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Temptation: How can it be resisted?

Gary Googe Mar 22

1. What is temptation?

Answer:  It is solicitation to sin.

2. Is it possible to resist temptation to sin?

Answer:  Yes!

I Corinthians 10:13

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. [Emphasis added]

Paul is addressing immature Corinthians believers who have been living under the influence of their sinful nature. He, therefore, speaks of them as being carnal, living under the influence of their flesh.

I Corinthians 3:1-3

1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

3. What are the sources of temptation?

Man is drawn into sin by his own lust.  God is not a source of temptation. He does not tempt man to sin.

James 1:13-15

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:

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

The Sources of Temptation:

1. The world

Galatians 1:4

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

I John 2:15-17

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.[Emphasis added]

2. The flesh

Matthew 26:39-41

39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. [Emphasis added]

Romans 7:18

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

Galatians 5:16-23

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit [a command to believers], and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh [you are one who obeys from your heart, not law].

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. [Emphasis added]

James 1:14-15

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

3. The devil

Ephesians 6:11-13

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. [Emphasis added]

James 4:7

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. [Emphasis added]

4. What is the process for resisting temptation?

It begins with a desire to resist it. But it also demands the knowledge and application of God’s Word.  Desire alone is not enough.

Psalm 119:10-16

10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

12 Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.

13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.

14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. [Emphasis added]

5. The example of Christ resisting temptation is helpful.

Matthew 4:1-11

1 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 [since] thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

Satan tries to get Him to act on His own, independently of His Father. His suggestion is that God is either too busy at the moment, too unconcerned, or too something to take care of Him. There is a subtle pressure here to act upon His own, independent of the Father. He is implying that His Father, not loving Him as He should, is not taking proper care of Him.

The temptation comes from within, not from without. He’s not in a sinless paradise, as Adam was, but a wilderness.

Matthew 15:11,17-19

11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

Matthew 4 continued

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

This demonstrates that God’s word is more important than food or any other material thing.

Question:  Does your intake of the Word of God give the impression that you understand that consuming the Word every day is more important than consuming food every day? Have you been tempted [or yielded] to believe the material is more important than the spiritual?

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, [Look who’s quoting scripture!] He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. [Emphasis added]

Quoted from Psalm 91:11-12

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Eve, in the Garden, didn’t know her doctrine, but Jesus does.

Jesus had STUDIED the Scriptures to learn them just as we must. He knows Satan misstated the passage and, therefore, misused it.

II Timothy 2:15

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Colossians 1:9-11

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

Matthew 4 continued

Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Hebrews 4:12

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

II Timothy 3:16-17

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

II Timothy 2:15

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Romans 6:13

13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

To avoid responsibility for sin, man seeks to deny the existence of right and wrong.

Isaiah 5:20

20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Concluding Principles: 

We must be willing to take responsibility for our decisions. We also need to learn through the influence of God’s Word that, despite how things may seem, committing sin is never to our advantage. Therefore, with that objective understanding, we must learn to choose not to yield to it. We must realize that sin always has negative consequences and is, therefore, never to our advantage to perform.

Romans 6:12-13

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Remember: The life you build will be more a product of your own decisions than anything else. Therefore, if you want a great life of blessing, take the initiative to learn God’s Word and choose to live by it. Otherwise, you will build a life filled with regrets and frustrations.

 

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