Summary: Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus: The Nature of Temptation, Sin, and a Rebuke
Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus:
The Nature of Temptation, Sin, and a Rebuke
November 8, 2009
Jesus turns his attention from the crowd to his disciples and teaches them two things: temptation and sin are inevitable and as a community, they are to confront that sin in each other’s lives so that transformation, healing, and reconciliation occurs.
1. Temptation and Sin are Inevitable (vs. 1-2)
Temptation and sin are inevitable. Temptation is like a lure that leads one from shelter to trap them with a deadly hook. No matter how spiritual you are; how much read your bible, fast, pray in tongues, go to church, temptation to sin will come. Even if you lived in a spiritually sterile environment there would be temptation because the heart is still sinful (James 2:14-15).
All sin arises from two sources: pride and idolatry. This is how it pride works. We do not like the God of the bible so we make a god into our own mold. We say God would not do that or God would not want that in my life, that He would not let that happen, so we do what we want. We say, God would not want me to be lonely so we start dating non Christians and reject the command not to be unequally yoked because God wants me to be happy. That is rejecting Gods word as ultimate and making your word ultimate. In effect, you have made yourself your own god. Do you see that? When you reject any command of God and do what you want instead, you are making yourself your own god.
The second source of sin is idolatry. Idolatry is worshipping, treasuring anything above God and looking for it to meet our need instead of God. Our gods are not little idols we worship behind closed doors; our gods are money, girlfriends or boyfriend, entertainment, a job, or even really good things like a family that we make ultimate. Everything revolves around the family or every thing revolves around our jobs, or everything revolves around money, or everything revolves around entertaining ourselves. It boils down to what we value. Let me show you how deceptive this can be.
The reason why so many of us struggle with long term sin because we don’t deal with the root, pride or idolatry. They are tethered by these two deeper sins.
Jesus goes on to say, ‘temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.’ Death would be better than what they will face.’ He is talking about the Pharisees here, leading people away from Jesus. Stumbling from others comes from both within the community and outside the community. It comes from outside, ‘Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33).’ It could be friends being bad influences listening, watching or doing things which are destructive to our faith. There are also those within the community that lead us astray, leaders. They are teaching anything from the social gospel; religious moralism; and self help gospel. They are pastoring, writing books, on television, etc. That is why Jesus says to watch yourselves. The threat to lead us astray is real and ruthless:
Acts 20:29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
2 Corinthians 11:1 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2 I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
Paul is worried about members of the body of Christ because these false teachers are coming in teaching a different gospel, leading life groups, teaching the body, and they are not doing anything about it.
1 Timothy 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.