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Summary: A message regarding what temptation is and how to deal with it.

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Understanding Temptation

Various Scriptures

ACS Chapel Service

March19, 2009, revised and expanded for March 29, 2009

NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE IS BORROWED FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."

Me: The Wesleyan Church is what is called a “holiness” church. In other words, we believe and teach that personal holiness is a hallmark of what it means to be a Christian, and we believe and teach that the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to lead holy lives.

We believe and teach that because Scripture says we’re supposed to be holy, for example in 1 Peter 4:7

God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

The problem is that society all around us tells us that being holy is not practical, or even possible in our day and age.

And from what I see in the church around the world, I think that they may have a point.

And so I thought I’d just come up here and tell you to just give it up – there’s no hope to live holy and pure lives in today’s world.

Society is right. Except for one thing: Without God, there is no hope for purity and holiness in our lives. But with God, all things are possible.

Board members, you can relax and not worry about looking for another pastor right away, okay?

Can I just tell you something? Pastors struggle with purity and holiness, just like anyone else.

We’re tempted just like anyone else, and if we’re not careful, we sin just like anyone else. We’re not given some sort of “Pastor vaccine” to keep us from being tempted.

So I’m not up here today pretending that I’m the model of virtue today, because I’m not. I’m a struggler just like all of you.

We: Here’s the thing. We all struggle for holiness and purity in our lives. We’re going to look at a passage of Scripture in just a moment that tells us that.

But let me ask you something: are you tired of giving in to temptation? Are you tired of feeling like the devil’s got your number and there’s no way you’ll ever gain victory in whatever area you’re struggling with?

Are you tired of looking around and seeing people who claim to be Christians but do the same things the world is doing because they think that since the world is doing it, it’s okay?

Are you ready to move on to a greater degree of holiness and purity?

Well, I hope that today I can give you some hope, because God has lots of it to give as we struggle against sin in our lives.

God: The main passage of Scripture I want to share with you is one you’ve probably known for quite some time, but it’s a great reminder to us as we seek to live lives of purity and holiness before God.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (Please read aloud with me) –

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Have you ever noticed something about temptation? Temptation makes sin look really good.

Temptation is always pleasurable. It’s never ugly.

For instance, you’re probably not going to be tempted to treat open wounds on HIV patients.

You’re probably not going to be tempted to eat cold canned spinach. And if you are, we’re going to have special prayer for you right after church today…

I want to use this passage today to point out a few facts regarding temptation so that you can make even more progress in your striving for holiness and purity in your lives.

The first thing is this:

> You’re not unique in your temptations.

Everything you’re tempted by, just about everyone in the world has been tempted by.

There’s nothing new in regard to temptations, only new ways for those temptations to get to us.

I love it when I hear teenagers tell their parents, “You don’t understand.”

Wanna bet? You think temptation originated with your generation? Hello!! Anyone ever heard of Adam and Eve?

Your parents may not have faced exactly the circumstance you find yourself in, but believe they know what it’s like to be tempted by something that looks good and know they should walk away.

They know the struggle you have. Don’t sell them short. Instead, you need to learn from them and seek the wisdom they’ve gained from their own struggles.

And you grown-ups know because you said the same things when you were younger, but now you know better, don’t you?

Your temptations are not unique to you.

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