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Battling Temptation

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Genesis 39:7-23 (NASB) 7It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” 8But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. 9“There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” 10As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her. 11Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside. 12She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside. 13When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, 14she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed. 15“When he heard that I raised my voice and £screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled and went outside.” 16So she left his garment beside her until his master came home. 17Then she spoke to him with these words, “The Hebrew slave, whom you brought to us, came in to me to make sport of me; 18and as I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled outside.”
19Now when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, “This is what your slave did to me,” his anger burned. 20So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. 21But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. 22The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. 23The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper.


Illust.: Mark was very poor at spelling.  On examination day he was stumped by many difficult words.  Softly the tempter whispered, "Look at  Jane's paper; she's an honor student and always gets them right!" Mark heeded the suggestion and copied several answers.  The teacher noticed his actions and was greatly surprised, for she had always thought of him as an honest boy. When it came time to collect the completed work, she observed that Mark was having an inner struggle. After bowing his head for a moment, he suddenly tore up his paper.

Although at first he had yielded to temptation, he finally decided to take a zero rather than be dishonest.  Calling the boy to her desk, the teacher said, "I was watching you, Mark, and I want you to know that I'm very proud of you for what you did just now.  Today you really passed a much greater examination than your spelling test!"

I.     In temptation, consider the trust placed in you.

A.   By Mankind

Qoute: "To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved." ---J Macdonald

The issue of trust needs to be taken seriously.  Many people when faced with temptation do not consider how giving in to it could affect others. Temptation speaks loud and strong, trying to drown out those who would say, we are counting on you. We must listen for those voices and consider how it will affect them.

B.   By God

How far can God trust you? Our lives are given to us by God, and we are entrusted with them to live in obedience.

Illust.: Dr. Seaborn, in an adult bible study I once attended pointed out that in ourtemptation, the reach of two kingdoms is at steak. Every inch of ground we give up to the enemy is an inch of ground lost to the kingdom of God. God has entrusted us with the keys of the kingdom. We are not pawns, we are players.

C.   By Yourself

Don't go any farther with yourself than you can trust yourself. Joseph did not only refuse to lie with her, but he refused to even be with her. Don't remain in close connection with those things that tempt you or which are threatening to undermine you.

Illust.: In one scene of the popular movie Robin Hood, The Prince of Thieves, Kevin Costner as Robin comes to a young man taking aim at an archery target. Robin asks, "Can you shoot amid distractions?"
Just before the boy releases the string, Robin pokes his ear with the feathers of an arrow. The boy's shot flies high by several feet.
After the laughter of those watching dies down, Maid Marian, standing behind the boy, asks Robin, "Can you?"
Robin Hood raises his bow and takes aim. Just as he releases the arrow, Maid Marian leans beside him and flirtatiously blows into his face. The arrow misses the target, glances off the tree behind it, and scarcely misses a bystander.
Distractions come in all types, and whether they are painful or pleasant, the result is the same: we miss God's mark.
-- Penney F. Nichols in Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.

II.   In temptation, consider the offence proposed to you.

A.    Temporary pleasure

The trouble with trouble is that it usually starts out as a whole lot of fun.

B.   An offense against God

Quote: The essence of sin is the refusal to recognize that we are accountable to God at all.
-- Oswald Chambers, Christianity Today, Vol. 37, no. 11.

C.   The seriousness of sin

Illust.: A child asked a man to pick a flower for her.  That was simple enough.  But when she said, "Now put it back," the man experienced a baffling helplessness he never knew before.  "How can you explain that it cannot be done?" he asked.  "How can one make clear to young people that there are some things which when once broken, once mutilated, can never be replaced or mended?"

III.  In temptation, consider the blessings provided for you.

A.   God's Provision

i.e. Joseph prospered

B.   God's providence

God watched over and arrangeed the events in Joseph's life.

Rom. 8:28 - Being called according to His purpose is to be callled from sin.

C.   God's presence

IV. In temptation, consider the escape passages open to you.

A.   Run away

Quote: Flee temptation and don't leave a forwarding address.
--- Unknown

Quote: Temptations, of course, cannot be avoided, but because we cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads, there is no need that we should let them nest in our hair.
-- Martin Luther, "Martin Luther--The Early Years," Christian History, no. 34.

Illust.: The Hunter and the Bear - As the hunter raised his rifle, the bear called out, "Can't we talk this over like two sober human beings?" The hunter lowered his gun. "What's to talk over?" he asked. "Well, for instance," said the bear, coming closer, "what do you want to shoot me for?" "Simple," grunted the hunter, "I want a fur coat." "All I want is a good breakfast," smiled the bear. "I'm sure we can get together sensibly on this." So they sat down to work out an agreement. After a while the bear got up - all alone. They had reached a compromise. The bear had secured his breakfast, and the hunter had on his fur coat.
     There has never been any other result in the warfare between the flesh and the spirit when the spirit permits any compromise with the flesh. Sin is deceitful and will always destroy even while putting forth a pretense of fair words. The word of God gives us only one possible course of action, "FLEE."

B.   A one way street

There is no turning back. Once you turn to leave, you cannot turn around for the temptation will arrest you.

Illust.:   I travel alone a lot in my job, and I stay in a lot of hotels with cable TV. I sometimes struggle whether to watch pornography while in the room.
   One time, I was flipping through the channels to find the World Series. While flipping, I came across a channel with half-nude women. I flipped over to the baseball game. Ten minutes later, I flipped back to the movie, and then quickly back to the World Series. I did that four or five times before I shut off the TV.
  I was unnerved at the power of temptation, especially since I've given my life to combat pornography. I've had to come face to face with the Lord and plead for mercy: "Lord, how is this possible?" I began to lose confidence in my prayers.
   God reminded me, "Jerry, I'm not surprised by your sin. I've known all along you were a sinner. I've known all along that you were weak. I needed you to know that you were weak. And I need you to know that I alone will make you strong."
-- Jerry Kirk, founder of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.

C.   The pathway of contemplation

When we sit and contemplate the temptation, we are being captured by the enemy more than we are being captured by Christ.

Illust.:   In the days of the Civil War, it was illegal to trade in cotton; but many unscrupulous speculators tried to buy cotton in the South, run it through the Union lines, and sell it at great profit in the North. One of these speculators approached a Mississippi steamboat captain and offered him $100 if he would run his cotton up the river for him. The captain declined, reminding him that it was illegal. "I will give you $500, said the man. "No," answered the captain. "I will give you $1000." "No," the captain said again. "I will give you $3000." At that, the captain drew his pistol, and pointing it at the man, he said, "Get off this boat! You are coming too near my price."


Illust.: A litle girl was asked what she did when she was tempted. She replied, "Well, when I hear Satan knocking at the door of my heart, I just say to the Lord Jesus, who lives within my heart, 'Lord Jesus, will you please go to the door?' And then, when the Lord Jesus opens the door, Satan draws away and says, 'Oh! Excuse me, I have made a mistake.'"
     God has given us Himself to dwell within our ehearts. The Living Word is there with a full command of the written word. When we let Him meet the temptation in our behalf we shall know the joy of positive victory. We are fortunate that one victory does not help us to win another, for our hearts are kept from feasting upon an experience so that we may gaze upon the living Lord Jesus Christ.
---Donald Grey Barnhouse, Let Me Illustrate

 We are not on the bench. we are in the game.

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