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Temptations Part 3

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:3-4, Hebrews 11:24-26, Romans 7:13
Date: 01/14/1995 
This is the last in a three part series on temptation and focuses on how to overcome temptation. It is not a sin to be tempted. Pastor Batchelor covers 10 areas that will help us to be victorious over temptation. He begins by discussing how it important it is to remember the heavenly treasure.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

I’d like to say good morning again. I’d like to welcome those who are worshiping with us this morning, our viewers, wherever you might be. We’re glad that you could be here for Central worship. In the last three weeks we have been discussing the subject of temptation. We began by dealing with the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Bible starts with a temptation. Then we went to the New Testament, which also begins with the temptation of Christ. And now to conclude this series we’re going to talk about how do we overcome temptation. I thought it was appropriate to spend some time on this because if you are attempting to follow Jesus, if you are attempting to do what is right you will find yourself resisting what is wrong, amen? And you’re tempted. It’s not a sin to be tempted. Jesus was tempted. It’s a sin to give into temptation. But as we read in our scripture reading the Lord provides power where we can be overcomers.

Now I’d like to begin by giving you the ammunition. I’d like to begin by directing you to the source of all of our resources when we are tempted. Turn with me in your Bibles to II Peter chapter 1 verse 4. And I’ll start… I was going to say I’ll start with verse 4. I’ll start with verse 3. “As His divine power is given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him.” That His power has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness. Let me restate that, please. God has provided everything we need to be godly. Ok? Through the knowledge of Him. Where’s it come from? Through the knowledge of Him. What’s eternal life? Knowing Him “who has called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature.” How do we become like Christ and resist the world? Through the “exceeding great and precious promises” that God has given you and me. Where do we find those promises? In His word. What did Jesus do to resist temptation? He quoted the Bible, right?

It’s through this… through these that you might become partakers in the divine nature. Man was created in the image of God. When we fell in that first temptation we lost that image. The purpose of the plan of salvation is to restore in you and me the image of Christ that we might have that divine, godlike nature. That we could be sons of God and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Everybody here has lust. If you’re a human being you have desires in you. Physical desires, emotional desires, desires that connect to your esteem and pride. And there’s a war raging in every human being between the spirit and the flesh. A Christian, an overcomer (and God told us that we must be and can be overcomers, right?) must not allow the lower nature, the carnal nature to dictate what the spirit does, but we must let the Spirit direct us. All right, I want you to go with me now. Actually, you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to list ten of the more common areas where we are tempted. Ten areas where we could get ammunition so we might know how to overcome. Ten little keys to help you know how to resist temptation, ok?

First one is, this is one thing that if everybody can get hold of it we’ll all do better, Remember the Reward. I think one reason that we’re easily overcome is we maybe do not believe that we are saved, we don’t really believe that there is eternal life, or we lose sight of it. Now if right now an angel was to appear in this room to you and me, first of all, all of these 35,000 watts of light that we’ve got would pall into darkness next to the presence of one of God’s angels, right? And he would stand here in this room and we’d all cover our faces and fall on the floor just like the apostle John did and that angel would say, “Repent! Jesus is coming soon.” And then he disappears. Would it be easier for you through the rest of this day to resist temptation?

At least the rest of the day, am I right? You know why? Because your faith would be strengthened that there is a reward. Not only a good one but a bad one, and you would want the right reward. So sometimes we just don’t believe in the reward and we’re easily overcome. Let me give you a scripture. Hebrews chapter 11 verse 24 through 26. Hebrews chapter 11 verse 24 through 26. These stories are in the Bible for our admonition upon whom the ends of the earth have come. Here’s the scripture. “By faith Moses,” faith in what? Faith in the reward, follow me? “By faith Moses, when he became of age, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” Now do you think it might have been a temptation for Moses? Are you aware of how much splendor and wealth the ancient Egyptians possessed in the days of Moses? They were at their zenith of power. I was in Cairo and I looked at the treasures of King Tutankhamen. He was a young, poor king.

He didn’t even get a pyramid! They buried him below ground! And they found more priceless treasures in his tomb than any other discovery in history. Now Moses lived when the pharaohs were building the tombs above ground, enormous pyramids, tremendous wealth. He was in line to rule all of that. Would that be a temptation for you? The power. The wealth. But he was looking to God’s reward, and he was able to resist the earthly treasure because he remembered the heavenly treasure. So do not be distracted. Do not forget what God has in store for you. You know, if you know that you’ve got a racehorse you don’t trade it in for a roller skate, right? You make a comparison and sometimes we give into temptation because we forget the reward. If you met an angel on the street and he handed you a golden key and he said, “This is the key to Heaven. Don’t lose it.” Would you be happy? You knew it was everlasting life. It came from an angel. And as you’re walking up the street you’re praising the Lord you’re telling everybody, “I’ve got everlasting life. I’ve got it! I’ve got my golden key.” And then you meet some shrewd operator in front of a bar.

Now your problem has always been drinking. And he says, “Why don’t you come on in and have a drink?” And you stand there for a minute because the flesh is longing to go in there. And he says, “Let me hold you key for you and you can go on in.” Would you do it? No! You know why you wouldn’t do it? Because you know you’ve got it. It would be so much easier to resist the temptation if we believe we’re saved. That’s where so many have messed up. We think we work our way into being saved. Where in reality when you know you are saved it’s a lot easier to do the right thing.

Alright, point number two. Not only should we remember the goodness of the reward we forget the badness of sin. We must Remember How Bad Sin Is. Sin all by itself, even if there was no reward, is bad. Go with me to Romans chapter 7 verse 13. Romans 7 verse 13. And the part of the passage I want you to remember is where Paul tells us “so that sin through the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” We want to know that sin is very bad. And if you ever question how bad sin is a good place to remember is to look on Mount Calvary about 1900 years ago that dark day and see what sin did. Sin caused the death of Jesus. We can’t embrace it as Christians. It’s deadly. It’s ugly. The devil has a way of trying to paint and portray sin as something desirable and attractive. Do not be deceived. It’s ugly. It’s filthy. It’s wicked. It’s deadly. It will kill you. Be a lot easier for us to resist temptations if we could remember if it’s sin, it’s bad. The Bible says, “There was a perfect man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, one who feared God and hated evil.” It’s not enough to just love God. God wants us to hate sin because He does.

Point number three. Don’t Love Money. Now, I’ve inserted that one. I mean I could make a long list of temptations but the reason I’ve inserted the one about money is because it’s not so much dollar bills and money but the Bible has a lot to say about a lot of people falling into the trap of loving things. The tenth commandment revolves around misuse of property, coveting property. The Bible says, “Desire not to be rich.” Your goal in life should not be earthly treasure. I think a Christian should work as hard as they can. Earn as much as they can, save as much as they can and, don’t forget, give as much as he can. But money should not be our god. Now money, money is inanimate. The Bible does not say, “Money is the root of all evil.” You remember that?

The Bible says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” And so if that’s true we need to measure our hearts and make sure that we are not loving money. Do you get out of bed in the morning because you love the Lord or because you love what your job is going to bring in money? Now here’s the scripture. First Timothy chapter 6 verse 9. I’m trying to give you ammunition like Jesus used against the devil when he was tempted, against some of the more common pitfalls. But I Timothy chapter 6 verse 9, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation.” Now what are we talking about this morning? How to stay out of temptation, right? “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” Oh, the foolish things I’ve seen people do because they thought they’d get rich. The “get rich quick” schemes that society sells on even intelligent people just is embarrassing at times. People do the strangest things because they think they’re going to get rich quick. Some become addicted to it. You know why folks become addicted to gamboling?

Nobody likes throwing money away. Somewhere out there before them the devil is dangling a carrot that if they keep on pulling the lever “one more time” and putting in “one more quarter” that someday they’re going to get rich “quick!” And so we fall into many pitfalls and foolish temptations. What did Jesus say in Matthew chapter 6 verse 24? “Nobody can serve two masters, for he will either hate one and love the other, or he will either be loyal to the one or despise the other.” You cannot serve God and money. You cannot have your treasure there and your treasure here. This is so important because wherever you treasure is that’s where your heart is. And if your treasure is bound up with the things here in this life there’s no way your heart can be with God. Do not love money. The real measure of our wealth is how much we’re worth if we lost all our money. You want to measure wealth? How much would you be worth if you lost everything? If you find your esteem in who you are as a son of God and not what you have in the bank then the devil can’t take your wealth, can he? If your treasure is in heaven, the devil can’t touch it. Money brings power. Money is a power. Power is not all bad. Money can be a power to do good. It can be a power to do evil. It’s sort of a double-edged sword. So money is not the bad thing. We pray in church the Lord will bless our needs financially, but we don’t want to become slaves to loving money.

Alright, number four, another pitfall, an area where some fall, some more ammunition so you can know how to overcome. Flee From Temptation. You might be writing some of these down. Might come in handy someday. Remember Your Reward, number one. Remember the Sinfulness of Sin. Do Not Love Money. Number four, Flee From Temptation. So many times you’ve heard me say people crawl away from temptation and hope it catches up with them. And in most cases temptation comes through a door we have deliberately left open. Suppose for a minute that your body was painted with thick tar and then you were dipped in kerosene and followed by gasoline and then someone asked you to light their cigarette. Would you do it? As soon as someone lit a match, where would you go?

As far away as you could! That should be the attitude of a Christian towards temptation. Flee from it. There are several scriptures I could give you. James chapter 4, verse 7 and 8, “Therefore submit yourself to God. Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you. Draw near to God and He’ll draw near to you.” Do you realize when you are running from temptation you are at the same time running towards God? When you are drawing towards temptation you are moving away from God. You cannot do both at the same time. When you know something is a sin, do not parlay with the devil. Do not allow him to engage you because the devil is a master at getting us to rationalize that any sin is really not that bad. It breaks my heart how creative I’ve heard Christians be in justifying sin. And there is no limit to the different kinds of arguments that the devil can provide for you if you allow him to justify sin.

So when you recognize something is wrong, as soon as you know it’s wrong, get away. Flee from it. Some of you’ve heard of Mahatma Gandhi. Do you know that he wanted to be a holy man? And so one of the things that he did to prove that he had overcome the lust of the flesh is he started to sleep with young virgins, without touching them. At least that’s what he tried to do. And he confessed there were times that he had fallen but as he got older, about 75, he let people know he had finally gotten the victory. It’s probably a good place for me to mention, now this is not going to be popular, but it’s true, some of us who think we’ve overcome temptation and gotten the victory did not really get the victory, we just got old. We can’t taste anything. We can’t smell anything. We can’t do anything and we say, “Praise the Lord! I got the victory!” Our hearts are still corrupt. Do you know the Bible tells us in Ecclesiastics sometimes a person gets old and desire fails.

That doesn’t mean we’ve been converted. It means we just got old! Now there’s something for us to remember. That means we really need to commit ourselves to God while we can experience His renovating grace in our lives. That means that Jesus’ power is sufficient for a person who is in their strapping youth with hot blood in their veins. He can be an overcomer. She can be an overcomer. You don’t wait until you’re old and say, “I’ve overcome.” God’s grace is sufficient for every one of us to overcome, amen? So don’t… you know I’ve met a lot of young people who say, “Well, maybe when I’m older, then I’ll give my heart to the Lord.” A little harder sometimes to get the victory when you can’t even experience temptation anymore.

Number five, an area where sometimes we fall. Do Not Follow the Crowd. The reason a lot of us get into temptation is we say, “Everybody’s doing it. It must be ok.” How is it that Peter denied Jesus? I mean, just a few hours before that experience he vowed, “Lord, though all men forsake you, I’ll not forsake you.” And all the disciples said the same thing. And he was sincere. But what happened was when Jesus was taken into the judgement hall it was no longer popular to be with Christ. Peter began to associate with the enemies of Christ that were mocking Him around a campfire there outside. And the more he hung around with them, the more unpopular Jesus appeared, the easier it became to act like, the easier it became for him to deny Christ and behave like he didn’t know Him.

By hanging with the crowd and letting the crowd measure our values we become like the crowd and my Bible tells me that the crowd is usually wrong. “Broad is the way that goes to destruction. Narrow is the way that goes to life.” One of the ways that the devil is able to market all kinds of sin, he says, “Everybody’s doing it.” Advertisers have campaigns. You watch a football game, you’ll see beer commercials and you’ll see different kinds of commercials for things that maybe aren’t appropriate and you know how they sell these things? They get young, healthy people who are enjoying these forbidden products and there’s a whole bunch of them. And you think, “If all of them are doing it and they all look so happy, it must be ok.” Don’t follow the crowd.

You cannot follow the crowd to heaven. The Bible says, “Do not follow a multitude to do evil.” There’s a certain species of alligator in Africa that will sit by a riverbank and there by the riverbank with its skin on the dirt it’s almost camouflaged, it will open its mouth wide and then it will sit there almost frozen in that position for hours. In the meantime little gnats begin to light on the moist surface of its tongue as its mouth is locked open like that. And pretty soon some other spiders come along light on the tongue and start to eat the gnats. Eventually flies start to move in and they begin buzzing around because there’s so much stench and activity and then you see frogs hopping over to get the flies. And they plop right up in the jaws. Pretty soon a snake comes along to get the frogs. And eventually this whole menagerie in the mouth of this alligator and all he does is go Whack! And he got them. They thought there was a party and they all joined in.

The devil does the same thing. We say, “Well, this is where everybody is! It must be the place to go.” And just like lemmings running off the cliff, we follow the crowd to destruction. Christians have to think for themselves, amen? You’ve gotta be individuals. You can’t do what everyone else is doing. Now here’s the part that’s sometimes hard to digest, even if it’s a religious crowd. It was a very zealous, religious crowd that one day cried out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” And I wonder sometimes if that all happened today who would be in the crowd. It was a religious crowd that crucified the Lord. And you know what? In the last days there’s going to be two groups and they’re both going to be religious. One group will have the mark of the beast the other will have the seal of God. So just because it’s a large group of people does not mean that it’s God’s group. The great men in the Bible, the great women in the Bible are the ones that you and I see standing for right when everyone else was bowing down. You’ve gotta be different if you’re going to be a Christian.

Number six, another way to overcome. Stay Busy. Now there’s something practical, right? Don’t be idle. Let me give you a scripture. Turn with me to Ezekiel chapter 16. Ezekiel 16 verse 49 and 50. Ezekiel 16 verse 49 and 50. Now if I was to say to you, what was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? What would you say? Sexual immorality? Perversion? That’s the principal thing that we all think of, but you know what the Bible tells us? The valley of Sodom and Gomorrah was like the garden of God. It was lush with an abundance of fruit and vegetation and the branches of the trees were all heavy with produce. Life was easy. That’s why when Abraham said to Lot, “Look, we’ve got too many servants and too many cattle.

Where do you want to go?” He said, “I think I’ll go down to Sodom.” Abraham went down there because he thought it would be easy, a life of leisure. I’m sorry, Lot went down there because he thought it would be easy, a life of leisure. You ever heard the expression “Idleness is the devil’s workshop”? When a person doesn’t have anything to do, chances are the devil will help them think of something. In your Bible, Ezekiel chapter 16 verse 49 and 50, “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter.” Daughter being Gomorrah. “Pride, fullness of food, abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.”

“Fullness of food” and “abundance of idleness”. In the Garden of Eden, what was one of the first things that God told Adam to do after sin? He said, “In the sweat of your brow you will till the ground until you return to it.” Was that a curse or was it a blessing? He said, “You’re going to have to work to eat. You’re going to have to stay busy until you die.” The Bible says very little about Christians retiring. When did Moses retire? The day he died, right? Christians need to say busy because when you have nothing to do the devil will help you think of something to do. How many times have young people gotten into trouble because a guy and a girl go out on a date and they don’t have anything planned? So they do whatever comes naturally, right? You’ve gotta have something planned. If you’re not doing anything you get into trouble. Stay active. I used to smoke and so I struggled to quit and, praise to God, I haven’t had a cigarette in 17 years. And I’ve helped other people quit smoking and I know one of the most important things is when you’re being tempted you don’t just sit down and go, “Oh! I sure wish I had a cigarette.

I wonder how long I can go without another one.” And just sit there and think about the temptation because then what you do is you’re focusing on the temptation. You realize sin begins, temptation begins right here and the human mind is designed to concentrate on mainly one thing at a time and if we stay busy doing something that’s good you don’t have time to think about what’s bad. So Christians should be actively involved. I want to give you a quote that I think is very precious. It comes from the book Acts of the Apostles. “Strength to resist evil is best gained through aggressive service.” One of the ways you can stay out of trouble is be aggressively involved in serving Jesus and it can help you stay out of trouble. That’s page 105 in Acts of the Apostles. Well, friends, I think that you can see from the things that we’ve covered so far that by putting Jesus first, and by following Him, by staying busy with doing what’s good you can avoid what you know to be bad. Now, I’d like to review quickly where we’ve gone so far. We’re talking about “Remember Your Reward”, “Remember the Sinfulness of Sin”, “Do Not Love Money”, “Flee From its Presence”, “Don’t Follow the Crowd”, and “Try to Stay Busy.”

Now I want to move on to number seven. Have a Plan. When you’re tempted, it’s often because temptation was approaching and you just wanted to see what would happen when it got there. If you see that temptation is coming, prepare yourself in advance. If you’re going out on a date with a young man, you need to know that if he touches you inappropriately the plan is you slap him. You’ve gotta have a plan. And that would go for young men too, but don’t slap the lady. It’s important to think ahead, to know how you’re going to respond. If you’re being challenged by the people you work with to compromise your faith you should say, “You know, I might be challenged. I might be asked to work on God’s Holy Day.

I need to know in advance what my answer is going to be so I’m not tempted to give in!” Think ahead. Here’s a scripture for that. Proverbs chapter 22 verse 3, “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.” Let me demonstrate what I think Solomon is talking about. A wise man, a prudent man, he looks down the road and he sees trouble and from the evidence of what he sees he thinks, “I’d better hide because it looks like there’s some robbers down the road that are getting ready to spring and I’m going to avoid that.” Then along comes the fool and he says, “Oh look! There’s robbers down the road. I wonder what’s going to happen when I get there. I wonder what I’ll do.” Now that’s what some of us do with temptation.

We say, “I wonder if I’ll be tempted if I watched this thing, or if I look at this thing, or if I eat this thing.” If you’re tempted with ice cream, don’t take a job at Baskin Robbins. You gotta look ahead and know that’s going to be a problem for you, right? I met a young man and a young lady came to a seminar and they were living together. They weren’t married, but they wanted to be Christians. And so I commended them for that and they said, “What will we do?” And I said, “Well, for one thing, you know, you ought not be together until you do get married.” I still believe that, incidentally, in case some of you are wondering. Had to say that, alright? I met them a few days later. I said, “How’s it going?” Now this is a handsome, healthy young man, a very attractive, healthy young lady. He said, “We’re trusting the Lord. We’re being good. We’re living in separate rooms of the house.” I said, “That’s not going to work.” “Oh, God’s helping us.”

I said, “Well, that’s going to be sort of like trying to fast while you’re working in the vegetable section of the supermarket. You might last a little while, but eventually you’re going to get hungry and you won’t be able to stand it anymore juggling all those apples and oranges when you’re fasting, right?” He came to me a few days later, he said, “We need to come up with another plan. This in not working.” You’ve got to think ahead and know this is not going to work. There’s a story from one of the oldest novels in the world The Iliad and the Odyssey written by Homer about this great hero named Ulysses. Now Ulysses probably really did live. Some of the stories were fables that were built up. One of them was about one of the coasts near an island of Greece that he was sailing by where these sirens lived. Now you’ve heard of a siren like on top of an ambulance or a police car. You know where that comes from?

The sirens were these sea nymphs that would let out this beautiful, eerie music that was so attractive that it would draw the sailors towards them until their ships crashed to smithereens on the rocks. Ulysses knew that they had to pass by this point where the sirens were, these beautiful sea nymphs that would sing and draw the sailors in. So he instructed each of the sailors who had to man the ship. He said, “You plug your ears with wax and I need to see where we’re going so I’m not going to plug my ears because I want to hear it, but you better tie me to the mast.” So the sailors bound him tightly to the mast. And as they began to near the place where the music was the sailors couldn’t hear it, they just kept going on by and Ulysses was just overcome.

He pleaded, he begged, he ordered, “Untie me!” They came up and they cinched the ropes tighter and he passed on by until he regained his wits. It’s just a fable, it’s a story, but it illustrates how somebody knew irresistible temptation was ahead and they braced themselves. I heard about a young lady who went to a judge, seventeen years old, she said, “Will you please put me in jail?” He said, “Why?” She said, “Well, there’s this scoundrel that I’ve been dating, and we’re supposed to get married on the twentieth of this month and I know the fellows no good. And I know he’s no good for me, but when I’m around him he has irresistible charm and I can’t tell him ‘no’. Put me in jail.” The judge did! True story. Put the young lady in jail until the date passed and she felt that she could try something else. Some of us might need to resort to desperate measures. If you know you’re going to be tempted Jesus said, “If your right hand or your right foot causes you to offend…

Your right eye, pluck it out.” If you’ve got something that’s going to drag you down, then take whatever measures, no matter how desperate they are, to keep from sinning. Do you know what I think about Christian perfection? I don’t believe that we turn into stainless steel robots. This is what I believe Christian perfection is: when you and I come to the place where we love God so much that we would rather die than sin. Do you believe that’s a place where Christ can bring us? Where we love Him so much that we’d rather die than dishonor Him? We’d rather die than hurt and grieve Him. The people in the Bible that are heroes like Daniel, he said, “I’d rather go to the lion’s den than close my windows and stop praying because I love God so much.”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, “I’d rather die and go to the furnace than bow down and disappoint God. And you and I, in the last days, need that kind of love where we love God so much and hate sin so much we’d rather die than disappoint Him. When you come to the place where you love Him that much, you’ve got Christian perfection. It doesn’t mean that you’re flawless in your appearance or you’re flawless in every area of your life. It means you’ve got a flawless love where you’d rather die than knowingly disappoint Him. So have a plan. That’s one of the very important aspects to resisting temptation.

Number 8: Be Aware of Your Weakness. You know if a person joins Alcoholics Anonymous one of the first things that they do is they’re supposed to admit that they’re an alcoholic. That’s the most important starting point. They say, “My name is Doug. I’m an alcoholic.” That’s a tremendous breakthrough for a person to at least recognize their weakness. And for a Christian, be careful when you think you’ve got a handle on it… That’s why when Peter stood up and boasted, “Though all men forsake thee, I’ll not forsake thee.” Jesus warned him, “You don’t know yourself. You don’t know how weak you really are. You’re going to deny me three times before the rooster crows twice.” Do not trust in your own strength. When you are tempted don’t say, “I’ve got a handle on this.

I can be like Gandhi. I can sleep with virgins. It won’t bother me no more. I’ve got the victory!” The Bible says, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” And some of us are so proud of the areas where we have overcome; we’re setting ourselves up as a sitting duck for the Devil to knock us down. “A haughty spirit goes before a fall,” amen? Let me give you a scripture. First Corinthians chapter 10 verse 12, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” And when you work with… the Bible also gives a specific example, if you know somebody who’s weak and you’re working with somebody who maybe has fallen in some area, you want to make sure as you pray with them and work with them that you recognize that you’re in danger of making the same mistake.

You know when a person is pulling someone else out of the water they gotta be careful they don’t get pulled in, right? Amen. I heard about a pastor who had several people in his church, a true story, got caught up in pornography. And this fellow was an intellectual! It was amazing to him how people could become so addicted to pornography that they’d risk their marriages and their jobs and sacrifice everything to look at magazines and videotapes that just were dirty. He said, “I wonder what the lure is. I’m going to do a study.” He was a good man, good family. Well he went into an adult bookstore, rented some videotapes, picked up a couple of magazines, wanted to do some scientific research to find out what the lure of pornography was. What happened? He got stuck. He got it. Wanted to write a book on it. He ended up losing his family. Recognize your weakness. Flee from temptation.

Now probably these last two that I’m going to talk about are the most important. Number nine: Abide in His Spirit. The Bible says, “Jesus was lead of the Spirit into the wilderness.” If you are in Christ if you have His spirit in you that is the greatest power to resist what is wrong. The Bible says, “Whosoever abides in Him…” Now what would that mean? That would be His Spirit, right? Whoever “abides in Him does not sin.” Give you another scripture. Galatians chapter 5, why don’t we look this up? One reason I ask you to look them up, I’m trusting you brought your Bibles, I like to encourage you to see it for yourself. If you read it with your own eyes you’re a lot more likely to remember it than if you just hear the pastor say it up front. Also when I ask you to read something it means you have to wake up and open your eyes, right? Galatians chapter 5 verse 16, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

If you’re walking in the Spirit, how do you walk in the Spirit? You know what the Bible says about Noah? “Noah walked with God.” He found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Walking with God. What about Enoch? Enoch walked with God. He made it to heaven. Christ walked with His father. Abraham walked with God. And do you know that the same privilege that belonged to Enoch and Noah and Abraham and Jesus, it belongs to you and me? That you and I could walk with God just like they did? Here, today, now we could walk with God. Now I’ll admit that there’s a lot of distractions that you and I face that maybe they didn’t have back then, but we’re tempted the same way they were tempted. The good news is that if a temptation is stronger for you and me in this age then God’s grace will make up the difference. Do you remember reading somewhere, “Where sin abounds, there doth Grace much more abound.” Where there’s a lot more sin God says, “I give you much more grace.” And where there’s a lot more temptation we need a lot more Spirit. How do you get the Spirit? Do you come to the altar, fall down and start speaking in tongues?

Is that how you get the Holy Spirit? Or do you get the Holy Spirit by getting on your knees in your closet and emptying yourself and say, “Lord, come into my life. I cannot do what I’m supposed to do. I am weak. I need you.” Your pleading, your weakness is the greatest argument before the throne of God. God will send every angel in heaven to your aid to save you from sin rather than let you fall if you recognize your helplessness and ask Him for His Spirit. Every temptation, every opposing influence, whether open or secret may be successfully resisted, “not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord.” It’s not my might. I can’t do it. Without Christ how much can you do? Nothing. Through Christ how much can you do? “All things.” “All things through Christ.” You want to hear some good news? The devil could not make Jesus sin. Christ is our example. Can the devil tempt you to sin? (Yes.) Can he make you sin? (No.) The devil can never ever make you sin.

I remember a few years ago they had this popular television character, she used to always say, “The devil made me do it.” The devil can’t make you do it. The devil can tempt you to do it but you are a free moral agent unless you’ve surrendered your will to the devil in which case that means you’re possessed. Then the devil can make you do it. But as long as you’re not possessed by the devil God has made us all free moral agents and we get to choose. Jesus said, “Choose” who we’re going to listen to. If you sin, don’t blame the devil. You did what you wanted to do, right? Now there are times where the devil will tempt us to sin and the devil is over there and he gets us to start walking towards him and we get on slippery ground and we cannot stop the process, but somewhere along the way we made a decision to go the wrong direction. Am I right? (Amen.) That’s good news, I think. The devil can’t make you sin.

If the devil had held Eve down and forced that forbidden fruit in her mouth, would it have been a sin for Eve? No. But he tempted her and she reached out for it. By God’s grace you and I can resist every temptation through His Spirit. But here, I think, is one of the most important things to remember. If you do get tempted, and you will, and if you fall, do not give up. A lot of people when they fall down, they stay down. I’ve done this where I’ve given into some temptation and I was sorry but I say, “Oh well I’m lost now, I may as well give into every other temptation.” Come on now, you ever thought that way before? There’s no hope for me. I blew it. You fall down and you let the devil keep you down. Because you do give in to one temptation does not mean the Lord cannot save you from the others and help you recover the lost territory.

You might need to spend three days sorrowing and searching just like Joseph and Mary when they lost Jesus, but He’ll be right where you left Him in His father’s house. And so if you fall don’t say, “Oh I’m just going to give up. I’m not going to resist anything anymore. I’m no good. If you fall the good news is we have an advocate with the Father. Now there’s our scripture. The devil will sometimes come to you and he’ll say, “Oh, I know you! I tempted you to do this and to think that and to say this. You’re no good. You call yourself a Christian and since you’re no good you may as well do this too.” Right? You ever heard that? I’ve heard that line so many times. “You’re inconsistent in this area. You’re a hypocrite in this area. You may as well do this also because, after all, you’re not saved!” Don’t let your inconsistency in one area be your excuse for tempting because then you just lose ground. And I believe the Christian life is a progressive one, amen?

Alright, the Bible tells us in First John chapter 2 verse 1, “My little children, these things I write unto you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” If you sin, and we do, don’t give up. If the devil tricks you and you fall down, are you listening? Don’t stay down. Don’t let your past failures be an excuse for future compromise. God can help you overcome everything. You just take it one day at a time. Now the very best means for overcoming is remembering that God has provided a way of escape for every one of us. A scripture that we’ve been reading through this series is found in First Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13. Please turn to it. First Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful…” Now there’s some good news! Whose faithfulness are we depending on? Ours or His? “But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.” Now there’s some good news. If you are tempted that means as soon as you’re tempted you’re going to say, “Ok.

I know God is measuring what He allows the devil to bring to me and I’m able to handle this with His grace.” So you’ll never, never ever say, “I can’t handle it. This is more than I can bear” because you’re accusing God of lying there. God will not attempt you… I’m sorry… “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted” above or “beyond what you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” When the Children of Israel were pursued from behind and the Egyptians were there to assault them and mountains were on both sides and an ocean in front what did God do for them? Did He make a way of escape? How many times can you find in the Bible where it looked like the situation was hopeless? When Hezikiah was surrounded by the Assyrians and God made a way of escape. And when it looked like there was no food, He’ll bring food out of heaven.

Every time you think “there’s no way out” you make up your mind to trust God and watch what He does. I heard a story about this castle in France. It had a small set of soldiers in there and they were surrounded by a vast army and that night the surrounding army said, “Alright, in the morning, we’ll outnumber them. We’ll break down the doors. They’ll either surrender or we’ll kill them.” And they just waited for morning to come so that they could conquer this little citadel. When the morning came and they knocked down the doors they swarmed in through all the gates into the city and it was empty. And they looked everywhere and they couldn’t find a single, solitary person anywhere in the city but they knew they had been there. They’d seen them from the walls the day before.

On a more thorough investigation they found out that there was a secret staircase in one of the rooms that went way down into the bedrock and then there was a tunnel that went way across from the mountain and came out by a secret passage by some bushes, and the whole population of this little city had escaped through the night while they were planning their defeat. The Lord will help you and I do that to the devil. When he thinks he’s got us, if you make up your mind that “I’m going to trust God. I’m going to do what the right thing is.” God will make an escape for you and me.

Now in summarizing, the most valuable, the most precious way that each one of us can overcome anything has to be because you love God. Because you know sin hurts God and when you are tempted you gotta say, “I can’t do that because I love God.” If a man really loves his wife some old hag on the street is not going to offer any allurement to him, right? And if you really love Jesus the attractions of the devil don’t hold sway for you. The best place for you to resist temptation is to see how much Jesus loves you and to see how much sin hurts you, and the best place to see those things is at the cross. When you see the cross and you see how much God loves you and how much sin hurts Him it’s easier for us to resist temptation. With those thoughts I want to invite you to reach for your hymnal and turn to 317 “Lead me to Calvary” and if it’s your desire to be an overcomer then I invite you to stand with me as we sing this familiar hymn.

Before we sing the last verse in this song, I always like to offer an invitation for a few moments. If some have heard the Holy Spirit speaking to them and maybe they’ve not made a decision to give their hearts to Jesus, to empty themselves and accept Him as their Lord. Or maybe you made that decision some time ago and you’ve lost it somewhere. You want to renew your commitment to Jesus and ask Him to be your Lord, be a Christian, to be an overcomer. I invite you to come to the front. We want to pray for you as we close this service and if that’s your desire come as we sing the last verse. *** Some are still coming and there may be some up in the balcony and you’re feeling impressed to give your heart to Jesus if you feel that stirring then I invite you to come.

I always feel this is one of the most important things we can do Sabbath morning is give an invitation for people to choose Jesus. That’s how the church grows. And so, come. This is a very important time. I encourage the members to be praying with us and for us as we are feeling the moving of the Spirit right now in God’s house. I’d like to just praise the Lord for His Word, for the promise that we can be overcomers. Want to invite everybody for a moment to bow our heads, each person. Everybody in this room is tempted and we’ve all fallen. We’ve all fallen short of God’s glory. Jesus came to help us learn how to overcome. If you would like to say, “Lord, I want to be an overcomer. Please help me. Fill me with your Spirit.” Would you like to lift your hand before Him right now and indicate that’s your prayer? Now I’d like to ask us to pray in a special way for those who have responded this morning and want to come to Jesus.

Lord, please be with them. Fill them right now at this moment with your Spirit. Help them to know that this act of coming into your presence is a very important one. They’re inviting you and giving you permission to take the reins of their lives. Please flood their hearts with your love. Help them each one to know you have a plan, a very big, a great plan for their lives and there’s no limit to what you can do in and through them except their surrender to thee. Be with them now. Be with them as they go from this place so they’ll know that Christianity is not something that happens in the church but it happens in our homes, it happens on the street. And, Lord, this is a prayer for each of us here that we can let our light shine and be faithful to reflect Christ in a perishing world until he comes. This is our prayer in his name. Amen.

Congregation can be seated. I’d like to ask those who’ve responded today if you wouldn’t mind for just a moment coming over here and meeting with Pastor George and our Elder Dennis Jones here. We just want to get your names and help give you some resources to help you with your new walk with the Lord.

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The Surrender of Self (PB) Joe Crews

The Surrender of Self (PB) Joe Crews
God's Promises




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