Summary: Temptation is not an irresistible force. Through prayer we are given all that we need to avoid temptation.
You can listen to the full message here:-
When Temptation Strikes – Lord’s Prayer Series
A sermon on 1 Corinthians 10:13
Stop and think for a moment about the week that you have just had.
How much temptation did that week contain?
The temptation to spend money.
The temptation to lust.
The temptation to lie.
Temptation is a serious - seven-day-a-week, 365-days-a-year event.
You know that.
I know that.
God knows it even more.
And because temptation is such a serious problem God has written to us to tell us how to deal with it.
The first truth from this passage is that
Temptation is not an irresistible force.
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.
Paul is addressing a situation where members of the church were continually making excuses about their sin problem. One excuse was that God was making the temptation too difficult to resist … God was planning it … so of course they were going to fall.
Paul is saying … you have to be kidding me! He doesn’t say it exactly like that – but that is what he means. Verses 1-12 give us the summary:-
Look at the examples of our fore-fathers.
They had the same promises we have.
They had the same blessings we have.
Yet they failed because they opened themselves up to idolatry.
They turned temptation into a game. You, you members of the Corinthian church, you will become like them if you continue to insist that you have a right to attend the pagan idol feasts. You will perish if you continue to flaunt with the devil. But, it does not have to be this way. No temptation has come upon you except that which is common to all Christians who live in a worldly and pagan society.
Temptation is not an irresistible force:- it is not something which has absolute power and complete control.
Temptation is able to be stood against and defeated.
When Jesus was suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane He told His disciples to keep watch while He prayed. We then read these words in Matthew 26:40-41:-
Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. ‘‘Could you men not keep watch with Me for one hour?” he asked Peter. ‘‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Yes it is true that it had been a very long night, but it is clear that the disciples could have resisted the temptations to drop their guard. The temptation was not an irresistible force.
In the book of Ephesians Paul talks about the need to put on the full armour of God. For what purpose? Ephesians 6:13 gives us the answer.
So that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
What this means is that we, with the help and strength of the Spirit, are able to stand against evil and temptation. We don’t have to be drawn into it.
The same truth can be found in 1 Peter 5:8-9. In fact the ability to resist is explicitly stated there.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
When we put all these passages together the truth is clear. Temptation is not an irresistible force. When it comes to standing firm we are not thrust into a losing battle.
So that is the teaching – but why do we have so many issues?
If temptation can be resisted why does it always seem to take hold of us?
Why do we constantly find ourselves falling?
Why is it that we, who love the Lord and love to do His will, often find our life-style contradicts the Word of God?
Part of the answer can be found in verse 12 (read).
Temptation is not an irresistible force but we fall because we overestimate our ability to fight sin and we underestimate the cunning of Satan.
The members of the Corinthian church thought that Christianity gave them absolute immunisation against temptation.
So they would attend the pagan feasts which included prostitution, orgies, drinking binges and general immorality.
They would go to these places under the false assumption that placing themselves in such circumstances would not be a problem because they belonged to Jesus.
And then they would wonder why they had a problem with temptation.
There is a real sense where the Corinthian Christians had turned temptation into a form of entertainment.
A few years ago now the TV watching public in Australia was given a taste of seeing temptation as a form of entertainment when one of the networks aired a show called “Temptation Island”.