Summary: Ephesians 2 reminds us that temptation comes from three sources – a cursed world, a corrupt heart and a cunning devil. Accounts of both failure and victory are illustrated in the biblical stories of David and Joseph. In James 1:14,15 the enticement of tem
VICTORY OVER TEMPTATION
“Blessed, or happy is the man who does not give in and do wrong when he is tempted. Because when he has stood the test he will receive as his reward, the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
Is there anyone here today who can honestly say that they have never been tempted
to do anything wrong or questionable? If so, I would like to meet them, because they
must have been created like a robot or a puppet on strings,with no freedom of choice.
This freedom God gave us is a very precious gift. Because free will, although it makes
sin possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any true love, goodness or
But before going further perhaps we should try to clarify the meaning of temptation. My Bible dictionary defines it as “a seducement to participate in some wrong doing or sinful behavior which is contrary to Gods will for our lives.” It always starts out looking very innocent. Temptation always minimizes the real danger and maximizes the imagined benefits. Temptations however can be resisted and the Bible has a lot to say about how we can win a victory over this threat to our physical and spiritual health.
I want you to know that I applied this message to myself before bringing it to you. And the only basis on which I stand before you this morning is that I am a sinner saved by grace and Christ died for me. And God is still working on me, to make me the man I ought to be..
The question is often asked, is it a sin to be tempted? And I believe the answer is NO! The sin comes from yielding, giving in to the temptation and not the temptation itself. Temptation is like the devil looking in through the key-hole, even knocking gently on your door. Sin is opening the door and inviting him to come in.
One reason we know that temptation in itself is not sin is because the Bible tells us in Heb.4:15,16 that Christ was tempted in all points such as we are, yet without sin. As the God-man, Christ became the chief target of Satan’s hatred and wrath. If He had compromised with the devil and taken an easier path even once, He would not have qualified to be our Saviour. As Ian Thomas put it, “For the first time since Adam fell into sin, there was on earth a man as God intended man to be.” Then, as we seek to become more like Christ we discover our true selves, the persons we were meant to be. And I believe that Christ understands the struggles you and I are facing, because during his earthly life He faced a full range of temptations and He immersed victorious every time.
The next question we face is, where do temptations come from? James 1;13 tells us not to blame God. He is too holy to be tempted and too loving to tempt us. Perhaps the clearest teaching on this subject is found in Eph. 2:1-3 Here we see temptations coming from 3 sources: v.2-the external world around us, including the lust of the eyes.
v.3-the flesh or the sinful,self-centered nature within us.
v.2-the prince of the power of the air, which is another name for Satan, who is behind it all.
Here we have these 3 arch-enemies of the soul: A cursed world, a corrupt heart and a cunning devil. But remember this, God has given us the Holy Trinity- Father, Son and Holy Spirit to overcome and defeat the unholy trinity of the world, the flesh and the devil. And every christian faces a life-long battle with these 3 enemies.
Throughout this message I will be making a number of references to Satan, commonly called the devil. So before going further I want to interject a word of caution based on some very good advice from that great Christian writer, C.S. Lewis. He points out that there are two equal and opposite errors we can take toward the devil, both of which should be avoided. First, some people, even a few Christians, have an excessive and unhealthy interest in Satan, making him almost equal with God.
But then there is another extreme, not taking Satan serious enough, or even denying his existence altogether. As two young boys were coming home from Sunday School, one was asked if he believed in the devil. The other replied, “No, I think its like Santa Claus, he’s your father.” Professor Lewis adds, the devil is equally delighted with both of these extremes. So, lets keep our eyes on Christ and give no ground to the devil
And, remember this, Satan may be powerful and in ourselves we are no match for his devilish schemes. But, he is not all powerful and he is no match for Christ. There on the cross and at the empty tomb, Christ delivered Satan a death blow from which he will never recover. The devil is like a toothless bull-dog. He can growl, he can threaten but he has no authority to carry out his threats on those who are trusting Christ. And he is terrified by the Spirit of God dwelling in a believers heart.