Summary: keys to winning over the flesh
Intro: over the last few weeks the news has been filled with another big ministry failure. A lot of damage has been done because someone lost in their battle with sin. A question that comes out of all of this is: how does someone overcome temptation, how can someone have victory over wrong desires and lusts in their lives? Today, I would like to give you a blueprint on how to overcome temptation. The Word of God gives us the help that we need in our time of need.
Before we get into the sermon: here is a brief overview of this verse that outlines someone in a trial or temptation they are facing.
a. when you are facing a temptation you must realize that other people have faced those same temptations as you, some have failed, but many others have won over that area in their lives.
b. God’s help is essential—if you face your temptations and trials without God they will crush you. But God is faithful to help your in overcoming temptations in your life.
c. God will provide ways of escape–the enemy may set you up, you may get yourself in a bad situation, but God will give you ways to get out of the temptation, if you will look for them.
I. Hide God’s Word In Your Heart—Psalms 119:11–thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee. As you put the Word of God in your mind, heart and spirit, it becomes a covering over you. It is quick and powerful, the law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul.
a. the Word of God will keep you from falling into Satan’s traps. Most of the time people sin as they fall prey to a trap of Satan. The Word of God is Wisdom and the Spirit of Truth.
b. The Word feeds your Spirit or inner man, as he becomes stronger, you have more power to fight temptation.
c. that I might not sin against thee–staying in the Word builds relationship with God and Jesus Christ. As that relationship becomes stronger, you will have a greater desire to live for God and follow his leading.
II. Walk in the Spirit– Galatians 5:16 and you will not fulfill or gratify the desires of the flesh. Everyone operates on two planes: the fleshly realm and the spiritual realm. If you stay in that fleshly realm you will in time gratify all fleshly desires, if you stay in the Spiritual realm, you will obey God’s will and God’s leading for your life.
a. where you live is who you will be.
b. The battle is won not from giant war to giant war, but from little battle to little battle. If you consistently win the little battles of life, they prepare you for the major temptations that come from time to time.
c. your walk in the Spirit is enhanced by walking with others of the same mind, heart and soul. Who you run with is who you will become—
III. Resist The Devil–James 4:7–resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Another step in winning over temptation is to learn self control and Spiritual stamina. The last fruit of the Spirit mentioned is self control, so besides love, joy and peace–self control is an outflow of the Spirit of God working in your life.
a. if you have a weak resister, don’t put yourself in the place of temptation.
b. part of your spiritual maturity is learning resistence to the devil’s suggestions. Every sin starts with a suggestion, and ends when someone acts on the suggestion given to them.
c. if you aren’t good at resisting, then flee–run from wrong situations as fast as you can. As our main verse states: God will make a way of escape.
IV. Realize the Consequences–James 1;15- sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death. With so much preaching on God’s grace, one very important thing should be mentioned, sin still hurts, and sin still costs. It can destroy a happy home, it can break a good relationship, it can cost someone their job, their reputation, it can mess up your life.
a. God isn’t just in the saving and forgiving business: He is in the keeping business. Keep you from falling, to keep you from the devil, to keep you from destruction.
b. until you overcome a test, you will have to repeat it over and over again.
c. even though all sin is sin, some carry a higher pricetag. God says sexual immorality is a sin against the body, and you pay for those sins not only from a spiritual point, but also from a physical one.
Close: these are four easy steps to overcoming temptation. Hide God’s Word in your heart, Walk in the Spirit, Resist the Devil and Realize the consequences of sin.