River Church NOLA
June 27 Sunday Facing the Giant of Temptation
  • Trading My Sorrows
  • This Is Amazing Grace
  • Great Are You Lord
  • Draw Me Close
  • We are doing a series on Sundays I called Facing Your Giants. So far we have looked at giants like: Fear... Guilt and Shame... Lack of Integrity... and today we will Face the Giant of Temptation.
    I think we all understand temptation to some degree.
    There was a little boy in a grocery store standing by an open box of peanut butter cookies. Now then young man, the grocer said as he approached the boy. What are you to do? Nothing the boy replied. Well, it looks to me like you are trying to take a cookie. You’re wrong mister, I’m trying not to take a cookie. Now that’s temptation!
    There are some things in life that are absolute: difficulties; taxes; death; and temptation. So as Christians we can expect to be tempted which makes it vital that we learn to overcome temptation.
    We understand that temptation leads to trouble. Such was the plight of man in Reader’s digest.
    This man said he was shopping in the mall with his wife when a shapely young woman in a short, form fitting dress walked by. He said as she walked by his eyes followed her. Without looking up from the item she was examining his wife asked, “Was it worth the trouble that you are in? That’s the trouble with temptation.
    How many of us have shrugged and said, “The Devil made me do it!” and used that as an excuse when caught doing something we weren’t supposed to? It’s a convenient defense. But there’s one problem: the Devil can’t make us do anything. He may be clever, but he’s not all powerful. It may feel that way, however, when we’re dangling on temptation’s hook, because Satan has a tried-and-true strategy for luring us into his net.

    Satan’s Strategy to tempt you

    James 1:14–16 NLT
    14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. 16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.

    1. Satan lays out the bait

    Satan is like your smart phone. He knows where you go, what you look at or search for, where you hang out… he knows you like a fisherman knows fish.

    2. Next comes the Appeal

    He can’t make you bite, but he knows what happens inside you when you get a glimpse of that bait. Our old nature, our flesh draws us to it. We look at it, think about it and imagine using it.

    3. Then comes the Struggle

    Immediately our conscience punches us in the stomach warning us of danger. We know it’s wrong to take a bite… we even see the barbed consequences sticking through the bait. But it looks so good and you think you just have to have it… What do we do?

    4. Temptation ends in a response

    We either resist or give in… we swim away or take a bite… we buy it or we don’t… we think well this once will be ok…
    Anyone who has resisted knows the good feeling of freedom that follows the decision to resist and walk away. On the other hand, those who have given in know the pain of the hook in your cheek.
    Typically we handle temptation one of three ways
    Typically we handle temptation in one of three ways.

    The first way we deal with temptation is to give in to it

    The second way we deal with temptation is to fight it with our own strength

    The third way we deal with temptation is to overcome it through the power of the Holy Spirit in us

    That’s the way we deal with it but we will look at the third way in a moment . Before that I want to look at When Satan tempts us.
    When are we most likely to be tempted?
    In the story of Jesus temptation (Luke 4:1-13) in the wilderness we see when we are most likely to be tempted.

    When Satan Tempts you

    We are often tempted after a spiritual high

    Jesus was tempted right after his Baptism where the Father spoke audibly from heaven and the Holy Spirit came down on him like a dove. That was certainly a spiritual high. You will find that Satan will often tempt you after you have experienced something spiritually uplifting or done something great for God.
    How many of you have gone to a concert or a conference or church or even had a good quiet time in the morning only to be jolted back into your old nature by something? Or gotten into an argument on the way home from those events?

    We are often tempted when we are tired or weak

    Jesus had been in the wilderness for 40 days and night without eating. He was hungry, hot and tired. Temptation will often come at you when you are physically or emotionally tired or exhausted.

    We are often tempted when we are alone

    Jesus was alone in the wilderness when the devil tempted him. We are more susceptible to temptation when we are alone. When you are with the right people, temptation stays away, or at least it’s weakened. The banana that gets away from the bunk gets peeled.
    So what are the sources of temptation we face? Where does temptation come from?

    The Source of Temptation

    There are three sources of temptation: The devil; the world; your old nature or the Flesh.
    The good thing is that temptations are common and not unique.
    1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
    13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
    Don’t think that your temptation is unique… that you are the only person in the world that is being tempted the way you are. We all face the same temptations. So where do they come from?

    Source 1 - Temptation comes from the world we live in

    Temptation comes from the culture we live in. The world in the bible is talking about a system … our culture.
    1 John 2:15 NLT
    15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.
    The world offers you a sub par counterfeit of what God offers you. We are not suppose to love the world or the things in it.
    James 4:4 NLT
    4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.
    It is possible today for Christians to be so much a part of the world that they do not stand out for the Lord.
    A man went to his doctor and told him, Doc, I have been misbehaving lately and my conscience is bothering me so I thought I would see if you could help me.
    The doctor said, well, what do you expect me to do? give you something to strengthen your will power? The man sad “no. I was hoping you would give me something to weaken my conscience
    We don’t want to be like that. We are supposed to be different (in a good way) from the culture we live in. That’s why Paul said,
    Romans 12:2 NLT
    2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
    Let me tell you, the culture we live in today is attacking your Biblical beliefs. It’s attacking your values. It’s saying that whats evil is good and what’s good is evil. We have DA’s who will not prosecute crimes in our cities…(rioters from last year) we have social media crucifying anyone who disagrees with the WOKE Left on anything. They even turn on their own. We live in a culture where anything you want to do sexually is OK… where the only people you can offend are Christians… that tries to make race the prism through which everything is looked at so that it can separate us.
    Don’t copy this culture.
    A man broke his arm in two places and went to the doctor. I broke my arm in two places Doc. What do we do? Doc - stay out of those places. When it comes to temptation from the world that’s not bad advice

    Source 2 - The flesh or our old sinful nature

    We are born with an inclination to do evil. It’s inherited. We got it from grandpa Adam. It’s what the Bible calls our flesh or our old nature. We often blame the devil, but all he can do is to tempt us. He can’t make you do anything. But our sin nature will take the temptation from the devil and run with it.
    Galatians 5:17 NLT
    17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
    If the devil stopped tempting us today, he wont, but if he did, we would still sin because of our nature. We sin because we have a sinful nature.
    A Discipleship magazine survey listed out and ranked some of the greatest temptations people face.
    Materialism - greed
    Pride
    Self-centeredness
    Laziness
    Anger/Bitterness
    Sexual Lust
    Envy
    Gluttony
    Lying
    In the Survey respondents also noted.

    81% said temptation was stronger when they had neglected their time with the Lord in their devotional time and church attendance.

    57% said temptation was stronger when they were physically tired.

    84% said they resisted temptation by prayer.

    76% said avoiding compromising situations helped to overcome temptation.

    66% said Bible reading and study helped. 52% said being accountable to someone helped.

    Source 3 - The devil

    1 Peter 5:8 NLT
    8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
    The devil is real. Jesus said he was so I believe it. And he is always looking for a way to mess you up.
    Let’s look at the motivation for temptation in the first place. Why does temptation exist?

    The Motivation of Temptation

    We are made in the image of a triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and when we are tempted, we are tempted in the area of our Soul, our body, or our spirit. And, the bottom line is this. We are tempted because the devil wants to destroy our relationship with God.

    The World tempts our soul

    Our soul is our mind, will and emotions. It contains our desires, our ego and our emotions. When we talk about a person who is worldly, we are generally speaking of a person who is easily influenced by the pleasures of the world.
    Illustration: When the herdsmen for Abraham and Lot began to fight with each other over pastures, Abraham told his nephew to choose some land, and he would go the other way. So Lot looked out and saw the well-watered plains and the tall grass of the east, and he went in that direction. Lot was already wealthy, but he was sucked into thinking he could be the wealthiest man in Palestine. He was tempted by the world’s system to be a big shot. That’s the constant message of the world: You need more, you can have more. Lot fell into that trap, and it cost him everything he owned.

    The flesh tempts our body

    We are tempted towards tings like laziness, lust, over-indulgence, and sexual immorality. The flesh wants to use your body as a vehicle of expression.
    When King David was walking on the roof of his palace, he spotted a beautiful woman taking a bath. Instead of turning away, he stopped and stared. Lust rose up inside of him and his sex drive kicked into high gear as his passions were attacked by his flesh. His mind began playing out the scenarios and instead of returning to his wife, he sent aides to bring the other woman to him. His physical body was attacked by his flesh and David gave in to sexual sin and brought a world of pain into his life.

    The devil attacks our Spirit

    If our spirit is our sense of self, our spirit is our sense of God consciousness. You know and connect to God through your spirit. Animals have a soul and a body but no spirit… that what’s make us different than animals. We can know God. We have an innate sense of morality. We can worship God in spirit and truth.
    The spirit of man is the vehicle of worship and communication with God, and the devil wants to cut off that relationship. He is at war against your spirit. He is the one who puts doubts in your mind. He is the one who tries to convince you that you can make it on your own.
    For example, in OT times when King Saul turned away from following God and relied on the Witch of Endor for the direction. He wasn’t on an ego trip or under sexual attack. He was not being tempted to sin in his soul nor with his body. Saul was being tempted in his spirit… he faltered in his faith. Satan attacked Saul in the spiritual realm· tempting him to doubt God and His truth. Saul’s spirit was under attack and he failed to resist.
    All of these, the world, the flesh and the devil wage war against our soul, our body and our spirit. If we understand this, it will help us to overcome temptation on our lives. Now we have looked the sources of temptation, but let me say this, they all originate with the devil.
    So how do we conquer temptation?

    Conquering Temptation

    In overcoming temptation through the power of God there are three strategies we need to use and these three words are them. Faith, Flight and fight.
    Let me give you three words to use in battle temptation.

    To overcome temptations of the world we need faith

    1 John 5:4 NLT
    4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
    Spiritual faith is the best weapon against worldliness. The only way to get through the temptations of this world is to focus on Jesus Christ. Then, when the world comes to offer you its crumbs, you can reject it because you have feasted on the Lord Jesus. When the world offers you a hotdog, you can reject it because you have eaten steak at the Lord’s table. When our soul is satisfied with God, when we are full of his love and life, when we are responding to temptations with spiritual faith we will overcome the temptations that wage against our soul.
    The bible says that when we love the world with it’s systems and values, that we are not loving God. So if you want to defeat the temptations of the world love God more. I love old hymns and one says, Turn your eyes upon Jesus and the things of this world will grow strangely dim.
    Faith in the power of God is the key to overcoming the world .
    Illustration: From Jerry Kirk about TV porn. "I travel alone a lot in my job, and I stay in a lot of hotels with cable TV. I sometimes struggle whether to watch pornography while in the room. One time, I was flipping through the channels to find the World Series. While flipping, I came across a channel with half-nude women. I flipped over to the baseball game. Ten minutes later, I flipped back to the movie, and then quickly back to the World Series. I did that four or five times before I shut off the TV.
    I was unnerved at the power of temptation, especially since I’ve given my life to combat pornography. I’ve had to come face to face with the Lord and plead for mercy: "Lord, how is this possible?" I began to lose confidence in my prayers. God reminded me, ’Jerry, I’m not surprised by your sin. I’ve known all along you were a sinner. I’ve known all along that you were weak. I needed you to know that you were weak. And I need you to know that I alone will make you strong’."
    Obviously, faith includes trust and dependence on God.

    To overcome the temptations of the Flesh, we need flight

    When we are faced with fleshly temptations, we need to run or flee. The bible says to flee immorality and youthful lusts. IOW - run. So if you are faced with fleshly temptation, or are tempted to watch a movie you know will arouse sexual impurities in you, run away. You can’t watch R movies with sexual situations in them and keep your thoughts pure before God. People think they can watch that stuff and it won’t effect them, but Paul disagrees.
    1 Corinthians 10:12 NLT
    12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.
    An unmarried couple cannot have a secluded rendezvous and expect to remain pure before God. Don’t put yourself in that kind of situation.
    Proverbs 6:27 NLT
    27 Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire?
    We have to make up our mind to flee from sexual temptations. When Potiphar’s wife tempted Joseph, he didn't’ wait around, the got out of there.
    Illustration: When Justin Armour was a rookie wide receiver with the Buffalo Bills, some veteran teammates invited him to a preseason party. Justin went, and couldn’t believe what he saw: Gorgeous women everywhere, offering free sex to any of the guys who wanted it.
    "It was the most eye-opening experience I’ve ever had," Justin says. "I had heard about things like this, but I was so naive. I got out of there as fast as I could!"
    As a single Christian guy, Justin had committed to saving sex for marriage. To do so, he knows he’s got to run from temptation.
    "I’d rather not have my mind polluted by those things. Once you’ve been in a couple of situations where’s there’s a temptation, you learn how to avoid them and you don’t go back

    Flight means to get away from

    To overcome the temptations of the devil, we need to fight

    Both James and Peter say that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. You aren’t told to flee from Satan, but to fight him. He isn’t going to leave us alone, so we are going to have to learn to fight him… not in our power but in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. The devil doesn’t pay attention to our strength or our goodwill, but he fears the power of Jesus Christ.
    He fears the overcoming power of the Blood of Jesus Christ that has been applied to our lives.
    Revelation 12:10–11 NLT
    10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last— salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth— the one who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.
    When the devil attacks you, fight back with the truth of what the Blood of Jesus has done in your life.
    Bring the Word of God (Sword of the Spirit) against him. Fight back with the truths of Scripture. Hold up your commitment to Christ against him. Put your sin under the blood of Jesus and you will no longer have to be on the defensive. You can just remind yourself, "I have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I resist the devil and temptation in the name of Almighty God. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and I will not let the devil trespass on His property. With God's help I will resist."

    To "fight" includes resisting and standing firm against the enemy of our soul.

    James 4:7 NIV
    7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
    1 Peter 5:8–9 NLT
    8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
    Paul tells us to be aware of Satan’s strategies.
    2 Corinthians 2:11 NLT
    11 so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.
    Conclusion
    Illustration: Gen. George Patton of WWII fame was a great student of the history of warfare. During the battles of North Africa, Patton's troops and tanks were engaged in a series of attacks and counter-attacks with the German Panzer Divisions under the command of Gen. Erwin Rommell, generally considered the greatest battlefield commander ever-up to that time.
    Patton’s forces did not fall for one of the Rommell’s traps, and in fact, successfully countered attacked and defeated the Germans. Patton watched the battle unfold, and at the moment he saw the battle turn, he stood up in his staff car and cried out, "I read your book. I read your book."
    He was referring to Rommell's book on warfare called Infantry Attacks. Patton had learned of Rommells strategy, had planned his moves accordingly, and defeated him. Satan has written no books, but God has exposed the enemy’s schemes in order that Satan might not outwit us. "For we are not unaware of his schemes." Through faith, flight and fight move away from temptation and donât leave a forwarding address!

    Through God’s power, by faith, flight, and fight we can defeat the tempter and his temptations.

      • James 1:14–16NLT

      • 1 Corinthians 10:13NLT

      • 1 John 2:15NLT

      • James 4:4NLT

      • Romans 12:2NLT

      • Galatians 5:17NLT

      • 1 Peter 5:8NLT

      • 1 John 5:4NLT

      • 1 Corinthians 10:12NLT

      • Proverbs 6:27NLT

      • Revelation 12:10–11NLT

      • James 4:7NLT

      • 1 Peter 5:8–9NLT

      • 2 Corinthians 2:11NLT

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