Summary: Sometimes people look for excuses for the sinful things they do. The devil often gets the blame. This sermon which includes a true story explores that excuse.
Can The Devil Make Us Do Sinful Things?
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Back in the 1970s, comedian Flip Wilson
hosted of his own TV show.
Flip would dress up in women’s clothes
and act as if he were a woman named Geraldine.
Every time her husband accused her of doing something wrong,
her excuse was always "It wasn't me. The Devil made me do it."
Many people believe he has the power to "make" us do things.
Is that how temptation works?
Can he "make" us do anything we don't want to do?
Back in 1971, Gerald Mayo was a 22 year old inmate
at Western Penitentiary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He filed a lawsuit before the U. S. District Court of Pennsylvania.
Mayo claimed that Satan has on numerous occasions
caused him misery and unwarranted threats against his will.
Mayo said Satan has placed deliberate obstacles in his path
and caused his downfall.
Mayo said Satan had deprived him of his constitutional rights.
Mayo said he would not be able to afford the costs of his lawsuit
and that they should be waived.
Well, was Gerald Mayo right?
The devil doesn't have any power over us
that we don't allow him to have.
However, the devil can be very persuasive.
The closer we are walking with Jesus,
the harder the devil will work to get us off track.
In Matthew 4, Jesus had just been baptized.
He saw the Holy Spirit descend on Him.
He heard His Heavenly Father say,
"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
What happened next?
Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Matthew chapter 4 tells us the devil tempted Jesus 3 times.
Matthew 4:3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
Matthew 4:5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,
Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me."
However, Jesus resisted all those temptations from the devil
Hebrews 4:15 says, For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
So how did Jesus do it?
What can we learn from Him?
Point #1. God allows the devil to tempt us for a reason.
Matthew 4:1 says Jesus was led "by the Spirit" into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
James 1:13 says, Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
So why would the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness
so that He could be tempted?
Consider these verses.
James 1:2-4 has the answer.
 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
So God is going to do what it takes
to produce a stronger faith in us.
What is an area of your life you are being tempted right now?
Is it better to ask God to remove the temptation
or to ask God to help you resist the temptation?
Not every temptation can be easily resisted,
but God does provide a way of escape for every temptation.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says, No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
So when you are tempted, pray for God to remove the temptation.