Summary: How do we deal with temptations which always creep into our lives?
We continue our study of the Letter by James in the New Testament. Last week we noted that no matter who that James was, God spoke though him. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness… 2 Timothy 3:16!
We worship with God’s Word and we will be taught, rebuked, corrected and trained to righteousness! Give worth to God as we listen to His Word!
Let us together pray our commitment to God’s word shall we………
Please open your Bibles to James………..
We noted last week from James 1:1-12 that the letter was originally written to Jewish Christians who were persecuted and God told them that their trials are to be accepted as joy since it leads to perseverance, contentment, and blessings. This truth of course applies to every Christian, including us today, since every Christian will face trials while here on earth.
Let’s continue to hear what God has to say in James 1:13-18, read along with me……
Not only do Christians face trials in life, we also note from v13: Christians will face temptations to sin, to go against God. And what else can we note from v13? God does not tempt anyone to sin. God desires every Christian to be like Jesus Christ who is holy, therefore cannot sin!
Look again at v14………… what can we note?
a. every person is susceptible to temptation (this includes us today)
And how does temptation to sin come about?
b. every person has a selfish evil desire which entices temptation to sin
Let us pause here and note that temptations will happen but it is not a sin, but temptations can easily lead to sin. Jesus Christ never sinned but He was tempted by the devil many times!! Let me say that truth again…
Now, how do temptations become sins? God tell us in v15: when desires to sin is conceived, it gives birth to sin. What does this mean? Because people are fallen creatures who inherited sin from Adam and Eve, every person has an inner desire to sin; that is temptation. If a person gives in to their desire to sin (giving in to temptation), obviously that inner desire becomes a sin!
I believe v16 is the key verse of the passage…..
Christians are deceived when they sin! Why? God tells us why in v17…..
When Christians sin, they are saying no to God’s good and perfect gifts from heaven!
v16-17: Christians must avoid sinning because it is deception. Sin may look and feel good but if it is not from God it is ugly and wrong! Let us not be deceived! Sin is ugly and wrong! Obeying God is good and perfect! Do not be deceived with sin!
How can Christians fight sin?
There are 2 key phrases in v17-18 which help Christians fight sin:
- Whatever God gives is good and perfect!
- there is birth from the Word of Truth!
God makes this even easier for us when we think of the answer to sin with this: Who is the greatest gift from God and the Word of Truth??
Jesus Christ is the greatest gift from God! (John 3:16)
Jesus Christ is the Word of Truth! (John 1)
People can only fight sin with Jesus Christ! (Gospel of John)
Jesus told Nicodemus, a religious, good man, that he must be born again to be right with God!
A person may be good and even religious, but if they do not truly believe in Jesus Christ as their only God and Savior then they are still dead to God in their sin!
Rebirth to God will only happen through belief in Jesus Christ as God and only Savior.
If you have never believed in Jesus Christ as your only Savior and God, believe in Him today and be born again!!
Now, what about many of us who already believe in Jesus Christ? I mentioned this last week:
Jesus is looking for H2O from Christians: Humility before God! Holiness! Obedience!
How can this happen? Think of this simple formula:
JC + B = H2O! …………….. Jesus Chrsit + Bible = Humility, Holiness, Obedience!
How can we mess up this simple formula??
I + JC + B + HPB = Muddy waters! We can add o many things to our love and belief in Jesus Christ, like Me, Myself, and I or other things or persons; we can also add so many things to the Bible which can easily muddy our thinking and wisdom, we can get addicted to getting books and more books from places like Half Priced Books!
Do we desire pure eternal living water (John 7:38) or muddy water?
Don't mess with God's simple formula for living!