Summary: Resisting temptation is the only way to go

Title: Why Not Take The Bait?

Text: James 1:12-15

Topic: Temptation / overcoming verses giving in

Sermon Purpose:

-I want the congregation to think about the ways giving into temptation has negatively impacted their lives.

-I want the congregation to think of the ways that overcoming temptation has made them stronger and brought forth blessings in their lives.

-I want to help the congregation develop the skill of thinking ahead and looking down the road for the consequences to their actions.

-I want the congregation to be motivated to make the right choices.

Structural Logic: A proposition to be argued.

Proposition: Resisting temptation is the only way to go.

Interrogative: Why

Key word: Reasons

Transitional Sentence: James answers that question for a group of people he thought needed to know why.


1. Resisting brings blessings. V.12

2. Guard your attitude because no excuse justifies giving in. Vv.13-14

3. Giving in leads to death. Vv. 14-15

Intro: A man sits down at his computer; reflects on almost 40 years of work for children. He is working hard to lead a task force to rid the internet of child pornography and he has a sense of pride that his program is a model for others in the nation. However, a twisted desire crosses his mind, what is this child pornography? He has seen the images and now desires to reach across the cable modem to find more. Why not? Perhaps the man thinks to himself that he won’t get caught, that no one will get hurt. He’s thinking, “Why not take the bait?” This man had a question that needed to be answered.

Today, you and I will have to answer this question. If desire is a bait to give into temptation, we are hungry fish at a bass tournament and we are asking, “Why not take the bait,” ourselves.

Read James 1:12-15

James- rubber meets the road. He watched Jesus. He saw the results of Jesus’ faithfulness and he desired those same blessings for his people.

1. Resisting temptation brings blessings. 12

We are talking here about temptations, not trials as in verse 2. We’re not talking about good desires here either.

A. The blessings of developing steadfastness. (refer back to 2-4)

-Compiled interest

-Fit for the Lord’s work.

-what is the Lord’s work? Raising kids and grandkids, your job.

B. The blessings of eternal rewards.

-What type of blessings are these?

-The Lord’s favor

-Life and all that includes.

Picture is of laurel wreath

Problem… we want instant results.

-Ill. Runners in a race. Workers on a job.

C. Romans 8:18 the sufferings of the present are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us”

2. No excuse justifies giving in.

Pervasive theology at time of James

A. God cannot be blamed for your temptation.

-It is not His will that you sin.

-He will not hold you innocent.

B. James is speaking of temptation to sin that comes from within. As opposed to testing of circumstances.

-It is our own fault.

-It is our job to defeat it.

Guard your attitude

C. Romans 3:23 “All” it is our nature…all of our nature

If that isn’t enough motivation…

3. Giving into temptation leads to death. 14-15

A. Temptation is like a fishing lure.

Ill. “Each” of us has a lure. Taking the bait gets us hooked.

C. Giving into temptation is sin.

-James’ illustration changes to the birthing process. You can hide that baby for a while, but he will show up! And when he does…

-sin leads eventually to death. What is death here?

-this is a slow process. Again, not readily visible.

-the slowness of this process makes the consequences unclear.

-the hope of avoiding the consequences fans the flames of desire.

God is not mocked; whatever a man sows he reaps. Gal. 6:7

D. Romans 6:23 the wages of sin is death…payday will come.

4. Conclusion: think about sin’s impact on your life, think about how overcoming it has blessed your life.

Men, can there be any doubt? Resisting temptation is the only way to go


1. A healthy conscience acts as an appetite suppression.

2. God’s word is a guide to bait identification. Don’t just dish it out, read it for yourself.

3. Avoid fishing holes; places where you might get “hooked”.

4. Vigilance. 1 Cor. 10:12 “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” It gets easier, but never gets easy.

5. Look ahead. Get your head out of the water. See the boat that taking the bait of sin will land you in. What will happen down the road if you go for that instant gratification?

-Neither the reward for overcoming temptation nor the consequences for succumbing to it is readily apparent. This makes making the right choices more difficult. The Christian must develop the habit of stopping and looking ahead when face with temptation.

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