Faithlife Sermons


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Charles Durham, a pastor from Kansas, begins his book Temptation: Help for Struggling Christians with an interesting illustration.

Several hundred years ago on the island of Cape Hatteras, off the shore of North Carolina, there were men whose business it was to get ships to run aground on the shoals just off the island.  These men were "wreckers" who made their living gathering up the parts and cargo of such ships.  With a lighted lantern fastened to the head of an old nag, a horse, these men of Nag's Head - for that was the name of their village - walked up and down and back and forth.  Out at sea in the darkness of the mid-Atlantic night, ships that were searching for a passage past the islands would mistake that bobbing light for the stern light of a ship they supposed had found safe passage.  They would turn inland and run aground on Diamond Shoals.  In the morning the wreckers would come and gather the timber for new houses, utensils for their kitchens, and money for their purses.  It was a thriving business.  In fact, even now visitors to Nag's Head will be shown old houses build and furnished with the material taken from the more than twenty-three hundred ships that perished off this coast either by accident or treachery.

When people first hear about the Nag's Head wreckers they are shocked and indignant.  But they would be far more shocked and indignant if they would realize that we are constantly faced by even more malicious spiritual wreckers.

Traditionally the church has spoken of three types of wreckers.  The first is the world, which means not the earth globe or even the people who inhabit the earth, but rather the world system, including its morality and values.  It is against this spiritual wrecker that the apostle Paul warns in Romans 12:2: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."

The second type of wrecker is the flesh.  It tempts us wrongly to indulge what are otherwise right and normal appetites.  We are to spurn the flesh.

The last of these three wreckers stands behind the others and uses them to his advantage.  He is the devil, the great enemy of soul.  The apostle Peter describes him as a "roaring lion looking for someone to devour"  (1 Peter 5:8).  Peter says that we are to "resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings"  (v. 9).

Temptation; Sin; Danger

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