Temptation (The Invisible Battle – Week 3)
Jason White


Satan is a master at tempting us to sin. He knows that sin will never satisfy us. He knows that it will rob us of experiencing real life in Christ. How do we resist temptation? How can we find victory over sin? Find out how in this message.




Sermon Audio Transcript
So there was this one time when I was in High School, and I had just turned 16 and gotten my driver’s license…and I began driving home from hanging out with several friends. And I had one of those friends in my car with me, and we look over and saw one of our other friends walking across our middle school practice football field…And I remember having this instantaneous urge…this feeling to try and impress my friend riding with me and I guess try to make them think I was cool. And so I had this sudden temptation to drive across the football field and pretend that I was going to run over my friend.And of course I knew it was wrong…but I gave in to the urge, and I did it anyway.And so I cut off the road and onto the football field and my other friend looks back and sees me coming straight for him and begins to run…so I drive faster and get up right behind him and kind of start swerving back and forth trying to mess with him…Well, evidently he then thought it’d be funny to jump up on the hood of my car and go for a ride, and so that’s what he did. And now I’m driving up and down this football field, swerving back and forth acting like I was trying to throw him off.Thank God and His grace for not allowing my stupidity to turn that into a horrific night. I mean looking back on it, the smallest little mistake could have gotten my friend really hurt/killed.But we managed to get home without doing anything else that stupid, and I went to sleep, only to wake up the next morning to my dad saying, “Jason, why is there a dent on your hood?”“UH OH!” So now…I’m feeling tempted to lie. Now I’ve got this sudden urge to not tell my dad the truth and to make up some story b/c I fear the consequences…So what did I do? I blamed it on my friend! Yeah some friend I was LOL… I said, “Yeah so-so for some reason just decided to sit on my hood, and I told him to get off but he wouldn’t.”My dad was so mad…and I’m not sure that he really believed me or not, but he mumbled something and gave me that look like, “boy if you don’t take care of this car that your mom and I paid for, I will come down full force on you!”I felt so bad…I feared that my dad was going to hunt down my friend and light into him and then my friend was going to disown me…I felt so bad for putting him in the spot where something really bad could have happened to him that night…And it all started with an urge…with a temptation to do something I knew wasn’t right…WEWe are talking about this Invisible Battle that we are in each and every day…this war with Satan and his attempt to rob us of the abundant life that God created us to have and to experience in Christ.And one of the ways he of course works to accomplish his goal is through TEMPTATION.Tempting us to do certain things that we know are wrong…that are not God’s best for us.And we all feel it from time to time…Temptation to lie…to steal…to cheat…to gossip…Temptation to manipulate or try to control someone…Temptation to get revenge when someone has wronged us…Temptation to escape pain or depression in our lives through drugs or alcohol…Temptation to look at pornography, to have sex before marriage…to cheat on a spouse.And we all feel it in one way or another from time to time…not in all of these ways, but we are all tempted…And it can be strong…the urge to step into and act on the temptation can seem so strong, like there is no way out.TRANSITION: But there is a way out. There is always a way out. Look at 1 Cor. 10:13…GOD13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.Paul says, “No matter how strong the urge is…no matter what the temptation is that you face, there is always a way out!” OK…so, what’s the way out?Well, if you were here last week, you know that we said Satan’s primary tactic in this battle is lies and deception. Let me remind you again of a few Script. we’ve already looked at…Jn 8:4444 He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.And we looked at Gen. 3 last week, where the reference to Satan was that he was “crafty” which meant cunning or wily. Revelation 12:9 even references him as deceiver…9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole worldWhen we are looking at temptations in our lives…they are part of Satan’s tactic to lie to us and deceive us.It is an attempt to make us believe that this sin we are feeling an urge to commit will provide something for us that we are missing in our lives…that this thing is going to provide an experience of life for us in a way that Jesus cannot provide…or in a way that’s better than He can provide for you. But it is a lie…it’s a deception…b/c he knows it will result in death.Look at James 1:13…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. 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.James says that sin brings forth death…It may feel good in the moment and like that was the best thing for you, but it brings forth death.Those drugs will give you a high…but they are going to grab a hold of your life and put you in bondage…That pornography or sexual sin…or that affair may seem like it provides life for you in the moment, but it will bring death…it too can grab ahold of your life and put you in bondage… addiction…it will disrupt your marriage and your relationship with your kids…it promises life but will lead to death.That gossip may feel like it will give you attention and power of others, but it can rob you of your friends and leave you untrustworthy…It’s a promise of life, but it’s a lie…we are being deceived. I mean even the terms that James used in verse 14 illude to this.14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.Lured and enticed comes from the language of fishing. The first word described the act of luring fish from their hiding places. The second word pictures the enticing of fish as with a juicy worm on a hook. It’s deception. I mean it’s no secret that I like to fish…And I’ve got a tackle box full of artificial lures. I’ve got fake worms, lizards, crawdads…I’ve got shiny spinnerbaits and chatterbaits…I’ve got crank baits and swim baits and all kinds of different baits.But guess what they all have on the end of them? Yeah, a hook!It’s a trick. I may look attractive and like it is going to provide life or meet a need, but in the end it is going to lead to death.Now, I realize it does say in the verse “lured and enticed by his own desire,” and there’s no reference to Satan here, but later on in James 4:7 he says to “resist the devil.” And again we’ve seen over and over again throughout Script. that Satan is the Father of Lies and The Deceiver. James is making the distinction between blaming God for temptation and us not taking personal responsibility. We are involved in the process. We’ve talked about our flesh and how we can live in our own strength and power, not drawing upon the Life we have in Christ… and Satan knows how our flesh works. He knows which lures to put in our faces that create that desire to find life outside of Christ and to keep us from experiencing Christ as our life.So…this is the first thing we have to see…POINT: When faced with temptation, we have to look for the deception…be aware of the liesWe are going to feel like whatever we are being tempted with is truth, that it’s the best thing for us and going to satisfy us, but no matter how strong the feelings are, we have to be aware that this could be a fake worm and a hook is just beneath the surface.NOW, some of us are faced with temptations and we are fully aware (at least in the back of our minds we know the truth) that Satan is trying to deceive us with a certain temptation, but we feel powerless to overcome those feelings/urges and give in anyway…SO, how do we fight? Is there a way to experience victory in moments of temptation? Well one of the places we see the apostle Paul talking about our spiritual battles like this is in Ephesians 6, and there he references how we fight…let’s look at it.10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. First of all, notice whose power it is…it’s God’s power. We aren’t to be strong in ourselves (I can do anything I put my mind to)…we are to be strong in His mighty power. V. 1111 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Notice again the reference to “schemes.” His strategy is to scheme, to deceive, to trick… But also here Paul gives us the answer to how to not fall for the scheme, how to fight against him and his tricks…and that is by putting on the full armor of God, which he’ll get into more detail about in just a moment. V. 1212 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Now, notice here in the last 3 verses how he’s used the language about “standing” three different times… “stand, stand your ground, stand against the schemes of the devil… and really, he’s about to say it again as he gets into describing this armor we are to put on. So let’s look at it, and we’ll talk about this and it’s significance in just a moment.14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waistSo Paul is beginning to draw on the imagery of a Roman soldier during his time and the armor that they wore, and the first thing he mentions is the belt. And the belt is really kind of like the central piece. I mean, it is what most of the other pieces of armor were fastened too. And Paul references it as a belt of truth. I don’t think it’s any coincidence Paul starts with this. I mean it’s what we talked about last week, how the spiritual war we are in is primarily a battle of truth and lies.And so to have a belt of truth is for us to have a fixed standard by which reality is measured.We are not going to fall for the lies no matter how strong the urge or feeling is to believe them, we are going to measure whether they are right or wrong based on God’s truth, not our feelings or what the world says is true. Next, Paul says to “stand firm…”14 …with the breastplate of righteousness in placeThe breastplate would have covered the chest of a soldier which of course is where your vital organs are. And notice what covers your core self…a breastplate of righteousness. And here’s the truth about you: In Christ, you are righteous…you are right with God. So watch this…earlier we talked about how strong the urge can be to give into something we are being tempted with. Well, for me during these times, one of the deceptions from Satan was to convince me that I’m not righteous…that I am a poor, old sinner saved by grace.In other words, these sins you want to commit…you can’t keep from doing them b/c you are a “sinner.” But here’s the truth…In Romans 6, the apostle Paul says that my old self was crucified with Christ and that I’m not longer a slave to sin…that I’ve been set free from my old sin nature and now have a new nature…one that is holy and righteous.Listen, when I finally understand that truth, the chains fell off of a lot of sin struggles that I kept failing in. Jesus has made me righteous…given me a breastplate of righteousness that protects me from Satan’s schemes of trying to convince me that I don’t have a choice in this moment of temptation b/c I’m a poor, old sinner. NO, I am righteous and have a new nature and new desires, and IN CHRIST there’s nothing in me that wants to do what you are tempting me to do Satan! V.15… “Stand firm…”15 with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Okay so here’s the deal…earlier in Eph 2:14, Paul had told them and tells us that Jesus is our peace. So in Christ, we have peace. So what’s the deal w/these shoes? Well, when we have shoes on we can really sink our feet into the ground to be able to stand against someone or something, right?So when Satan comes at us tempting us to do something there is this unrest, this lack of peace. And this thing that Satan is tempting me with, is luring me to believe that it will provide peace for me…But with these shoes on I can dig in and stand firm, resting on the truth that I already have peace in Christ. V. 16…16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. The shield Paul is referring to here is a full body shield which covered the entire person. And Paul says it is a shield of FAITH. Faith, meaning trust. When we trust what Jesus says about us is true and when we trust that His ways are now part of who we are and what is best for us, then we are protected from all the arrows of temptation that satan tries to throw at us. V 17…17 Take the helmet of salvation…Now remember when we receive Jesus into our lives for salvation, we are not just receiving a ticket to heaven. Through salvation, we are made new and given new Life in Christ.And a helmet obviously covers the mind. We recognize Satan’s attacks on our mind to make us doubt our salvation, to make us doubt our identity and the life we have in Him, and we renew our minds to the truth of our salvation, our identity, and our Life that we have in Him. V17b…17 …and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Now the way Paul references the “word of God” here in the original Greek refers to utterances… or speaking the word. In other words, we are to fight temptation by uttering gospel truths against Satan’s attacks. This of course is what Jesus did in his temptation in the desert. Satan came at him with lies and deception, and Jesus fought off the temptation with God’s truth, by quoting Scripture.When you and I are up against temptation, we don’t just recognize the lie, we replace the lie with God’s truth.Verse 18…18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Paul is saying that prayer is HOW we use the armor of God that we have in Christ. Again, it’s God’s armor…and remember, we are IN CHRIST so we have the armor…To put it on as Paul said earlier is to trust in the armor we already have on in Christ…And prayer is what keeps our eyes focused on Jesus, focused on His armor, focused on His truth. It is how we declare to Him that we trust Him and are depending upon Him. TRANSITION: And this leads us back to what we mentioned earlier, how Paul kept mentioning for us to stand firm.Why does Paul keep saying “stand firm” instead of attack? Over and over again Paul says to stand against the devil and his schemes, to stand firm, to stand your ground…why?Listen very carefully…here’s why:IT’S B/C YOU ARE NOT FIGHTING FOR VICTORY, YOU ARE FIGHTING FROM A PLACE OF VICTORY!Listen, Jesus is our Victor! And all of these pieces of armor are really a reference to one piece and that is Jesus! Paul mentions…Belt of truth • In John 14:6, Jesus says I AM TRUTH!Paul mentions…The breastplate of righteousness…• 1 Cor. 1:30 tells us that Jesus is our righteousness!Paul mentions…Shoes of peace…• Again in Eph. 2:14, we are told that Jesus is our peace!Paul mentions…The shield of faith…• Hebrews 12:2 says Jesus Christ is the author and perfector of faith Paul mentions…The helmet of salvation…• Hebrews 2:10 says he is the captain of our salvation And finally, Paul says to…Pick up the sword of the spirit which is the word of God • And of course John 1 tells us that Jesus is the Word of God How do we fight temptation in our lives?Jesus. Jesus is our Victor.We are not fighting for victory, we are fighting from a place of victory!Be aware of Satan’s lies and deception when being tempted, and then stand firm in Jesus and His mighty power to overcome.