Sermons

Summary: Using the Temptation of Christ as a text, this sermon examines how sex is a good gift from God, but porn tries to offer a shortcut to sexual satisfaction.

AN OVERLOOKED TRUTH: Sex was God’s idea and it is a good gift from Him.

- Genesis 2:20-25.

- The church often comes across as anti-sex. We talk a lot about what’s wrong with the way our culture handles sex. This sermon series largely falls into that category, so I’m not saying that there is no place for that. But we need to do better than only being negative.

- We need to do a better job at casting a positive vision when it comes to the Bible’s view on sexuality. God created sex. It was His idea. It is a good gift.

- In Genesis 2, we find that it is God who decides that it is not good for man to be alone and so creates woman to be his partner. Of all the ways that God could have designed the human body, He chose to make us sexual beings. It’s part of His good plan and design.

- The Bible itself includes an erotic poem! The Song of Songs has often been interpreted as allegory, but it works just fine as a straightforward celebration of the sexual love between two people.

THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS: Each time Satan offers a shortcut to a good thing.

- Matthew 4:1-11.

- The Temptation of Jesus offers some insight on this issue.

- One of the things that stands out about the three temptations of Jesus by Satan is that he doesn’t tempt Christ to do things that explicitly evil, like lie or lust. The temptations are subtler than that.

- One is a temptation to turn stone into bread. We know that Jesus will miraculously feed thousands later in His ministry. One is a temptation to jump from the temple height and have the angels catch Him. We know that God’s angels did watch over Christ. One is a temptation to rule over all the kingdoms of the world. We know that Christ is the King.

- So why are they each temptations? Because in each, Satan essentially offers a shortcut to something good.

- The whole passage deserves unpacking because there are a lot of interesting details, but for our purposes this morning we can just look at the most obvious example within the story. That one point will allow me to illustrate the idea that I want to make and still stay on track with the larger point of this sermon.

- The third temptation finds Satan showing Jesus the kingdoms of the world. Satan offers Jesus a chance to be king of all that, if only Jesus will bow down and worship him. This was Satan’s to offer because Satan has authority on the earth.

- Jesus declines the offer forcefully by declaring that only God should receive worship.

- Why would this be tempting? Because it’s an offer to Jesus to be king without a cross. Jesus could rule the world without having to die on the cross.

- Now, Jesus ruling is a good thing and something that is right. What Satan offers is a shortcut to get there. You can almost hear him whispering, “Why face suffering? Why go to a cross? You deserve to be the king and I’ll give that to You without the painful part.” It’s shortcut to the good thing: be a king without having to suffer on a cross.

THE NATURE OF TEMPTATION: Temptation often comes in the form a shortcut to a good gift from God.

- So often the nature of temptation starts with taking a good gift from God. There is something that is good in and of itself. But then the temptation offers a shortcut to get there. There is truly a deep desire within us to have that thing because the good gift represents something we do want and need. The temptation twists that good desire by offering a shortcut to get there.

- This is what makes temptation so, well, tempting. It’s not that we’re being promised something we don’t really want. We deeply want that thing because it’s something that resonates deeply within how God made us. The problem isn’t the desire – the problem is the path we’re being offered to get there.

- Examples:

a. God created us as social creatures and our relationships provide meaning to life.

- Sometimes, though, a person feels like they are on the outside and want to find a way into a social circle. One shortcut to get there is sharing gossip. It makes people want to be around you when you claim to have the latest scuttlebutt on what’s going on.

- But when we use the shortcut of gossip to try to get people to like us we don’t end up with a network of trusted, valuable friends. Instead, we have a group of petty, mistrusting pseudo-friendships.

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