1 Corinthians 10:13 James 1:14-16 1 Peter 5:8
As we start out a brand new year, 2019, I want to remind you that without question, the biggest problem a Christian has by far is temptation.
If you can eliminate temptation, you can eliminate sin.
A pastor told his congregation, “I learned a great lesson from a dog.”
He said, “His master used to put a piece of meat or a biscuit or some kind of food on the ground, and say to the dog, ‘Don’t eat that,’ . – The dog would run over and eat it, so he’d spank the dog.
He put another piece of meat on the ground and say, ‘Don’t eat that.’
The dog would go over and eat it, and he’d hit him again.
After awhile, the dog got the message: eat meat, get spanked. . – So the dog decided he wouldn’t eat the meat.”
The dog finally got to where he didn’t look at the meat. . – He felt if he looked at the meat, the temptation to disobey would be too great, so he . constantly looked into his master’s face and never took his eyes off him. . – Then the temptation didn’t cause a problem.
Temptation works like that.
As long as we stare at it looking at the baubles or the bangles Satan dangles in front of us and entertain ourselves on that and feed on it, we’re susceptible.
Temptation’s a common problem for all of us — often victory over temptation isn’t so common. . – 1 Corinthians 10:13
We have the same problem the dog had. . – If we entertain the temptation rather than keeping our eyes on Christ, we’re going to fall.
The strength of a temptation is in how long you play with it and think about it. . – The longer you toy with temptation the stronger it becomes and the harder it is to resist. . – If you dismiss it immediately, you’ll not have a problem.
How do you do that? . – Many radio towers all around Phoenix, sending out different frequencies.
If you don’t like the programming on one station you change to another station! . – When Satan bombards you with temptation you can change the station too.
By Praising Jesus, quoting scripture, testifying to Satan how God’s forgiven your sin, plea the Blood, sing a hymn, and remembering you aren’t having a private moment. — Hebrews 12:1
There are surveillance cameras watching us everywhere, but that’s nothing to what Hebrews tells us — There’s a great host of witnesses watching how you’ll respond! . – Knowing this has always helped me resist temptations.
Remember when Satan offers you a temptation, he wants to destroy you. — 1 Peter 5:8 . – Bait on a fish hook.
Whatever Satan has to offer might gratify for a moment — when it’s over you’re not satisfied. . – You’ll deal with guilt, feel miserable and know you’re out-of-step with God.
Any deal Satan offers you is a bad deal!
I know people who think God is too restrictive — they don’t want to be tied down to a bunch of rules — they want more freedom to indulge in what the world offers:
A German Shepherd lived with his master who loved him very much. Every day when the master went to work the German Shepherd would be on a long chain in the garden, long enough to cover all the grounds and be able to go inside through the dog-door if need be.
One day when the German Shepherd was keeping watch over his Master’s property, a Bulldog came bouncing up laughing and taunting.
The bulldog said, “Ha! Ha! Look at you, all chained up. Not free! I’m free; I can do what I want. If I’m hungry I go to the garbage cans and find food, I can chase all the lady dogs. You can’t be happy!”.
“Actually”, said the German Shepherd, “you have a point. I do wonder what it’d be like to have more freedom and go beyond the boundaries set by my master. But my master’s good! He takes care of me and loves me — I’m secure in his care.”
The Bulldog came every day with the same old tactics. Finally, the German Shepherd started listening to the bulldog and said, “OK, if I want to be free how’s it possible? I’m chained up!”.
“Ah!”, said the Bulldog, “You’ve got to be smart like me. When your master is out you go into the living room, right to the center of the rug and do a big job”
“But my master will beat me!” gasped the German Shepherd.
“He’ll beat you a few times, then he’ll let you loose!” Said the Bulldog.
The German Shepherd couldn’t sleep that night. . – He tossed and turned deciding whether to listen to the Bulldog or not. . – The next morning his master hugged him and left with the usual loving words,‘Be a good . . dog, look after my house’.
But the German Shepherd was under the spell of the Bulldog — he went to the center of the living room and did big business!
The next day the Bulldog saw the German Shepherd still chained sitting silently in the garden. . – His nose was bright red!
“What happened?” asked the Bulldog , “You did it didn’t you ? What happened?”
“My master was so angry, he took me to the living room and rubbed my nose painfully in the mess!” replied the German Shepherd.
“Ah! That’s just the first step. You do it a few more times and you’ll be free”, said the Bulldog running circles around him.
“No”, said the German Shepherd, “This experience taught me one thing”.
“What?” inquired the Bulldog.
“Now I know why your face is like it is!”
Satan tries to tempt us away from the safe boundaries God’s set for us (His commandments, His Word and His Will for us).
He tempts us to make a mess in the house of God instead of being watchful and caring for our Master’s house (the Church). The devil will come time after time to tempt us and tell us we’re not really free. . – However, true freedom only comes in being a servant of the Lord!
We should recognize Satan’s tactics and resist him and he will flee – Martin Luther did. One night he woke up and the devil was the end of his bed. Martin Luther said, “Oh! It’s only you!”, and he went back to sleep.
Satan knows the bait you’ll go for and tries to entice you with that! . – Beth George was assigned to make me fall morally while I was in Cheyenne. . – Annette (big brown eyes and long black hair) wanted personal counseling — she wanted to . “sit at my feet” and learn about spiritual warfare! . – SORRY SATAN, I SEE A TRAP!
LISTEN! Temptation IS NOT SIN! — Every Christian is tempted. . – If the Devil’s leaving you alone check your relationship with Christ because evidently Satan’s . not worried about you!
Satan works harder at church than at the neighborhood bar or brothel because he already owns those people! — James 1:14-16
Temptation is when the Devil says, “Will you?” . – Sin comes when we say, “I Will!”
Flip Wilson drew laughs by saying “The Devil made me do it!”
– Satan can’t make you do anything — James 4:7-8
– You choose to live for Jesus and do His Will or to disobey Christ and fall prey to Satan.
Pastor, I try, but the battle’s too great. I find myself constantly giving in to temptation and I’m constantly defeated.
– The Christian life isn’t working for me!
The problem is you’ve never totally committed your life to Jesus!
– You need to be sanctified! — Romans 7:21-8:10
Romans 7:24 (KJV): O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
– Paul’s referring to the practice Rome had of chaining prisoners together. If one died he
remained chained to the living one who had to drag the dead one every place he went until
that rotting carcass poisoned and killed him too.
Paul’s saying the sin you refuse to let go of is a horrible burden like a rotting corpse which will eventually bring your death too.
The reason you’re struggling with the Tithe, witnessing, prayer, devotions, turning your life over to Christ 100% is because you’re still fighting for what you think are “your rights — “the body of this death.”
That attitude will take you right to Hell!
– You’ve no rights to fight for when you belong to Christ. — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
If you’re fighting for your “rights” and refusing to give God everything “that body of this death” is decaying in your spirit and will eventually destroy you.
A man wanted to buy a house in Haiti for $2000.
– The property owner wasn’t sure he wanted to let the house go permanently, but was willing
to negotiate a sale on the condition he could buy the house back if he ever wanted to.
– One stipulation for the sale was he could put a nail above the front door which he’d .
continue to own.
– The buyer thought, “What could one little nail hurt if I own the rest of the house?”
The buyer agreed to the condition of the sale and paid the $2000 asking price..
2 years later the first owner wanted his house back.
– By then the new owner wanted to renege on the agreement.
The previous owner said he owned the nail and could do what he wanted with it.
– He found a dead dog and hung it on the nail.
The new owner protested, but was reminded the contract read the nail belonged to the previous owner — he could use it anyway he wanted to.
The dog carcass continued to hang — rotting and decaying and smelling horrible.
Finally, the new owner could take it no longer and moved his family out and sold the house back to the original owner.
When you hold something from God, you’ve a nail Satan will use to hang his poison on and defeat you. — Romans 7:24
Is there something dead hanging in your life today?
– Are you being defeated by “that body of this death?”
– God can clean it out for you and restore your relationship with Him.
by Bill Woods