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God’s Faithfulness in times of Temptation 5-23-04

Notes & Transcripts

God’s Faithfulness in times of Temptation

 

Preached in Southbridge on May 23, 2004

Lesson Text: 1 Corinthians 10:13

1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Introduction

            I have on occasion fallen into the trap of thinking that if I have been tempted with something then I have sinned. I don’t know if that has happened to any of you but that is so untrue. We have not sinned just because we have been tempted with something. I don’t know where that idea came from but it’s far from the truth. 

I want us to take a moment and define Temptation and sin.

TEMPTA'TION, n. The act of tempting; enticement to evil by arguments, by flattery, or by the offer of some real or apparent good.

SIN, n.

Any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity.

Let’s take a look at some examples of people being tempted in the scriptures.

Gen 3:1-7 now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,

but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So 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 to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

            Note that they were tempted to disobey but it wasn’t until they took the forbidden fruit that they sinned.

2Sa 11:1-14 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house.

            Again we see a situation where there is a temptation followed by sin so the act of sinning and Temptation or being tempted are not the same thing, although sin often follows temptation.

Let’s take a look at a few more scriptures and see a little cleared that bring tempted is not the same as sinning.

           

Mar 1:12-13 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

 

Here we have Christ tempted by Satan and yet in 1 Peter 2:22 it says:

 

1Pe 2:22  He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.

            So we see that to be tempted is not the same as sinning. Jesus was tempted and yet the scriptures state that He was without sin.

           

Temptation is not unique to us

            Another important thing to remember is that I will never be tempted with something that is unique to me and you will never be tempted with something that is unique to you.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man“.

 

            Now I don’t know how much comfort that gives you but it may help to know that others have struggled with the same temptations in fact scripture states:

Heb 4:15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

            Even if we were the only ones to every be tempted with greed, the fact remains that we are not alone Christ has been tempted in every way that we are. He is our example.

God is Faithful: God is faithful

 

            As we move on in this passage of scripture we find the statement that God is faithful. And I want to take a moment as we did before and give a quick definition.

Faithful

            Trust worthy, steadfast, like a rock,

There is an old story about a man and his dog. Basically the man loved and cared for this dog. Well, one day the man dies and is buried. His dog lies next to the man’s grave site day after day. At a certain time of day a bell sounds and the man’s dog would go to a certain store and the owner would feed and water the dog and then back to the grave site the dog goes to lay next to the man’s buried body. This goes on till the dog dies 12 years later.

That’s what we’re talking about a constant faithfulness. No matter how weird that may sound that is still a picture of faithfulness.

           

            Faithfulness is one of the characteristics of God's ethical nature. It denotes the firmness or constancy of God in His relations with men, especially with His people. It is, accordingly, one aspect of God's truth and of His unchangeableness.

 

 God's faithfulness is implied in those passages where God is called a rock, as being the secure object of trust.

            We remember the passage were Jesus talks of a wise man and a foolish man. The wise man was the one who puts Christ’s words into practice and is pictured as building his house on a rock. Solid. Trustworthy and firm. God is said to be a rock because he is steadfast and if He makes a promise he keeps that promise.

Psa 33:4 For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.

Psa 111:7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy;

Psa 145:13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.]

            So God is faithful, He can be trusted. Whatever He says can be trusted and counted on.

            The next part of the passage we are looking at today states that “he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

We will not be overwhelmed by temptation

            Before I was a Christian I remember being overwhelmed with desires and temptations, whether it was with drinking or whatever. It was almost as if I was in the ocean and a wave of temptation was almost always washing over me just being pummeled with temptations. Does anyone ever remember a time before you were in Christ that you felt like that?

The Perfect Storm

            As a Christian in Christ God doesn’t allow us to be overwhelmed by temptation. You remember the movie ”The Perfect Storm” were the boat comes up to this enormous wave and it starts to ride up it but the wave is just to big? The boat starts to slide back and the wave just capsizes that boat and it sinks. That’s what it may have been for us before we were in Christ, but now God allows us to be tempted but not to be drowned by temptation. He knows what we can handle and allows only as much as we can handle.

            Now that in no way means it’s going to be a breeze we will have struggles but be assured that you can overcome temptations in your life. I can overcome temptation in my life because God is faithful and has told us that we will only get what we can handle, when it comes to temptation.

            That is, I think a wonderful truth.

Endurance and escape

            But that’s not all. God provides us with strength and a way out.

Escape and / or endurance: he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

If you were in a race but you didn’t know how far you had to run or were the finish line way or even if there was a finish line that would be a very difficult race to finish.

            God is faithful and has told us that there is an end and that He has given us the ability to finish the race and not only that but you and I have God on our side giving us encouragement in these time saying keep going I know you can make it keep going don’t give in and don’t give up,

 

 

God tells us how to overcome temptation

 

            God in his word gives us ways we can overcome temptation and stand strong. I am going to list just a couple.

1Co 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality.

1Co 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

2Ti 2:21-24  Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue

righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,

 

            We are told to flee and to pursue. Flee sinful things, things that can tempt us and pursue righteous things.

            So we can run and avoid the things, people and places that tempt us or influence us to sin. A person doesn’t go to a bar if they are tempted to drink and get drunk. A person avoids or runs from situations were sexual immoral things could happen.

            But what do we seek? Righteousness, Seek God and his guidance in times of testing seek God. Read the word, quote the word or sing the word. Christ defeated Satan and his tempting by quoting the written word we need to follow Christ’s example.

Mat 4:1-11 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Jesus quotes the written word; He has kept his eyes on what God says. We can and should learn from Him.

Conclusion:

   Martin Luther once said:

“Temptations, of course, cannot be avoided, but because we cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads, there is no need that we should let them nest in our hair.”

-- Martin Luther, "Martin Luther--The Early Years," Christian History, no. 34.

Let’s not fall into the trap of giving in and giving up.

Don’t be worried when you are tempted God is on your side and you can overcome with His help.

1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

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