SWS-08 - Temptations, God's Faithfulness, & Satan's Ancient Playbook

160110AM   Temptation and God's Faithfulness SWS-8.docx

Temptations, God’s Faithfulness

& Satan’s Ancient Play Book

Matthew 6:13, 1 Cor. 10:13

 

This week as I waited for the doctor and my annual physical the nurse went through the standard checklist of vital signs of my health. We all know them: blood work, temperature, weight, pulse, blood pressure.

But, my own personal numbers were not sufficient, they were compared to what was “normal, healthy, and average”. Anything not normal and healthy was flagged and I was talked to in no uncertain terms of how to remedy the abnormal, high, or dangerous reading. The list before us is the “normal” readings of a spiritually healthy Christ follower.

As we open to Matthew 6, we are opening to the almost universally known prayer Christleft for us. These verses also provide the complete guide to our spiritual health, given to us by Jesus Christ Himself.

 

Our Daily Check-up

As we read these words, we are reminded that God wants us to not do an annual physical. We are to check our levels each time we pray.

Healthy believers focus regularly on God as their Father.

They also seek to surrender to His control, as they walk through each day following His will.

These healthy believers seek for God’s provision of His strengthening grace to help in time of need, as they seek to stay cleansed of anything that would cause spiritual infections.

That leads us to the sixth petition in Matthew 6:13, where we find that a healthy believer understands that they need God’s protection constantly. Listen to Christ's words again:

And do not lead us into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

What is the answer such regular prayers for protection?

Temptation is as old and as deadly as it was the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. Please turn back for a moment to Genesis 3 where most Bibles would identify the summary of this chapter as the Fall of Man, or the Original Sin or something along that line.

 

Tempted & Fallen: The Crash Site of Humanity

This is the crash site. This is where all pain, sorrow, rebellion, disaster, disease, war, murder, theft, terrorism, hatred, injustice, and death started.

As we sift through these verses and piece together the remains of the fall we can see just what lies Satan told to tempt Adam and Eve. What’s amazing is that parts of these same four lies usually show up in every temptation since.

 

SATAN’S FOUR LIES - GENESIS 3.

1.     Doubt God’s Word v. 1a “Has God indeed said”.

What Satan wants is for us to DOUBT GOD.

We doubt God when we doubt His Word.

Satan wants us to believe that God’s Word is just like any other book. It is nice, helpful, but not absolute. He wants us to question God's Word, avoid God's Word, neglect God's Word or whatever else it takes to get us out of regular contact with the Lord.

This is a direct attack on the character of God. One of the great truths about our God is the moral attribute that we know God is Truth.

 

2.     Doubt God’s Goodness v. 1b “‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

What Satan wants is for us to DOUBT GOD.

We doubt God when we doubt His Goodness.

Satan wants us to believe is that God is trying to hold out on us, He is robbing us of some good times, He is out of touch with our needs, He missed that disaster we just went through, He messed up on how He made us, He means well but doesn’t quite have everything under control.

This is a direct attack on the character of God. One of the great truths about our God is the moral attribute that we know God is Good.

 

3.   Doubt God’s Authority v. 4 “You will not surely die”.

What Satan wants is for us to DOUBT GOD.

We doubt God when we doubt His Authority.

Satan wants us to believe is that God is not in charge – we are in charge; God isn’t interested in our choices –we are in charge; God will not make us accountable for our deeds – we are in charge.

This is a direct attack on the character of God. One of the great truths about our God is the moral attribute that we know God is Sovereign.

 

4.   Doubt God’s Plan v. 5 “your eyes will be opened”

What Satan wants is for us to DOUBT GOD.

We doubt God when we doubt His Plan.

Satan wants us to believe is that there is a better way to immortality, an easier way to glory, a quicker way to happiness. Again this is an attack upon the very Word of God. God's Word is sufficient. That is one of the characteristics God has given us about His Word.

What the sufficiency of the Word means is "that everything God wants to tell us about how we should think about a particular doctrinal issue or to do in a particular situation is to be found in Scripture." So God has a wonderful and perfect plan revealed in His Word. Every time we open His Word we can hear His plan. The question is not does God speak, it is do we listen.

 

Listening to God Speak

Satan’s ancient methods still work to bring forgetfulness of God, distance from His Word, and dreadful damage to our lives. How do we stay protected by God, and from Satan? The answer is always listening to God speak to us through His Word.

God is Faithful and has warned us of these avenues the Devil always uses to try and hack into our system and derail us from serving God.

Satan is seeking to devour us using his ancient play book, which we will see as we study temptation in all the amazing details God's Word gives to us.

Turn with me back to 1 Cor. 10:13 where we see that the answer to our prayers is God Himself, the Faithful One, who is watching over us and seeking to come to our aid the instant we ask Him to.

Please stand as we listen to perhaps the very best news all of us who are tempted will ever be.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV) No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Pray

 

God’s answer to all our prayers for protection can be found here in 1 Corinthians 10:13.

God reminds us through Paul of three vital truths about protection from temptations. First we see that:

 

1-We All Face the Same Temptations

1 Corinthians 10:13a (NKJV) No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

God waits all through each day to answer this sixth petition of the Lord’s model prayer for us His disciples. God offers His protection, all we are to do is to ask for it and respond to His way of escape.

Do you see what God is saying?

 

There are no super-human temptations.

Everything we face is what all humans face.

Nothing we face is ever supernatural, it is common.

There is never anything we face that is impossible to bear.

 

We can’t ever blame what we do on the devil.

We only face common, ordinary, normal human temptations.

We never will face anything that is more than we can bear.

No temptation will ever overtake us or spring upon us except the ones that God has already prepared us for in His Word.

 

There are no new strains of sin viruses. But the question is—if the medicine or vaccines are in the medicine chest and we don’t use them, what good are they when we need them?

Jesus said we need to live by “every Word…” (Matthew 4:4). Are you immersing yourself daily in God's Word? If not and you have kind of started to slip, why not pause right now and renew your vows to get in the Word until the Word gets in you DAILY!

 

2-We Trust the Faithfulness God

Secondly, look at the middle of the verse:

1 Corinthians 10:b (NKJV) No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

I Corinthians 10:13 is a call to all of us who know and love the Lord to Look for God in times of temptation, He’s always faithful!

Which ever of the old temptation we get attacked by we can be sure that “God is faithful”. God Himself has promised us that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what you are able to take without falling into sin. Our God knows our limits and always stands right by us protecting us and holding open the way of escape so that we do not succumb to the snare of the Devil.

 

God has made a promise.

God knows our load limit.

He has measured what we can bear.

In every trial/temptation we will ever face He is there.

 

He is making an exit for us before we get overwhelmed.

He is waiting to show us the way out.

We will never face a situation so bad we won’t be able to handle it, God promises that.

 

God leads us into trials (peirasmos) but not into temptations to sin.

Every trial we face is human, common, and overcome-able.

God wants to lead us through, and out of every trial in triumph. God's plan in His Word is for us to see and follow the way He has given us of escape.  

 

3-We Remember God is Always there

Thirdly, at the end of the verse:

1 Corinthians 10:13c (NKJV) No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

This is a huge truth we need to stop and really lay hold of today: God is there all the time.

The longer we meditate on this verse, the bigger the shadow looming over it becomes.

That shadow is none other than the shadow of the One who made us this promise.

In order to do everything this verse says, God has to actually manage this promise onsite. He is not distant; He is never closer than when we are tempted!

It is God who towers over this passage: God is there all the time.

Every trial we face has a clearly marked exit, with God Himself standing ready to usher us out of danger.

 

God is Always There

Have you allowed that truth to sink into your soul and become a part of your operating system? God has told us that He is faithful.  Whenever we think we are alone, we are not alone.  We never face the adversary, the prowling lion called the Devil—alone.

God has already measured and limited the attack upon us. He has already provided an escape route if we will only look for it and take it. If we were alone and facing temptation, we would be hopelessly defeated.

But God knows that already and so He is there. All the time. All the way. Every time. And He has the best way out marked for us. What a Mighty God we serve!

Warren Wiersbe tells the story of a father who once told of his son’s first serious conflict at school.  His boy was being picked on by two or three bullies.  They punched the youngster a time or two, pushed him over when he was riding his bike home from school, and generally made life miserable for the lad.  They told him they would meet him the next morning and beat him up.

That evening the dad really worked with the boy at home.  He showed him how to defend himself, passed along a few helpful techniques, and even gave him some tips on how he might try to win them over as friends.  The next morning the lad and dad prayed together knowing that the inevitable was sure to happen.  With a reassuring embrace and a firm handshake, the father smiled confidently and said, “You can do it, Son.  I know you’ll make out all right.”

Choking back the tears, the boy got on his bike and began the lonely, long ride to school. 

What the boy did not know was that every block he rode he was under the watchful eye of his dad...who drove his car a safe distance from his son, out of sight but ever ready to speed up and assist if the scene became too threatening. 

The boy thought he was alone, but he wasn’t at all.  The father was there all the time.

 

We Are Never Alone

Now fast forward to the next instant that you and I face a surge of temptation to fear, to lust, to be embittered or to lie—at that instant in even greater measure, the God of the Universe is near.

He is with us though often unseen.

He has gone ahead. He has been tempted in every way like us and triumphed.

He has joined us in every temptation and makes the way of victory marked and open for us.

Look for God! He is always faithful!

Resolve to Look for God Each Time You are Tempted

Pause and do something before you lose that truth.

Why not bow your head with me. Now say in your heart, “I believe You Lord that You never leave me”. Then tell Him thank you for being there with you right now.

Okay, here is the hard part. With your heart opened before Him, tell Him that the next time you are tempted (you may even want to whisper in your heart to Him the temptation you most fear and often get defeated by)—that you will look for Him.

 

Now, look up and say out loud with me—

I will look for God when I am tempted!

 

The Scriptures Are Full of Testimonies of Looking for and Finding God

When should we look for God? We look when we face all of the various temptations that are never new, but always so unexpected and powerful. Think of the blessing of the following testimonies God's Word has captured for us.

 

Abraham looked for God and found Him when he was on the Mountain of Despair.

Abraham saw all that ever mattered to him being lost, and though he could not understand—he trusted God. Abraham looked and found God Faithful. When we do the same we also find like Abraham did that God Supplies all my needs. Genesis 22:1-14.

 

Joseph looked for God when he unexpectedly found himself in the Den of Passion.

Accosted, blatantly faced with strong physical temptation Joseph cried out to the God he could not see but knew was there!  When we do the same we also find like Joseph that God Sees and rescues me. Genesis 39:1-9

 

David looked for God as we have studied when he was in that lonely Cave of Fear.

Surrounded by complainers, by rebels, by runaways with all their struggles and violent tempers David looked up and found that God is always faithful and was there all the time! When we do the same we will find that God is always there making a way of escape for us. Psalm 142; 56

 

Daniel looked for God when he was in the Spotlight of Pride.

He was the man of the moment, all eyes were on him; he could have stolen the moment, taken the prize and walked away with the accolades of the world—but not God’s! When we look for God and give Him the glory for anything we ever accomplish then we will also find as Daniel did that God sends us forth for times like that to put the spotlight and the glory back upon Himwho holds our lives in His Hand. Daniel 2:24-28

 

Peter looked for God when was sinking in the Fury of the Storm.

When we do we find as Peter did that God hand is stretched out to save us at the very instant we cry to Him. Matthew 14:24-31

 

We Need to Constantly Ask God to Protect us

How are your vitals?

Are you doing a daily check up?

Are we seeking God’s protection today?

Now for the moment of truth. Each time we hear God's Word taught we have a choice: merely hear, or hear and do. What is your choice today? What you choose will shape the rest of your life.

 

Will we Remember to Resist Satan’s Four Lies of Genesis 3?

1.     Trust instead of Doubting God’s Word, when Satan whispers to you like in Genesis 3:1a “Has God indeed said?”.

2.     Trust instead of Doubting God’s Goodness, when Satan whispers to you like in Genesis 3:1b “‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

3.     Trust instead of Doubting God’s Authority, when Satan whispers to you like in Genesis 3:4 “You will not surely die”.

4.     Trust instead of Doubting God’s Plan, when Satan whispers to you like in Genesis 3:5 “your eyes will be opened”.

 

Will we Remember to Listen to God Speak from His Word?

1.     We all Face the Same Temptations

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV) No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

2.     We All Need to Trust the Faithfulness God

1 Corinthians 10:b (NKJV) No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

3.     We All Need to Remember that God is Always there

1 Corinthians 10:13c (NKJV) No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.