How the enemy can tempt us, and how to overcome it: Matthew 4:1-13 (Week 6)

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Small Group Guide:

Open with prayer.

Go around and give everyone a chance to share about how the past week has been. What’s one highlight? What’s one lowlight?

If your small group has talked about it before, feel free to use this time to hold people accountable to what they’ve asked to be held accountable for previously, and go through the “missional” part of this discussion guide.

The Temptation of Jesus

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’


“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Jesus Begins His Ministry

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,


Did you know that Jesus was tempted to sin just like we are? Right after Jesus was baptized, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. While there, He fasted for 40 days, and was tempted by the devil. Today, as we look at this part of God’s Word, we are going to observe what techniques the devil used to tempt Jesus, and how Jesus overcomes the devil’s temptations. By doing this we can learn how to overcome the temptations we find in our own lives. 

Message Outline


The enemy can tempt us with:


  1. Earthly and bodily comforts

Matt. 4:3, Gal. 5:16-21, Rom. 8:12-14, 13:13-14, Gal. 6:8, 1 John 2:15-16


  1. Half truths and bad theology

Matt. 4:5-6, Eph. 6:10-20, 1 Pet. 5:8, 2 Cor. 11:14, John 8:44


  1. Our pride

Matt. 3:8-9, Prov. 11:2, 16:18, James 4:6, 1 John 2:16, Ob. 1:3


We can overcome this temptation by:


  1. Always being on guard

Matt. 4:1, 1 Pet. 5:8, Rom. 12:1-2, 1 John 4:1, Eph. 6:18


  1. Being full of the Holy Spirit

Matt. 4:1, Eph. 5:18, Acts 6:3, 1 Pet. 4:14


  1. Arming ourselves with God’s Word

Matt. 4:4, 7, 10, Heb. 4:12, Ps. 119:105, 111, Is. 40:8, Col. 3:16


  1. Keeping the end in mind

Matt. 4: 2 Tim. 4:7, 1 Cor. 9:24-27, Phil. 2:16, 3:14, James 1:12 


Reflecting on God’s Word


Getting Started

Have you ever read or heard about this story before? What stood out to you as we were talking about it? 


What do you think it was like for Jesus to go from a high point in His life (being baptized), to go to such a dark point, where He is constantly being tempted? 


What do you think was Jesus’ biggest physical challenge during His 40 days in the wilderness? 


Why do you think Jesus was led by Spirit into the wilderness? Read Heb. 2:18 and 4:15


Diving In


 Read Matthew 4:3. Not only is Jesus coming from a high moment in His life (His baptism), but He is also at a point of extreme hunger, where He probably felt completely empty. The enemy seems to tempt us when we are most vulnerable. What situations do you find yourself in where you feel the most tempted (i.e. alone, tired, stressed, lonely, ect.). 

– How can you recognize when you think you will be tempted, and preemptively take step(s) to reduce that temptation? How do you think prayer would help in that process?


Read Matthew 4:5-6 and Ps. 91:11-12.. The devil falsely quotes Psalm 91:11-12 and takes it out of context to use it to tempt Jesus to test the Father. Unfortunately, because of a lack of Biblical knowledge and discernment, many people fall for the same trap today. Can you look back at something you used to believe in, and now know that that is not Biblically accurate? 

– How can you increase your Biblical knowledge and discernment? 

– What practical step(s) can you take to grow in your understanding of God’s truth?


Read Matthew 4:7-11. Here, the devil appeals to Jesus’ pride in order to tempt Him. Obviously, Jesus does not fall for this temptation, but unfortunately the same cannot be said of us. What type of sin can pride produce? 

– Looking back in your life, has pride ever caused you to sin? 

– How can you guard yourself against falling into sin because of pride?  


Read Matthew 4:1. Jesus is full of the Spirit, and on guard against temptation. Evaluate your life during this season. How full of the Spirit and on guard against temptation are you? 

– What practical step(s) can you implement into your life in order to be full of the Spirit and on guard against temptations in your life? 


Read Matthew 4:7-11. The devil tempts Jesus with all the kingdoms of this world and their glory. Undoubtedly, Jesus would have been thinking of eternity with the Father, Himself, and the Holy Spirit being worshiped forever in the New Heaven and the New Earth. This is a long-term mindset, instead of a short-term mindset. How would having a more long-term mindset in your life help you to live your life in a way that worships God better?

– What stops you from having a long-term mindset? 

– What are a few particular areas that you need help with having a long-term mindset in? 


What are the biggest temptations you’re facing during this season of your life? How long have you been battling them? What’s worked? What hasn’t worked? Spend some time reflecting and in prayer, asking the Lord to help you in these areas of your life.

– How would accountability help you with what you are being tempted with?


Applying the Scripture

What are your biggest takeaways from this passage of God’s Word? 

– What practical step(s) do you need to implement in your life to apply what God has taught you in this passage of Scripture? 

– How would applying this affect your life and your relationship with the Lord? 

– Who can you ask to keep you accountable to applying this to your life?

Prayer Time:

Pray for each other in your small group to be faithful take the step(s) that you shared above. Pray for each other and the interactions that they have with those who don’t know Jesus. Pray that God would soften the people’s hearts to what He has for them. Pray that God would give everyone opportunities to share the Gospel.

Staying Missional:

Share spiritual/missional conversations you’ve had where you live, work, and play:

Who did you have a conversation with that took a spiritual/missional turn this week?
What questions did you ask to discover where God is at work in their life, even if they are not aware?
How were you able to share your story of life change or how you have experienced Jesus?
How can you be intentional this week with people where you live, work, and play to have spiritual/missional conversations if the opportunity arises?
Who in your life do you think could be discipleable or open to spiritual/missional conversations?

What’s next?

Discuss the next step for your small group. When will we gather again and what purpose will it fulfill?