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Overcoming Temptation

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OVERCOMING TEMPTATION

James 1:12-15



James 1:12-15 (NIV) 2 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.[i]

I.  THINGS I KNOW ABOUT TEMPTATION

A.   God does not tempt any one.

1.      James 1:13 (NIV) 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; [ii]

2.     No one should say that God is even indirectly responsible for temptation to evil. He is in no way and to no degree responsible, directly or indirectly, for our being tempted.[iii]

3.     The Greek word,  used by James carries the idea of being untemptable, without the capacity for temptation. It is the same as being invincible to assaults of evil. In other words, the nature of evil makes it inherently foreign to God[iv]

4.     To some Christians, Jesus’ instructions about prayer, commonly called the Lord’s Prayer, suggest that God can, if He wants, “lead us into temptation,” and that we should therefore earnestly beseech Him instead to “deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13). But the idea there is that we should ask our heavenly Father not to lead us into a testing of our faith that, because of our immaturity and weakness, could become unbearable temptation to evil.[v]

5.     God and evil exist in two distinct realms that never meet. He has no vulnerability to evil and is utterly impregnable to its onslaughts. He is aware of evil but untouched by it, like a sunbeam shining on a dump is untouched by the trash.[vi]

B.   God allows us to be tempted.

1.     God allowed Job to be tempted by Satan.

a)     Job 1:12 (NIV) 12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. [vii]

b)    God allows the trials in which temptation can occur, not to solicit believers to sin, but to move them to greater endurance[viii]

(1)  Elihu said that God was chastening Job to make him a better man, and that was partly true. But the fundamental reason for Job’s suffering was to silence the blasphemous accusations of Satan and prove that a man would honor God even though he had lost everything. It was a battle “in the heavenlies” (Eph. 6:12), but Job did not know it.

2.     Job’s life was a battlefield where the forces of God and Satan were engaged in a spiritual struggle to decide the question, “Is Jehovah God worthy of man’s worship?”[ix]

3.     Each one emphasizes the universality of temptation, from which no person is immune. Every human being is tempted; there are no exceptions. The present tense underscores the continuing, repeated, and inescapable reality of the process, which occurs when a person is carried away and enticed by his own lust.[x]

C.   Temptation presents a choice, we do not have to give in to it.

1.     “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation” (1:12).

2.     Animals and fish are successfully lured to traps and hooks because the bait is too attractive for them to resist. It looks good and smells good, appealing strongly to their senses. Their desire for the bait is so intense that it causes them to lose caution and to overlook or ignore the trap or the hook until it is too late.In exactly the same way, we succumb to temptation when our own lust draws us toward evil things that are appealing to fleshly desire. [xi]

D.   God will help us concerning the right choice.

1.     1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.[xii]

a)    Temptations are never unique experiences to us. We can never have a temptation that has not been experienced by millions of other people. Circumstances differ but basic temptations do not. Even the Son of God was “tempted in all things as we are” (Heb. 4:15), and because of that “He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (2:18).[xiii]

b)    Not only are temptations common to men but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.

(1)  No believer can claim that he was overwhelmed by temptation or that “the devil made me do it.” No one, not even Satan, can make us sin. He cannot even make an unbeliever sin.
(2)  No temptation is inherently stronger than our spiritual resources. People sin because they willingly sin.[xiv]

II. FIVE STEPS DOWN

A.   Drawn away by your lust (inward desire) v.14.

B.   Enticed (outward) v. 14.

C.   Lust conceived (desire grows) v.15.

D.   Brings forth sin (action) v.15

E.   Brings forth death (consequences) v.15.

III. The consequences of sin are both immediate and postponed till after death.

A.   Immediately we will experience the broken relationship with the Lord

B.   Postponed will be the judgment of God of our actions.

IV. HOW TO FACE AND OVERCOME TEMPTATION.

A.   Realize God is there for you.

1.      “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able” (I Corinthians 10:13).

B.   Realize God has wisdom about your temptation.

1.     “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation” (II Peter 2:9).

C.   Realize God has a way of escape.

1.     “God is faithful will also make a way of escape” (I Corinthians 10:13).

D.   Realize God knows your weakness.

1.     “God will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able” (I Corinthians 10:13).

E.   Realize our example Christ overcame temptation,

1.     “We have a great high priest Jesus, the Son of God who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

F.    Realize Christ prays for us to overcome temptation.

1.     . “He (Christ) is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

G.  Realize Christ wants us to overcome temptation.

1.     “Let therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

H.   Realize that temptations can get you discouraged, so that you give up and sin.

1.      “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, through now for a season ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations” (I Peter 1:6).

I.       Temptation is not sin, but will get you thinking negatively.

J.    Negative thoughts (discourgments) will cause you to give up.

K.   Pray for help in temptation.

1.     “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

L.    Recognize you belong to God.

1.     “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

M. Yield yourself to God.

1.      “Neither yield ye your members as instruments…to sin, but yield yourselves unto God” (Romans 6:13).

N.   Just say no.

1.     “Let not sin reign in your mortal body” (Romans 6:12).

O.  Just say yes.

1.     “Ye have obeyed from the heart” (Romans 6:17).

V. If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:

Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God. Please contact me at jonathan@trbc.org and tell us about your salvation experience so that we can rejoice with you


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[i]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.

[ii]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.

[iii]John MacArthur, James (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1998), 46.

[iv]John MacArthur, James (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1998), 47.

[v]John MacArthur, James (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1998), 48.

[vi]John MacArthur, James (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1998), 47.

[vii]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.

[viii]John MacArthur, James (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1998), 49.

[ix]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Patient, An Old Testament study. (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996, c1991), Job 1:6.

[x]John MacArthur, James (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1998), 49.

[xi]John MacArthur, James (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1998), 49.

[xii]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.

[xiii]John MacArthur, 1 Corinthians, Includes Indexes. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996, c1984), 228.

[xiv]John MacArthur, 1 Corinthians, Includes Indexes. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996, c1984), 229.

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