Archive for Temptation

Receiving Christ in Temptation

First Sunday of Lent Year C

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.

Heb. 4:15

Great Receivers: Without hesitation, reservation, equivocation, or qualification, great receivers open their hearts to God’s grace in season or out. They look to God during good times or bad. In the midst of spiritual highs or emotional lows with hearts wide open, great receivers look to Christ to be their deliverance. They keep their eyes on Jesus, enjoy his moment-by-moment presence, and draw strength from his grace. Great receivers recognize that they cannot be victorious over temptation without trusting Christ for help in their time of need (Heb. 4:16).

Illustration: “Some people fall into temptation, but a great many make plans for disaster ahead of time. “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.

Charles Swindoll, One Step Forward, p. 85.

My sermon notes for “Great Receivers Stare Down Temptation” (Matt. 4:1-11) are available as a Google document.


Great Receivers Stare Down Temptation

God Will Provide a Way of Escape

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.

1 Cor. 10:13

Temptation is an allurement or enticement to sin (1 Tim. 6:9). Temptation is a drawing and wooing from Satan to follow the ways of the world and give-in to the cravings of our flesh. Being tempted is not sin itself, but capitulating to the desires of the flesh is sin (Rom. 8:5). The flesh, or sinful nature, takes our basic needs and turns them into obsessions. Our flesh (i.e., fallenness) yearns to the govern us and divert us from intimacy with God. Our flesh cries out for attention and desires to rule our lives. Our sinful nature is an “idolatrous over-desire” that arises from our being: a heart that is afraid of disappointment, fears that God will be unfaithful, worries about unmet needs, yearns for control, etc. Giving into the demands of the flesh is strictly forbidden by God’s law (Rom. 8:5-8).

Temptation did not spoil Christ’s sinlessness (Heb. 4:15). Christ’s temptations were completely like the temptations that are common to us all (Heb. 2:17). Because of sanctifying grace, succumbing to temptation is avoidable. Great receivers know that they cannot overcome temptation in their own strength. They look to Christ with hands wide open for “grace and help in their time of need” (Heb. 4:14-16). The triumph of Christ over the world, the flesh, sin, death and the devil (Matt. 12:28-29 ; Col. 1:13 ) means that a way of escape is always available for those who look to Christ in faith. However, when we allow temptation to overcome us, forgiveness is available through Jesus Christ, our Lord (Heb. 2:18 ; 4:14-16 ; 1 John 2:1).

As we approach then, dearly-beloved, the beginning of Lent, which is a time for the more careful serving of the Lord, because we are, as it were, entering on a kind of contest in good works, let us prepare our souls for fighting with temptations, and understand that the more zealous we are for our salvation, the more determined must be the assaults of our opponents. But “stronger is He that is in us than He that is against us,” and through Him are we powerful in whose strength we rely: because it was for this that the Lord allowed Himself to be tempted by the tempter, that we might be taught by His example as well as fortified by His aid.

For He conquered the adversary, as ye have heard, by quotations from the law, not by actual strength, that by this very thing He might do greater honour to man, and inflict a greater punishment on the adversary by conquering the enemy of the human race not now as God but as Man. He fought then, therefore, that we too might fight thereafter: He conquered that we too might likewise conquer. For there are no works of power, dearly-beloved, without the trials of temptations, there is no faith without proof, no contest without a foe, no victory without conflict. This life of ours is in the midst of snares, in the midst of battles; if we do not wish to be deceived, we must watch: if we want to overcome, we must fight.

Leo the Great (c.400-461): Sermon 39,3.

HT: Enlarging the Heart