Summary: Surviving temptation when it comes.
Genesis 39.1-12 Survivor: Surviving Temptation
1. Before I start preaching this morning, I wanted to let you know that we had some fruit given to us this week. And we felt so blessed, we wanted to share it with someone here today, so, if you would like it, just come on up today and I’ll give this fruit to you. We had so much and it’s so good. [Linda yells, "I want it". Starts coming forward. As she nears Laura, Laura jumps up and says, "I want it.". The two women start rushing toward the fruit. Both get there at the same time. Then they start fighting over the fruit like children.] Ladies, ladies. There’s no need to fight. Linda, "but I want it." Laura "so do I." Linda, "I’ll fight you for it." Laura, "You and what army?" [Start acting as though they will throw punches]. "Hey, that’s enough. You know what. No one gets it. If I had known it was going to cause this much trouble, I would never have offered it. Both of you go sit down." Both, "But what about the fruit." Just forget it. Both, "But it looks so good. And I want it." Dejectedly go down the aisle and to their seats.
2. It all started with fruit. The first couple voted off the island were unable to say no to a piece of fruit. I don’t know if it was an apple, an orange, a banana, a mango, a pomegranate, or a grape. But the scripture tells us that it was a fruit that was the knowledge of good and evil, and when Adam and Eve ate it, they were able to recognize they were naked and they hid from God. For their sin of disobedience, God voted them off the island and gave them punishment for their sin. He would have to work the field. She would have pain in child birth. And their sin had farther reaching consequences than they could have ever imagined as their oldest son killed the younger and humanity has continued down that path ever since. It all started with the tempter and a piece of fruit. "Did God tell you that you couldn’t eat any of the fruit of these trees?" Of course not. What He said was to not eat the fruit of one tree, in the center of the garden. But Eve said, "Don’t eat. Don’t touch the tree." And after a time of looking at the fruit and seeing how tasty it looked and how it could give knowledge, Eve and Adam took and ate. And humanity has faced and given in to their temptations ever since.
3. But Christ’s death and resurrection, broke the bonds of death and sin. What He did for us frees us from the "have to" of sin. You and I no longer "have to" sin. We no longer "have to" give in to the temptations that the enemy uses against us. Now, understand that the devil is not all powerful as God is, however, he knows you and me well enough to know our weaknesses, to know those areas in which we struggle the most. And as far as those areas of temptation go, the enemy is relentless. He is constantly putting those things before us in a way to make them look attractive and to cause us to believe that it would be a good idea to give in, and yet, every time we do, we feel naked and so when God comes to meet with us, we hide from Him.
4. So, this morning, the question we are asking, is how do we survive temptation? Temptation will always be there. We will, as long as we are human, be tempted. However, we do not "have to" sin. So how can we face temptation, the things that we find attractive and yet, not sin? How can we keep from tasting the fruit when God tells us no? In Genesis, there is a story of a guy who is pretty strongly tempted. His name is Joseph and this morning we are going to look at a section of his life to see if we can learn some principles for surviving temptation
5. But first, let’s listen to Joseph’s story. We find it in Genesis 39.1-12. Now, just to give you a little background on the story so far. Joseph was his father’s favorite son. Although he had several other sons, Joseph was his father’s favorite. And unfortunately for him, his father didn’t try to hide that fact either. Not only that but Joseph was a dreamer and in his dreams, he had visions of his brothers and his parents bowing down to him. And Joseph wasn’t particularly shy about telling the visions he had which made his brothers even madder. In fact, one day, when his brothers were out tending the flocks, Joseph’s dad sent him to check on them to see if they needed anything. But when they saw him from a distance, they plotted to kill him and only later decided to sell him into slavery. Then they made up a story about him being killed by a wild animal and gave his bloodied coat to their father.