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

  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

    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

    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

      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

      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

    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

      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

    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

      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

    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?