Preaching About The Tempter

Preaching About The Tempter

In case you are new to this blog, we are considering how to preach about Spiritual Warfare in your church. Here’s the link to the beginning of the series.  In this post we will consider how to go about preaching about the tempter in your congregation.

Who Is The Tempter?

There are two passages in the New Testament that refer to this name of Satan, our enemy.  The first is from the temptation of Jesus by Satan for 40 days prior to beginning his earthly ministry.

Matthew 4:9
The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
The second is found in Paul’s second letter to the church in Thessalonica, chapter 3:
4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.
One of the main things that Satan does in his rebellion against God is to tempt God’s people.  He is a Tempter.
If he can get you to disobey God, to turn from him, he will have won a battle–not the war (Jesus has already won that on the cross), but a battle.  And this is even more true if you are a leader in a church or ministry.  If he can take you down, he will have impacted more than just you.
When preaching about The Tempter make sure your people know that he is at work trying to convince you to turn your back on God and go your own way.

Where To Start Preaching About The Tempter

There are several passages that come to mind when I think about preaching about the tempter in my ministry.  The first is Genesis 3.  This, of course, is the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when they chose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.   Here’s how the story goes.

Genesis 3:1-8

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hidfrom the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the LordGod called to the man, “Where are you?”

Satan’s Approach

Notice how Satan approaches Eve.  He begins with a question that is intended to instill just a little bit of doubt about God’s goodness.  You can read this sentence like this: “God didn’t really say that, did He?  What a ridiculous thing to say!”

So Eve responds that the Enemy’s assumption is wrong, but he is right about the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.

Satan’s response is to suggest that God was wrong.  He wouldn’t cause their death.  He just didn’t want the man and woman to be like God.

This is how Satan begins his approach as the tempter.  Make sure when you are preaching about the Tempter that you let your people know that the enemy will begin by telling half-truths about God–and about yourself.

I think of one man that I know who was addicted to drugs.  He said that he knew this was wrong, but he thought that he could handle it, and it was going to be just one time.  Surely God would forgive that.  However, he became addicted and his life was ruined.

The Tempter will lie to you, telling you that your sin is a small choice, and it promises such enjoyment.  Surely God won’t notice one time.

We are going to look at this name again in the next post, because it is so important.  In the meantime, here is a link to a commentary on the temptation of Jesus that you may find helpful in thinking about this subject.