How to Press On In Spite of Temptations
1 Corinthians 10:13
May 3, 2020 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
A. When it comes to handling temptation, most of us were taught as children to NOT do some things
1. Like, to never lie
2. To never steal
3. To be nice when someone is being mean to you
B. Most of us tried hard… but failed - The temptation was usually too great
1. When you were caught doing something you knew you weren’t supposed to be doing, you lied to cover it up
2. When you saw other friends having what you wanted, you stole to get it yourself
3. And then when someone bullied you, you punched them
C. And then we grew up - temptations got more powerful
D. At some point, most people decide it isn’t worth the effort to “do the right thing” – not when most everyone else seemed to do their own things and were doing fine
E. And then comes along Jesus, and the Christian call – to be holy, to live free of sin’s grip, and sin’s consequences
F. So, how are we supposed to understand temptation?
1. Do we Fear it?
2. Give into it constantly?
3. Do we even care?
G. Overcoming temptations is a missing ingredient in most Christian thinking
1. Most Christians are always worrying about overcoming SIN – that is a bit late don’t you think?
2. But never really work on the “tempting” part
3. And so, many, many Christians get trapped because they were not aware that Jesus equips the believer with an ability to overcome temptation as well as sin!
II. The Battle with Temptation Works like this…
A. You are minding our own business
B. Then a temptation grabs your attention – invites you to “lunch”
1. Tempted to disobey God, to sin, to do what you know it is wrong to do
2. Seems so romantic – so innocent – so normal – so fun!
3. Take note of the thought “grabs you”
C. You either ignore it, resist it, wrestle with it, or give in to it
D. People usually give in to it
E. And if you give in to temptation, you then have the guilt, and shame, and consequences for disobeying God – reality sets in:
1. The hangover
2. The pregnancy
3. The loss of employment
4. Bar fights, marriage fights, wasted days, and a wasted life
F. It wasn’t only the sin of adultery that ruined David’s life.
G. It was David letting temptation win his attention!
H. Wouldn’t it be good to be able to handle TEMPTATION instead of always struggling with the consequences of our sins?
III. Background (1Corinthinas 10:13)
A. The Apostle Paul here in 1Corinthians 10:13 lays out very powerfully what Temptation is, what it does, and what it can and cannot do in the life of a believer
B. Could it be that we Christians are missing the whole point of the faithfulness of God in our temptations? (Next week we will let that sink in, and really understand it!)
C. This morning, I want to just look at the first half of the verse and learn as much as possible about ME and My temptations, so that I can experience the faithfulness of God, and find the way of escape that he always has for me when I am tempted!
1. You DO know that doing the will of God is the greatest purpose of man, don’t you?
a. Well, SIN will hinder you from doing God’s will
b. Satan will work hard to stop you from doing God’s will
c. But temptations often are our worst enemy
d. Because God meant for them to be nothing more than distractions! Never the cause of our defeat
2. Compare to being a long distance runner on a road, filled with people on the sides watching you
a. Loads of distractions
b. Pretty girls waving at you on the side-lines
c. People eating hot, drippy pizza slices
d. People sitting and relaxing on their lawn chairs, sipping a coke
e. And then there are the pains in the legs, and in your sides
f. ALL of those are what the Bible calls, temptations – pulls, distractions, diversions that will ruin your place in the race, and if yielded to, might put you completely out of the race
3. In the old sailing days of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, sailors told of their hardships of sailing month long voyages across the Atlantic, and even year long voyages around South America and Africa to Chinese ports. And how hard it was to stay the course, because the temptation was always there to turn around and go back – to just turn in and quit the journey.
4. The same temptations are active still today
A. “There hath no temptation”
1. Stop there…
2. Paul takes it for granted that you and I know what temptation is – maybe some don’t know
3. What does that word mean… temptation?
a. Technically, it is “the enticement to evil”
b. Anything that activates a passion in me
c. Anything that makes sin reasonable to the mind
d. Anything that lures me to disobey God or His will
e. The turning of my attention away from the will of God, onto anything else
f. THAT is very important to understand
g. Temptation is a test of our faith in the goodness and right-ness of God
4. People are tempted to
b. Lie about being sick and stay in bed
c. Hide their income from the tax-man
d. Exaggerate their accomplishments
e. Blame everyone else but themselves
f. Constantly wish for a better husband or a sweeter wife
g. Compare themselves with other people
h. Flaunt their wealth or complain about their poverty
i. Sit on their smartphones for hour upon wasted hour with no qualms
j. Sit in superiority over the Bible and the Gospel, thinking you know better
k. And the list goes on and on…
5. What Temptation is Like
a. Like a Magnet
1) Sin is like a magnet - very strong magnet
2) My nature is like metal – easily pulled by the magnet
3) How is anyone supposed to resist the pull of a magnet?
b. Temptation is also very much like a lure, bait, carrot
1) Satan designs something that looks, smells, seems much better than the will of God
2) And we go for it like a fish to the bait
3) Like a stubborn mule to the carrot dangling on front of her
4) No wonder God says “be content with such things as we already have!”
6. By the way, Satan is called THE tempter
a. That is what Satan loves doing
b. Matthew 4:1-3 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
c. Genesis 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more subtil [DECEPTIVE] than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? [LIED]
d. Gen 3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
e. Gen 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
f. Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: [LIED]
g. Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. [LIAR] [SETTING THE TRAP]
h. Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she [ACTED] took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
1) Satan could not force Adam and Eve to sin
2) But he could TEMPT them to do their own thing, and therefore disobey God
3) So he lied to them, and attracted them “to godhood” – to becoming just like God (which was HIS sin by the way)
4) And that’s when Even was enticed
5) And that was when she debated in her heart, and that’s when she decided to go ahead
6) And that was when Adam came along and wilfully decided to follow his wife and not God anymore
7) Satan is VERY good at what he does, folks!
i. Listen to Jesus describe the devil and his power of temptation… John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
1) Adam and Eve were fulfilling the lusts of Satan’s dark heart – what an awful thought!
2) David was not the only one lusting that night on the rooftop of his house looking into the window of a married woman’s bedroom – David ended up fulfilling the lusts of Satan
3) Every time you and I debate a sinful thought or sinful attitude or a sinful act, we are actually allowing Satan to get his thrills through us!
B. “Taken You”
1. “…taken you” are scary words…
a. Temptation takes you down a different path than what God wants for your life
b. It takes you away from the ones you love and who love you
c. It certainly takes you “for a ride” only to leave you worse off – never better!
2. Look what temptation can do
a. Not what sin can do - But the temptation to sin – what IT can do…
b. It Grabs you, surprises you, trips you up, pulls you onto a different course, affects you, and then pulls you into its trap
1) Have you ever heard of a plant commonly called, the Venus Fly trap?
2) The inside of the petals is coated with sweet nectar that easily attracts flies
3) But once a fly lands upon, and moves around on that petal, the two petals close firmly squishing its victim!
c. Temptation is not a passive thing, but very slowly it distracts you, until it ruins you
1) By wearing you down – getting you used to the pull – not repulsed by it
2) By confusing you – “maybe it is not so wrong after all”
3) By getting your attention on things you weren’t interested in before (modern sin training in movies)
a) Like smoking was for about 100 years – no one just wakes up and says, I think I am going to go and suck on a burning wad of weeds – you had to be lured!
b) Like sex outside of marriage
3. Mishandling Temptation Can Ruin any of us
a. 1Thessalonians 3:5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
1) THAT is a big fear of mine for the people I constantly try and influence for God here!
2) Christians today are constantly “lured” by false teachers, and wicked imaginations on YouTube and the movie culture
3) And end up “shipwrecked”
b. 1Timothy 6:8-10 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
c. Money is not the problem folks – the temptation to LOVE it, is!
4. That is why a Christian’s FAITH has to be very active; in motion; even aggressive against temptations you may be being pulled by, or else you will be another casualty!
C. “Common to Man”
1. Temptation’s “pull” is common to absolutely everyone
a. EVERY Christian is tempted – pulled, grabbed, drawn away from the will of God
1) There is not a single person alive that does not in some way battle manifold waves of temptations at different times of their lives
2) They may not look like they are struggling
3) They may not seem to be battling temptations
4) But every person who is breathing, is both tempted, and struggling whether to give in to it
b. Obviously Peter was tempted – remember? When he was accused of being Jesus’ disciple
c. Judas was tempted by 30 pieces of silver to sell out Jesus to the Pharisees
d. But so was the great apostle Paul tempted
1) Act 20:17-19 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
2) What was Paul tempted with?
a) Tempted to quit the ministry
b) Tempted to just roll over and die in prison
c) Tempted to fight back against so many accusations against him
d) Tempted to sit and blame everyone he could think of for all his problems – and he had quite a few he had to constantly deal with!
2. Why? Why are we temptable?
a. We CAN’T blame God – God doesn’t tempt anybody (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
b. Can’t only blame Hollywood, and the internet, and the TV and the radio, and your smartphone
c. The blame is IN us. Something is defective in us
d. In simple words, Sin is not only “out there?” It is already in every one of us – it is our nature
Romans 7:14-17 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
e. And sin LOVES to be tempted!
3. How does temptation work? (James 1:14,15)
a. James 1:14,15 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
1) Remember… Satan is the tempter – always at work, seeking for opportunities to pull us out of the Christian race
2) So, Satan watches us – notices us
a) Knows what we love – and lust for – notices what will attract you
b) He won’t tempt you with things that don’t attract you
(i) You couldn’t attract me with a cigarette, so Satan doesn’t waste his time trying to get me to want to smoke and defile my body
(ii) But Satan knows what DOES attract me
c) So Satan puts up things in front of you that you already want – lust for
d) Isn’t it funny, that THAT is how the internet works! With cookies that track what you like and look for – so that it can cater THINGS that you probably will WANT!
e) JUST LIKE THE DEVIL
3) But Satan doesn’t HAVE to do anything - Sin in us WANTS to be activated
4) ‘Enticed’ means drawn – lured – hooked - when you find yourself taking a second looks
a) At a girl
b) At an opportunity that you know is probably wrong
c) THAT is you being drawn towards a sinful thought and then an act
d) Just remember, Every temptation has a deadly hook in it – a catch
(i) Satan is not attracting you to a Pub for YOUR benefit and happiness
(ii) Satan doesn’t draw your attention away from your wife or husband for your benefit
(iii)He has a deep, hidden, piercing HOOK in every temptation
(iv) And once he has you hooked, it is very hard to get free!
5) Then sin takes root and conceives - produces a life all its own (acts of disobedience – sin)
6) And then it slowly kills you – when it is finished with you!
7) Whew! Temptation is cruel – even though it seems so pleasant!
b. Where did sin begin in all that?
1) When we are tempted? No
2) It happens when we let the temptation take root in our thinking and in our heart
c. So, is being tempted a sin? No
1) It is when we debate, ponder, rationalise, justify our desire to go with the temptation
2) Was Jesus tempted? Yes
3) But He did not sin by being tempted – He never did what we all do – He never debated
d. Even before we have gone our own way, and disobeyed our conscience, and the word of God, we have actually sinned just by the decision to sin!
1) It is called malice
2) Long before a man murders someone, he has hated them in his heart and planned the act out to the letter. And Jesus says that THAT is just as much sin as the final act itself
3) That is why LUST is so wicked – because you have already given into the sin of fornication or adultery, even without committing it!
D. Even Jesus was Tempted
1. He felt the pull of temptation on His flesh – never yielded
a. Luke 22:28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.
1) They were there when the Pharisees tempted Jesus to resist paying taxes
2) They were there when Jesus was tempted to defend Himself against constant false accusations
3) They were there when Jesus was tempted to make a soft bed to sleep on, when He instead slept out in the open on the ground in the desert
b. Matt 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
c. Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
2. How Jesus responded to temptation is the most important thing to learn and implement this morning! (Matthew 4:1-11)
a. Head on, ready for the pull
2) Filled with the Holy Spirit
3) Mindful of very powerful Scriptures against Satan and temptation
b. He had different wants than what the devil could latch onto
c. Absolutely dependent upon God, and not upon Himself
1) Didn’t complain about being hungry – could have fixed that, but didn’t
2) He waited on God to tell Him when to eat - and when to take the throne!
d. He had the fulness of the presence of God in Him
e. And He had God’s promises and truths from the word of God memorized
f. Jesus had a Scripture truth for every temptation – sword to sword (Heb 4:12)
g. He stood toe to toe until the battle was won – it was Satan who QUIT, AMEN!
V. Next Week… “But God is faithful”
A. Stop having a romantic view of sin! Like honey for the flies!
B. Quit playing with temptations – they are a real problem!
C. Have a realistic view of sin
1. Everyone is struggling with something - Being Tempted is not a sin
2. Every temptation has a deadly hook in it
3. You WILL reap when you don’t overcome temptation
4. Temptation itself WILL ALWAYS damage something - never help – when allowed to keep knocking at your door
5. You do not HAVE to give into it's pull
D. Draw nigh to God – He gave you Jesus, who is faithful in helping anyone not only overcome temptations, but resist the devil himself!
E. Are you saved though? Born again? Trusting in Jesus?
F. Or trying to be good all on your own?
G. You can finally stop, and ask God to save you, and make you a new person – forgiven, and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God to live a godly and victorious life in Christ!