Summary: Some things we need to know about temptation (Title and Material adapted from Alan Carr at: http://www.sermonnotebook.org/new%20testament/temptation.htm)
Mark Twain said, “I can resist everything except temptation.”
Salvation is not a barrier to temptation! On the contrary, Satan is more likely to attack the Christian that the unbeliever. After all, he already has the lost person! He loves nothing better than causing one of God’s children to fall into sin. However, temptation, while it cannot be completely avoided, can be overcome! While it is hard to endure temptation it can be used to help us grow in Jesus. Every Christian needs to know how to turn temptation into triumph.
When temptation arises, people usually respond in one of three ways. The primary method for dealing with temptation is to simply give in to it. Many live by an “If it feels good, do it,” mentality. They live like animals, doing everything they can to gratify the flesh. Nearly all lost people live like this, but sadly, so do many Christians!
Others struggle against temptation daily. They spend all their time fighting temptation in their own strength. They fight and fail, because no one can overcome temptation alone. If we could defeat the power of sin on our own strength, then it would have been pointless for Jesus to die for us. This type of person hates what he does, but he goes on doing it because he is unable to stop.
Finally, there are those who overcome temptation through the power of Jesus Christ. They turn their temptations into triumphs. This may sound like wishful thinking but we can win over temptation. It is possible to live in victory. Let’s think together this morning on this thought,
“How To Tame Temptation.”
Thesis: Some things we need to know about temptation
THE SUBJECT OF TEMPTATION (Who is affected by temptation?)
A. All humans are open to temptation. Adam and Eve, Abraham, Samson, David, Jesus, Peter- some refused the temptation and others gave into the temptation. All are tempted.
B. We are daily assaulted with a wide range of temptations. (A PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Dear God, so far today, I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, and I haven’t lost my temper. I haven’t been grumpy, nasty or selfish, and I’m really glad of that! But in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed, and from then on, I’m probably going to need a lot of help.
Thank you! Amen.)
C. It is not a sin to be tempted. (James 1:13- When tempted) (“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.” Hebrews 4:15, NIV.) Sin enters the picture when temptation is surrendered to.
D. Our greatest danger is to think we have arrived at a place where we are above sinning, v. 12. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18, NIV. When our pride tells us that us that we cannot fall, then we are headed for trouble!
II. THE SOURCE OF TEMPTATION (From where do temptations come?)
13 - “Common” - No matter how weird or unusual we think our temptations are, they are just all common, run of the mill, garden-variety temptations. Nothing new under the sun. There are three primary sources of temptation: The world, the flesh and the devil. Let’s look at these three sources and how they attack us.
1. The World - The Bible speaks of this system called the world and says that it is evil. This world that leaves God out and is actually in opposition to God. This is a world that is filled with greed, with selfish ambition, with deceit, lying and danger. Two verses apply here: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15, NIV. “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” James 4:4, NIV. We are not to allow the world to force us into its mold, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2, NIV.
2. The Flesh - This is flesh (point to hand). However, the flesh I am talking about is the pursuits to satisfy the flesh rather than using our flesh in service to God. Everyone has a carnal, fleshly, sinful nature. There is a general leaning toward sin. For the Christian, we have the old nature but also the new nature within us. “For the sinful nature (flesh) desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature (flesh). They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” Galatians 5:17, NIV. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” Titus 2:11, 12.