Sunday, June 14, 2015 am                                Perfection 2015 Index


What is Temptation?


This month we are addressing the subject of sin.  Last week we defined sin and discussed its consequences as well as noting the solution (broad) to sin – namely receiving forgiveness of our sins from God.  Today we want to talk about temptation and sin.  We will next deal with repentance and overcoming sin.

 I.                    What is Temptation?

a.        Defined – the word for temptation is πειρασμός, (peirasmos) and is a word that means to entice or attempt to make one do something wrong.  The word can also mean to test the character of one (trial – James 1:2, 1 Pet 1:6, 4:12, etc.).  (cf. BDAG, L&N 88.308)

b.       It is a word used about 2 dozen times in the New Testament (in its various forms).  It is first introduced in Matthew 4 where Jesus is driven into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  We will address this text in a moment.

c.        The three avenues of temptation – 1 John 2:15-17 he speaks of all that is in the world, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.”  These are the three avenues of temptation.
They were used against Eve and Adam in Genesis 3:6 – good for food (flesh), pleasant to the eyes (eyes), desirable to make one wise (pride of life).  She gave in and sinned.
In Luke 4:1-13 describes the temptation of Jesus after His baptism and 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.   Satan 1) first tempted him to turn stones to bread (fleshly appeal),
2) being offered all the kingdoms of the world (lust of the eyes), and
3) cast himself off the temple to be rescued by angels (pride of life),

 II.                  Understanding temptation?

a.        Fully understanding temptation is a challenge and one if we could master, we would conquer it.  To the degree we do understand it is the degree to which we will overcome and resist temptations.

b.       James 1:12-18 is a good passage to help us. 

                                                   i.      Blessed is the man who endures temptation – he withstands it or comes through it without giving in.  This one will be “blessed”.
Note: Temptation is NOT sin!  Jesus was tempted in all points (avenues) and overcame.  Heb. 4:15 tells us this plainly. 

                                                  ii.      When he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life – salvation.  If we hope to spend eternity with God, we need to deal with our sins and the temptations that lead to those sins.

                                                iii.      Let none say, “I am tempted by God” (13) – often man blames God for his sins and weaknesses, and even the temptations.  Even Adam mentioned that God gave Eve to him.
This is a problem with the “I was born that way” argument.
God does NOT tempt anyone to sin.  We can also see that in His promise to help us overcome temptation (1 Cor. 10:13)

                                                iv.      Each one is tempted when – note that temptation is universal.  We all face troubles and even temptations.  It is the vessel through which Satan uses his various devices.  And the more you serve God, the more Satan is going to try and tempt you.

                                                  v.      He is drawn away – the word “drawn away” means to be pulled or dragged.  Satan will work hard to pull you away from God.  He will use whatever devices he thinks will work.  Sometimes his work is subtle. 
Gen. 3:1 describes the serpent as cunning.   2 Cor. 11:3 describes him as crafty.
Satan exploited a weakness of Peter – his overconfidence.  When Jesus told him that Satan would sift him as wheat (Luke 22:31-34) he boldly declared that would never happen.  
We know it did happen as Satan exploited Peter. 

                                                vi.      By his own desires (lusts) – each person has a different set of desires or cravings that he must deal with.  Some are more prevalent than others, but we all have weaknesses, tendencies and vulnerable attitudes.  Satan knows what they are and that is where his focus will be.
Even in the case of Jesus, he exploited His vulnerable points (or so he thought). 
IF there is something that does not appeal to us, we cannot be tempted by that.
Sometimes we are our own worst enemies – we set ourselves up for failure.  That is why we are warned to discipline ourselves (1 Cor. 9:24-27)

                                               vii.      And enticed – this is the actual temptation.  It word that means to lure, much in the same way that a lure is used to catch a fish.  That lure is something that by sight, sound and smell might get the attention of a fish.  As a result, he seeks to get it.  The actual lure is often harmless if it were not for the hook. And there are different lures for different types of fish (go to a large fishing store and see how many different lures there are). 
Similarly, Satan takes that which entices you, and he dangles that temptation in front of you hoping you will take it.  
For example: 1 Tim. 6:9-10 warns about the temptation of those who desire to be rich.  They “fall into a temptation and a snare and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

                                             viii.      Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin – we find there that temptation and even desire is not sin.  But when it has been conceived – in other words you “give birth” to the temptation – you act on it. 
The Bible speaks of walking in sin.  Ephesians 2:1-3.  In other words, you are acting out your sinful desires.
That sin as it grows brings forth death.  The challenge of this text is understand that when we sin, we are separated from God.  Perhaps the idea is that we carry out the sin and thus we face the consequences. 
Also, sin needs to be addressed if we fail to overcome sin, we WILL die spiritually.  Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death. 
In times of temptation, some fall away - Luke 8:13

 III.                Dealing with temptation

a.        Realize you don’t have to sin! 
1 Cor. 10:13 – no temptation you cannot escape.
 2 Peter 2:9 – God knows how to deliver you – trust in Him!
Realize as James 1:13 says, God doesn’t tempt you!
Jesus didn’t sin and He was tempted – Heb. 2:18, 4:15, etc.
We are told in James 4:7 that we can resist the devil.

b.       Put on the armor of God – protect yourself against the temptations of the devil. 
Eph. 6:10-18.  Adorn yourself with godly attitudes.

c.        Be alert – 1 Peter 5:8-9, be sober and vigilant against the devil
Vs. 9 tells us we CAN resist him.  Do it!

d.       “It is written” – when Jesus faced His temptations, He always turned to God’s word.  In all three temptations, He said, “It is written” (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10).  
We need to know and appeal to scripture.  Within its pages is instructions to avoid sinful situations and how to deal with them.

e.       Prayer – Matt. 6:13, “lead us not into temptation”
2 Peter 2:9 - He knows how to deliver us out of temptation 
Matt. 26:41 – Jesus told His disciples in the garden to watch and pray

f.         Run!  Sometimes, you just need to run.  2 Tim. 2:22 – flee youthful lusts
1 Cor. 6:18 – flee sexual immorality.
1 Cor. 10:14 – flee from idolatry.


And thus we have an introduction to temptation.  If we are to go on to maturity, we need to realize and understand the reality of temptation.  We need to know what tempts us and take measures to address our temptations.  May our study today help us toward that end.   Are you yielding to temptations?