1. Temptation is not sin
As we saw in Matthew 4 Jesus was tempted.
Heb. 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin.
Temptation is not a sin – giving in to it is!
As Martin Luther once said, we can’t stop the birds flying over our head, but we can stop them nesting in our hair.
2. We can’t always resist temptation by separation from it
Charles Spurgeon: “What settings are you in when you fall? Avoid them. What props do you have that support your sin? Eliminate them. What people are you usually with? Avoid them
There is good advice here. But if taken to an extreme we will disengage from the world – and that’s not what God wants!
But it may be for some that you are in situations that you need to avoid.
However, Origen discovered that removal doesn’t always work!
He castrated himself – and yet still found he had the desires. The problem is the mind. Our mind is a battleground.
The key is to renew our minds. Be reliant upon the Spirit and on Scripture.
Jesus in the wilderness when tempted by Satan quoted scripture at him. All the scriptures Jesus quoted came from the book of Deuteronomy. No doubt that was what he was reading and meditating on. Like Jesus Get the word of God into us. Use that.
There are 5 things we need to do with scripture:
Meditate- much neglected part; it helps it become part of us.
Philippians 4:8 whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
3. Temptation is a problem for all Christians
We all face temptation. Usually it comes in three categories: Money, Sex and Power. Money might be stealing, fiddling or gambling; Sex might be pornography, sex outside of marriage; Power might be an oppressive use of it, a desire to dominate and so on.
We need to guard our hearts and minds in these areas.
No one is exempt form temptation. Even the most spiritually mature.
Jesus faced it
1Cor. 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
4. There is a limit to temptation - not beyond what we can bear 1 Cor 10. 13
5. We are to pray not to be tempted - prayer is a powerful weapon; it is the most subversive thing a Christian can do! Particularly when tempted.
Mark 14:38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation
If you are tempted pray! It’s the best defence against temptation.
6. Accountability – we have each other. If you are faced with temptations that you give into confess it to a friend. Ask them to pray for you. Ask them to ask you how’s it going?
If your problems come through the Internet – use accountability software.
7. We mess up – deal with it!
What if we do give in? Don’t let the enemy accuse us. Confess it to God – and maybe someone else - and ask forgiveness.
God has provided a way out. On the cross he dealt with our sin and our sins.
Our sin – the hardness of our hearts, our old self, has been dealt with – put on our new self, a new heart in Christ.
Also our sins the ones we continually commit that come from that sinful heart have been dealt with.
Sin and sins have been covered by what Jesus did for us on the cross.
Confess and ask for forgiveness.
There are two lies we can succumb to:
Once won’t hurt – falling down the slide may look like fun, but it hurts at the bottom!
You have blown it – giving into temptation means that that’s it. God doesn’t love you. That’s a lie of the enemy. Nothing you can do can separate you from God if you confess and ask his forgiveness.