Series: For edification
Message – Understanding Temptations & Trials Pt. 2
Understanding Temptations and Trials
Two weeks ago we learned WHY we are tempted.
Who can offer me some of the reasons?
- Temptation from satan is always to draw you away from trusting reliance upon God.
- God test’s us in order to prove us & promote us.
Remember that perhaps one of the best passages which reveal the purpose of temptations and trials is 1 Peter 1: 3-25
1Peter 1:3-25, “(3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, (5) who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (6) In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (7) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, (8) whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (9) receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls. (10) Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, (11) searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. (12) To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things which angels desire to look into. (13) Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (14) as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; (15) but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (16) because it is written, “BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (17) And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; (18) knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, (19) but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (20) He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you (21) who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (22) Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, (23) having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, (24) because “ALL FLESH IS AS GRASS, AND ALL THE GLORY OF MAN AS THE FLOWER OF THE GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND ITS FLOWER FALLS AWAY, (25) BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”
So now we know WHY we are tempted – but HOW are we tempted?
(Remember that to learn about one is to learn about the other – The same process that forms the devils nature in you will also produce the likeness of Christ in you.)
So, lets go back to James 1:14 where we left off.
“(14) But each person is tempted when (ALL EYES AND EARS SHOULD PERK UP AT THIS POINT) he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires.”
Question: Where did Romans tell us these evil desires reside?
Answer: Our bodies
Turn to Romans 7, beginning in verse 14…
Now due to the limitations of the English language we are employing the word “desire” loosely…it would be better to say “tendency” or “proclivity” towards evil.
This tendency, influences our souls to consider evil as a good thing to desire – but the initial impulse towards sin resides in the body!
What does Paul lament? “Who will deliver me from this body of Death!!”
Which Christ DID in that He rendered it inoperative – By conquering death in the flesh He robbed it of it’s reigning power over us.
Consider Heb. 2:13-18, KJV
“(13) And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. (14) Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (15) And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (16) For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. (17) Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (18) For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”
Sin in our bodies of flesh can no longer control those who are in Christ – though it CAN and DOES, influence you via stirring desire! …which brings us to why I told you to turn in Romans 7:14-
Rom 7:14-21 HCSB “(14) For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am made out of flesh, sold into sin’s power. (15) For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. (16) And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. (17) So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. (18) For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. (19) For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. (20) Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. (21) So I discover this principle: when I want to do good, evil is with me.”
Now, first off – all of these statements are in the present tense – it has been argued by some that this was Paul talking about his state BEFORE coming to Christ, but there are a few clues which make it clear that this is not the case.
- Paul is talking to Roman Christians – so he is not writing them about their old lives, but their new lives in Christ, using himself as an example.
- UNLIKE the lost, Paul is expressing an inner struggle AGAINST sin. While his heart longs to honor God and do right, he finds himself often giving into fleshly impulses which bring him back into bondage to his flesh even though Christ has rendered the flesh incapable to FORCING it’s way.
- Wuest helps us, being a Baptist whose doctrine often requires Paul to be lost in this passage – Wuest understands the Greek – especially tenses better than most and clearly identifies this discourse as a very born-again Paul. Listen to what he says about these verses…Here he describes himself as carnal, as a Christian living, however unwillingly, more or less under the control of the evil nature from which he had been liberated, and under its control, because he was living under law instead of grace. He is sold as a slave under sin. “Sold” is pipraskō in the perfect tense. Robertson says; “sin has foreclosed the mortgage and owns its slave.” Now, Paul explains his situation. “Allow” is ginōskō, “to know by experience, to understand.” He says, “For that which I do, I do not understand.” He does not understand his experience as a Christian. He says, “For that which I desire, this I do not practice, but that which I hate, this I am doing.” That is, the very thing he desires to do, namely, good, this he does not do, and that which he hates, this is the thing he does do. It is clear that Paul is recounting his experience as a saved man. He desires to do good and hates sin. No unsaved man does that. The failure to achieve his purpose is found in the fact that he is attempting in his own strength that which can only be accomplished in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.
- Paul is claiming that as a Christian, when he sins it is NO LONGER the New Paul who is sinning, but the sin in his flesh manifesting it’s will through his soul.
Listen to the words, “Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me.” THIS cannot be said of the lost – they are 100% ONE with their sin and rebellion.
- You may remember this slide I showed you last year. It illustrates what goes on in the heart of a believer.
- This agrees with Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT to what we are learning today which is what? HOW temptation works!
The Devil cannot work with your new nature, he is limited to drawing you away from your new nature and intimacy with Christ by DECEIVING you into believing that what your FLESH is demanding is both desirable and will satisfy!
HE IS LYING!!!!
Now, notice also that even before the action of sin is committed, the heart of sin has already accomplished 50% of it’s goal by drawing you away.
If you remember last week in the parable of the hearts, this person is already hearts #s 2&3 IN THAT the seed of the Word deposited in the heart is not being nourished towards fruit – but is being choked out through poor soil, lack of sun & rain and development of weeds.
So we need to ask the question – what is being drawn away? OUR HEARTS! The thing which produces fruit!
Example of the mind – Romans 8:5,
“(5) For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
Example of the affections – 2Tim. 4:10, Paul said in Timothy, “…for Demas has forsaken me, having loved (affection) this present world…”
Which is why we are told in Colossians, “If you be raised with Christ set your mind on things above.”
GET THIS!!!!! – God is NOT the only seed planter in your life!
Satan scatters seeds too!
Just like the word is a seed – so is temptation!
It is a seed, planted in the heart intended to bear the fruit of unfaithfulness and infidelity towards God – plainly put, it is there to stir up treason.
But like any seed – the seed of temptation needs to germinate. In heart language that is the result of contemplation.
Let’s consider what is involved in the process of seed germination.
- All seeds carry the basic genetics of the fruit they came from. (Good or evil)
- Most seeds carry IN THEM all the nutrients they need for initial growth – all they need is… an adequate supply of water to weaken and swell the hard outer shell to allow metabolism to begin. The food reserves are actually activated by water – they are “just add water” nutrients. (In the word planted there is enough DORMANT power IN THE SEED SOWN to instigate growth)
- These nutrients are metabolized by oxygen in the soil. (In the language of the heart – there is enough raw attention or contemplative power to ignite the process of maturation. Meditation causes maturation.)
We will continue from here next Sunday!
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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