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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - The Three Temptations

Michael Youssef - The Three Temptations

Michael Youssef - The Three Temptations
Michael Youssef - The Three Temptations
TOPICS: The Invisible War, Spiritual warfare, Temptation

You know, during World War II, after the collapse of France, Hitler and the Nazis were eyeing the coast of England and thinking of invading the mainland of England, channel the coast. There are some books and movies made on this. But when Hitler began to think with his generals of how he's going to assault Great Britain, they realized that they cannot send land troops without winning the war in the air. And so, they stopped. But to say that at that moment, in those few days the British were facing a bleak prospect is an understatement. But the British commanders also understood that if they are to repel the Nazis' attack, the RAF, the Royal Air Force, has to fly high above, in much higher altitude than the Germans are able to. And so they did, and this was one of the main reasons why the British were able to repel the Nazis.

You say, "Michael, we came here on Sunday morning to get a lesson on Second World War and history"? No. Because, listen carefully, fighting from above is God's strategy for his children to win the invisible war. That's God's strategy for us. In Ephesians chapter 1, verse 20 when the apostle Paul is talking about God the Father raising God the Son from the dead, he goes on to explain it. He said, "When he raised him," he meaning the Father raised him the Son, "from the dead, he seated him in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named".

But that's not all. When the Father raised the Son from the dead, he gave him the highest spiritual altitude possible. No one can ever get higher or even close. He set him above all rule, authorities, power, and dominion. He placed him above all the angelic realm; that is, the good angelic realm and the evil angelic realm of the demons. The Father set Jesus well above Satan, well above all his demons, well above all his authority. He set him above all of your circumstances, above all of the events of history, above all things. Can you say, "All things"? And so, he goes on chapter 2, remember Ephesians 1:20. Now we're going 2:4, 6. "But God", can you say that with me? Being rich in mercy, because of his great love for us, even when we were dead in sins, he made us alive together with Christ.

Look at verse 6. And he raised us up. So, not just the Father raised the Son up. He raised us up. He raised us up with him. Now, let me tell you something. Here's something most Christians, including your pastor, sometimes forget to our own detriment. We do tend to forget that he raised us up with him and he seated us with him in the heavenly places with Christ. I mean, he keeps repeating it so you get it. With him, with Christ we are already on higher ground. Wake up to it. We're already given all that we need to be successfully victorious over our enemies and his attacks appropriated. We already have vantage point of being able to send Satan scurrying and running. Do it. We are the children of the King. Live like it. We are the armies of the living God. Act like it. We are the redeemed of the Lord. Believe it.

The high altitude in which we have an overwhelming advantage over the enemy of our soul, God wills it so. The problem arises when the enemy tricks us or deceives us into leaving our high ground and come down to his murky valley. And when you come down to the enemy's level, the advantage then belongs to him and he ruthlessly uses it. Today I want to talk to you about the three major categories or the three areas in which the enemy of your soul will try to pull you down from your high altitude that is the will of God for you, three areas in which he will bring you down in order to defeat you. Here they are: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.

These are basically three missiles that Satan uses to try to bring you down from the high altitude in which Jesus has placed you and placed me. And oh, by the way, I'm going to show you that Satan took aim at Jesus in every one of those three areas that John talks аbout: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, every one of them. And praise God Jesus defeated him in every one of them, in every one of them. The Bible said he was tempted in every way like unto us, but he never sinned. And praise God for that because it is because of his sinlessness that he is able to take upon his sinless body the sins of everyone who confess their own sin. Praise God.

So Jesus fasting for 40 days, he goes to the wilderness. This was the start of conflict, which went on all the way to the cross where Jesus rendered Satan toothless. Look at verse 2, Matthew 4:2. First of all, it tells you that after 40 days he was hungry. If you have your own Bible, underline the word hungry. Verse 3, "And the tempter came to him and said," it's the first of the three, "if you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread". So when the devil came to him, came to Jesus, it was at the very end of his fast. If you miss this, you'll miss the whole point. It's at the very end of his fast. He was almost ready to eat but not quite. It could be hours, could be hours. I don't know. Because I don't want you to miss, this is an incredible subtlety of the enemy.

The enemy is so subtle, and if you're not alert to it, you can easily miss it. Satan never questioned Jesus's divinity. He never questioned Jesus's preexistence with the Father before all worlds. In fact, Satan really make this sound very clearly to me that Jesus and Satan share this kind of secret. They both know a secret, as if to say to him, "Hey, you know and I know you're God's Son. Hey, you know and I know that you can turn these stones into bread instantly. What is stopping you? What is stopping you"? You think, "Wait a minute. But this is very reasonable, isn't it"? You agree? It's very reasonable. Jesus is hungry. He has the power to make bread. His Father gave him that authority. What was the problem? What is the problem? First of all, the problem is not whether hunger should be satisfied or not. Don't get distracted. That's not the problem. That's not the issue.

What is the issue here? The issue is, should Jesus break his fast before the Father's timing? That's really, that's the question. If you miss this, you miss the whole point. Beloved, for Jesus this is a serious breach of faith with the Father. Are you with me? This is going back on his vow to the Father. Look at verse 4, Matthew 4:4. Jesus responds. He said, "It is written that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God". My beloved friends, the secret of Jesus's victory is the secret of your victory and mine. When Satan tries to bring you down from your high grounds by appealing to your desires and all of your appetites, use the scripture, use the scripture. "It is written". Satan doesn't get swayed. He goes a second area. So he goes from the lust of the flesh to the lust of the eye. How is that? Well, look at it.

You see, Satan knows if he can get you to see it, if he can get you to see it, if he can get you to feel it, if he can get you to experience it, if he can get you to taste it, he knows the rest is history. In Matthew 4:5 and 6, Satan takes Jesus to the highest spot in the city, the highest, it couldn't get any higher. And he says to him, "Jump. Jump". I need to explain that to you. Remember this. Jesus yet has not commenced his ministry. He has not started the ministry yet. And so Satan was telling him, "Start your ministry with a spectacular stunt".

Remember this. Jesus knows God's promises. Right? Jesus knows that the Father would have delivered him had he jumped. Right? Jesus knows had he jumped angels, bodyguards would have come out of thin air to save him. Right? And he would have gone from being a nobody to being an overnight sensation. Oh, yes, everybody wants to be an overnight sensation. Look at Jesus's response, please. Verse 7, Matthew 4:7: "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye. Thirdly, the pride of life. Well, we know what pride is, but we don't know what the pride of life is. What is the pride of life?

See, when Satan could not get Jesus through the door of fulfilling his bodily needs, his bodily appetite the wrong way, he tried to entice him through the eye gate. And when that failed, too, Satan says, "You can have it all now. You can have it all now". That's the pride of life. Third temptation, Satan completely changed tactics. It's a complete change of tactics, and this one really needs an explanation. When God created planet Earth, he handed the deeds of planet Earth to Adam. He said, "Adam, you are my deputy. Adam, you are in charge of planet Earth. I'm making you in charge. You are my steward. And I'm giving you authority".

And when Adam fell for Satan's deception, he handed that deeds of creation, planet Earth to Satan. Satan knows that his takeover of planet Earth is going to be challenged. It's going to be challenged. In less than 3 years it's going to be challenged. So what does he do? He says, "Let's make a deal. Let's make a deal. Let's make a deal. Jesus, let's make a deal". So what does Satan do? He offers him friendship. Isn't that sweet? He offers him friendship, as if to say to Jesus, "Although I know and you know why you're here, although I know that you're going to take it back and you're going to take the deeds of creation back from me, I know also that you are powerful, why don't we just settle this amicably? Just let's settle amicably. I'll turn everything to you. I'll give it to you now. I'll turn it over. You're looking for the deeds of planet Earth and the creation. I'll give it to you".

Listen to me. Satan is offering Jesus victory on the easiest possible terms. When you think about it, the average person today, the average person today would look at this, said, "Man, let's go for it. What's wrong with that"? That's what you call in the business world a win-win deal. Right? May be okay in business, not in the spiritual warfare because you have to read the small print. You have to read the small print. The problem is always with the small print. There's a tiny teeny-weeny little attachment, but it's deadly. It's deadly. Utterly destructive items in that offer.

"All this I give you. All you need to do, not much. Just bow to me. Bow to me". Sure Jesus would have gotten everything he came for. Right? But he would have submitted his will to Satan's will. What's wrong with it? We would have still been separated from the Father. We would have still be separated from the Father. Most local churches would have looked just they look today except Satan owns it. Question, are you sufficiently forewarned?

Beloved, whenever you are tempted to do or fall for any of those three temptations, ask yourself the question, I've done that many times. I wish I could say that I've done that every time. No. "Which one of those three areas is he tempting me in? Is he appealing to satisfy my appetites, all kinds of my appetites in an illegitimate way? Is he appealing to satisfy my selfish desires, my ego? Or is he trying to get me to do my will and not the will of God"? Always ask those three questions. Every temptation comes under one of those three areas. So my appeal to you and to me is to occupy the high places and stay there, stay there. Don't let him entice you to come down. Above all, never, never, never, never, never, never, never forget that his days are numbered and he will soon be vanquished and Jesus glorified.
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