Temptation

April 23, 2017Luke 22:39 – 46Temptation

   On March 11, this year we talked about Jesus temptation at the beginning of his ministry when he was led or pushed out into the desert for 40 days and nights to fast.  Satan comes and attacks Jesus then and we see that Satan comes and attacks Jesus in this passage.  Jesus was tempted.  I suspect that Jesus was tempted a lot more than we see in the scripture but these 2 times are mentioned.  In Matthew we see that angels came to minister to Jesus after he was tempted.  In this passage, Luke tells us that an angel came to strengthen him.   It is very encouraging to think about angels being involved in our lives.  Jesus gained strength from an angel in the midst of this trial. 

   We should not think that we are above temptation in fact Peter tells us Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  Rejoice in your sufferings and rejoice in your temptations in fact in everything give thanks.  Jesus was perfect and he was tempted.    Jesus said a disciple is not above his master.  Jesus learned and grew from his difficulties and we will also grow the same way. 

   We are tempted and at times we want to do wrong.   Sometimes we desire to give up.  Sometimes we are tempted to take the easy path.   Maybe that is similar to a fish.  A fish has eyes a mouth and a stomach.  The fish likes his stomach filled.  Fishermen throw out that artificial lure and they try to make it wiggle in such a way that the fish cannot refuse.  My neighbor fly fishes and he told me one day that he lopped the fly over a weed and he let it drop down and then lifted it up and dropped it and lift it and that bass went for it.  I told him you drove that bass crazy.  The fish does not reflect on where it is going.  It sees something that it likes and away it goes. 

   Kent Edwards shares from South Hamilton Mass that for the first time in 47 years the tuna were running only 30 miles off Cape Cod.  They were not only running but they were biting.  All you needed to catch one is a good pole and a hook and an bait and a boat.  The rumor was that the Japanese would pay up to 50,000 for a good blue fin.  Many inexperienced fishermen ignored the Coast Guard warnings and headed out to sea.  What they did not realize that the problem was not catching the fish it was reeling the giant tuna in and getting it on board.  The Christi Anne a 19-foot boat capsized while doing battle with a tuna.  That same day a 27-foot boat named Basic Instinct suffered the same fate.  A 28-footer named Official Business was swamped after it hooked a 600 pound tuna.  The fishermen on these boats underestimated the power of these fish.  That is what temptation does to us.   It looks great on the surface.  Only after we get into it do we realize its strength.  And temptation can ruin a person.  To many folks try to do things that they are not trained for and it can be dangerous and not end well. 

    Brothers and sisters you will have something in your life.  Your life will be filled with something.   You will have a love an idol a desire and it will either be with the world or with God.  People are either caught up with the things of the world or God.  It can money, survival, sex, drugs or just doing work and then what I want for pleasure or it can be God.  Is your life filled with the world?  James tells us that if we love the world the love of the father is not in us.

     Do you want your children to love the bible and prayer or the world?  Do you want your children to love people and minister to them?  One or 2 hours a week of church and God will not do it for them.  You have to set the pace.  They need to see you doing it.   You have to live it and teach them to do that and then pray it into their life.  Kids that are filled with school stuff are not filled with church stuff.  Some would say well you are just a preacher and you really do not understand.   OK   Are we disciplined to pray?   Are we disciplined to be in the bible?  Do we like Christian music or the music of the world?   Parents you get one shot at raising your children.  Many parents live a life of regret because they said no to God and they lost their children.   

   John Ortberg in his book God is closer than you think writes about a little girl that show us how temptation works.  He writes a little girl discovered the secret to making mud one day which she called warm chocolate.   After her grandmother cleaned up the mess, she told little Larissa not to make any more chocolate.   The little girl soon resumed to making her chocolate saying sweetly Don’t look at me nana OK?  Nana being a little codependent agreed.  Larissa continued to work the mud but 3 times she said don’t look at me, nana OK? 

   Thus, the soul of the tender little child shows us how necessary it is to us that we be unobserved in our wrong, writes Dallas Willard professor in the school of Philosophy at the university of ‘southern California in Los Angeles and author of numerous resources on spiritual formation.  Any time we choose to do wrong or to withhold doing right we choose hiding as well.  It may be that out of all the prayers that are ever spoken the most common one the quietist one the one we least acknowledge making is simply this: don’t look at me God.  It was the first prayer spoken after the fall.   God came to walk in the garden to with the man and woman and called where are you?  I heard you in the garden and I was afraid Adam answered so I hid.  Don’t look at me God.  Many people are saying don’t look at me God.   Jesus said men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 

   We may think we are smarter than fish, but are we?  A successful politian is doing well in his or her career but they can’t stay away from sexual temptation and it ruins their career and their family.  A very intelligent professor wins every argument with students and other professors.  Everybody knows how smart they are and he tells them that he is smart.  People avoid him and he does not have any close friends.  A leader of a large company is very successful and the company is making lots of money but the people around him feel used and he does not have any idea how people feel about him.   He is in his own little world.  So many people see something they like and they just go after it.   They are not asking if it is good for them.   They don’t ask if they will be pleased with their life when they get old and pass on.  They do not think about all the things they will regret later and they do not think about God.  They give into their temptation. 

   Larissa gave into the temptation and then she was wrong for not obeying her grandmother.  Satan likes to temp us and tell us how our life would be so much better if we gave into the temptation.  Sometimes Christians yield to temptation and then we sin.  Have you given in to temptation lately?    As soon as we sin Satan then turns it around and tells us how terrible we are.  Satan is pretty shrewd.    What kind of a Christian would do that he puts in our mind?   Satan will whisper do not expect God to use your life.   God cannot use a person that does the things that you do.

   Jesus tells his disciples in verse 40 pray that you do not fall into temptation.  Jesus told us several times to pray that we would not fall into temptation.   In the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples Jesus tells them to pray keep us from evil or keep us from the evil one.   We need that ring of protection around us.    As we grow in the Lord we learn that we have no power in our flesh to fight sin and temptation.  We are completely broken.  Paul writes in my flesh dwells no good thing.  The only resources I really have to fight sin is in Jesus.   We are a needy people.   We need water air and food.  We have all kinds of desires and wants.  I believe a key to winning against temptation is to understand that our victory is in Jesus.  Jesus tells his disciples pray that you do not enter into temptation.  Make it a point of prayer.  If we think we stand we can fall.   Pride comes before a fall.  We are dependent upon God.  Jesus as the God man was dependent upon God.  Jesus was praying in the garden.  He went to the father.  I think Jesus went to the father all the time. 

    Marriage is a wonderful blessing.   God said it was not good for man to dwell alone.   Ladies your husband will not totally fill your life.  Children are a blessing form God but they will not totally fill your life.  Husbands and fathers your family will not totally fill your life.  Your job will not totally fill your life.  God is the one that fills our life.  If your life is not totally full rejoice.  As we turn to God we find life.   Sin and the world will not fill your life.   Yielding to temptation will not fill your life.  Lots of money, women and wisdom did not fill Solomon’s life.  Only God can really fill your life.   Only God can really bring meaning to your life.  Yes he blesses us and fills us with things in the world but those things were never meant to be the center of our life.  God is to be the center.   We tend to make those things our god.  That does not work.  We ae made for God.       

        God entrusts us with temptation.   Temptation is common to man.  God knows what you can handle.    Jesus endured a lot and God entrusted him with a lot.  Did God do that to hurt Jesus?   No of course not.   The cross was no doubt the biggest battle that Jesus faced.  I think far beyond the physical pain was the pain of sin that he suffered.   How can God sin or have sin put on him?   God is holy and God hates sin.  In Hebrews 1 God is speaking about Jesus and we read You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.  Jesus is holy and was always holy except on the cross.  It is hard to think about Jesus having sin put on him. It is hard to think about him not being holy.  I bet Jesus fought sin being put on him.    You may feel that God has entrusted you with a lot. 

   Jesus has gone before us.   We do have victory in him.   We do have spiritual armor.   Whatever temptation you face it is common to man and God will use it for His glory if we walk with Him.    I want to encourage you to walk close to the Lord.   It is dangerous not to have the spiritual armor on especially in these days.   It is far more dangerous to not walk with Jesus than to walk with him.   Draw near to Jesus.   He is the only one who will give you a wall of righteousness to protect you.   We need his presence.  We need Jesus to surround us.   Remember that greater is he that is in us then he that is in the world.   Jesus defeated Satan.    

    Temptation is not meant to make us sin.    It is meant to make it possible for us not to sin.   If we stay in prayer and in the bible it will help us not to be tempted so much.  Jesus fought temptation by praying and that is what he told his disciples to do to defeat temptation.  If we dabble with sin we will tempted more.   Challenging times are not meant to make us bad it is meant to make us good.     It is not meant to weaken us – it is meant to make us stronger, more mature and pure.    Temptation is not a penalty – temptation is a privilege of the person undergoing the trial – knowing that they are being strengthened for use by God.     Our reaction to trials and testing, our understanding of their purpose and their necessary place in life, where, when and how they will occur will help us to understand how God uses them in our lives for the glory of His Kingdom.  

    The beatitudes in the sermon on the mount are interesting.  Jesus told the crowds blessed are the poor in spirit.  Blessed are those that mourn.   Blessed are the meek.   Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Blessed are the merciful.  Blessed are the pure in heart.  Blessed are the peacemakers.  Blessed are those that are persecuted.  Some of those thoughts we may not like.  But does that remind you of a Christian that you know?   Does that remind you of yourself?   Jesus is saying there are blessings for those that are broken.  There is a blessedness in not being on the top.  There is a blessedness for every day ole me.   There are God given blessings for the masses of people.   I am a broken person and yet I have life and blessing when I walk in the spirit of the God.  Blessed are you when you are tempted if you turn to Jesus and walk with Him.