Summary: A series in James about possessing a foolproof faith. This message focuses on faith that is not overwhelmed during times of temptation.
Foolproof – The Study of James
November 26, 2006
Tempting Faith – James 1:13-17
Intro: How does one know if something is genuine? It must be examined. Take a diamond for example. Did you know there are (4) ways to tell if a diamond is real? 1 – Glass Test; 2 – Breathe Test; 3 – Reading Test; and 4 – Water Test.
Trans: Were in a series in James about how to have a foolproof faith that we won’t be fooled into thinking we have genuine faith when we only have religion and so we can’t be fooled into embracing anything not of God. (Faith Examination)
Note: In our first two weeks we’ve looked at the purpose of trials to authenticate faith as they force believers to depend on God alone. But equally important is the understanding that God gives us trials to strengthen us to prepare us for Satan’s temptation. This is where we want to turn our attention today.
Text: When tempted, no one should say, “I am being tempted by God." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. Jm. 1:13-17
Note: Last week we established that trials and temptations are not one and the same. Trials are authored by God for the purpose of strengthening faith while temptation is authored by Satan for the purpose of death and destruction.
Word: tempted – the same word used for trials only the author is Satan and not God. Temptation is any difficulty arising from a solicitation of evil inspired by Satan targeting the internal natural longings of the flesh. It intends to kill, steal, and destroy the pursuit of God and the things of God.
(1) Satan’s desire is to solicit every man to manifest his evil character. He wants you and me to act like him and to defy and rebel against God. He wants us to misuse our humanity to deny the glory God so richly deserves.
(2) Satan wants us to think that by our self-effort we can be like God and therefore live as if we don’t need Him. He doesn’t want us to live under God’s authority w/ absolute dependence on God; he wants us to trust in ourselves (our own abilities and ingenuity) completely opposite God’s will.
(3) Finally, in tempting us, Satan wants us to live lives that misrepresent who we are in Christ. He wants us to live as hypocrites and to doubt the reality of our faith, b/c our poor testimony will only help his cause.
Idea: But I want to be clear. Satan might be the instigator but he isn’t the relegator. He can offer the bait, but he can’t make you bite.
Note: This is a good point to make an important statement. I want to be clear. Temptation is not sin; therefore we must understand it and how to handle it.
I The TENACITY of Temptation
When tempted, no one should say, "I am being tempted by God."
Word: when – Temptation, like trials, is unavoidable. 1 Cor. 10:13 says it is ‘common to man.’ We’ll all face temptation, it’s inescapable. But God isn’t to blame.
Word: no one say (lego) no one should rationalize that God is to blame. Why?
Word: by (apo) carries the idea of distant or remote. Meaning: God cannot be even indirectly connected w/ temptation or sin. He isn’t responsible.
Insert: That’s man’s mode of operation – blame someone else. From the beginning, sin’s nature is to pass the blame. Remember when God confronted Adam and Eve in the Garden – Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed Eve and God – “The woman you gave me…”
Note: James sets the record straight. He wants to make sure we understand that to have a foolproof faith requires we take responsibility for our actions. Satan might be the tempter, but we’re the culprits. Sin is a matter of choice; God isn’t to blame and neither can you say, “The devil made me do it!” You da’ man!
II The GOODNESS of God
For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
A God is UNTEMPTABLE
Word: cannot be tempted (apeirastos) w/out capacity to be tempted; invincible of an evil assault. God is in no way vulnerable to sin b/c He is immutable in His attributes. He is the embodiment of holiness. He is holy, holy, holy. (Is. 6:3)