Summary: This message looks at the temptation of Christ ... and the process of temptation in James 1:12-16.
INTRODUCTION: Have you been tempted lately? Personally, I’m not tempted to sin very much … only 40-50 times a day!
There are 2 words in the Greek that the Bible uses for “temptation”.
1.- PEIRAZO – this is a testing for the purpose of seeing what is good OR evil in something … to find the defects in something. When I had a BIOPSY done on the tumor in my ear and nose, they did a TEST (“peirazo”) for the purpose of finding out if there was good or evil in it.
This is the term that is used when Satan TEMPTS you to sin. He is looking for the DEFECTS in you … to tempt you to sin. This is a NEGATIVE process. The PURPOSE is to get you to sin.
2.- DOKIMAZO – this is a testing for the purpose of APPROVING something. The expectation is always for GOOD results. When you take a test at school, the teacher doesn’t give it to you for you to FAIL … but to PASS. When you test the spaghetti sauce while you’re cooking it, it’s to see how GOOD it is … NOT how BAD it is.
This is the kind of TESTING that God gives you. 1 Peter 1:7 – “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” This is a POSITIVE process. The PURPOSE is to make you stronger in your faith.
NOW – The TESTING that God gives you, comes from WITHOUT. The TESTING (“temptations”) that Satan gives you, comes from WITHIN. HOWEVER … the TESTING of God (through the influence of Satan) can be turned into TEMPTATIONS.
• ILLUSTRATION: The teacher gives you a TEST at school … but you are TEMPTED to cheat.
• EXAMPLE: God sent the Children of Israel into the wilderness, and TESTED them with no water. The PURPOSE was to get them to turn to Him and trust Him as their supplier. INSTEAD … they turned it into a TEMPTATION, and murmured and complained against God.
Let’s briefly take a look at the temptation of Jesus, to give us an idea of how Satan works in tempting us. Matthew Chapter 4 – all turn.
1.- IT’S NOT A SIN TO BE TEMPTED – 4:1. Jesus was “led” into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be TEMPTED of the Devil. This was a genuine TEMPTATION (“peirazo”) of Satan. BUT … it was also a TEST (“dokimazo”) from God. Satan wanted Jesus to FAIL (“peirazo”). God wanted to prove the genuineness of Jesus (“dokimazo”).
2.- TEMPTATION COMES AT OUR WEAK POINTS – 4:2. Jesus was hungry. Satan appealed to the INNOCENT desire of Jesus for food.
Satan knows YOUR weaknesses. They might not be a temptation to the person sitting next to you. Satan knows YOUR weakness, and this is where he attacks YOU.
• The temptation of ADULTERY might have no effect on you. BUT .. it might be a real temptation to someone who is having marital problems … OR … has a problem with lust.
• The temptation to STEAL might have no effect on you. BUT … it might be a real temptation to someone going through financial difficulties.
• The temptation to CHEAT ON A TEST might have no effect on you. BUT … it might be a real temptation to a poor student who has bad grades and hasn’t studied for a test.
Satan will attack you at your weak points.
3.- SATAN DISGUISES HIS TEMPTATIONS – Satan takes INNOCENT things, and PERVERTS them into making them a sin.
Have you ever noticed that Satan only tempts you with things that you want to do anyhow?
• I have never been tempted to eat beets! BUT … I have been tempted to eat chocolate!
• Satan has never whispered in my ear … “Look at that man over there … he sure is good-looking, isn’t he?”
• When I need to be studying for Sunday’s sermon, Satan never tempts me to go horseback riding (which I hate) … BUT … he might tempt me to go fishing.
Look at how Satan tempted Jesus:
4:3 – This would be a miracle. Jesus loved doing miracles … He did lots of them. It validated Him and His ministry as coming from God. There’s nothing wrong with turning stones into bread. He turned water into wine.
How would this be WRONG? It’s WRONG, because:
• Jesus doesn’t take His orders from Satan.
• Jesus doesn’t have to prove anything to anybody … to Satan, or you, or me.
• Jesus had always looked to His Heavenly Father to meet all His needs. He’s not going to act independently of God … to by-pass God. God will supply His need – 4:4.