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Summary: Everbody is tempted. However, there are common misconceptions regarding temptation that Satan uses against us. This lesson exposes Satan's schemes regarding teptation. (Adapted from Charles Stanley's book: "Temptation.")

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MISCONCEPTIONS REGARDING TEMPTATION

1/22/12 – Garfield

A. The term TEMPTATION brings to mind different connotations for each of us.

ILLUSTRATION:

For some, the word CONJURES up a delicious HOT FUDGE SUNDAE with whipped cream and nuts dripping off the sides. (SORRY, I ZONED OUT FOR A MOMENT!)

For others, it’s the man or woman who has become the focus of secret FANTASIES at work.

For the BUSINESSMAN who works under relenting pressure, it may be the CORNER BAR.

For the TRAVELING SALESMAN, temptation may mean the ADULT PAY-PER-VIEW so readily available in HOTELS and MOTELS.

For the TEENAGER, the term TEMPTATION may bring to mind a can of BEER or a pack of CIGARETTES or a member of the OPPOSITE SEX who has been declared OFF-LIMITS by parents.

Maybe TEMPTATION has something to do with the MOVIE SELECTIONS at the local VIDEO STORE or a FAVORITE HIT on the INTERNET.

COMMENT:

When you hear the word “TEMPTATION,” what FLASHES into your mind? What PICTURES and EMOTIONS does it CONJURE up in your THINKING?

We are TEMPTED by different things. Some are able to overcome TEMPTATION more easily than others. There are some TEMPTATIONS that were more INTENSE in years PAST than they are now. There are things that TEMPT us NOW that were no PROBLEM at all YEARS ago.

B. TEMPTATION is merely the means by which Satan tries to cause us to SIN- James 1:13-16 (READ and COMMENT)

COMMENT:

To paraphrase Solomon’s writings regarding temptation, particularly SEXUAL TEMPTATION, in Proverbs 6:27-28- “You can’t play with fire without getting burned.”

1. I think some Christians misunderstand TEMPTATION.

COMMENT:

What’s worse these MISUNDERSTANDINGS cause many well-meaning BELIEVERS to LIVE under a BURDEN God never intended them to bear. Their EXPECTATION LEVEL becomes totally UNREALISTIC. Consequently they become DISCOURAGED and UNMOTIVATED. Some leave the FAITH thinking that being TEMPTED means they aren’t truly COMMITTED to Christ—if so, they wouldn’t even THINK about COMMITTING those EVIL things.

2. Satan is the source of these MISCONCEPTIONS, for at the bottom of each is a DISTORTION of God’s Truth.

COMMENT:

In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he pointed out that “IGNORANCE of Satan’s schemes would allow Satan to take ADVANTAGE of them”- 2 Corinthians 2:11.

A MISUNDERSTANDING of TEMPTATION has caused people to be taken ADVANTAGE of by Satan. If we gain a better understanding of Satan’s tactics, we will be better equipped to deal with and overcome TEMPTATION. Let’s take a look at some COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS REGARDING TEMPTATION.

MESSAGE:

I. TO BE TEMPTED IS TO SIN

A. Often when TEMPTED, the feelings associated with the TEMPTATION are so STRONG that we associate the EVIL FEELINGS with our CHARACTER rather than with the TEMPTATION itself.

1. When that happens, we CONDEMN ourselves for even having such FEELINGS.

ILLUSTRATION:

Here’s a STORE CASHIER having severe FINANCIAL PROBLEMS. His CREDITORS are HOUNDING him. Every time he gets the MAIL there’s another STACK of BILLS. Collection Agencies call him up THREATENING to take him to COURT. He CRINGES every time the phone rings.

One day while at the CASH REGISTER taking in thousands of dollars, he thinks to himself how easy it is to take some of the MONEY. As he REACHES into the REGISTER to grab a few 20’s he thinks how wrong STEALING is, so he quickly removes his hand. He’s worked for that STORE for years and never even DREAMED of doing anything like that before. The SENSE of GUILT overwhelms him. He can’t EAT or SLEEP. Finally he becomes PHYSICALLY ILL because he feels so GUILTY for even thinking about doing such a thing even though he hadn’t done anything WRONG.

COMMENT:

When TEMPTED, many feel as if they are already GUILTY without actually even giving in to the TEMPTATION. This is when Satan steps in and says, “You might as well go ahead and DO it! After all, what kind of person would even come up with such an EVIL idea? You’re already GUILTY!”

2. We are not RESPONSIBLE for what FLASHES through our minds.

a. Our RESPONSIBILITY is to CONTROL the things that DOMINATE our THOUGHTS.

b. 2 Corinthians 10:5- “. . . we take captive every thought and make it obedient for Christ.”

COMMENT:

Paul’s INSPIRED admonition implies that we cannot CONTROL what RUSHES into our minds, but only that we take CONTROL of each THOUGHT and DEAL with it. In other words, DWELL on the GOOD and DRIVE out the BAD.

B. Our environment determines to a great EXTENT what comes into our MINDS.

1. Even the most CAUTIOUS people will at some point be exposed VISUALLY and AUDIBLY to things that will produce ungodly THOUGHTS and FEELINGS.

ILLUSTRATION:

We cannot control what other people WEAR or SAY. We cannot control what we are INVITED to PARTICIPATE in (although obviously we can control what we CHOOSE to participate in). We cannot control what we accidentally OVERHEAR at WORK, at SCHOOL, or in the RESTROOM.

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