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Sermon No: 838-How to overcome temptation



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SERMON TOPIC: How to overcome temptation

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 15 April 2012

Topic Groups: TEMPTATION, HOLINESS, OVERCOMING

Sermon synopsis: The source of temptation is not God.
James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone…

Rather the source of temptation is (1) The world (2) The flesh (3) The devil.
Although God is not the source of temptation, He can use it to accomplish His purposes.

e.g. Jesus was tempted by the devil, but God allowed it.
Matt 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
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Temptation

HOW TO OVERCOME

A temptation is an act that looks appealing to an individual. It is usually used to describe acts with negative connotations and as such, tends to lead a person to regret such actions as a result of guilt. Temptation also describes the coaxing or inducing a person into committing such an act, by manipulation or otherwise of curiosity, desire or fear of loss. It is enticement or the act of influencing by exciting hope or desire. It is something that seduces or has the quality to seduce. It is the desire to have or do something that you know you should avoid. 1

1 Wikipedia

DEFINITION

The world

The flesh

The devil

THE SOURCE

The Book of Common Prayer: “from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil, spare us, good Lord.”

The world (1 John 2:16)

For everything that is in the world - the desire for fleshly gratification, the desire for possessions, and worldly arrogance - is not from the Father but is from the world. (International Standard Version)

DESIRE FOR FLESHLY GRATIFICATION: craving for physical pleasure i.e. sensual attractions and greed

DESIRE FOR POSSESSIONS: materialism, a craving for everything we see

WORLDLY ARROGANCE: pride in our achievements and a desire for power and to dominate others

THE SOURCE

The flesh (i.e. our own fallen, sinful nature)

Matt 26:41 “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (NASB)

Much of what we blame on the devil is actually our own sinful nature (or flesh) tempting us.

James 1:14 … but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

The devil, after tempting Jesus, left him for a while. Why do we expect that he is with us 24x7 tempting us?

Luke 4:13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

THE SOURCE

The devil

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent 1 was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

1 Chron 21:1 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.

Matt 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

Jesus taught us to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)

1 Rev 22:2 … that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan…

THE SOURCE

Matt 16:21-23 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Acts 5:3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”

THE SOURCE

John 13:2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.

John 13:27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

Luke 22:3-4 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.

THE SOURCE

Not God

James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone…

Jesus was tempted by the devil, but God allowed it.

Matt 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

THE SOURCE

Although God is not the source of temptation, He can use it to accomplish His purposes.

God allowed the testing of Job by Satan

Job 1:8-12 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

THE SOURCE

THE SOURCE

Note that the norm was for God to have a hedge around Job. In times of temptation God temporarily removed the hedge.

Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.

To test our motives & integrity

1 Chron 29:17 (David) I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.

2 Chron 32:31 But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him (Hezekiah) to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.

THE PURPOSE

Deut 6:2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

THE PURPOSE

To develop our character & achieve maturity

James 1:3-4… because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy, rather it tries to make us great enough for life. (James L. Christensen.)

THE PURPOSE

To develop our character & achieve maturity

2 Cor 12:7-9 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Both a criminal and a surgeon may carry some sort of knife with which they intend to cut us. But the intent is different. The criminal intends to harm us while the surgeon is looking to heal us. Likewise with God and Satan. Satan tries to destroy us with temptation and trials, while God uses the same thing to build us up.

THE PURPOSE

Test the genuineness of our faith

1 Pet 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

THE PURPOSE

Prov 17:3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.

Pure joy

James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

OUR REACTION TO IT

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR ENEMY! Know your enemy’s strategy, counteract it and be a conqueror:

The world

Do not love the world or anything in the world. (1 John 2:15)

The flesh

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Rom 13:14 NASB)

The devil

… so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes. (2 Cor 2:11 NASB)

OUR REACTION TO IT

Satan’s own fall was due to the “pride of life” – so he understands the attraction of the temptation :

Ezek 28:12-17 You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God… You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you… So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth…

SATAN’S STRATEGY

SATAN’S STRATEGY

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life… (NASB)

Gen 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.

Adam & Eve

Jesus (Matt 4)

Lust of the eyes

pleasing to the eye

showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor

Lust of the flesh

good for food

tell these stones to become bread

Pride of life

desirable for gaining wisdom

If you are the Son of God… you will not strike your foot against a stone

SATAN’S STRATEGY

He comes when we are vulnerable and weak

Matt 26:37-39 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Matt 4:2-3 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Luke 4:13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

SATAN’S STRATEGY

He comes when we are vulnerable and weak

1 Cor 7:3-5 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

SATAN’S STRATEGY

He will attack directly by inciting persecution

Rev 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Luke 8:13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

SATAN’S STRATEGY

He will use your enemies - to tempt you to retaliate and avenge yourself:

Matt 27:39-43 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

SATAN’S STRATEGY

He will attack indirectly and subtly

2 Cor 11:14 … for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

He will use your friends (bad advice or peer pressure) - to catch you off guard and deceive you:

Matt 16:22-23 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! …”

SATAN’S STRATEGY

He will use deception - Satan will not put black against white when he tempts you. He’ll use a shade of gray to try and blur the boundaries.

2 Cor 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Rev 12:9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.

Rev 20:7-8 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth…

When you counteract him with God’s Word, he will put doubt in your mind and try to get you to question God’s Word.

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

SATAN’S STRATEGY

Ultimately he will outright deny God’s Word or even attribute bad motives to God.

Gen 3:5 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

He will lie

John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He 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.

SATAN’S STRATEGY

If you are convinced of the veracity of God’s Word and refuse to deny it, he will twist God’s Word to try and get you to justify your actions. We see this when he tempts Jesus to jump off the temple.

Luke 4:9-11 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

No – but yielding to it is.

Jesus was tempted, yet He was sinless

Heb 4:14-15 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

IS TEMPTATION SIN?

Indulge the flesh (Matt 4:3 “tell these stones to become bread”)

Suicide & showmanship (Matt 4:6 “throw yourself down” off the highest point of the temple)

JESUS WAS TEMPTED TO:

Devil worship

“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” (Matt 4:9)

Fame & showmanship

Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.” (Matt 12:38)

JESUS WAS TEMPTED TO:

Abandon God’s plan of salvation:

… Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force…) (John 6:15)

Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things… and that he must be killed… Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” (Matt 16:21-22)

“… if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” (Matt 26:39)

Pilate said, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” (John 19:10)

JESUS WAS TEMPTED TO:

His enemies taunted, “Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” (Matt 27:40)

Showmanship & to abandon God’s plan of salvation:

“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”

“But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matt 26:53-54)

Because Jesus was tempted as a man, He is able to sympathize with our dilemma.

Heb 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

But not only can He sympathize but He is uniquely qualified to help us – because He understands how to overcome temptation as a man.

JESUS CAN HELP US

Heb 2:17-18 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

JESUS CAN HELP US

Get some spiritual backbone! Don’t just give in to temptation; resist the devil - after submitting to God:

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1 Peter 5:8-9 … Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…

Jude 8-9 In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

OUR STRATEGY

Don’t fight in your own strength

Rom 7:14-20 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

OUR STRATEGY

Rom 7:21-25 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!

OUR STRATEGY

Resistance

Gen 39:6-9 Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”

OUR STRATEGY

Some look for a specific command in the Bible that prohibits what they are tempted to do. Joseph never had the Law of Moses but says, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”

Ask, “What would Jesus do?” Envision Jesus in your situation; respond as He would respond. Imitate the faith and habits of those who have been victorious before you. 1 1 Overcoming temptation - Biblical principles for daily victory: Ralph B. Lloyd

OUR STRATEGY

WWJD?

Don’t keep company with those who influence you to sin.

1 Cor 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

To paraphrase, “Choose your friends with care – you become what they are.”

Do not listen to the advice of the unrighteous

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.

Learn from situations when temptations come; observe the patterns of temptation; learn to anticipate where and when temptation will appear and avoid it in the future. 1 1 Ibid

OUR STRATEGY

Remove yourself from the source of temptation

Gen 39:10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

Stay away from the tree! Do not gaze at its fruit. Don’t go near temptation’s door. 1

Remove from your possession alcohol, drugs, food, magazines, or anything that makes you stumble. 1

Set up barriers to sin; make it difficult if not impossible to proceed in the way of sin. 1

Turn off the movies and TV!!!!!!! Refuse to set any worthless thing before your eyes. 1

1 Ibid

OUR STRATEGY

Don’t “gaze into the cup,” don’t stare at those things that tempt you; remove yourself so you are not ensnared by the deceitful appeal of sin. If you inadvertently see something that tempts you, immediately look away, and do not look at it again. 1

Realize that when you sin, you become a slave of sin; you give up control. “You cannot eat just one.” 1

Examine everything carefully, and be willing to ask yourself tough questions about your actions. 1

1 Ibid

OUR STRATEGY

Realize that when you choose sin the consequences will be more severe than you expect or imagine; you may pay for it with what is most precious to you. 1

Remember David and his sin with Bathsheba. His child died - and his son Absalom rebelled against him and committed adultery with David’s own wives. Even though God forgave David – there were consequences.

2 Sam 12:9-10 Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own. 1 Ibid

OUR STRATEGY

Resolve to resist sin, even if it brings personal loss, persecution, and bodily harm. 1

No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Cor 9:27)

Overcome today’s temptation – don’t indulge yourself while being comforted in the fact that you intend to resist temptation tomorrow.

In other words don’t be like the unconverted and sexually promiscuous Augustine who prayed in his ‘Confessions’, “Lord give me chastity, but not yet”.

1 Ibid

OUR STRATEGY

Gen 39:11-12 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

2 Tim 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth…

Don’t negotiate - RUN!!!

Relationship with God

1 John 5:4 … for everyone born of God overcomes the world.

1 Pet 1:14-16 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Self-control & Alertness

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him…

OUR STRATEGY

Watch and pray

Matt 26:40-41 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

Watch and pray

Regarding our spiritual warfare Paul writes, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Eph 6:18)

Ask daily for protection and deliverance from temptation.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matt 6:13)

“Let a man be but in earnest in praying against a temptation as the tempter is in pressing it, and he needs not proceed by a surer measure.” (William Shakespeare in The Tragedy of King Richard the Third)

1 Overcoming temptation - Biblical principles for daily victory: Ralph B. Lloyd

OUR STRATEGY

Ask others to pray with you

Matt 26:36-38 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

OUR STRATEGY

Recognize and rebuke the demonic influences behind the temptation. 1

Matt 16:23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!”

Matt 4:10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan!”

1 Ibid

OUR STRATEGY

Avoid pride

FOR YOURSELF: Don’t pass judgment on fellow believers who fall:

Gal 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

AND OTHERS: Don’t appoint new believers as overseers:

1 Tim 3:6-7 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

OUR STRATEGY

Don’t entertain wrong thoughts and attitudes e.g. a desire to get rich or for comfort at the expense of godliness.

1 Tim 6:9-10 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Matt 26:40-41 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

OUR STRATEGY

Don’t regret having resisted temptation and overcoming it like the man who said, “The only problem with resisting temptation is that it might not come your way again.”

There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted. (James Branch Cabell)

Most people would like to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch. (Robert Orben)

Those who flee temptation generally leave a forwarding address. (Lane Olinghouse)

OUR STRATEGY

Eph 6:11-13 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes… 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.

The battle is in the mind – that is where strongholds are formed and where the battlefield is.

Spiritual warfare does not involve being on first-name terms with the demons who control the different suburbs of our town – where do you see this kind of tactic employed in Scripture?

STRONGHOLDS

STRONGHOLDS ARE FORMED BY HABITUAL SIN THAT WE REFUSE TO RENOUNCE.

Judas’ stronghold was the love of money.

John 12:4-6 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

Matt 26:14-16 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

STRONGHOLDS

Judas’ stronghold was the love of money. Have you allowed Satan a stronghold in this area, or in the form of lustful and adulterous thoughts (which you feed by what you allow yourself to watch), substance addiction (drugs or alcohol), desire for power and recognition (like Ananias), love of pleasure and comfort (Demas 1)?

Judas sold his Lord for 30 pieces of silver. How much do you sell your Lord for? 1 … Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me… (2 Tim 4:10)

STRONGHOLDS

Don’t harbour anger and unforgiveness – this gives the devil a foothold:

Eph 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

2 Cor 2:7-11 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him … If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

STRONGHOLDS

Strongholds, arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God

2 Cor 10:3-5 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

STRONGHOLDS

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.

Rom 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

STRONGHOLDS

Jesus taught that:

The root sin of murder (action) is hate (something that happens in the mind) – Matt 5:21-22

The root sin of adultery (action) is lust (mind) – Matt 5:27-28

Controlling your speech (action) begins in the mind:

Matt 12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

Breaking any of God’s Commandments (action) is a result of the lack of love (mind) for God and man – Matt 22:35-39

STRONGHOLDS

Have faith

1 Thess 3:2-5 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.

True faith trusts God – even when we don’t understand.

OUR STRATEGY

Eph 6:16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (1 John 5:4)

But what is faith?

Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Use the Word of God

Matt 4:3-4 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

Evaluate your situation in the light of God’s Word and then respond accordingly

For our spiritual battle Paul tells us to, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph 6:17)

In order to use God’s Word, you must know God’s Word. This is why it’s important to read the Bible, memorize Scripture and to have solid Biblical teaching.

Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Heb 4:12-13 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

OUR STRATEGY

Remember that God sets limits on our temptation:

Job 1:12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Job 2:6 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

OUR STRATEGY

Because Satan has to request God’s permission and God has to agree to remove the hedge, we know that He has allowed the temptations we face; He is in control; and there is a divine purpose.

The way out

1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.

So when we are tempted, the first thing we should do is to start looking for the way out that God has already provided.

OUR STRATEGY

TEMPTATION – DESIRE - SIN - DEATH

James 1:14-15 … but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

OUR FAITH CAN FAIL

Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”

Lk 8:13 … but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

OPTION 1

TEMPTATION – PERSEVERANCE – MATURITY – REWARD

James 1:3-12 … because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything… Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

OPTION 2

Rev 19:7-8 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

AWARENESS OF JESUS’ RETURN

1 John 3:2-3 … But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

AWARENESS OF JESUS’ RETURN

Titus 2:11-13 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ

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COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations taken from the ESV: English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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