- We are continuing our series this morning on: Finding Hope in the Promises of God
- We need to remember God keeps ALL His promises because He is holy:
- We looked at what Peter said in 1 Peter 1:16 ‘You shall be holy for I am holy’ – and how Peter was quoting Moses’ writings in Lev. 11:44-45
- three weeks ago we studied 1 Cor. 10:13 and saw how we can have hope:
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
- I trust that study was helpful to you and challenging to you!
- two weeks ago we focused on 2 Corinthians 12:9: Finding Hope in God’s Sufficient Grace
- 2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
- no matter what situation you are facing, God’s UNMERITED FAVOR is sufficient for you!
- Last week we studied Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount -- a strong emphasis on Kingdom living and what it looks like to be part of God’s family!
> specifically, Matthew 7:7-11: Finding Hope in the Promises of Prayerbecause . . .
I. God Commands Us to Pray! – v. 7-8 – ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK
II. God Answers our Prayers! – v. 7-8 – RECEIVE, FIND, OPENED
III. God Models What He Expects from Us! – v. 9-11
- This morning our study focuses on God’s Promise Regarding Temptation – James 1:13-18
- Think for a moment about this very important question:
Q: When you hear the term temptation, what flashes into your mind? What pictures or emotions come to the surface when you hear that word? [various answers]
Point: Temptation comes in all shapes, all sizes, all forms, and nobody is exempt!
1. But there is hope, because whatever comes to your mind when you hear the word TEMPTATION, God has some answers:
- How to PREVENT giving into temptation
- How to HANDLE the problem when you blow it
- . . . AND some PROMISES about temptation that we need to remember as a CAUTION – to help us remember that * CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES!
2. The Word of God is so sufficient that we don’t have to list every form of temptation in order to help each person – though we will deal specifically with some –
- God has given us some very specific truths that apply to ALL areas of life:
- 2 Peter 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
3. Let’s be honest, we all struggle with temptation (i.e. opportunities to sin) – and we ought to be concerned about the attrition rate of those in God’s army – people just like us . . .
- who were once faithful to their spouse, family, the Lord, and their local church
- but have refused to deal w/sin in a way consistent w/God’s Word & have forsaken righteousness
8. We have to remember the admonition Paul gave the church at Corinth:
- 1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
- In our time remaining, I want to study 4 principles from James 1:13-15 that help us understand the process of temptation and can help us to overcome it
[Read James 1:13-18]
#1: Hope: God Tells Us Where Temptation Begins: Our DESIRES
- let me mention a few things about “desires”
A. God created us with the ability to desire.
- if you don’t have a desire for food, you wouldn’t eat
- if you don’t have a desire for rest, you wouldn’t sleep
“desire” is not wrong in and of itself (1 Timothy 3:1 “If a man desires the office of a bishop, he desires a good thing” – it’s the same word – Greek: epithumei )
B. We often misuse or pervert those desires.
- food --- came become gluttony
- rest --- came become laziness
C. Our desires reveal the kind of person we are on the inside.
Note: We can repent at this level – a wrong desire itself is an indication of a need to change
- that’s why God’s word puts so much emphasis on the ‘heart’ (inner man)
- Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
- Matthew 15:19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
- we also have to remember that …
D. Our desires are an act of the will (we chose to want what we want)
- with the help of the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God, we can control our thoughts/desires:
- 2 Corinthians 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
Quote: Behind every sinful act is a process of wicked thinking – Bob Jones, Sr.
Point: *Desires can be changed – put off/put on
- 2 questions to ask when facing temptation to determine if my desire has become an IDOL (something more important than pleasing God)
1) How do I respond when I don’t get what I want?
2) Am I willing to sin in order to get it?
- we not only have hope because God tells us where temptation begins, but . . .
#2. Hope: God Tells Us How It Continues: With DECEITFULNESS
- James uses 2 fishing terms “draw away” and “entice”
“entice” (fishing term) = lit. to bait a hook
Point: * Desires have the ability to “draw us away” – i.e. to minimize the consequences of our choices if we decide to sin
- compare this to what happened in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3)
- Satan is a LIAR and the FATHER OF LIES – he is a master DECEIVER
- He minimizes the consequences – Satan, the world, or our own flesh can BAIT THE HOOD
“Temptation always carries with it some bait that appeals to our natural desires. The bait not only attracts us, but is also hides the fact that yielding to the desire will eventually bring sorrow and punishment. It is the bait that is the exciting thing. THE BAIT KEEPS US FROM SEEING THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN.” – Warren Wiersbe
- think of it this way: World/Man’s View: (Big box of Pleasure, little box of consequences)
God’s View: (Big box consequences, little box of pleasure)
- Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Point: Don’t be deceived
- if you’re on the path – STOP – “repent and do the first works”
- if you’re thinking about the sin – don’t go there – there is a great price to be paid!
#3: Hope: God Tells How Temptation Continues: With DISOBEDIENCE
- at some point, you have to decide: Am I going to SIN or not sin?
- James changes the picture form hunting/fishing to the BIRTH OF A BABY
* The process of sin/temptation goes something like this:
- Desire conceives a METHOD for taking the bait
- The will APPROVES & ACTS
- The evidence is SIN
Note: Whether we feel it or not, we’re hooked and trapped – the baby is born!
- and wait till it matures – it will bring “destruction” like you have never imagined.
- That’s why it’s so important to deal with the DESIRE and repent at that level
- Cf. Romans 6:11-13 [read]
#4: Hope: God Promises How Temptation Concludes: DEATH
* Death is form of separation and could apply to many areas!
- from God (as fellowship is broken)
- from other people (as offences raise barriers)
- from jobs, ministries, etc. (as qualifications are not met)
* When you are faced with temptation, get your eyes off the bait and LOOK AHEAD to see the consequences of sin! – THERE’s HOPE IN HANDLING TEMPTATION (God told how!!)
- Granted, this isn’t the most encouraging promise from God
- But it’s still truth and we have to deal with it
- This promise about DEATH being the final result of temptation and giving in to that temptation, is similar to the promise God made in Ezekiel:
- Ezekiel 18:4 "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.
> that’s the truth – God practices full disclosure!
1. The hope we have is that God has an answer for death
> eternal death = i.e. the Gospel – Jesus rose from the dead – salvation in Christ
> ‘death’ as a result of giving into the temptation:
- Jesus was ‘tempted’ in every way like we are, yet He never sinned (He chose to please the Father!).
- we have the presence of the Holy Spirit . . . the power of His Word
- Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.10 With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.
2. The Final Hope of God’s Promises: 1 John 1:6-10 – A Promise of Forgiveness!
- READ 1 John 1:6-10
- v. 9 = A GREAT PROMISE . . . but it does have a CONDITION (‘if we confess” = to say the same thing God would say about our choice)