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Enduring temptation

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Samer

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Taught at church March 24, 2010.

James 1:12-16 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (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. (16) Do not err, my beloved brethren.

We read of celebrities falling into destructive sin—adultery, wife-beating, murder, drug abuse...
Some of them try to make it right themselves, through counseling, therapy, recovery programs...
Others, the system tries to rehabilitate in jail.
By and large, the sinner will return to his sin, and is only worse and harder-hearted in the end.

But these are lost sinners! Christians could never do these things, right? Wrong... God warns us not to be prideful, for we have the same old flesh they do. 1 Cor. 10:12: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
Consider the case of Samson and David—both mighty men of God. They thought they could have a taste of sinful pleasure and get along ok. But their temptations brought them crashing down, and ruined their testimony and lives.

Temptation is there, and no one is exempt—these things are common to man.
1 Cor. 10:13: “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.”

Samson should have escaped. He tried to overcome Delilah in his own strength, but she badgered him to death and he gave in. He shouldn't have loved a woman who didn't love the Lord.
David should have been at the battle. The moment he realized Bathsheba was bathing, he should have ran. The second look gave in to the lust and ensured sin and death, when he purposefully set his eyes upon her. Lam. 3:51: “Mine eye affecteth mine heart.” Jesus expounded this in Luke 11:34,35. If you look at the wrong things, it will defile your whole body and transform your heart. David thought it would be safe just to look, but the sinful sights coming in caused sinful thoughts in his heart, and soon sinful and deadly actions came out in his life. “Do not err, my beloved brethren.”

Consider another biblical example—Joseph. When Potiphar's wife seduced him, he didn't stand up to her and say no—he literally ran away like a coward! Is that shameful?

There is no harm in acknowledging our flesh is weak. Instead of running into temptation ready to fight, God suggests we flee. 1 Cor. 10:14: “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” Of course, covetousness is idolatry (Col. 3:5), and this extends to the love of money and the lust of adultery (1 Tim. 6:11, 1 Cor. 6:18, 2 Tim. 2:22). Our calling isn't to go to the booze joints, gambling halls, and pervert clubs, and win them to Christ. Our calling isn't to date the lost to win them to Christ. Our calling is to live sOBerly, righteously, and godly in this present world, to flee from sin and bring God glory, and in that context, with that testimony, to preach the gospel to the lost.

When temptation comes, the flesh will want to play with it. How can we be encouraged to flee?

Col 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Rom 6:6-13 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (7) For he that is dead is freed from sin. (8) Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (9) Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. (10) For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (11) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (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.

(Really, all of Romans 6!)

Next time you want to lie, steal, or disOBey your parents, remember that lies, thefts, and disOBedience nailed Jesus to the cross. They were nailed there with him as ordinances we broke, and they caused Him to be nailed there. When you're tempted to do the things you did before you were saved, remember, your old man is why the Son of God had to come as a man and suffer shame and agony on the cross. You’re not that person anymore, because that person died. I am crucified with Christ—Gal. 2:20. When Jesus was on the cross, He died as you. He was crucified for your sins instead of you paying the punishment yourself. By Jesus shedding His blood for you and dying the death you deserved, God forgives you. When you think of your sin as nailing Jesus to the cross, it should cause you to hate that sin, and flee the temptation of it. Remember: you're dead to sin now, and alive in Christ, and Christ is in you (Col. 1:27). When temptation arises, picture your sinful nature crucified with Christ. He died for you, to wash your sins away, so now He can live in you, and help you flee temptation and do right. 1 Cor. 10:31—Live no longer by ordinances and rules, but live for God's glory, out of a principle of love.

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I would often sing the song "O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E" as a small child, and now that I think about it; it is a true reflection of our love for Christ and His commandments. Jesus said:


He that hath my commandments, and [keepeth them], he it is that [loveth me]: and [he that loveth] me shall be [loved of my Father], and [I will love him], and will [manifest myself] to him. (John 14:21)

Those who keep the commandments of God fall into two camps: Those who keep it out of LOVE for Christ; and those who keep it out of a feeling of obligation (e.g., Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses). For US who keep the commandments because we want to PLEASE the Lord (cf. Jn.8:29) . . . God will *reveal* Himself to us in an a way far beyond any human relationship or bond. I can testify of this as He is literally by my side each and every moment of my life -- more than any man or woman can EVER BE.

God Bless!

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