The Zeal of Jesus - Gospel in Life

The Zeal of Jesus

Tim Keller |  May 31, 1998

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  • Fruit of the Spirit
Luke 4:1-15
RS 91-7


The sermon for today comes from Luke 4, and it is the last sermon in a broader series on the fruit of the Spirit and character change. The recurring question has been, “How can our hearts be changed?” Simply put, our hearts don’t change when we look at the law, but they change when we look at the lawgiver, who is Jesus.

We now come to the last fruit of the Spirit which is self-control. Jesus exemplified self-control and stayed on course when he faced temptation. We’re going to learn about self-control by looking at these four things: what temptation is; the inevitability of it; how it works; and how to defeat it.

Luke 4:1–15

When we look at Luke 4, we see Jesus showing amazing self-control, a key part of his character, as he resists being tempted in the desert for forty days. Even while hungry and tempted by the promise of worldly power, Jesus stays strong. He uses Scripture as his defense. This story teaches us valuable lessons about resisting our own temptations through self-control.

1. We learn a lot about what temptation is

Even after being chosen for ministry and filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus still faces temptation from Satan. Yet, he stays strong, teaching and earning praise. Temptation can push us off course from our God-given purpose, showing us the importance of self-control and putting our calling before our immediate wants. Like Jesus, we should aim to stick to the path God has set for us and resist the pull of temptation.

2. We learn about the inevitability of temptation

Temptation is a part of being a Christian, even for those with strong faith and pure hearts. The real problem isn’t our situations, but the state of our hearts. The good news of the gospel is that through these trials, we become more like Christ. We find real happiness and salvation not despite our temptations, but by going through them.

3. We learn about how temptation works

Temptation isn’t really about wanting to do bad things, but about putting good things like food, safety, and power before God. When we value anything, even good things like a successful career or a loving relationship, more than God, we become trapped by it. Understanding what we live for and making sure God is our top priority is critical to resist temptation and stay on the right path.

4. We learn how you defeat this

Self-control, possible through the truth and love of Christ, is key in resisting temptation, as shown by the struggle faced by the character Jane Eyre. Trusting in God and following His laws gives us divine support and reveals our weak spots, highlighting our need for Christ. The secret to experiencing God’s love is to rely on Jesus and let go of our pride. Prayer is a powerful tool for gaining strength and focus.



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