Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The devastating effects of sin are overcome by Jesus.


James 1:13-15

By Cleavon P. Matthews Sr.

August 10, 2003


It is a small word with a powerful punch. It is deceitful. It is desirous. It is destructive. This word is the culprit in a calamity of consequential causative conditions. It lurks in the shadows of darkness only to expose the photos of anguish, agony, and abuse. It crushes strong men. It staggers intelligent women. It rewrites the history of teenagers. It ambushes senior citizens.

It has been victorious over all of humanity save ONE! It has caused wars. It has starved nations. It has unleashed unmerciful violence. It has ignited insurmountable injustices. It has packed courtrooms. It has increased hospital admissions. It has traveled the universe. It has messed up marriages. It has broken friendships. It has demolished fellowships. It has financed infernos. It has condemned countries. It has decomposed dreams. It has soiled souls. It has sunken spirits. It has hurt hearts.

It is only three letters but everybody knows him! He defeated Adam in the Garden. He captivated Cain. He eliminated Esau. He lacerated Lot’s wife. He jumped Judah. He foiled Pharaoh. He attacked Achan. He incinerated Nadab and Abihu. He contaminated the ten spies. He made friends with Ahab and Jezebel. He kept company with Athaliah.

He has defeated some of the best. He has triumphed over some of the greatest saints throughout history. He caught up with Abraham. He found Moses. He busted David. He smoked Solomon. He arrested Uzziah. He punched Paul. He smothered Samson. He followed the Pharisees. He distracted Demas. He deceived Diotrephes.

His name is SIN! He is not to be embraced. He is not to be received with welcome arms. He is everywhere. He is on the job. He is in the home. He is in the Church. He is on the streets. He is at the shopping malls. He is in the grocery store. He is ever present at the late nightspots. He is in the jailhouse. He is in the schoolhouse. He was in the Synagogues. He was in the Temple.

Be alert! Be on guard! Be on watch! He is an enemy of mass proportions. He must be dealt with! He must be handled with care. He is an invasive tormentor. James gives us insight into this spiritual terrain. In order to deal with sin we need to understand its origin, its nature, its process, and its conclusion.


James 1:13 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”

Man’s tendency is to blame others. James has already described the divers temptations believers fall into. But these are not identical with what James describes in this verse. In the previous verse the temptations were external but in this text they are internal. In the previous verse they worked perseverance and perfection. But in this text temptations work death and destruction. In verse two it means trial but in verse thirteen it means provocation to sin.

Those who were undergoing the trying of their faith had the potential to misunderstand the purpose of their trials. Some who were without wisdom could possibly begin to consider their trials as evil and not working toward their good. Let’s admit it. We can all understand this line of reasoning. It’s hard to comprehend the good in the midst of a crisis. It is difficult to remain objective and unbiased when you are the one who has fallen into divers temptations. It is a challenge to grasp and appreciate the value of experiencing unsolicited and unwarranted trials and troubles.

The potential is to use the difficulties of trials as an excuse to do evil! My parents don’t let me have my way therefore I’m going to rebel and become unruly. I’ve been mistreated therefore I’m going to mistreat others. My heart has been broken therefore I will turn to drugs and alcohol. My feelings have been hurt therefore I’m going to stop coming to Church. I don’t have nice clothes therefore God should understand why I don’t come to worship.

Notice the text. “Let no man say when is tempted, I am tempted of God!” God will allow our faith to be tried or tested. The Bible says God did tempt Abraham (Gen. 22:1). The law says in Deuteronomy 8:2, “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments.”

The allowance or the testing of our faith is not a provocation to sin but a provocation to surrender and serve! God does not tempt us in the sense of provoking us to do wrong under any circumstances.

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Eloy Gonzalez

commented on Apr 9, 2009

Good preaching, brother!

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