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Resisting Temptation


Theme: Jesus resisted the devil's temptation and so can we. 1st Sunday in Lent - Yr. C
Object: A bowl of candy
Scripture: Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. Luke 4:1-2a (NIV)

There was a bowl of candy like this one sitting on the coffee table in the living room of Mary's house. Mary's mother noticed that she was looking at the candy and said, "Now, don't you eat any candy until after dinner or you will spoil your appetite." The candy looked so good and the temptation was so great. "Surely just one little piece won't hurt — and mother will never know the difference," Mary thought to herself.

Have any of you ever had an experience like that? Here is another story which might sound familiar.

"Put away your books and take out one sheet of paper and a pencil," the teacher said. "We are going to take our weekly spelling test." Johnny had an empty feeling in the pit of his stomach. He knew that they were going to have a spelling test today, but he watched TV last night instead of studying for the spelling test and he wasn't ready for the test. As the test began, Johnny looked around the room and realized that he had a clear view of Sally's paper. "It won't hurt if I look at Sally's paper just this once," Johnny thought to himself. "I promise — I'll never do it again and nobody will ever know."

All of us have faced temptations such as these, haven't we? Did you know that Jesus was tempted just as we are? The Bible tells us that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Do you know what Jesus did when the devil tempted him? He answered him with Scripture!

Jesus had not had anything to eat for forty days. He was hungry, and Satan knew he was hungry, so he said to him, "If you are really the Son of God, turn these stones into bread."

Jesus could have easily done what Satan suggested, but he didn't. Instead, he answered, "It is written, 'Man does not live by bread alone.'"

Then the devil took Jesus up to a high place and showed him the worldly kingdoms below. "All of this belongs to me," he said. "If you will bow down and worship me, I will give it to you."

Jesus answered, "It is written, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'"

Next, the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem and led him up to the highest point on the temple. He said to Jesus, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. God will send his angels to rescue you."

Again, Jesus quoted the Scripture, "'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

Do you know what the devil did? He gave up! He said, "I'll come back and try another day."

I want each of you to have a piece of candy from this bowl. I am not going to tell you not to eat it until after dinner, but as you eat it, I want you to think about what we have learned in our Bible lesson today. Satan tempted Jesus just as he tempts you and me. Jesus resisted Satan's temptation, and we can too, by answering him with Scripture.

Dear Father, help us to learn what the Bible teaches us to do so that when the devil tempts us, we can do what Jesus did—answer him with Scripture. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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