Winning Against Temptation

Luke 11:4

4 And forgive us our sins-- just as we forgive those who have sinned against us. And don't let us yield to temptation." (NLT)

This message was preached December 1, 2002 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at toulonbaptist.com  

A little boy prayed this prayer one day and at the end he added. "If you can't make me a good boy, that is alright, I'm having a lot of fun any way."

We laugh at that but I think it applies to too many people. They would like God to make them good but if He doesn't, they are having a good time anyway.

Temptations and trials seem to surround us and sometimes seem to take us down. And we have all seen some Christian who did not do very well under those circumstances. Yes Christians can and do often make the wrong choices when it come to trial and temptations.

But in our prayer today Jesus says we should pray, that God would not lead us into temptations. What does He mean by that? What does that look like.

  1. Temptations and Trials
    1. Meaning, definitions.
      1. The word is used interchangeably for trials and temptations.
      2. The one is a test, a severe condition one undergoes to determine what their character is.
        1. James 1:2-4 Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. (NLT)
        2. 1 Pet 1:6-7 So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-- and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (NLT)
      3. Temptation on the other hand is a solicitation to do evil.
        1. James tells us that God never temps us to do evil.
          1. James 1:13-16 And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, "God is tempting me." God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death. So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. (NLT)
        2. Although He does allow us at times to be tempted.
        3. God is not responsible for all that He allows others to do for He has given men free will.
        4. But God can restrain evil men by building hedges and not allowing them to do all the evil they would.
    2. Examples of Trials and Temptations
      1. Abraham
        1. Heb 11:17-19 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God's promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, though God had promised him, "Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted." Abraham assumed that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead. (NLT)
      2. David
        1. 1 Chr 21:1-2 Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the Israelites. David gave these orders to Joab and his commanders: "Take a census of all the people in the land-- from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north-- and bring me the totals so I may know how many there are." (NLT)
      3. Jesus
        1. Matt 4:1-3 Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted there by the Devil. For forty days and forty nights he ate nothing and became very hungry. Then the Devil came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, change these stones into loaves of bread." (NLT)
        2. We need to see that being tempted is not a sin, but yielding to the temptation is.
        3. You cannot stop birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from nesting in your hair.
  2. How to win against temptation.
    1. Be Spiritually mature.
      1. Put on the whole armor of God. Eph 6
    2. Pray
      1. That is the idea of the prayer.
      2. To be delivered from trials and temptations, you must pray not to be lead into them.
    3. I do not think there is a formula that will deliver you from all trials and temptations.
      1. Each of us will have our part in that.
      2. God seems to bring trials into some lives and not into others.
      3. Sometimes we even to seem to overcome by trials and testings.
      4. I know that Christians all have a different relationship with God.
        1. Some are closer than others.
        2. And God does not seem to force us all into equal dedication to Him.
        3. But some He does bring into special relationships by allowing trials into their lives.
    4. This also shows our dependence on God.
      1. He alone can keep us from temptation and get us through it victoriously.
      2. That does not mean that we do nothing.
      3. But it does mean we pray.
      4. As one person once said, you have done nothing until you pray.
      5. God can use the smallest effort accompanied by prayer, but often does not use the greatest effort without prayer.
      6. Also God is the only one who knows the future and can lead us away from those things that would bring us into the greatest trials or temptation.

So pray as though everything depended upon God and labor as if all depended upon you. Pray that He would not lead you into trials but would deliver you from the evil one.