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.

Resisting Temptation

… 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.

Common Temptations

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.

The Seven Deadly Sins

You know the “Seven deadly sins” catalogued by theologians centuries ago. They are:

  • Greed (the desire and pursuit of more and more wealth or possessions or power)
  • Anger (the kind of anger exposed when you lose your temper; anger that produces
  • hate and desires vengeance)
  • Envy (the green-eyed monster that is jealous of what someone else has or receives)
  • Lust (which usually refers to unbridled sexual desire)
  • Gluttony (overindulgence of food, habitually eating too much)
  • Sloth (which refers to laziness, or the unwillingness and failure to do what we ought to
  • do)

Other Temptations

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:

  • Worry: Are you a worrier?
  • Gossip: Do you have loose lips?
  • Procrastination: Do you put off until tomorrow (or some other time) what you should
  • have done yesterday?
  • Workaholism: Are you addicted to work? Or tempted to work too much?
  • Are you tempted to spend too much time on media?
  • Are you tempted to spend money on things you can’t afford?
  • Lying: Do you deliberately distort or shade the truth?
  • Cheating (at school, on your taxes, in your work)
  • Stealing
  • The excessive use or abuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Gambling
  • Viewing pornography or any sexually explicit material: For men especially, this is a
  • powerful temptation.
  • Sexual sin of any kind (what the Bible calls porneia)
  • Saying things or posting things on social media meant to tear others down or to inflict
  • wounds
  • Taking credit that rightly belongs to someone else (which is actually a form of
  • stealing)

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.

Rely on the Word of God

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 is NOT Futile

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.

January 24, 2021

Hebrews 2:10-11; 14-18

Dr. Neil Smith

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