Summary: Dealing with sin during the season of Lint. Jesus demonstrated how to deal with temptation.
Last week I pointed out that we were in the Christians season of Lent. The message last week was an encouragement for all of us to deal with the sins in our life. That is sort of the message of the sermon every week. But last week the point was not related to the big sins but to the smaller sins that we tend to over look because it is culturally acceptable…everyone does it. Or sins that we used to feel guilt over but they are so constant in our lives that that nagging of the Holy Spirit on our conscious becomes numb.
The idea is that the season of Lent is a time when we root around in the trash piles of our spiritual journey and stir up anything that stinks and deal with it.
The best part of last week’s message was that we can be forgiven because God provided the means of forgiveness and reconsolidation through the actions and love of Jesus Christ and the priceless Grace of God.
Today our focus is totally different. We are looking at something that Jesus demonstrated for us in such a way that none of us should ever get into trouble.
I am not sure how many of you will be interested in our topic this morning because I am not positive that everyone here is really affected.
The topic is temptation.
And there are many of you here today that have been walking with Jesus since childhood and perhaps have mastered the issue of temptation.
However, for the rest of us, this morning I am going to tackle the subject in one session that could easily be divided into at least 4.
The TV is filled with almost constant temptations. Commercials of course tell us all the stuff we need to live better. The programming offers temptation of how to spend our time with sports or comedy or drama. There are plenty of shows that tell us what our homes should be like and the special comforts that are available. There are even reality shows where the place people in situations to act on their temptations.
But the temptations I mentioned are much more generic. Temptation to do things to be accepted and liked and loved are enormous and are very powerful. Lust is most often associated with men and is also more powerful than most people imagine. Materialism in our culture is a given and the need for stability of having something is strong.
But maybe we need to be more basic. Temptation is not a sin. It is a situation that appeals to an individual or a group that seems to satisfy a want, a desire or even a need. The word temptation normally holds a negative context because often when acted on there is a feeling of regret often there are a variety of social or legal or physiological, health economic or other results.
Yesterday, I sat for a couple of hours making and categorizing a list of temptations.
It became massive before I could get off my personal list…
So, this morning I decided to refer to scripture to identify just a few of the biggies
First, let’s identify what temptation is not.
According to the book of James (1:13-15) Temptation does not come from God, God will not use evil to tempt anyone. God may test a person to either purify them or prove what is in his or her own heart. Temptation originates within each of us and if it includes evil the source is someone other than God.
Temptation is rooted in the soil of desire. Desire is to long for to hope for…a wish.
So, for temptation to have any power over us there has to be some desire within us that is attracted to opportunities…situations that because of the seedling of desire in our hearts become temptations that we struggle with.
In genesis we have the very beginning of temptations. Lots of people point out that EVE was tempted by saten. She wanted knowledge and shared it with her husband. There was a desire to be like God.
King David was tempted by beauty. Especially beautiful women and committed adultery.
All through the Bible people are tempted by gold and silver. Many times they respond by stealing what is not theirs.
There are stories about people that are drawn to power and fame and will kill to gain what they want.
-- In any situation we find in scripture, when a person responds to evil temptation it is because there was already some seed of desire within their heart.
The story is told about a ship Captain who had a route that ran from California to Columbia. One day, as he was preparing to leave California, he was approached by some drug dealers who offered him $50,000 to allow a small shipment of drugs on his vessel. He immediately said no.