Summary: Jesus' temptation teaches how to handles life temptations.
How to Resist Temptation
Welcome on this Valentine’s Day. It is ironic that this is also the First Sunday in Lent. Lent is generally that season of the year when people have chosen a favorite treat or some vice to give up for these six weeks.
One man said his children traditionally gave up something like candy for Lent. Last year, however, he urged them to go beyond that to giving up some habit or sin that they knew was bad for them. About halfway through Lent he asked the children how they were doing with their Lenten promise. His youngest son had promised to give up fighting with his brothers and sisters during Lent.
When his father asked him how it was going, the boy replied, “I’m doing pretty good, Dad--but boy, I can’t wait until Easter!” (1)
Anyone who has given up something they love can empathize with that little boy. A good friend of mine is an ice tea drinker. He gave it up for Lent. He said everywhere he went, it seemed like ice tea was being served. He told me, at Subway, at the church, even in his home, a guest, not knowing his commitment, ask for, you guested it. Iced tea. He said the temptation was almost unbearable. He even said, “I can’t wait for Easter.”
Temptation does have a way of unraveling our lives, unnerving us, and often breaking our will. Maybe that is why the first lesson we are supposed to look at during Lent is Jesus’ Temptation.
This morning I would like for us to look at what temptation is not. Then see what temptation is. Because when we know what is really is, we will be better prepared to face it.
If you would like take out your notes in the worship program, and open your bibles to Luke chapter 4, put a finger in there, and open the Bible also to James Chapter one. I will give you a minute to do this.
First, What Temptation is not.
Temptation is not sin. Too many people go through life feeling guilty because they are tempted. Let me repeat that Temptation is not sin. Some people believe if you are tempted to sin, you have already sinned. No!
Listen to Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Temptation is not sin. In our lesson today we read: Luke 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.
Would the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into sin, God forbid. Yes, Jesus was tempted to sin, but he did not. Temptation is not sin.
Listen to how the Apostle James explains it in the book of James chapter one.
James 1:14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
James 1:15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
In the little church I grew up in at Muncie, Indiana, there was a short, chunky, gray haired lady. Correction, she said she was pleasingly plump. Anyway, at a Bible study we were discussing temptation. I still remember her words that day. She turned her head sideways, the way she did before she spoke, then said, “You may not be able to stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair.”