God. It is God’s Word that sustains man’s soul, heart, mind and strength and keeps him from succumbing to fleshly temptations involving the lust of the eyes/the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

 

Satan then tries a second time to tempt Jesus in verses 5-6: “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Here satan is quoting from Ps. 91 but he takes the scripture out of context and uses it once again in an attempt to have Jesus prove He is the Son of God by jumping off the top of the temple building so the angels will catch him before he hits the ground. Verse 7 reveals Jesus’ response to satan, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Jesus was now emphasizing to satan that this was the second time he was tempting God. So, rather than incurring God’s wrath, satan comes up with a new strategy in verses 8-9: “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Here satan now attempts to appeal once again to Jesus’ human side and he offers him the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would bow down and worship him. This materialistic appeal was an enticement to have Jesus walk away from God’s plan for Him. Satan presented Jesus with the world and all the glorious trappings (the pride of life) and all Jesus had to do is bow down and acknowledge satan as the supreme god. Jesus responds to satan in verse 10: “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Jesus refused all that the pride of life offers and made it clear to satan that one’s worship and servitude belongs to God and God alone and not to one’s self. Jesus then, using His authority tells satan to go away. And satan
leaves.

 

Here I have presented 2 examples of how satan has tempted people of the bible and will attempt to tempt us. How we respond to the 3 temptations of satan will place us in the worship and service of God or satan. God has provided us with the instruction of His Word, in order that we may continue in the path of righteousness and worship and serve Him. God said if we make seeking the kingdom of heaven and all its righteousness our first priority, that He would add all things unto us (Matt. 6:33). In other words, He knows what you need spiritually and physically and He will provide for those needs as we continue to seek the kingdom of heaven and all its righteousness. God’s Word of instruction tells us that if we submit to God and resist the devil (all his temptations), that satan will flee (James 4:7). God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). God’s Word is trustworthy. His promises are all yes and amen (2 Co. 1:20). Satan, on the other hand, is a lair and the father of all lies (John 8:44). His only mission is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) the christian and keep him/her from worshiping and serving the One and Only God, The Lord God Almighty. There are only 2 camps and one choice. Whom will you serve? “…As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

 

I found this to be an exceptional study about the deceptions of Satan that need to be understood by every Christian and non-Christian alike. Thank you Ella, for your contribution to this Bible study.  

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