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Walking Christian on Temptation Definitions

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Walking Christian Temptation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  52:54
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Defining the difference between temptation and trials or tests.

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Promise of Pleasure—Lured by a Lie
by June Hunt
On a rough wooden pier, the seasoned fisherman tediously fastens his hook on a line, then baits the hook with what he suspects will lure the fish to bite. This old angler knows that certain fish can be caught only with certain bait … a dry fly for trout, worms for bass, stink bait for catfish. What the fish doesn’t know is, “All is not what it appears to be.” Within a tempting moment there’s a bite—a fight—and then a skinned fish fillet!
We all know too well what it’s like to be lured by a lie. Something offers a promise, but in the end it doesn’t pay. Temptation is that attractive lure hiding the deadly hook. But take heart, you don’t have to take a bite.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
(Proverbs 14:12)
Proverbs 14:12 ESV
12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.


A. What Is Temptation?

• The most common meaning of the word temptation is “an enticement to do wrong.”
— The word entice comes from an old Greek hunting and fishing term deleazo, which means “to lure by a bait.”
— No bait will tempt everyone, but everyone is tempted by some type of bait. What will tempt you depends on the desires within your heart.
“Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” (James 1:14)
James 1:14 ESV
14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
• The Old Testament Hebrew word nasah means “an attempt to prove the quality of something.”
Nasah is most often translated in the Bible as “test, prove, tempt or try.”
— God permits us to be tested (tempted) in order to reveal our strengths and our weaknesses.
Biblical Example:
God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, as a burnt offering. Isaac was the apple of Abraham’s eye. Though he could have refused, he obeyed. When Abraham proved his faithfulness, God spared Isaac’s life. (Read Genesis chapter 22.)
“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering.’ ”
(Genesis 22:1–2)
• The New Testament Greek word peirasmos means “a temptation to sin” or “a trial with a beneficial purpose.”
— This same Greek word is also translated “test” or “trial.”
— When you are tempted, you are in a trying situation that reveals your character and tests your commitment.
— When you are tested by temptation, you are being refined by fire.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6–7)
Temptation was experienced by Jesus.
Therefore, He is fully able to help you in your temptation.
“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
(Hebrews 2:18)
Hebrews 2:18 ESV
18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

B. What Are Some Twisted Truths about Temptation?

Twisted Truth #1:
“Temptation is sinful.”
Temptation is not sin. Jesus was tempted in every way, yet He did not sin.
“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.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Hebrews 4:15 ESV
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Twisted Truth #2:
“God is tempting me!”
Temptation is not from God, but it is allowed by God.
“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” (James 1:13)
James 1:13 ESV
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
Twisted Truth #3:
“The devil made me do it!”
Temptation is Satan’s attempt to lure you into sin, but he can be resisted.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
James 4:7 ESV
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Twisted Truth #4:
“Somebody else made me do it.”
No one can make you kill, steal, lie, cheat or commit any immoral act. You have a choice as to whether you give in to temptation or not.
“My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.” (Proverbs 1:10).
Proverbs 1:10 ESV
10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.
Twisted Truth #5:
“She is so saintly, she is above temptation.”
Everyone is tempted, just in different areas. In fact, the mature Christian is often subject to greater temptation.
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
1 Corinthians 10:12 ESV
12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
Twisted Truth #6:
“A thought can’t be sinful.”
An initial impure thought is not sinful, though it is a temptation. However, continuing with an unholy thought can make you captive to sin.
“Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” (Acts 8:22–23)
Acts 8:22–23 ESV
22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”
Twisted Truth #7:
“Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”
Temptation is not overcome by your own willpower. Temptation is defeated by admitting your weaknesses and yielding to Christ’s power within you.
“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Twisted Truth #8:
“God is angry at me when I’m tempted.”
God does not disapprove of you because you are tempted. He can use the temptation as a tool to develop your character.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2–4)
James 1:2–4 ESV
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Twisted Truth #9:
“What’s the use? I’ve already blown it!”
Failure is overcome by a change of focus: putting the past behind you and focusing on God’s goal for you—Christlikeness. In Philippians 3:13–14, Paul shared how he appropriated this truth in his own life.
“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13–14)
Philippians 3:13–14 ESV
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Twisted Truth #10:
“It’s beyond my ability to control.”
Temptation may be beyond your control, but it is not beyond God’s control.
“For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” (Proverbs 3:26)
Proverbs 3:26 ESV
26 for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.

C. How Do You Track Temptation?

Facing Temptation
Temptation is experienced by everyone.
Temptation occurs often in an area where you have been previously ensnared.
Temptation begins in your mind.
Temptation takes advantage of your attractions and fears.
Temptation appears to meet a legitimate need but does so illegitimately in the wrong way or at the wrong time.
“In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them.” (Proverbs 22:5)
Proverbs 22:5 ESV
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.
Falling into Temptation
Temptation strikes when your heart is “off guard.”
Temptation is entered into by allowing your imagination to dwell on the tempting thoughts.
Temptation uses rationalization to numb your conscience.
Temptation becomes relentless and urgent.
Temptation provides highly unusual opportunities to enter into sin.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
Matthew 26:41 ESV
41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Biblical Example
David and Bathsheba
2 Samuel 11:1–13
David’s rooftop temptation led him into the cellar of despair. Yet David wouldn’t have been tempted in the first place had he not been in the wrong place. Why was he at home when, as king, he should have been in battle? What prompted his sleepless nights and nocturnal roamings? Was David in despair or was he at the height of spiritual self-sufficiency? Whatever the state, the enemy can climb a housetop or creep into an unprotected heart.
When David first glanced at Bathsheba’s body in the bath, he indeed found her beautiful, but he stepped into sin when he looked too long. Little did he know how much he was about to lose. The king became captive to lust, and he lost the blessing of God. In later years, as he looked upon his life, perhaps he could have penned this sorrowful song:
Sin will make you stray further than you thought you’d stray,
Sin will make you stay longer than you thought you’d stay,
Sin will make you pay much more than you thought you’d pay.
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