Summary: How to Handle Temptation - sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


(1). Temptation is Inevitable (vs 13a).

(2). Temptation is Never Directed by God (vs 13).

(3). Temptation is an Individual Matter (vs 14).

(4). Temptation That Leads to Sin Always Follows the Same Process (vs 14-15).

(5). Temptation Flourishes on Inconsistent Thinking (vs 16).

(6). Temptation is Overcome in God (vs 16-18)



• Mark Anthony was known as the silver-throated orator of Rome:

• He was also credited with being a brilliant statesman,

• A strong leader,

• And a courageous soldier who was magnificent in battle,

• And he was handsome.

• The more I read about him the less I like him!

As far as personal qualities are concerned:

• He had the lot, he was the envy of his peers.

• In fact the more you read about him the more you hate him!!!

• But there was one major flaw in his make up:

• Despite his many great qualities, he lacked strength of character.

• On the outside he was impressive and magnificent,

• But on the inside he was weak and vulnerable.

• This so enraged his personal tutor,

• That on one occasion he shouted into his face;

"O Marcus! O colossal child......

able to conquer the world but unable to resist a temptation!"

• TRANSITION: That indictment fits not only Marc Anthony:

• But many of us today, because, no-one is immune.

• And some folks, like Marc Anthony:

• Find it virtually impossible to resist temptation and to overcome it.

Note: As we look at the subject temptation:

• Keep in mind;

• That there are other temptations beside sensual ones.


• Drew Anderson writes in one edition of Reader's Digest.

• While my wife and I were shopping at a mall kiosk,

• A shapely young woman in a short, form-fitting dress strolled by.

• My eyes followed her.

• Without looking up from the item she was examining,

• My wife asked, "Was it worth the trouble you're in?"

• TRANSITION: When it comes to temptation keep in mind;

• That there are other temptations beside sensual ones.

• i.e. the temptation to gossip or to be Envious.

• i.e. the temptation to steal or to lie.

• i.e. the temptation towards materialism,

• i.e. the temptation to hold a grudge, or to be selfish.


• In one survey (by Discipleship Journal);

• The readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:

• 1. Materialism.

• 2. Pride.

• 3. Self-centeredness.

• 4. Laziness.

• 5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness.

• 6. (Tie) Sexual lust.

• 7. Envy.

• 8. Gluttony.

• 9. Lying

• TRANSITION: Don’t forget that temptations are always many and varied;

• And because they are many and varied,

• They are constantly testing the strength of our resistance.

• Quote: Dictionary definition of the word "temptation":

• "To entice to do wrong, by promise of pleasure or gain".

• Temptation motivates, encourages us to be bad,

• By promising us something good.

• In fact James informs his readers that there are:

• Four basic principles, four facts about temptation:

(1). Temptation is inevitable (vs 13a).

“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;”

• Notice the verse does not say: "If.............. we are tempted".

• But "When........ we are tempted".

• So don't be alarmed..... expect it.

• No-one can escape temptation:


• The monk who lives hidden away behind monastery walls,

• Suffers just as much as the businessman/woman in a busy down town office.

• Because temptation is not restricted to a location:

• i.e. If I go to an isolated Caribbean Island I take my biggest problem with me:

• Now you might say to me;

• "But can't you leave your wife at home!" – only joking!!!


• The reason I take my biggest problem with me:

• Because temptation is not restricted to a location or an individual;

• James the apostle tells us that it is our thoughts, our minds, our hearts;

• Which are the vehicles of temptation.

• So we will never be in a place on earth,

• Where there is no temptation!

Quote: But don’t get depressed, to quote an old saying:

"You cannot stop birds from flying over your head,

but you can stop them building nests".

(2). Temptation is never directed by God (vs 13).

“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;”

• Note: God may permit us to be tempted.

• But he never directs it, he is not the author or source of temptation.

• So it is not sinful to face temptation,

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