Grace for a Purpose Driven Life Chapters 26, 27, & 28

May 8, 2004

I.  Understanding God’s Grace – Romans 6

A.  You don’t HAVE to sin.

- that’s where the power of God’s grace comes into the spiritual equation

-because you have been set free from the law of sin and death, you are not BOUND to the old nature – the old nature is crucified with Christ

  • Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
  • Romans 6:11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness . . .

Point: You don’t HAVE to sin – you choose to sin!

-  This is the PUT OFF of Eph. 4:22-24 – we need to put off our selfish choices and realize . . .

B.  You can CHOOSE to please God and be Christlike.

- Notice the 2nd½ of Rom. 6:13

  • Romans 6:13 . . . but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

- Thankfully – God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us accomplish this and we realize that we cannot pull this off by ourselves!

Cf. John 14:16-17, 26

C.  Consider the following questions:

1.  What does Christlikeness look like?

  • Galatians 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

2.  How then, does the Holy Spirit produce these nine fruit in your life?

- AS YOU OBEY HIS WORD, submitting yourself to the Lordship of Christ, He supernaturally does a work of grace in your heart

- But only as you APPLY the Word of God to your life – seeking to be a DOER of it!

3.  Does He create them instantly?

- No – many of the verbs that are related to our spiritual growth are ‘present tense’ – i.e. continual, or on going

  • 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

grow= be continually growing, all the time, don’t ever stop, as a way of life!

Quote:  “Fruit always matures and ripens slowly.”

D.  The Law of “Opposites

- That’s simply means this:

>  God develops the fruit of the Spirit in your life by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you’re tempted to express the exact opposite quality.

- Take each of the fruit and complete the sentences:

  • God teaches us love by . . . [putting unloving people in our lives]
  • God teaches us real joy . . . [by facing disappointments, discouragements]
  • God develops real peace within us, not by making things go the way we planned, but . .

Point:  God uses the opposite situation of each fruit to allow us a choice!

II.  How Temptation Works – Genesis 3

-  It helps to know the Satan is entirely predictable (same strategy since Gen. 3)

-  All temptations follow the same pattern.

A.  Satan identifies a DESIRE inside of you.

  • James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.14But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

Lust = strong desire (not automatically bad, depends on the context of the use of the word – e.g. Paul told Timothy that to desire (same Greek word) the office of a pastor, was to desire a good work!

- This is exactly what occurred in Gen. 3:

  • Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

B.  DOUBT – Satan tries to get you to doubt what God has said about the sin.

  • Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"

- This is why it’s so important for you to KNOW the Word of God (it removes the doubt)

  • Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

C.  DECEPTION

  • Genesis 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die!

- That was not only a deceiving statement – it was LIE!

- God (who practices FULL DISCLOSURE in His communication – [Is there a lesson there?] had already told them, “The day you eat of it, you will surely die” – Gen. 2:17.

  • John 8:44  You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

- That’s where knowing the truth and choosing to let God’s Word be our source of truth is so important!

D.  DEIFICATION of Man

  • Genesis 3:5For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

- That’s a nice way of saying, “Who is going to be worshipped?”

- This is the heart and soul of ALL temptation – Who is going to God? Who has earned the right to be obeyed? Who is going to be the final authority in all maters?

Point: THAT pattern hasn’t changed in 6,000 years – and it works!

- So how do you overcome it?  Avoid falling into the trap/deception/lies/lust of the flesh

III.  Overcoming Temptation

A.  Understand it’s no sin to be TEMPTED

- Jesus was tempted, yet He never sinned.

  • Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

- You will never be able to avoid it completely.

- It’s no sin to be tempted; it’s a sin to give into the temptation!

Quote:  “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” – Martin Luther

B.  Don’t ‘BAIT the HOOK

  • James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

entice is a fishing term = lit. to bait a hook

>  it basically means don’t set yourself up – don’t make it EASY for yourself to sin

- It’s exactly what Paul meant when he said:

  • Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

C.  Be PREPARED & WATCHFUL for when it comes!

- Part of our preparation for spiritual warfare is putting on the whole armor of God – one piece of which is the ‘sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God’ [Ephesians 6:10-18]

  • 1 Peter 5:8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Input: What are some questions we can ask ourselves that would demonstrate a ‘watchful’ or ‘prepared’ attitude toward temptation?

Examples:  When am I most tempted? / What day of the week? / What time of day? / Where am I most tempted (work, home, place of entertainment, airport, motel room, beach, etc.)? Who is with me? What do I typically start thinking when I start to head down the path of sinful choices?

  • Ephesians 4:27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.

opportunity = a beach head, or a landing place – similar to military on D-Day at the beach of Normandy – don’t give him an opportunity to do more damage

Point: That’s one of his points of deception, “It’s only a little, it won’t hurt that bad!”

D.  ASK GOD for help

  • Psalm 50:15Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.
  • Ephesians 6:18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.

 

Input:  Why don’t we turn to Him more often?

  • We really want to give in to temptation
  • We’re embarrassed to ask God for help (pride – I can do this on my own)
  • Wrong view of grace (under grace, I can live whatever way I want!)
  • Romans 6:1-2What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

“Temptations keep us dependent upon God.  Just as the roots grow stronger when wind blows against a tree, so every time you stand up to a temptation you become more like Jesus.  When you stumble – which you will – it is not fatal.  Instead of giving in or giving up, look up to God, expect him to help you, and remember the reward that is waiting for you..” – p 208

E.  REPLACE that sinful habit of thinking/activity with biblical thinking/actions

  • If you loose the battle for the mind, you’ll loose the battle for the body.
  • Job 31:1"I have made a covenant with my eyes; How then could I gaze at a virgin?
  • Psalm 119:37Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways.

“Temptation begins by capturing your attention.  What gets your attention arouses your emotions.  Then your emotions activate your behavior, and you act on what you felt.  The more you focus on “I don’t want to do this,” the stronger it draws you into its web.” – p 211

  • Your mind is your most vulnerable organ
  • Discuss the principle of replacement
  • Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.

F.  REVEAL your struggle to a godly friend(s) [married:  start with spouse]

  • Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
    • We like to sin in private, but God sees us –
  • Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
    • Satan wants you to think that your sin and temptation are unique so you must keep them a secret.  The truth is, we’re all I the same boat.
    • Consider these questions:
    • What are you pretending isn’t a problem in your life?
    • What are you afraid to talk about?

G.  RESIST the Devil

  • You do that though HUMILITY – place yourself under the authority of God – e.g. Jesus’ temptation – John 4
  • Every time Satan suggested a temptation, Jesus countered by quoting Scripture.
  • Memorizing Scripture is absolutely essential to defeating temptation.
  • Psalm 119:9How 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.

H.  Remember, spiritual growth takes TIME!

“There are no shortcuts to maturity!” – p. 217