The Songs We Sing

Sunday, May 30, 2010 pm        The Songs We Sing

Yield Not To Temptation, #111

                Tonight we examine another song that we sing from time to time.  We want to notice a song of admonishment (Col. 3:16) and a spiritual song. It is a song that encourages us to resist temptations in our lives.  Can you think of a better place to encourage one another to remain faithful to God than when we are assembles together worshipping God?

                It was written by Horatio Palmer who was born in 1834 and died in 1907.  He was a well known musician in New York, a choir director and a music teacher.  He worked with young people throughout his life teaching music and writing one of his music theory books.  The song we will study came to him suddenly, (both lyrics and tune) while he was working with a theory book in 1868.   In addition this song, he also wrote, Angry Words as well as the tunes to Come sinner Come & Master the Tempest is Raging, among other songs.

                The song deals with the subject of temptation.  Palmer wrote more than one song dealing with temptations in our life.  In this song, we are reminded of many things we learn from scripture about temptation and how to deal with it. 

 I.                    Vs. 1, Don’t yield NOT to temptation

a.        Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin. 
Notice that it is recognized in this song that being tempted is not wrong.
In fact, we know that we will ALL face temptations.  We need to remind ourselves that while temptations will happen, when possible we ought to avoid them – like Joseph did.
Jesus was tempted, yet without sin (Matt. 4:1-11 , Heb. 4:15)

b.       Each victory will help you some other to win.
James 1:2-3, when our faith is tested it can produce patience in us.
Romans 5:3-4, while speaking of tribulations produce perseverance, character and hope, the underlying point is an example of being better off when we overcome obstacles in our lives.

c.        Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue

Sometimes resisting temptation takes work.  Don’t think it is an easy thing to do.  1 Cor. 10:12
Many of the descriptions in scripture of the Christian life involve struggle.  For example: Ephesians 6:12 speaks of us wrestling against principalities, powers and rulers of the darkness of this age.
2 Cor. 10:3-6 describes the war with our thoughts.
Revelations 2 & 3 speaking to the 7 churches in each example spoke of overcoming something.

d.       Look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through
Jesus is a source of strength in dealing with temptations - Hebrews 2:18, 5:7-9.  He is an example who we can follow in not yielding to temptation.  This is repeated at the conclusion of each verse and emphasized in the chorus.

 II.                  Vs. 2 Describes some ways we can avoid temptations (some things we can do)

a.        Shun evil companions – one of the biggest determinates of temptation is those we choose to be around.  Companions (or company) can mean many different things – who we associate with, where we go or what we do (i.e. the movies we watch, books we read, music, etc.).
The Bible tells us to be careful in such choices - 1 Cor. 15:33, 2 Tim. 2:22, Prov. 13:20, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” 
Earlier, Solomon had warned his son about associating with the wrong type of people – Prov. 1:10-19, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent…My son, do not walk in the way with them…“

b.       Bad language disdain – A brilliant observation about temptation.  James 3: 2 speaks of the power of the tongue.  IF we can control our speech, we can control everything about us.
We are explicitly warned about foul language in Ephesians 5:3-4 says, “But fornication and all uncleanness and covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor course jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” 
While talking primarily about our conduct, would it not also apply to our associations?
Friends if you intentionally listen to filthy language – you WILL be burned by it and tempted to use it!  (Cf. Prov. 6:27 – “Can a man take fire into his bosom and his clothes not be burned?”) 
BTW, bad language, at least to me, includes gossip, angry words, wrongful criticisms, etc.

c.        God’s name hold in reverence, nor take it in vain - Do NOT turn God against you, NOR turn against God!
He is worthy of reverence (Heb. 12:28).  More often than not, when we give into temptations it is because we fail to show God proper respect.  If we truly understand who He is we will reverence Him and serve Him.  Our actions and thoughts will be governed by what He desires of us.
It is like the child who respects his parents.  If his respect is proper it will keep him from rebellion and he will submit and honor his parents.  We can either say, “I can’t do that because my parents will kill me” (which is good) OR “I can’t do that because it would kill (devastate or deeply hurt) my parents” (which is better).

d.       Be thoughtful and earnest, kind hearted and true -  
Attitude has much to do with how we handle temptations.  It will dictate HOW we conduct ourselves in whatever circumstances we face AND it will also, in many ways, determine WHAT circumstances we find ourselves in.
NOTE the characteristics he mentions – they all deal with being kind toward others (cf. 1 Cor. 13:4-6, Col. 3:12, etc.).  BUT, notice that 3 of the 4 deal with attitudes of honesty and alertness. 
We need to THINK (thoughtful) about what we are going to do and say, we need to be SINCERE and DETERMINED to do right (earnest) AND we need to be HONEST (true) with ourselves.   When such a disposition governs our lives, it will affect the way we treat others (kind hearted) and how we deal with temptations. 
Furthermore, because we behave ourselves and have a pleasant disposition it can PREVENT circumstances that provoke tempers and temptations to do or say things we will soon regret.

e.       Look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through.  Look at the example of Jesus as to HOW to handle temptation.  Look at the way He lived His life here on earth and how it brought out the best in so many (sadly, not everyone, but those who rejected Him we at fault).  1 Cor. 11:1 – Imitate Christ!


 III.                Vs. 3 Describes the reward of overcoming temptation.

a.        To him that oer cometh (overcomes), God giveth a crown – of victory. 
Galatians 6:9 tells us we will reap if we do not give up; Jesus said that he who endures to the end will be saved (Matt. 10:22; 24:13).  The 7 churches of Asia were all told to overcome and the promise in each case was reward.  Cf. Rev. 2:10 – you will receive the crown of life. 
It is the one who resists the devil who will win the victory over him (cf. 1 Peter 5:9, James 4:7). 
Paul was confident of his reward because he had fought the good fight, finished the course and kept the faith.

b.       Through faith we shall conquer, though often cast down.
1 John 5:4 tells us that faith is the victory that overcomes the world
In Philippians 3:13-14 you find Paul who kept reaching forward to the prize of heaven. He never gave up and neither can we! 
Know that we are going to sin (1 John 1:8-10) and we are going to stumble and fall down from time to time.  We are going to face discouragements but we can’t let that defeat us.  Romans 8:35 asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecutions…”  Troubles of every sort are mentioned.  But his answer is, “Yet in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:37)

c.        He who is our Savior, our strength will renew.
Do we really think about trusting in Jesus enough?
Phil. 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
1 Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God, who give us the victory through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

d.       Look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through – LOOK to the reward He has promised if we overcome temptations and that comes THROUGH Him.


IV.                Chorus – throughout the song there is a call to turn to God for strength in resisting temptation.

a.        Ask the Savior to help you – Once again prayer is emphasized in the songs we sing.  1 Peter 5:13, “”Is anyone suffering?  Let him pray.” 
1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourself…casting all your cares upon Him…”  Do we REALLY humble ourselves as we turn to God for help?

b.       Comfort, strengthen and keep you
Never forget that our Lord and our heavenly Father do not want us to be lost.   2 Peter 3:9, He does not desire that we perish.  They have provided all things necessary for “life and godliness” – 2 Peter 1:2-3.
God of the source of all comfort to us – 2 Cor. 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
He is our God of strength – As Peter concluded his first letter he said, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.” (1 Pet. 5:10)
He is greater that he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).  Jude 24 says, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”
ALL of these things, as we understand them can aid us in resisting temptations.

c.        He is willing to aid you – Everything about our God and our Savior in the New Testament shows that He is there for us.  2 Peter 2:9 tells us that He knows how to deliver us out of temptation.

d.       He will carry you through – 1 Cor. 10:13 tells us that He will make the way of escape when we are tempted and make it bearable.
2 Corinthians 1:10 says that He, “delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us: in whom we trust that He will still deliver us.”


                May we as we sing this song be reminded of the reality of temptations in our lives.  But even more, may we be encouraged with resolve to take all necessary steps to overcome temptations before we sin and comfort that we are NOT alone.

                In preparing this lesson, I read of an account several years ago in a women’s prison at Sing, Sing New York that there was a near riot when someone began singing this song.  Shortly thereafter, many of the women began singing the song and calmly walked to their cells.  Never underestimate the power of songs to teach and admonish us.

                And even though you will be tempted from time to time, NEVER yield to it! Think about it.