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Temptation And Sin

Scripture: Matthew 6:9-13; Text: Matthew 6:13

We continue our look at the Model Prayer of our Lord. There are many lessons that we need to learn and understand and the one before us is very important for it affects us all. Our Lord said to ask that God not lead us into temptation. What does He mean by that statement? We we know that He does not mean that God will "entice" us to commit sin. How can we be sure of that?, well the Bible tells us so in James 1:13. It is clear that the kind of temptation under consideration is to entice to sin. If God did that, then He would be opposing Himself. Jeus said that would be true of satan if he were cast out by himself (Matthew 12:26). There are times when God does "test" us to try our faith as in Genesis 22:4 where it says that God did tempt Abraham. The word there means to be tried, it did not mean that God wanted him to sin, only to try his faith so that he (Abraham) would know his strenght in the Lord. We are told in Hebrews 11:17 that he was tried and God did not want him to kill his son, so He sent an angel to stop him. It seem clear to me that this trying of our faith is embraced in the words of our Lord Jesus. It may well be that this is the "fiery trial" of which Peter spoke in 1 Peter 4:12. At any rate we are to pray that we not be led into such times. It is true that some of the greatest blessing may come as the result of such trials, but unless we are able to endure them, they would bring great difficulty. Therefore we are wise to pray for God not to lead us into these paths.

Though God will not lead us into the paths of sin, there is one who certainly will. Even when we pray the above prayer and as we pray it, satan will be looking for ways to tempt us and allure us into sinful paths. Satan is our advasary according to 1 Peter 5:8. He wants to destroy us, not only in eternity but also in time. He would like for us to forever be separated from the glorious fellowhip of God and if God by His grace through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ has prevented that from happening to the elect, then satan will try to draw us into sin and dissrupt our fellowship with Him as we live in the world. His method of getting us to sin is called temptation. Because God in us is greater than satan in the world, (1 John 4:4) satan cannot make us sin. If we sin it is because two things have happened. (1.) Satan has tempted us to sin and (2.) we have yielded to his temptation and engaged in the act. We need to understand that "temptation" is not sin for Jesus was tempted according to Hebrews 2:18. He not only did not sin, but He is able to help us resist sin too. It is not in the temptation that wrong occurs, but in yielding to the temptation.

Two great examples help us to understand that temptation can and should be resisted and refused. In the Old Testament, Joseph was blessed of God to be overseer in an Egyptian home of Potipher. Potipher's wife tried to seduce Joseph but he resisted because he would not displease his God (Genesis 39:9). Joseph is often considered to be a "type" of the Lord Jesus. In this resisting of sin, he certainly did hold true to the pattern. In the wilderness temptation, Jesus wes tempted by satan three time, but each time He refused the temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). None of God's children can ever say that we could not help but to sin, unless we deny the power of God. When we are tempted and call upon Him in prayer, He is able to strengthen us to be able to resist. It is when we do not resist, that we commit the act of sin. In such times we have trangressed the law of God and that is sin (1 John 3:4).

Why do we sin? The answer is really very simple, we refuse the strength of God and give in to the weakness of the flesh. We are tempted when we have lust and when we give in to the lust that is sin (James 1:14-15). Satan is no dummie, he knows the weakness of everyone of us. He knows yours and mine. No, he is not omniscient as God is, but he is a hard worker and he does have a good memory. When he tempts us and finds it does not create lust, he will not use that temptation again. But when he tempts us and finds those things that cause lust, he will use them again and again. He will reshape them, paint the a different color (so to speak) and try one more time. Three common temptation are (1.) lust of the flesh, (2.) lust of the eyes and (3.) pride of life (1 John2: 16). They worked on so many other people that satan tried these "favorite three" on our Lord but they fell flat on their face when it came to Christ because He has no lust or pride. I am sure that satan was surprised when they did not work on Jesus, after all they had worked on Eve, and they have continued to work on humanity at large ever since.

We might say that the common denominator for all temptation is that it works on the "forbidden" princilple. If you are not supposed to do it , then you may want to do it all the more. Remember that the first sin came through the "forbidden fruit" (Genesis 2:17). So satan uses the forbidden (1.) appetite, (2.) money, (3.) ambition, and (4.) sex. These are not always forbidden, for when they are used in ways that please God and are in keeping with His will for us, there is no forbidden climate. God gave appetite and that makes food taste better, and that is alright most of the time. But when people have an appetite for alcohic drink to drunkedness and drugs to alter the mind or will, and foods that are harmful to them, that is sin. Money will pay our lawful debts, and thay should be paid. It will also help support the church and honor God, and part of our money belongs to Him for His purposes. But when a person loves money to the point they will steal and lie and kill to get it, that is sin. Ambition can also be good, if we try to pull ourselves up and do better. It is good when we try to become a better person too. But when we will sell our souls and give up our principles and forfeit our integrity in order to be come a big name or star, we have sinned. The last one mentioned is sex and that is ordained by God to be enjoyed between and husband and wife in the instistution of marriage and in love for God and each other. But when men and women have sex before marriage or outside of mariage, or two men or two women together, it is sin. Many today give in to their lust for the forbidden and when satan tempts them, they gladly yield and sin, and sin, and sin!.

What happens when that occurs can be devastating. May of the problems people have and much of the troubles which plagues our society can be traced to sin and linked inseparably to this yielding to temptation. Let me list some of the perils to sin. I am not going to mention the obvious such as imprisonment for crimes or disease and death from sexually transmitted diseases. Yet there are some results that our society has not recognized and they need our attention called to them. (1.) We may fall and lower ourselves before God and man, by yielding to temptation (2 Peter 3:17). (2.) We make our bodies or its members to become tools of wrongdoing and sin (Romans 6:13). (3.) From a personal standpoint, we may have to live with guilt haunting us everyday (Psalm 51:3). and (4.) Worst of all we are sinning against the God Who created us in His image and if we are saved, Who saved us bu His Son, Jesus Christ (Psalm 51:4).

Whether the temptation comes from within or without us, it displeases God when it becomes sin in our lives. The rampant sin must be an awesome burden for humanity to carry, for we must all pay the price in some measure. What affect one of us, in some measure affects us all. When Adam sinned and humanity was plunged into sin, all have been touhed by it, who have lived on this planet earth. Perhaps we will never this side of heaven, be able to understan how deeply touched God is by all that is happening. Yet sin continues, again and again it happens. The paths of temptation are always crowded with people. The results do not have to be sin and thank God not everyone who is tempted does sin. Millions of temptations will be resisted today. Some lovers of God will find the strenght to do right. Many will stand up and be counted on the side of righteousness. Paul reminds us that God has given us spiritual armour that can successfully defend us against satan and his cunning temptations (Ephesians 6: 10-17). But let me share with you some additional defences against temptaion.

First, we must recognize the importance of using the holy scriptures in resisting temptation. It is perhaps one of the most effective ways. I know that, because it is the way our Lord resisted the temptations of satan in the wilderness. Each time satan tempted Him, He used the scriptures. Three times He was tempted and three times He used the scriptures and three times He resisted the temptation. How can we argue with a success rate as that? (Matthew 4: 4, 7, 10). When you and I are tempted, let us remember what the scriptures command and if necessary, tell satan what they are. He does not like it when we have a thus saith the Lord, and then in obedience to the word of God, we say "NO thank you, satan."

Second, we must remember that yielding to tempatation is sin and sin will damage or destroy our good name and reputation. It is important to have a good name. It will do more for you than wealth and fame (Proverbs 22:1). So many times a life time of good living has been destroyed by a careless and ungarded moment. One act of indescrition and soon the sin is widely known and people's lives are damaged and other may never see them the same way again. Is it worth it to enjoy the pleaseures of sin for a moment, and pay the price for the rest of your life? Most people would answer the question with a emphatic NO! So when temptation comes, not matter how beautiful and enticing its form may be, just remember that it took a lifetime to get your good name and it could all be lost in a very few minutes.

Third, keep in mind that you will not be the only one affected. The consequences would be severe enough if you had the pay the price alone, but others who love you and whom you care about, will have to pay the preice too. Satan never cares how many are hurt. It matters not to him how many suffer with you. If anything, the more who suffer, the more he likes it. But when we yield to temptation and sin, then others who know and love us, will probably be hurt. If we care for them, we must prevent this widespread pain. Remember when Achan sinned, he thought no one would find out and no one else would be affected (Joshua 7:20). But when he was stoned to death by the people, his family was also stoned. Every sin we commit affects our blessings in life and therefore affects those whose lives are bound to ours. Think about them the next time you are tempted to sin.

Fourth, we need to also remember that our sin robs us of the sweet fellowship of our blessed Lord. He will not walk in close fellowship when our path is one of sin. In the beginning, it was sin the caused Adam and Eve to loose the fellowship of God in the cool of the day (Genesis 3: 8 & 24) tells us thery were eventually driven from the comforts and blessings of the Garden itself. God would have no part of their sins and though Christ died for our sins, He will not partake with us in committing them. But not only do we loose fellowship with Him, we bring shame on His name because we profess it, and we bring a black mark again His bride the church. Instead of yielding to temptation, let us resist it and live a life that will glorify and honor God. One in which we will walk close to Him and our hearts be warmed by His sweet fellowship.

Let me close by saying to all of you, that your tempatation are really no different from anyone elses. Yours come through your lust, theirs by their lust. But remember this important scripture found in 1 Corinthians 10:13. Pray for God not to lead you into temptation and also pray that when satan does, you will have grace and strength to say no! Do it because you love God and the Lord Jesus Christ and want to live as a devoted servant of God. Do it because you know deep down it is the right thing to do. Do it to make the world just a little be better place. And do it because God has already provided you with an escape hatch that you may slip quietly away from satan and into the arms of our loving Saviour. He said we may show our love for Him by obeying His commandments (John 14:15). I want to do that, don't you. Let us praise Him in our hearts and with our lives.

Do not let satan use your past sins to discourage and defeat you. We have all yielded to temptation and sin, that is one reason we are called sinners. We should repent to God for the past sins and rise up with renewed committment to God, to resist temptation and to walk in the will of God, to glorify Him with holy living.

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014