- Text: Eph. 6:10,11.
- Lot made a serious mistake when he moved his family to the depraved environment of Sodom, but it is to his credit that he continued to be vexed by what was around him - 2 Pt. 2:7,8.
- What effect does our ungodly environment have on us today?
- Temptation is becoming an ever more powerful daily experience.
- We are surrounded by it as a result of the new "pluralism" of our society, the decaying morals of our culture, the pervasive influence of the media, etc.
- The typical high school student "faces more temptation on his way to school each morning than his grandfather did on Saturday night when he was out looking for it" (James Dobson).
- Dealing rightly with temptation is one valuable way we can influence those we come in contact with.
I. Understanding Temptation
- A "temptation" is not the exactly same as a "trial" -- a trial is simply a difficulty that tests and strengthens our faith, while a temptation is specifically an enticement to sin - Jas. 1:2,3,13-15. Cf. Mt. 6:13.
- God is not the originator of temptation; Satan is - Jas. 1:13. Cf. Mt. 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:5.
- It is not a sin to be tempted -- sin occurs when our will gives assent to the temptation - Hb. 4:15. Cf. Jas. 1:14,15.
- The three avenues through which the devil tempted Eve (Gen. 3:6) and the Lord (Mt. 4:1-11) are the three basic ways temptation is always presented - 1 Jn. 2:16.
- Satan is shrewd -- he makes the "passing pleasures of sin" (Hb. 11:25) look attractive by concealing their real consequences - 2 Cor. 2:11; 11:3. Cf. Jn. 8:44; 1 Thess. 3:5; Rev. 12:9.
- His basic lie is: your situation is unique! Cf. Gal. 6:7,8.
- The devil never gives up on us. Cf. Lk. 4:13.
II. Dealing Soberly with Temptation
- Temptation is serious business -- it is dangerous to be naive or overconfident about it. Cf. Mk. 14:38.
- We are being foolish if we think:
- We won't be tempted.
- Temptation will hold no power over us.
- We will easily defeat temptation.
- We can't succumb to temptation.
- None of us is exempt from temptation or immune to its power - 1 Cor. 10:12. Cf. Gal. 6:1.
- We need to be able to recognize temptation for what it is.
- We need to have the insight and honesty to identify the points at which we are personally most vulnerable to sin -- it is dangerous for Satan to know more about our "Achilles heel" than we do.
- We need to learn from our own past failures in regard to temptation.
- We need to listen to the wisdom and warnings of others who have "been there."
- We cannot go "out of the world" (1 Cor. 5:10), but we can take steps to avoid unnecessary temptation - Mt. 6:13.
- Strength and courage are not the same as foolhardiness -- discretion is often the better part of valor - e.g. 2 Tim. 2:22. Cf. 1 Cor. 6:18; 10:14; 1 Tim. 6:11.
- When temptation cannot be avoided, we can resist it. We are not the helpless victims of forces completely beyond our control - 1 Pt. 5:8,9.
- We need to determine not to "defile ourselves" - e.g. Dan. 1:8. Cf. Job 31:1.
- We need to "be strong and of good courage" (Josh. 1:9). Cf. 1 Cor. 16:13.
- We must both "resist the devil" and "submit to God" (Jas. 4:7,8) -- one without the other is not enough.
- Many people talk about submitting to God, but few are willing to resist the devil.
- We must be decisive: "No! I will not do this!" Cf. Gen. 39:9.
III. Dealing With Temptation in the Strength of God
- We won't be able to deal effectively with temptation if we don't accept God's help - Eph. 6:10-13. Cf. 2 Cor. 6:7.
- The Lord defeated Satan with a steadfast "It is written" -- one of the most important things we can do is store up God's word in our hearts - Psa. 119:11. Cf. Eph. 6:17.
- God "knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations" (2 Pt. 2:9). Cf. Rom. 16:20; Hb. 7:25.
- God promises to protect us - 1 Pt. 1:5. Cf. Lk. 22:31,32; Jn. 10:28,29; Phil. 4:7,13; 2 Pt. 1:10,11; 1 Jn. 5:4,5,18.
- God is a faithful God.
- He is faithful to help us deal with temptation - 1 Cor. 10:13.
- He is faithful to forgive us when we stumble - 1 Jn. 1:9.
- As society around us degenerates, the ability to withstand temptation becomes more and more critical.
- If we are to survive, we are going to have to learn to live in the world without being of the world. Cf. Jn. 17:15,16.
- Others have successfully faced every temptation we can encounter -- we are not alone in the struggle - 1 Cor. 10:13.
- We owe it to those around us to demonstrate that it is possible to overcome temptation - Phil. 2:15.
- "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Mt. 5:16).
Gary Henry - WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com