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Lesson 2: Baptism and Temptations *

Introduction: Have you wondered how you should share the gospel with those around you? Jesus calls us to tell others about Him, but exactly how is a challenge. Hold on to your hat as we study the approach of John the Baptist! How do you deal with temptation in your life? We are also going to look at how Jesus and the Holy Spirit teamed up to defeat Satan's temptations. Let's dig into our study of Luke!

  1. John the Baptist

    1. Read Luke 3:1-3. What is unique about this introduction regarding the time and location that John the Baptist began his ministry? (Remember that Luke told us he intended to write an "orderly account" ( Luke 1:3)? Luke is being very clear about when and where John began his work.)

    2. Read Luke 3:4-6. Why bring Isaiah into this? (Luke shows us that John is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy - a prophecy about the preparation for the coming of the Messiah.)

    3. Read Luke 3:7-9. Have you heard the phrase "seeker friendly?" What do you think about an outreach that has this kind of tone and feel?

      1. For those of you who are familiar with this reference, does this sound like a Westboro Baptist approach?

      2. Does John have righteousness by faith confused? He says "produce fruit in keeping with repentance." Why not "repent and be saved by grace?"

      3. What does John say about the value of being children of Abraham? (It is as valuable as being a rock.)

      4. What accounts for all of these insults? (Notice something very important here. John is not reaching out to traditional sinners. He is not seeking the "unchurched." This is his approach to those who believe they are saved. These are people who are proud of their righteousness. This is an address to those who have been in the church a very long time - and are confident of their proper living.)

    4. Read Luke 3:10-11. How does this approach work? (Well! The crowd wants to know how they should change.)

      1. Consider John's response. Again he fails to mention grace, he plunges right into works. Why?

      2. Look again at Luke 3:8. Is this a missed opportunity to share grace? (What I see is an assumption of righteousness by the people, and John says, "Your works do not match your claims. You do not act like you repented.")

    5. Read Luke 3:12-14. Wait a minute! These don't sound like those confident in their relationship with God. Are my previous assumptions wrong? (It says tax collectors "also came" - which indicates they are not part of the original audience.)

      1. Apply this kind of advice to your life. Whatever is your sin, whatever is your selfishness, whatever is your failing, I tell you "Stop it right now. Do what is right." What is your reaction - assuming that you want to be saved?

    6. Read again Luke 3:4. What is John the Baptist's role in life? (To prepare people for Jesus.)

      1. How do you think John is doing in his assigned role? (It is a universal truth that you must be willing to admit your sins if you are going to turn away. You must admit your inability to overcome sin for you to desire God's grace. All of these insults and calls to works makes perfect sense to prepare for the One who gives us grace! Praise God!)

      2. How, then, should we approach sinners? (It depends! If they believe they are righteous, then the "viper" approach may be right. If they believe they are righteous, then the "how do your works line up with your faith" approach may work. If they are broken sinners, "a bruised reed He will not break, a smoldering wick He will not snuff out." Isaiah 42:3. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom.)

  2. Jesus

    1. Read Luke 3:15-17. How did John compare himself to Jesus? (Jesus was more powerful.)

      1. What does John mean when he says Jesus will "baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire?" (Clearly, Jesus was introducing the people to the Holy Spirit in power. "Fire" is clarified in Luke 3:17 to mean that Jesus is also bringing judgment.)

    2. Read Luke 3:21-22. Why would Jesus get baptized? (Recall that last week we discussed why Jesus had no hotel room, why shepherds greeted Him - all things that seemed beneath a King. I think that all of this, including His baptism, says to humans "I am one of you.")

      1. Why do you think the Holy Spirit took the form of a dove? Why not fire? (Don't doves seem peaceful? This seems to be a picture of quiet assurance.)

      2. What does heaven say about Jesus? (He is God. He is the "Son.")

  3. The Challenge

    1. Read Luke 4:1-2. Why would the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the area where He faced temptation? Isn't this just the opposite of the Lord's prayer ( Luke 11:4)"lead us not into temptation?"

    2. Read Luke 4:3-4. How long do you think Satan and his confederates spent planning this temptation?

      1. How skillful is this temptation?

      2. How would you compare it to Genesis 3:1-4? (I think the approach to Eve was much more cunning than the rather primitive "Prove you are God by creating bread.")

      3. If you agree with me, why is Satan "off his game?" Meaning that he is below his normal performance standards. (This is what I think the Holy Spirit is doing - bringing Jesus to Satan before Satan is fully ready. Satan came to Eve in his own time. The Holy Spirit chose the time for Jesus to meet Satan's temptation.)

    3. Read Luke 4:5-8. What was Jesus' mission on earth? (Part of it was to win back the world from Satan.)

      1. What, then, is the nature of this temptation? (To take a short-cut that would avoid all of the pain and suffering.)

      2. How would Satan use that temptation in your life?

    4. Read Luke 4:9-12. How did Jesus respond to every temptation? (He cited the Bible.)

      1. What is unique about this temptation? (Satan quotes the Bible!)

        1. What is the lesson for us? (Temptation may come in a religious context. We should be students of the Bible so that we can better understand God's will.)

      2. Did you notice that this temptation started just like the first temptation: "If you are the Son of God." What is Satan's strategy? (He challenged Jesus to prove His worth, to prove His claim.)

        1. Would it be fair to say this is an appeal to pride? If you say, "yes," what is the appeal in Genesis 3:5? (It seems very similar - an appeal to Eve's pride. Her desire to be like God.)

        2. If we see a pattern here, what temptation does Satan bring to you that appeals to your pride?

    5. Read Luke 4:13. Is Satan permanently defeated? (No.)

      1. For what is Satan waiting? ("An opportune time." This adds further evidence for my thinking that the Holy Spirit brought the fight to Satan before Satan was ready. But, it is also a warning to us that Satan's confederates will tempt us when we are most vulnerable.)

    6. Read Luke 4:14. What is consistent through all of these temptations? (Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit!)

    7. Friend, do you want to have victory over the sins in your life? Pray for the Holy Spirit to come in power and thank Jesus for His victory over temptation. His perfect life and sacrifice allow us, by grace, to become righteous. Why not repent, ask for the Holy Spirt, and accept Jesus' grace right now?

  4. Next week: Who Is Jesus Christ?
* Copr. 2015, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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