In this sermon, Pastor Neil continues his series on the temptations of Jesus. He talks about common temptations and how we can stand up against them. Here are some excerpts.
… The Bible gives us this explicit counsel for dealing with the tempter and the temptations with which he attempts to ruin our lives:
James 4:7-8: “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Submit to God. Resist the devil. Draw near to God. In The Message it says: “Let God work His will in you. Yell a loud no to the devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and He’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life.”
1 Peter 5:9: “Resist him (i.e., the devil who is on the prowl like a hungry lion), standing firm in the faith.”
God has promised in His Word that when you are tempted, He will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it (1 Corinthians 10:13). Sometimes a temptation is so strong that the only way to resist it, the only way to stand up under it, is to get out of there. To run for your life. Maybe even literally, like Joseph did, when he found himself in a compromising situation with the wife of Potiphar in Genesis 39. The best course is to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you know temptation looms like that hungry lion on the prowl.
What are some of the most common temptations people struggle with today? I don’t know exactly what temptations you may be most susceptible to, but I think we can come up with a list of at least some of the temptations that are common today.
You know the “Seven deadly sins” catalogued by theologians centuries ago. They are:
If you take an honest look in the mirror, you may be able to identify with one or more of these “deadly sins.” But there are other temptations that may be challenging in your life:
Have I named the temptation(s) to which you are most vulnerable? Some temptations are easily conquered. Some are much more difficult and may require “eternal vigilance” as long as you live. But you must never forget that resistance is not futile. With the help of the Holy Spirit, you can resist the devil successfully.
In looking at the temptations of Jesus in the desert, we saw that Jesus relied on the Word of God to resist the devil. At the risk of sounding like a broken record or a repeating CD, I want to say again that there is no substitute for the Bible in dealing with temptation in your life and mine. Jesus relied on it in His dealings with the devil. If it was good enough for Him, it sure is good enough for us! You cannot benefit from the Bible when you face temptations if you don’t know what the Bible says. You must read God’s Word and hide it in your heart so that you may not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11)…
Resistance to temptation is not futile. You are not doomed to fail. We’ve heard a lot about “The Resistance” in our country in the last 4 years or more. You can be part of “The Resistance” against temptation and sin in all its forms, against the devil in all his ways. Let’s be that kind of “Resistance” in the life of our country. If you draw near to the Lord in prayer, He will draw near to you. He has given you His Word to enable you to resist the devil. In the power of the Holy Spirit, you can defeat the devil. Just as Jesus did in the desert. When you are tempted, Jesus can and will help you. He has been through it, what it is like, and how to resist the devil, standing firm in the faith.
When you fail, when you fall short, when you give in to temptation, remember that God is merciful and gracious. He is a forgiving God. He does not treat us as our sins deserve. Nor does He repay us according to all the evil inclinations of our hearts (Psalm 103:8, 10). So you can take heart.