temptation

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE

As blogger Trent Hunter points out “we are supposed to run from things that can kill us – active volcanoes, oncoming traffic, and snakes come to mind.”

Yet, we can allow behaviors and thoughts into our life that are death to us in a far more serious way then being incinerated by a rushing lava flow.

Read this article by Trent in which he reminds us of serious dangers AND gives advice on how to have an exit strategy, or as he describes it – how to F.L.E.E.

 

THE ART OF DELUSION

 

Satan’s great weapon is deceit; he is the “father of lies” (John 8:44).

All sin involves delusion of some kind

“I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”  (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Satan cannot make us sin, but he works very hard to deceive us (with cooperation from our fleshly nature)

He wants to delude us about sin and its fruit

He wants to delude us about what is important and wise for life

He wants to delude us about God: his character and the benefits of being sold out for him

Satan presents the bait and hides the hook

He makes sin look inviting while hiding its poison and God’s judgment

But there is always a hook and to sin always makes us play the fool

We need to remind ourselves of the realities behind every sin

Satan’s real purpose is always to separate us from God

Satan hates us    

Sin hates God       

Every sin will be regretted

Satan shows us only one side of sinful lives

We see the success and pleasures of godless people

Or we hear positive reactions to sinful behaviors

We cannot see the true condition of people’s inner life. People without Christ cannot have peace with God or the peace of God

When we consider what lies ahead for unbelievers and sin, there is nothing to envy

We need to consider the results of life and obedience with the eyes of faith

Satan covers some sins with social acceptability

“If so many people do it, how wrong can it be, and how angry can God be?”

The Bible is clear, God will condemn many

“Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it” (Matthew 7:13)

We should expect the world to commonly and increasingly pursue what is evil   

“Evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)

God acts from his perfection, he’s unaffected by human opinion and practice

Satan portrays God as only love

Instead of being seen as perfectly loving, God is made out to only loving

The Bible portrays God as perfect in all attributes; which includes his justice and holiness

“Consider the goodness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22)

Satan wants to change the size of God and man

He wants us to magnify man and minimize God; to make what men do important and what God does distant

The result is we fear people over God, follow people over God, listen to people over God, and appease people rather than God

We need a clear view of mankind’s true nature and position  

“All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.” (Isaiah 40:6-7)

We obviously need the same concerning God  

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40:28)

Both of these need to be reinforced regularly

Whenever temptation comes, remind yourself that deceit, failure and regret are in the heart of what is being offered to you

 

THOUGHTS ON MANKIND’S FIRST SIN

Genesis 3:1-6

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

 

Satan’s Attack

1.  Satan brought God into question. What God had said, was made to be ‘open to discussion’.

2.  Satan accused God’s law as being unreasonable.

3.  Satan inflated Eve’s view of her rights and needs.

4.  Satan pretended he was concerned for Eve’s interests, when his real motivation was to destroy.

5.  Satan planted the seed of sin’s immediate gratification.

6.  Satan omitted the full result of his suggested course.

We should always view temptation as an attack. Satan is a ‘roaring lion seeking to devour’.

 

Eve’s Failure

1.  She took up the self-centered perspective offered.

2.  She did not place the temptation under God’s wisdom: What does God have to say about this?

3.  She did not admit God’s authority over her and everything else.

4.  She did not seek God Himself.

5.  She allowed the temptation to take root (James 1:14-15).

6.  She allowed truth to be experimental;  i.e. to define truth by our experience.

Love for God and trust in Him was not enough for Eve. The same principle is true when we disobey God’s word.


THOUGHTS ON JESUS TEMPTATION

 

Matthew 4:1-11

      Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, ’and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’”

 

The 1st Temptation  vs 3-4

Satan’s Approach

It doesn’t appear outwardly sinful, but his suggestion cut across God’s purpose for that time

Satan’s appeals to love for self and the world

Just as with Eve, his approach was to have Christ be self-focused

Jesus Response

He immediately put the suggestion into the context of God’s sovereignty

Jesus responds by bringing up God’s priorities, because they his first concern

Jesus did not say bread was sinful, but that there are more vital things

 

The 2nd Temptation  vs 5-7

Satan’s Approach

He used Scripture, but outside of its intended understanding and context

He appeals again to pride; this time with implied altruistic value: ‘people will know you are Son of God’

 Jesus Response

He again is biblically rooted and God-centered

He points out the presumption of Satan’s suggested action; it would have been dictating to God, not resting on His promises (we are responders to God, who do not set the framework for how God should act)

 

The 3rd Temptation  vs 8-10

Satan’s Approach

Satan is offering immediately, what was the ultimate end of Jesus ministry, to be Lord over all kingdoms

However he is also offering it these things in a distorted fashion

Satan offers what is not his to give

Jesus Response

He remains biblically oriented and God-centered

He not only rejects Satan’s offer, he rebukes the tempter

 

Summation

Jesus used the ‘shield of faith’ – – Eve did not (Ephesians 6:16)

Jesus submitted and resisted – – Eve did not (James 4:7)

Jesus recognized the only true source of good things – – Eve did not (James 1:16-18)

Jesus had absolute confidence in God’s sovereignty and goodness. We may say it – Jesus lived it

BACK IN THE SWAMP

 

How did we get into the swamp of sin – again?

John MacArthur gives us an obvious, yet insightful clue:

“Nobody just falls out of a tree. They climb up in it, move around a bit, and then fall out.”

Erik Raymond, shares this quote and some very helpful thoughts in this article found on the Gospel Coalition Website, “A Secret Life of Prayer Will Prevent a Secret Life of Sin”.

Erik’s article is only an important reminder if you are ever tempted or struggle with sin.

Temptation will keep coming, but that doesn’t need to overwhelm or discourage us.

Because God’s presence, wisdom, strength, and commitment are all greater than our temptations and our Tempter!

However, we do need to operate in God’s grace and not keep walking in our own ways. Let’s become more consistent in holding onto the handrail of God’s abundantly offered grace to us.

A PICTURE OF SIN

 

Every sin is rooted in deception and is a snare than entraps us. There are no safe or innocent sins. And each one will eventually bring regret.

“Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers!”  Psalm 141:9

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”  Proverbs 29:25

“(Satan) does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  John 8:44

Look at your sin by God’s description, not by its own portrayal.

Be willing to see sin for what it is.

DELUDED: DISTORTED PERCEPTIONS

We have been looking at Satan as the great “Deceiver” (Revelation 12:9). When we recognize that Satan’s primary weapon is deception, we will then recognize the importance of countering his attacks with truth – just as Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations with Scripture (see Matthew 4)

Satan tries to covers some sins with social acceptability

“This is such a little sin, it really doesn’t matter”

“If so many people do it, how wrong can it be, and how angry can God be?”

The Bible is clear; God has already condemned all sin and sinners

“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” Romans 1:18

This is why Christ is the only hope the world has been given, because only Christ has resolved our sin problem

Christ lived a perfect life

Christ took our sin upon himself

Christ paid in full the price the Father requires for our sin

Christ arose from the grave demonstrating that the debt of sin he carried had been paid in full

Christ now lives and loves to save whoever will call upon him

Satan sometimes portrays God as only love, instead of as perfectly loving.

Sadly, some prominent – but warped – voices within Christianity have jumped on that bandwagon

This emphasis is used to diminish the fear we should have of sin and the judgment that is coming against all who reject the truth of God!

The Bible portrays God as perfect in all attributes; which includes his justice and holiness.

 “Consider the goodness and severity of God” Romans 11:22

God acts from His perfection, He is unaffected by human opinion and practice

Satan wants to change our perceptions about the size of God and man

He wants us to magnify man and minimize God; to make what men do important and what God does distant

The result

. . We fear people over God

. . We follow people over God

. . We listen to people over God

. . We appease people rather than God

What we desperately need is a clear view of mankind’s true nature and position  

“All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.” (Isaiah 40:6-7)

We obviously need the same reality check concerning God  

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40:28)

When we see ourselves as worshippers and exalt God according to the glories describes in His word, our perspective remains clear, God remains (to us) glorious, and we realize everyone else (like us) is lacking!

 

DELUDED: THE GREAT WEAPON

All sin involves deceit of some kind. This is Satan’s great weapon; he is the “father of lies” and “the Deceiver”

“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

“The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” Revelation 12:9

“I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” 2 Corinthians 11:3  

Satan cannot make us sin, but he works very hard to deceive us (with much cooperation from our fleshly nature)

He wants to delude us about sin and its fruit

He wants to delude us about what is important and wise for life

He wants to delude us about God and His absolute rule and His overwhelming faithfulness to us

How do we respond to deceit? We put our faith in the truth!

In Ephesians 6, Paul instructs us to protect ourselves from spiritual attack with the Word of God and our faith in it

 “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (vs16-17)

Biblical faith looking to the truth of God and acting upon it

Biblical faith is to live according to God’s perspective about Himself, the world, and ourselves

Biblical faith sees God as the main character is every situation

Biblical faith builds our life upon what God has said and done

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called” 1 Timothy 6:12

To “fight the fight of faith” is to enter the battle of daily life, trusting God and obeying Him

God is most important – so I will worship Him, and turn my heart toward Him

God is the source of wisdom – so I live by on His word

Christ’s Kingdom is the only one that will last – so I serve His will

God is glorious and good – so I trust Him enough to give Him all of my life today

Keep preaching the gospel to yourself, and the lies of the enemy will sound shrill and look foolish