Temptation Part II: What Tempts Us
There are many situations that temp us to sin against God. What are some situations you can think of that you have experiences being tempted?
Taking the easy way
Matthew 7:13-14 Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction.
So often the things that are easiest are most appealing. Sometimes the things that we should be doing take work so we are discouraged from doing so.
Matthew 16:21-23 Jesus, while telling the disciples about his upcoming death, gives us an example of not taking the easy way even in life and death situations.
Peter began to rebuke him
Can you imagine rebuking Jesus? What was he thinking?
We can imagine he was concerned for his friend. He didn't have a full grasp of the plan yet so he was being protective.
Jesus exclaims to Peter "Get behind me Satan." Is he saying that Peter was in a way the devil? Was he saying that he was maybe possessed? No the word Satanas is what is used here but it is derived from the original Hebrew word satan which simply means adversary or opponent.
The things of this world
Matthew 18:7-9 Woe to the world for the things that cause people to stumble!
Does anyone know what Woe means? A quick Google search shows that it means great sorrow or distress. Jesus is wishing sorrow and distress or general hardship for the world for the things that cause us (those who believe in him) to stumble. Jesus acknowledges that stumbling blocks will always be there and "must come" in fact but he also states Woe to those who bring them.
Jesus shows us in verses 8-9 how serious he is about stumbling blocks by saying if any part of ourselves is causing us to stumble it is better to "cut it off\out" than to remain in sin.
Here Jesus is using Hyperbole to show that we need to deal with what is causing us to sin as drastically as possible. He doesn’t just mean to cut off physical parts of your body. It might be cutting off a relationship with someone that " you just can’t live without" or perhaps even cutting ties with parents or family members. He is telling us to make the hard decisions to better our lives in the long run.
Do you agree that it is better to be maimed or crippled than to remain in sin?
We just saw the actions we have been told to take on ourselves. I want to back up and read verse 6. Here Jesus has some even more drastic actions called for those who cause others(especially little children) to stumble.
Weakness of faith
Luke 22:31-32 But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.
Here at the last supper Jesus is telling Simon specifically but all the disciples could hear him that Satan wants to sift them like wheat? Who here has sifted anything before? (take sifter and sand with rocks?)
Satan wants to shake them up a bit through temptation and see who falls through the holes into his trap.
After telling him that Satan wants to sift them as wheat he then says that he has prayed specifically that he wont lose faith. Jesus knows that hard times in our lives might make us angry and doubtful but we can't lose sight of what is most important.
We can see in John 17:15-20 That Jesus prayed for protection from the enemy for his disciples but not only them but for everyone who hears their message
Pride in one's own strength
Galatians 6:1 But watch yourselves , or you also may be tempted.
Here we are instructed as those who live in the spirit to "restore" those who are caught in sin but to do it gently. The word restore here is the Greek Katartizo which means to mend (literally and figuratively), adjust, complete thoroughly, make perfect etc.
I just want you to see that he points out that we need to be gentle.
But watch yourselves….You may think that you are past temptation or too strong to give in to it but things have a funny way of sneaking up you. The first step in giving in to temptation is to be around it. You may have to put yourself in tempting situations in order to help someone else. These situations call for the most self control and discipline to stay afloat yourself.
To tell you a little about my personal history. I have had a history with being tempted by alcohol. I need to be really careful about putting myself in situations where alcohol is involved which is pretty much everywhere. When I go out to things like company picnics or parties I need to be extra vigilant. Even if I have it in my head that I won't be tempted by a drink or I'll have one and then stop something happens like " the boss opened a tab and beers are free for the next two hours" that just makes the deal " too sweet to pass up." Knowing that things like that happen I have to sometimes stay home from an opportunity of free things and a good time because I know that I might be tempted and do things that I would regret. I have yet to go to a company Christmas party because of the reputation of free alcohol and I don't want to have the opportunity to make a bad decision so I stay home.
1 Thessalonians 3:4-5 Paul is restating to the Thessalonians that the believers will be persecuted but that even through the persecution and trials we must keep faith .
Acts 11:19-20 We can see here that through the persecution of the believers the gospel was spread out to the people. Both Jew and Greek.
1 Timothy 6:9 We just went over this a few weeks ago. Who has their notes from that lesson?
V9 - Does this mean that it is wrong to own nice things or want to live comfortable lives? If not, what does this mean?
That if the Lord blesses us with nice things we are to be content and satisfied and if the lord does not bless us with nice things we are still to be content and satisfied.
We are not to make the accumulation of money or things or power a priority or allow those things to dictate how we live our lives.
Greed is controlling and consuming and the only one that should be in control of our lives is our Lord Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
James 1:14-15 We started off last week with James 1:13 which showed us that God will never tempt us to sin. Verses 14-15 shows that we are tempted by our own evil desires which then entice us to sin.
In a footnote in my study Bible it calls our "Evil Desires" A person's innate desire to sin. This says that we have a natural desire or tendency towards sin? Why is that do you think? Is it maybe because the road to sin is a wide well groomed path full of all your friends?
As we read on we see the consequences of giving in to our sinful desires is death
What are ways to avoid being tempted?
The first way to avoid temptation is to know the things that can potentially lure you into sin. You don’t have to write them down if you don’t want to but what are some things that might tempt you?
Write down a prayer asking for protection from temptation.