QRC Temptation

November 4, 2012

QRC: Temptation
We’ve all been there, at one time or another.  Standing on the very cusp of doing what we
know is wrong.  And we have to decide;
will we do what we know we shouldn’t do or do we make the right decision.  And each of us is tempted by something
different in our lives, which makes it really difficult to understand how
someone can give into to their particular temptation.  “How could they do that?  I don’t understand what the appeal could
possibly be.” 
I have never had a struggle with alcohol.  Ever. 
That’s not to say I never drank, I just never had a problem with it, and
when the time came for me to quit, I quit. 
For those who don’t know the story, on Thursday August 30th
1979 I was a commercial fisherman on the largest herring seiner on the East
Coast, our quotas were cut where we were fishing and so we came home for a few
days and I became a Christ follower in a Sunday Evening service at 1st
Wesleyan Church in Saint John New Brunswick. 
On Wednesday I moved into my dorm room at Bethany Bible College which is
now Kingswood University.  And one of the
rules was “thou shalt not drink.”  And I
have not had a drink since that day, not a bottle of beer not a glass of wine,
nada.  And in those 33 years I don’t
think I ever thought “wow, a cold beer would be nice right now”  or “I could really use a drink.” 
And so there have been times that I have had very little
patience with people who struggle with alcohol. 
And I think “Well just stop it.” 
On the other hand, I had major issues quitting smoking,
serious problems.  And to be truthful to
this day there are times I think, “I could really use a smoke.”  Does that make me a bad person?  And people who have never smoked don’t
understand, they call it a dirty filthy habit and can’t understand the appeal
of sucking on burning organic matter that is filled with poison and will kill
you.  And I knew that and still know
it.  But that didn’t help much.
We are all tempted, but we tend to be tempted in different
ways.  I am not a worrier, sure there are
times I worry but for the most part I don’t. 
But there are those out there who struggle with worry, even though they
know that the Bible says “Don’t worry” they are tempted to worry about things
they have no control over. 
There are those who struggle with gluttony, and don’t
confuse that with simply being overweight, and they are tempted to eat more
than they should.  There are those who
struggle with lust and sexual sin, there are those who struggle with anger
issues and issues of unforgiveness.    There are those who struggle with drunkenness
and greed, and hatred and every day there will be those who give in to those
struggles and those who stand firm and don’t. 
The issue isn’t whether or not we will be tempted, because
we will be tempted.  You have no control
over that.   The issue is whether or not you
will give into the temptation.  And you
are the only one who will have control over that.  Nobody else can resist temptation for you,
nobody else can win that battle except you.
Most of you are aware that our theme for the next four weeks
is “QR Codes for life” QRCs or Quick Retrieval Codes are those funky little
square bar codes that you see everywhere these days, and if you scan them with
your smart phone or iPhone they take you to a website where you can quickly
find the information that you need about . . . whatever.    Last week in our  introduction we talked about how great it
would be if there were QR codes for our lives as Christ Followers, when we face
difficult situations we could just scan them and find the answer that we
needed.  Often times, as Christians, we
are reminded that the Bible has all the answers we need.  But it’s a big book, and we don’t always have
time to search through it looking for the answer that we need, right now.
So where do we go to face our
temptations?   Our QR Code for this week is
 1 Corinthians
10:13
The temptations in your life are no
different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow
the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will
show you a way out so that you can endure.
This verse sums up all we need
to know about temptation.  And gives us
the tools we need to deal with temptation. 
So let’s start at the beginning
because the beginning is usually a great place to start.
1
Corinthians 10:13
The temptations in your
life are no different from what others experience. And God is
faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When
you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
We all think that what we are
dealing with is something strange and wonderful, that nobody has ever had to
deal with the temptations that you are dealing with. 
I can’t count the number of
times people have uttered the words to me “You don’t know what it was like, you
can’t understand.”  Everyone thinks their
situation is unique, that if I could only put myself in their place that I
would have done what they did.  
And yet the reality goes back
to the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes
1:9
History
merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is
truly new.
The temptations that we face
today are the same as our parents faced and that their parents faced.  There is nothing new under the sun.  We
Have Been Forewarned
Oh the clothes temptation
dresses up in might be modern garb, but at the root the temptation to do what
is wrong still comes from the same place. 
If we go back to the start of the story we discover the first man and
woman happily frolicking in the Garden of Eden. 
They can do whatever they want and there is only one rule in their
existence.  One rule, how tough can that
be?  How easy would it be to memorize
“The One Commandment”?
Genesis 2:15-17 The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden
to tend and watch over it. But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the
fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
 How easy should that
be?  “You can do whatever you want,
except to eat the fruit from that one tree.” 
What  would be the smart thing to
do?  Not go near the tree.  But no, when Satan shows up and tempts Eve to
eat from the tree she knew exactly what tree he meant and exactly where it
was.  And what was the route the
temptation took?  The fruit looked
delicious, so the temptation begins by Appealing
To Her Desire to Have Something She Didn’t Have
.    Most temptations begin with an appeal to
our appetites. 
Now we aren’t talking about appetite here in the sense of a
Big Mac a large order of Fries and a shake. 
No this is the temptation to satisfy our physical desires, even when we
know that it is wrong.  Every one of us
will be tempted at some time or another through our appetites.  It may not be hunger it may be your sexual
appetite, it might be an addictive substance, or it might simply be the
appetite to have more, whatever the cost. 
Of course the power of temptation is multiplied because our
society has reverted back to the philosophy of ancient Rome that said “Eat, drink,
and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”  Or
perhaps it’s the philosophy of the not so ancient 60’s that said “If it feels
good; do it.”
But the question is: Why do we do things when we know they
are wrong?  Why do we watch movies that
we know Christ wouldn’t approve of, why do we listen to music that flies in the
face of everything the Bible teaches, why do we cultivate relationships that we
know are dangerous?  If you were to
answer honestly it would be because we enjoy those things and those
people.  We are seeking to fulfill the
appetite of pleasure.   Even when we know
that to do so is to be disobedient to what God wants in our lives.
But really, Eve could have eaten from any other tree in the
garden and been just as full.    
But it wasn’t enough that the
fruit looked delicious, Satan ups the ante, he tells Eve in Genesis 3:5 “God knows that your eyes will be
opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and
evil.”   Satan is saying, “Is it really fair
that God has something that you don’t have? 
He just doesn’t want you to know what he knows.  But you should have the same knowledge that
he has, God shouldn’t mind if you know the difference between good and evil,
that is if he really loves you.”
So Satan promises that Eve will
get something that she didn’t have, something that she didn’t even know she
didn’t have and something she couldn’t get anywhere else.  “Your eyes will be
opened and you will know both good and evil.” 
So now Satan is Appealing
to Her Desire to Be Something She Wasn’t. 
This is also the temptation of pride, Madonna made this statement “I
won’t be happy till I’m as famous as God.” 
She’ll never be as famous as God, but I would suspect that she
has done some things in the quest for that fame that has dishonoured God and
Madonna.  But even when you think you are
that famous, you aren’t.  Remember John Lennon saying “We’re
more popular than Jesus Christ now. I don’t know which will go first; rock and
roll or Christianity.” 
And you’re thinking, Denn that isn’t a problem for me, I
know that I’ll never be famous so it’s not a temptation.  Sure, but have you ever considered fames
little brother, popularity. 
When I was in school I was both unpopular and popular, and
trust me popular is better, but it’s not worth selling your soul for.  Don’t give into the temptation of doing
things just to fit in with the crowd. 
Because when the time comes to pay the price for the compromises that
you make the crowd will be nowhere around.
Listen again to
what Satan offers:  Genesis 3:5 “God knows
that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God,
knowing both good and evil.”   
Finally Satan is Appealing To Her Desire to Have Power.  To be just like God, people are still
trying to be like God.  What Eve was
after wasn’t knowledge it was power. 
People are too willing to pay whatever price they need to in
order to achieve the power they crave. 
They will sacrifice their morals, their ethics, and their
integrity.  James
Byrnes former  Secretary of State
wrote “Power intoxicates men. When a man is
intoxicated by alcohol, he can recover, but when intoxicated by power, he
seldom recovers.” 
Most of the problems in today’s world are caused by a quest
for power.  Read the papers.  What is it that the Israelis and Palestinians
are fighting over?  Land? No they have
land, they are fighting over power, who will be in charge.  Radical Islam is fighting for control, they
want the power that comes with being in control.  The Taliban wants to be back in control in
Afghanistan so they will have power over the people and will be able to demand
they do it their way.
Marriages are destroyed because someone wants power, crimes
are committed because someone wants power, friendships are sacrificed and
Churches have been split all because of someone’s desire for power, to be in
charge, to have control.
If we fast forward thousands of years through human history
we discover Jesus in the desert before he begins his ministry and there is Satan,
with the same bag of tricks.  “Turn the
stones into breads Jesus, satisfy your appetites.”  “Jump off the temple wall Jesus, and everyone
will worship you, satisfy your desire for fame.”  “Bow down and worship me Jesus and I will
give you all the kingdoms of the world, I will give you power.” 
Fast forward another two
thousand years and in a Pastoral management class that I took in University a
professor tells the class that the three things that pastors will be tempted
with will be: The Gold, the Glory and the Girls.   1 Corinthians
10:13
The temptations in your life are no
different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not
allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he
will show you a way out so that you can endure.   But there is more to this QRC then
simply the knowledge that others have been tempted before us. 
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations
in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will
not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted,
he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Here is our secret weapon, first we are forewarned now We are Forearmed.  This
is the knowledge that you don’t have to give in.  You have what it takes to win this
battle.  The Bible promises you that you
don’t have to give in to temptation; God will not allow the temptation to get
that strong.  But we don’t want to
believe that, we want to think that we didn’t have a choice. 
This is not a self-help book
that we are reading, this is the word of God, God’s word for God’s people and
it tells us that He will not allow the temptation to be more than we can
stand.  You don’t have to give in. 
A couple of things to remember,
the first one is: this promise is for Christ followers, it’s not for
everyone.  Sometimes people get into the
thinking that every promise in the Bible is for everyone, doesn’t work that
way, the promises in God’s word are for God’s people.   
And the second thing this is
for Christ followers who want to resist temptation.    That’s the secret; you gotta want to.  We talk the good talk but the reason we give
into temptation is because we want to. 
Jesus’ brother James hit the nail right on the head when he wrote in James 1:14 Temptation
comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.
Scottish writer Margaret
Oliphant  Said the same thing, “Temptations come, as a general rule, when they are sought.”
Don’t go looking for temptation and don’t under estimate
them.  You’ve heard me say it over and
over again; “Sin will always take you further than you want to go it will always keep
you longer than you want to stay and will always cost you more than you want to
pay.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson observed “We gain the
strength of the temptation we resist.” Every time we win over temptation
the next win is easier, but the converse is true as well, after we give in it
gets tougher to not give in the next time, which is why Mark Twain said:  “It is easier to stay out than get out.”  
Listen carefully, you can win, you don’t have to lose, you
don’t have to give in.  The promise is
here in the book, and we don’t debate the book. 
“I couldn’t help myself”, or “the temptation was too strong”, or “the
devil made me do it” are cop-outs.  The
Bible, the word of God promises us that we can win over temptation.   And more than that, look at the promise again
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations
in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be
more than you can stand. When you are tempted,
he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

God has promised to show you a way out, so your part is to look for that way
out.  Sometimes the easiest way out is
just to leave, turn around and walk away. 
Sometime though you need to stay where you are. 
When Satan was tempting Jesus,
time and time again Jesus returns to the scripture.    But that only works if you know what the
Bible says.   It’s no good to wave it
around and say, “Somewhere in here it says something that’s helpful” 
In Psalm 119 David asked Psalm 119:9 How can a young person stay pure? And then he answers his own
question By obeying your
word.   Two verses later he adds
to it by saying Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin
against you.
You need to read the book and you
need it hide it in your heart.  You say,
“But Denn I’m no good at memorizing scripture.” Just read it, and read it and
read it.  Make it a part of your day.  If you don’t have a bible reading plan you
can find one for your computer, you iPhone, your BlackBerry or you can do it
the old fashion way. 
Devotional books are wonderful but they are no substitute
for reading God’s word.  David didn’t say
“I have hidden “The Daily Bread” in my heart, or I have hid “The Upper Room” in
my heart, or I have hid the latest Christian best seller in my heart.  Read the book.

But remember if you are going to master temptation then first you are going to
have to let God master you.
Let’s read it the promise
together but this time let’s personalize it  
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in my life are no different from what others
experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more
than I can stand. When I am tempted, he will show me a way out so that I can
endure.