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Christianity Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Part 3: How to Escape the Sin Trap
James 1:13-18
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 26, 2012
*Before we start, it’s important to note that up until now, James has used the word “temptation” as we would use “trials” and “tribulations,” the difficult, hard times in life.
*But in tonight’s Scripture, James is using the word “tempted” the same way we usually do, -- which is being attracted or drawn by sin.
*With that little bit of background, let’s read James 1:13-18, thinking about how to escape from the sin trap.
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
*A few years ago, I happened to walk out into our back yard, and I saw something I have never seen in my life.
This poor, little cat had her head stuck in our chain-link fence.
I don’t know how long she had been there, but it was a while.
And that cat was trapped like a rat.
There was no way she could pull herself free.
She wasn’t too happy about it, but I was able to cut a couple of the wires and she took off like a rocket.
*Trapped: It’s a terrible thing to be trapped.
And the worst trap of all is the sin trap.
But God has made a way to escape from the sin trap, and James helps us see it right here.
1. First: Don’t try to excuse your sin.
*Verse 13 cautions us against excusing our sin.
There James cautions: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.”
*God doesn’t want us to make excuses for our sins.
But it’s so easy to blame other people!
It’s the natural thing to do.
And it started all the way back in the Garden of Eden.
After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they tried to hide, because they realized they were naked.
And in Genesis 3, the Lord said:
11. . . .
“Who told you that you were naked?
Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
12. Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
*And Adam blamed Eve.
But he was also trying to blame God, when Adam said, “It was the woman YOU gave me, Lord.”
That was the last thing Adam should have done.
We must not try to blame God for our sins.
*Eve was a little more on target when she blamed the devil, because he and his servants try to tempt us many ways.
He oppresses us emotionally.
He accuses us.
He lies.
And he sends seductive influences to tempt us.
*Many are tempted by godless leaders.
Many are tempted by so-called friends.
It could be a charming co-worker.
It could be something you see on TV.
It could be something you see at the store.
*Satan tempts us.
But ultimately, we are responsible for our own sin.
And that puts us in a desperate situation, because we can’t blame other people, and we certainly can’t blame God.
*God’s Word warns us here: Don’t try to excuse your sin.
2. That’s a vital part of escaping the sin trap.
But we also need to examine our sin.
*So James explained how sin works in vs. 14&15.
Here James said:
14. . .
“Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
[1] As we examine our sin in these verses, we can see that temptation is pervasive.
It’s universal.
It’s everywhere.
*James tells us that “every man is tempted.”
And back up in vs. 13, James didn’t say “if you are tempted.”
He said “when you are tempted.”
Everyone is tempted.
And everyone has given in to temptation.
As Paul said in Rom 3:10, “There is none righteous, no, not one.”
[2] Sin is pervasive.
-- And it’s seductive.
*James says in vs. 14 that we are “drawn away by (our) own desires and enticed.”
Maybe we just take baby steps at first.
But before we know it, we have gone farther than we could have possibly imagined.
*Over the years, I have talked to at least 3 couples who went through extreme trouble, because one of them developed a new relationship chatting on the internet.
You know, they didn’t log on the first day and say, “I’m ready to get rid of my husband or wife.”
[3] Sin is seductive.
-- And it’s instinctive.
*It’s instinctive to us, because of our fallen nature.
James says in vs. 14 that we are “drawn away by (our) own lusts or desires.”
So, it turns out that the real problem with our sin is not what’s on the outside.
But what’s on the inside.
*We are not sinners because we sin.
In fact, it is just the opposite.
We sin because we are sinners.
We are sinners by nature.
*When I go through the plan of salvation, I like to remind people that we are born with this terrible problem of sin.
We don’t have to sit our children down and teach them how to be selfish.
My parents never had to teach me how to lie.
I got that all on my own.
*We are sinners by nature.
And there is nothing we can do about it on our own.
[4] Sin is instinctive.
-- And it’s deceptive.
*In vs. 14, James says we are “enticed.”
The word picture there is like a fish that is lured by bait.
“Oh, that looks like a delicious little minnow to eat.”
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