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God Goes Postal On Evil

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God Goes Postal On Evil

Matthew 6:13, James 1:13 - 15

November 23, 2008

Son," ordered a father, "Don't swim in that canal." 
"OK, Dad," he answered. But he came home carrying a wet bathing suit that evening.  "Where have you been?" demanded the father. 
"Swimming in the canal," answered the boy. "Didn't I tell you not to swim there?" asked the father. 
"Yes, Sir," answered the boy. 
"Why did you?" he asked. 
"Well, Dad," he explained, "I had my bathing suit with me and I couldn't resist the temptation." 
"Why did you take your bathing suit with you?" he questioned. 
"So I'd be prepared to swim, in case I was tempted," he replied.

            Have you heard about the guy who was trying to lose weight, but came to the office one day with two dozen donuts?
His co-workers asked him why he got the donuts if he was trying to lose weight? He answered, “I came to the corner where the donut shop was, I told God that if He wanted me to buy some donuts, He’d have to provide a parking spot right in front of the donut shop. Well, God answered my prayer. On the eighth time around the block, there it was!”

            I have often wondered, what is so enticing about temptation.  Maybe you have wondered the same.  I don’t know where your struggles lie in life in regards to temptation so I want to take some time today and talk about it and ultimately look at how we as believers are to face them.  Let’s be honest, temptation has been around since the beginning of time.  In fact one of the first stories in the Bible after the creation account is about this very subject.  I think we all know the story of Adam and Eve and how they succumbed to temptation and ate of the forbidden fruit of the tree.  We are also aware of how yielding to this temptation has forever affected humanities relationship with God.  It created a rift between man and God and our relationship with Him has never been the same as it was at the beginning of time. This is true for us today when we yield to temptation it can and always will affect our relationship with God no matter want.  As we look at the 13th verse of Matthew chapter six we are going to talk about temptation and it’s affects on us, but most of all we are going to look at how we are to face temptation as we are free and required to resist in all situations. 

            Temptation… What is it?  The Greek word for temptation is pi·ras·mos and means the trial or test.  It is most commonly used to show a trail of man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy. However it can also mean an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the inner desires or from the outward circumstances. 1b2 an internal temptation to sin.[1]  Simply put the word generally means solicitation to do that which is evil.[2]   In a lot of ways our society deems resisting temptation as unnecessary.  The world tells us if something looks good, appealing or pleasurable why should you have to resist it?  It tells us the temptation we face may be bad for you, but why deny yourself the pleasure.  Isn’t this the case so often?

            Case in point, there is a restaurant in Arizona called Heart Attack Grill that seems to appeal to the temptation side most likely the male species.

(Slide)

            The motto for this restaurant is “Food Worth Dying For”.  The owner calls himself Dr. John (actually he is not a doctor) and employs voluptuous women who dress in scantily clad nurses outfits which leave little to the imagination.  As you can see by this slide they have no regard for health and refuse to sell anything diet.  Is this a gimmick?  Of course.  But the idea is there… hey, be a man (or woman) and give in to your temptations.  You deserve it.

            I like what John Piper says in response to the lure of temptation, “The power of temptation is the prospect that it (whatever “it” is) will make me happier.”  This is the reality of temptation, it looks beautiful, it looks enticing, it looks like it will make you happy… even if it is for the moment.  Often times the result of yielding to temptation is guilt, regret and disappointment.

            In our study of The Lord’s Prayer we have come to the final petition, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  In some ways this is a strange request and in every way it is a necessary one to make.  It is strange in the fact that in James 1:13 it says, “(God) Himself does not tempt anyone.”  It would go against God’s nature to tempt man to sin.  So what does Jesus mean when he says to petition God to lead us not into temptation?  This can be best answered in the way that this verse is translated… A better translation should be “Do not allow us to be led into temptation.”  Since the word in this phrase is pi·ras·mos it can mean that God will allow us to be tested or tried.  The Bible is clear that God will allow His people to be tested or tried He did so with Abraham and Jesus but these tests and trials can be designed to try and test the strength of their faith.  So it is never God’s plan to lead us to evil but to flee and resist it.  However trials and tests are not exempt. 

            In order to help us along in our study today I would like to look at James 1:13 – 15 as this will help us have a better perspective on temptation, God’s part in our temptation and it’s affects on us as believers.  “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. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”  We have thus far established that temptation to do evil is never God’s doing.  In verse 14 however we are introduced to the process of temptation and the results if we give in to them.  Temptation is akin to the dangling carrot before the horse’s eyes, the bait on the unforeseen hook that passes by a fish, the suitcase of cash placed before a greedy business man.  Temptation is something that appeals to our eyes and entices us to act in a way that we will regret.  Drew Anderson (Tucson, AZ), wrote this to Reader's Digest, “While my wife and I were shopping at a mall kiosk, a shapely young woman in a short, form-fitting dress strolled by. My eyes followed her. Without looking up from the item she was examining, my wife asked, "Was it worth the trouble you're in?"  The lure of temptation is just that… a lure.  It is something to distract you or cause you to give up you self control or discipline and cause you to enter into sin.  Temptation is the doorway to sin… Physically walking through it is yielding to it.  When we act on the temptation by giving in to it this is when the act of sin is committed.  Succumbing to temptation gives birth to full blown sin and when we live continually in full blown sin the naturally outcome will ultimately be death, not physically death but a spiritual death that will hinder communion with God.  God will not lead you down this path… however he will allow you to walk down that path if this is what you choose.  God will not reach down out of heaven and pull you out of harms way; He will allow you to give in to your temptations.  This does not give us permission to yield whenever we are faced with temptation.  I Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."  God will not lead you down the path of destruction however He will make a way for you and me to endure whatever we face.  God will give you the strength to resist and the power to walk away for temptation.  God has provided a way.  No longer can we say, “I couldn’t help myself.”  Or “The Devil made me do it.”  These are not valid arguments they are in fact lies from the pits of hell. 

      This brings us to the second part of this petition… “deliver us from evil.”  Some translations actually say, “the evil one”.  We have and adversary and his name is Satan.  Fortunately for those who believe not only has God provided a way for us to endure temptations He has also defeated the evil one all together.  This means that through Christ we have defeated death and Satan.  We are victorious through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Satan can no longer have dominion over us.  We have been bought and delivered by Jesus Christ and are now the sons and daughters of God almighty!  Does this mean that we are free and clear from evil and sin thus nothing will ever harm us or befall us?  No.  Evil will always be present in this world and in our lives some of us may be affected by this evil in one way or another therefore we are to pray against this evil and do as Matthew Henry suggests we pray,  "Lord, deliver us from the evil of the world, the corruption that is in the world through lust; from the evil of every condition in the world; from the evil of death; from the sting of death, which is sin: deliver us from ourselves, from our own evil hearts: deliver us from evil men, that they may not be a snare to us, nor we a prey to them.’’[3]

We will always be faced with temptations.  Whether we are children resisting the temptation to steal a cookie when mom and dad aren’t watching, a high school student resisting the temptation to do something illegal or immoral to show they are cool, a business man withholding a little information on taxes because “no one will” know” or a husband or wife who is tempted to give a little peek at the lure and temptation of stealing that lustful glance or gaze when the opposite sex walks past it will always be there.  We need to pray that God will protect us from these situations.  Pray that he will give us the strength and will power to pursue holiness and His righteousness so that we may have a true relationship with him.  He has given us the power and we need to pray for it everyday, because our adversary is looming in the dark corner waiting to pounce us and entice us to break fellowship with our God and Savior.

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[1]Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (G3986). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.

[2]Easton, M. (1996, c1897). Easton's Bible dictionary. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[3]Henry, M. (1996, c1991). Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible : Complete and unabridged in one volume (Mt 6:9). Peabody: Hendrickson.

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