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The Battle of Temptation February 15, 2012

Posted by sandhandrews in Sermons.
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1 Corinthians 10:1-13

February 15, 2012

Focus:  God works through the temptations in our lives to draw us closer to Him.

Function: That the hearers resist the temptations in their lives.

Structure: Textual.

 The Battle of Temptation

               Good morning!  Temptation is a regular part of our life.  Think about all the temptations you and I face in a given day. Staying in bed late or procrastinating your homework until the last possible second – the temptation to be lazy. Snapping at your sibling at breakfast or taking your anger out on your parents when they just don’t understand you – the temptation of hate. Losing your temper when a teammate or a friend isn’t pulling their weight – the temptation of impatience. That moment when you’re alone with your boyfriend or girlfriend – the temptation to lust or impurity. Refusing to speak to a person who has upset you – the temptation of malice. Repeating a juicy story about someone else – the temptation to gossip.  Having a second helping and then a third – the temptation of gluttony. Posting a nasty note about someone on Facebook because they hurt you – the temptation of revenge.  Downloading or sharing music and movies that you didn’t pay for – the temptation to steal.

Temptations are a regular part of our lives.  Not only do we all have them, but we’ll never be able to avoid them all, either.  Martin Luther frequently referred to the root of sin as being the devil, the world, and the sinful flesh.  That’s true with temptation, too.  Satan is out to do whatever he can to tempt us into sinning and lead us away from God.  The world, the culture around us, certainly provide countless temptations.  And we don’t exactly help ourselves by avoiding situations that cause us to stumble.

But in both of our Scripture lessons today, Paul and James are asking us to look at temptation differently.  Christians are often so quick to pull the trigger on the law, that we equate temptation to being sin.  But that’s not the case.  Temptation leads to sin.  If temptation was a sin, then Christ would have failed in the wilderness.  Satan tempted Him.  But Jesus resisted the temptation.  Temptation is when Satan puts that thought into your head.  Sin happens when you choose to dwell on the thought or even act on it.

Sometimes we give Satan too much credit.  Sometimes we make him equal to God.  But he’s not.  Satan isn’t in your head.  He can’t know your heart or your thoughts.  He isn’t capable of being in all places at the same time.  No, but instead he relies on tricks and his demons to bring us down.  And he’s had over six thousand years of practice.  Adam and Eve in the garden.  King David and Bathsheba.  Judas Iscariot and the betrayal of Jesus.  He’s had time to hone his craft.  He toys with us.  He figures out the right strings to pull and the right time to pull them.

But Satan is far from all-powerful.  And that’s the message of the Scriptures.  But our God isn’t limited.  God knows your thoughts, your needs, your weaknesses.  And as we read from Paul, we aren’t alone in our temptations.  Nothing that you and I face today hasn’t been faced before.  Any number of our brothers and sisters in Christ have suffered the same temptation at some point along the way.

Drawing from that then, is the knowledge that we don’t have to go through it alone.  God is certainly with us in the face of temptation.  But He’s also given us resources, as He always provides a way out from temptations.  That can be through the help of friends, teachers, parents, or whoever you can talk to about what’s going on in your life.  Sometimes it’s through your relationship with God, in prayer or by reading His Word.  Whatever it may be, God always provides a way out, whether or not we take it.

That last part is something we don’t give enough thought.  Paul tells us that God doesn’t allow us to face any temptations that we aren’t capable of bearing.  It removes our excuses.  We can’t sit by and say the temptation was too great.  We can’t cast the blame on someone else whenever we give in to temptations and sin.  It’s our fault.  In times of sin, we fall short; we turn down the way out that God provided us.

Thankfully, God was prepared for our fall.  Just as He provides a way out from any and all temptations that we face, He has also provided a way out from sin.  Through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, God gives us forgiveness.  He continues to love us and to forgive us despite our failures.  And while He doesn’t cause the temptations to happen to us, God also blesses us by working through the temptations in our lives to build us up, make us stronger, and to bring us closer in our relationship with Him.  It’s all a part of His provision for us as His beloved children.  Amen.



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