Summary: How God helps us overcome temptation: 1. He warns us with an illustration (vs. 1-12). 2. He rescues us from isolation (vs. 13a). 3. He knows our limitation (vs. 13b). 4. He provides our liberation (vs. 13c).
God's Help for the Tempted Heart
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 10, 2013
*Do you ever get disappointed with yourself? Sometimes we do get disappointed with ourselves, and sometimes we should, because we have given in to temptation.
*Christian author John Ortberg once wrote about his disappointment with himself. Please listen to part of what John said: "When I look in on my children as they sleep at night, I think of the kind of father I want to be. I want to create moments of magic. I want them to remember laughing until the tears flow. I want to have sweet talks with them as they're getting ready to close their eyes. I want to chase fireflies with them, teach them to play tennis, have food fights, and hold them and pray for them in a way that makes them feel cherished.
*I look in on them as they sleep, and I remember how the day really went. I remember how my daughter spilled cherry punch at dinner, and I yelled at her as if she'd revealed some deep character flaw. I yelled at her even though I spill things all the time and no one yells at me. I yelled at her, to tell the truth, because I'm big and she's little, and I can get away with it. And then I saw that look of hurt and confusion in her eyes, and I knew there was a tiny wound on her heart that I had put there. And I wished I could have taken those 60 seconds back." (1)
*John went on to say how he was disappointed about his shortcomings as a father, husband, friend, neighbor, and human being in general. All right thinking people have been there, because one way or another, we all have given in to temptation.
*The good news is that God wants to help us overcome temptation in our lives. And today's Scripture shows us how.
1. First: The Lord warns us with an illustration.
*It's the illustration of the Children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness with Moses. This illustration takes up most of this passage from God's Word, and it is a heavy-duty illustration for us.
*In vs. 1-4, Paul set up his illustration by describing how God blessed the Children of Israel in the Old Testament. Each Old Testament blessing has a parallel for Christians today. But their blessings were just a shadow of what we have on the resurrection side of the cross.
 For example, they had the presence of the Lord. He was in that supernatural cloud Paul mentioned in vs. 1&2. They had the cloud. We have the Holy Spirit of Jesus living in our hearts!
 In vs. 2, they were baptized into Moses. Christians: We have been baptized by God's Holy Spirit into the Spiritual Body of Christ.
 In vs. 3, they had spiritual bread. It was the miraculous manna sent from Heaven. Our spiritual food is the Body of Christ which He gave on the cross for our sins. As Jesus said in John 6:48-51:
48. "I am the bread of life.
49. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.
51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.''
*Jesus Christ is our Bread of Life!
 Next, in vs. 4, they had spiritual drink. It was the water that miraculously came from the Rock in the wilderness. But we have more! In John 4:14, Jesus said: "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.''
*We are far better off than Old Testament believers, but the Lord wants us to see that we have much in common with them.
*Then comes the hard part in vs. 5: "But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness." And why were their bodies scattered or overthrown in the wilderness? The answer is in vs. 6, where Paul said: "Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted."
*They were scattered because of their lust. And what is lust anyway? It's the spirit that says: "I want it, and I want it now! I want what I want when I want it." And in vs. 7, that lustful attitude led some of them to become idol worshippers: "As it is written, 'The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.'''