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Temptation

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OVERCOMING TEMPTATION  

Scripture: Matthew 4:1–11; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 4:12

Memory verse: 1 Corinthians 10:13
"And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear."

Lead—In

Bring a candle, match, and a piece of paper to class. As you light the candle, explain that it will represent the thing that is most empting to each of us. For some, that thing may be lying or stealing. For others, it may be disobeying or insisting on having our own way. For others, it may be gossip or unkindness to a classmate or neglecting to read the Bible and pray. You may let students suggest other temptations.

Hold the paper away from the candle flame and tell the students that it represents a person who is obeying God. He is doing fine. Then Satan tempts him in an area where he is weak. Move the flame closer to the paper. The temptation may look innocent. You might think it will not hurt to just get a little closer to it. Move the paper toward the flame. Before long, you have told the lie, disobeyed, stolen, or said mean things about someone. Touch the paper to the flame. Ouch! That tiny innocent-looking flame can be harmful. Listen to ways we can overcome temptation.

Hearing God’s Word

Every Christian, young or old, is involved in a spiritual battle. Our enemy is Satan, and our greatest weapon is God’s Word. God’s Word is a powerful weapon. Knowing God’s Word can help us fight off temptations.

Satan Comes to Tempt Jesus

Jesus showed us the power God’s Word has against Satan’s temptation. This account is found in Matthew 4. Immediately after Jesus was baptized, He went into the barren, rugged wilderness. There Satan came to test Jesus. Let us see what Jesus did.

Turning Stones to Bread

Ask: “What was Jesus’ first temptation?” (Read Matthew 4:3.)

Jesus had not eaten in 40 days. Satan knew Jesus was weak and very hungry from not eating. Satan tried to take advantage of Jesus’ hunger and tempt Him to turn stones to bread.

Satan loves to attack us when we are feeling down. He knows the weak spots in our lives and reminds us of them every chance he gets. He knew Jesus was hungry and he reminded Jesus of it by tempting Him with food.

Knowing our Weak Points

All of us have weak areas in our lives. Do you know what your weak points are?  Bad temper? Cheating? Thinking impure thoughts? Beware; Satan will tempt you in these areas.

How did Jesus respond to Satan’s temptation? (Ask a student to read Matthew 4:4. Then have the students find the Old Testament passage quoted by Jesus—Deuteronomy 8:3.)

What did Jesus mean by this? Jesus knew doing God’s will is more important than satisfying physical desires. He did not want to give in to His hunger because that is what Satan wanted. Jesus knew His real strength was in doing God’s will, not in food.

Satan could not argue with Jesus’ answer. He knew Jesus would not give in to this temptation. But Satan does not give up easily. If one temptation does not work, he will try another. That is why Christians can never afford to be lazy and fail to pray and read their Bibles regularly. As soon as we do, Satan will be right beside us, trying to get us to do wrong.

The Temptation of Pride

Satan tried to tempt Jesus in another way. What was it? (Ask a student to read Matthew 4:5, 6.) This time Satan appealed to something even greater than physical hunger. He tempted Jesus with personal pride and glory. High on a pinnacle above the city of Jerusalem, Satan challenged Jesus to throw himself down and trust God to rescue Him. After all, did not God promise to send angels to watch over Him and keep Him from harm?

Notice Satan quoted a Scripture verse when he tried to tempt Jesus this time. (Ask a student to read Matthew 4:6 and Psalm 91:11, 12.) Satan knows the Bible well; he also knows how to misuse it. He may use Bible verses to suit his schemes, but you can be sure he is using them to confuse us. He wants us to think something is right when it is not.

Jesus could have thrown himself from the pinnacle to be rescued by angels. But such an act would have helped no one. It would only have shown that Jesus was willing to use His power in the wrong way. He did not have to “show off” His power. Jesus did not give in to this temptation. He knew what God’s Word says about the sin of pride.

Ask: “How did Jesus answer Satan?” (Allow responses. Ask a student to read Matthew 4:7 and Deuteronomy 6:16.) Jesus knew what God Word really taught.

Ask: “What do you think Jesus meant by saying we are not to ‘test’ God?’” (Allow discussion.)

Jesus knew it is wrong to try to do foolish things or things for our own benefit and expect God to be there to bail us out. For example, it would be foolish to walk in front of a speeding car and expect angels to snatch us away or stop the car. We should never take God’s care lightly. He gladly watches over us and helps us when we are obedient to His Word. But that does not give us the right to live as we want and expect God to always rescue us when we get into a jam. We are not to take risks just so God will help us.

Satan’s Last Attempt

Jesus had been victorious over Satan a second time. But Satan was ready with a third temptation. Taking Jesus to a high mountain, Satan showed Him all the kingdoms of the world. What did Satan say to Jesus there? (Ask a student to read Matthew 4:9.)

Ask: “Why do you think Satan used the kingdoms of the world and their splendour as a temptation?” (Allow responses.)

Satan offered to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would just worship him and give him glory. Jesus knew what was in store for Him later in His life. He knew He would have to go to the cross and give His life so we could be forgiven and receive salvation. By giving in to Satan, Jesus could avoid the cross. It was His chance to think about himself rather than others.

Jesus Knew His Purpose on Earth

How did Jesus answer Satan? (Ask a student to read Matthew 4:10.) Once again Jesus used the Scriptures to rebuke Satan. (Ask the students to locate Deuteronomy 6:13.) Jesus knew that only God is worthy or worship and praise and He was committed to doing what He had come to earth to do—provide salvation so we could have eternal life.

Ask: “Why do you think Jesus allowed himself to be tempted by Satan?” (Allow responses.)

Jesus did not have to deal with Satan’s temptations because Jesus is God. But Jesus was also fully man. He allowed himself to be tempted just as any other human being. (Ask a student to read Hebrews 4:15.) Jesus did not use supernatural power against Satan’s temptations. He fought Satan with a powerful weapon—the Word of God. He resisted temptation and did not sin. Jesus was able to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins because He fought Satan and won. Through the power of God’s Word, we can also win against Satan’s temptations.

God’s Word is our Weapon

Ask: “What kinds of temptations might Satan offer you?” (Allow discussion.)

Suggestions might include cheating on tests, stealing, going along with offers to drink or take drugs, lying to avoid punishment, or disobeying parents.

Ask: “What can we do when Satan uses these temptations on us?” (Allow responses.)

We can do what Jesus did—use the Word of God. We can win against Satan by hiding God’s Word in our hearts. This happens when we read and study God’s Word. Knowing God’s Word is our most powerful defence against temptation.

God gave us a wonderful promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13. It is our memory verse this week. (Say the verse together.) Jesus has promised to help us resist Satan’s temptations. Satan will never be able to tempt us beyond what God knows we can handle. If we faithfully study God’s Word and stay close to Jesus, we will know what to do when Satan tempts us to sin. With God’s help, we can win.

Accepting God’s Word

Explain that without Jesus on our side, Satan can trick us very easily. We can be led to do and say things that hurt us and others. The way to have Jesus on our side is to ask Him to forgive our sins. Then we become stronger by reading the Bible and praying every day.

Remind the students that God’s Word is our sword. With this weapon, we can fight and win against Satan. Encourage the students to set a regular time each day for reading the Bible and praying. Ask them to start a list of the Scripture verses they have already memorized. As they do this, let them discuss their plans to add more Bible verses to the list of those they already know. One good way is to learn the weekly memory verse, then recite them all regularly so they will not forget the verses over time. Emphasize that the more we know God’s Word, the easier it will be for us to fight temptation to do wrong.

Oceania Challenge

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Messengers to the Unreached Tribes of Oceania

1. The unreached islanders to welcome Jesus' messengers,
2. Messengers share the love of Jesus in a culturally appropriate manner,
3. Unreached people see kind and beautiful Jesus living in the messengers.

Prayer Promise

"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news" (Romans 10:15)

Remember: OVERCOMING TEMPTATION 

Memory verse: 1 Corinthians 10:13
"And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear."

1. Satan is the one who tempts me to do evil.
2. I will resist him and the temptation in the powerful name of Jesus.
3. I will use the Scripture as my weapon to resist the attacks of the evil one.

Pray for Messengers to the Unreached Tribes of Oceania.

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Study 13 | All the World/Great Teachings | africaatts.org/go-teach

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