Summary: Part 1 of 4 dealing with temptations that come our way and how to deal with them specifically. This message deals with the temptations the world brings against our single-minded devotion to God.
AN APPLE A DAY
The Temptations We Face
Part 1—Battlefield Earth
April 30, 2006
Pastor Brian Matherlee
Today we begin a series on understanding the nature of the temptations we face and practical Bible principles for not only resisting temptation but being victorious over temptation. And we face temptations every day. There is always an apple being presented to us and we need to understand the nature of the temptation in order to resist the temptation.
The “Timothy” discipleship material from the Wesleyan church listed 3 areas of temptation and how it comes about:
First, the World tempts our Soul
Second, the Flesh tempts our Body
Third, the Devil tempts our Mind
We look today at how the temptations of the world attack the very nature of our spiritual being—our soul. Then we will look at the plan of resistance and ultimate victory over these persistent temptations. Perhaps no other type of temptation is as prevalent than this in the land and times we live in.
I heard a story about a man who had inherited an enormous amount of land and money from his Father. He was a man who had made his own way in life already and possessions were not an issue. The man had a nephew who was also very well off who had been living with him for some time but the nephew hadn’t learned to be content. When the uncle received his inheritance fighting broke out among the family and the uncle did the unimaginable...he allowed the nephew to take the things he wanted and the uncle moved on.
The story is a true one and you may have guessed who it is all about. Abraham and his nephew, Lot. Let’s look at their story in Genesis 13:1-18.
What can we say about these men? Abraham was a godly man. He had known the blessings of God and looked forward to a promise God had given to bless him. Lot was a blessed man, but he was not a godly man.
“A.M. Hills said, “They (people like Lot) seem to doubt the supreme importance of spiritual things, and to be inclined to the opinion that it pays better to be a “half-hearted Christian,” getting the cream of this world, and heaven besides. In truth, these people are after both worlds.
Lot is evidently one of these types of people.
A.M. Hill goes on to say, “His whole life seems to have been tinged with earthly colorings, and to have been struck through with the spirit of the world. He preferred to live on the borderland of true Christian experience, rather than in the land itself, and to be quite a little more at home with the filthy Sodomites than with the praying household of his Uncle Abram. Alas! He was dominated by the spirit of the world!”
You might say he tried to walk with God and hold hands with the Devil.”—from SermonCentral.com
Someone gave a succinct description of what happened to Lot.
1. He looked (v.10)
2. He longed (v. 11)
a. For Lot the world had an appeal of excitement, easy living, and independence.
b. It was like Egypt, it was well-watered, it was away from Abraham.
3. He lived (v.12)
4. He lost (v.13 & chapters 18 & 19)
The plan of victory is simple.
Matthew 22:37, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
1. Notice but don’t need
a. We can’t help but be aware of the world around us but we don’t have to place the many wants of the world into the category of needs.
b. “An enthusiastic but somewhat unscrupulous salesman was waiting to see the purchasing agent of the engineering firm where my husband worked. The salesman was there to submit his company’s bid, or price quote, for a particular job. He couldn’t help but notice, however, that a competitor’s bid was on the purchasing agent’s desk. Unfortunately, the actual figure was covered by a can of juice. The temptation to see the amount quoted became too much, so the salesman lifted the can. His heart sank as he watched thousands of BB’s pour from the bottomless can and scatter across the floor.”—from SermonCentral.com
c. One of the Ten Commandments is the tool for victory here—contentment—“Do not covet”.
d. Abram told Lot, if you go one way, I’ll go the other. In essence he told him, it’s not that important. Our relationship and integrity before these people is much more valuable. I have enough and God is good to me.
2. Set out for God –Don’t set up for failure
a. Lot set out for the place that reminded him of the past.
b. Abram set out for the place God had given and directed him to.