Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saying "no" when tempted to sin


James 1:14-16 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.
I am preaching on James 1:12-16 tomorrow. I will be addressing the matter of temptation and our need to say "no" to sin. In preparation for any sermon I try to read or scan sermons from various men of God who I particularly admire, one such preacher is Spurgeon. I think God allowed him to be wrong on baptism so he wasn't right on everything.

But seriously (OK, I was serious, but anyways...), check out his very pastoral counsel on how to avoid falling in to sin when tempted:

What settings are you in when you fall? Avoid them.
What props do you have that support your sin? Eliminate them.
What people are you usually with? Avoid them.

There are two equally damning lies Satan wants us to believe:

1) Just once won't hurt.

2) Now that you have ruined your life, you are beyond God's use, and might as well enjoy sinning.

7 comments:

AliGirl said...

What a pertinent message for today's culture! I can't wait! As an 8th grade teacher in the public school system, I belabor this point as much as I can without going into the precepts behind the plea. I used the reference to innocence in "The Outsiders" to discuss what true innocence is and why it's desirable. I'm only 10 years older than my students, but what a spike I've seen in the encouragement of sin by all media and even my fellow educators from the time I was their age! There is absolutely no notion of fleeing from that which will harm one's conscience, and quite the opposite, we are encouraged to overindulge every desire (as long as we are careful to protect against unwanted consequences).
If we truly love God, then we must truly hate sin and stay as far away from it as possible. But how do I provide this logic to my students (whom I love dearly and who I want to know Christ) when I am prohibited from discourse of God in the classroom?

jeff said...

One of my favorite passages to read while I'm hunting is Romans 6. This is where Paul speaks of being dead to sin and alive in Christ. In our Saturday morning men's fellowship, we once had a discussion of what, exactly, it means to be "dead to sin". The consensus was that being "dead" to it is not a one-time, so-called, death. After all, Paul also writes in I Corinthians 6 to "flee from sexual immorality". Just because we are dead to sin and alive in Christ doesn't mean that Satan won't try his hardest to get us to fall.

We must constantly be aware of the power that sin can have over us, and keep our focus on being "Alive in Christ". I really like the counsel that Spurgeon gave about avoiding the setting, props, and accomplices to sin.

My own personal example (although a minor one...) is the stuff I used to listen to in the car on the way to work. I used to listen to a couple of nationally known trashy radio guys. I justified it by thinking that they did talk about non-trashy topics (like maybe once a week...), and that the other stuff didn't affect me. The problem was, I started out my day listening to them. Little by little, the trashy stuff started sneaking into my mind at times during the day, and before I knew it, I was enjoying listening to the trash.

Around the same time, I was attending the men's fellowship I mentioned above, and we discussed Romans 6. I realized that I was not consciously being "dead" to the sin. So, I prayed.

Amazingly, I "happened" to find a new Christian radio station at the same time. There is a minister at 7:30 in the morning, precisly the time that I'm driving to school, whose show ends usually as I'm about a mile from school. His name is Greg Laurie. He is a dynamic man of God. There is something on his show almost every day that I feel like God wants me to hear. So now, I start my day off listening to a sermon instead of trash. Praise God!! Before I could "wake up in Christ" every morning, I had to make the decision to be "dead" to my sin. And, as Tony said, just once WILL hurt...

Anyway, there's my input.

I can't wait to listen to tomorrow's sermon online. When will it be posted?

Reepicheep said...

Ali- I have no doubt you are a tremendous witness to your students. Keep being Ali, that will be what God uses. The blogosphere has also opened your options, students can certainly check that to see who you are and what your convictions are. I say preach sister. If they fire you, we'll hire you at Westminster!

Jeff- Praise the Lord. Excellent application I might even use tomorrow morning! I will say this, however...if you have 30 minutes to listen to a sermon, read Spurgeon's and save mine for a very rainy day! :)

jeff said...

So, where can I find his sermon? Is there a book you can recommend that would have this particular one? Please let me know!

jjmorgan said...

Not only was Spurgeon a great pastor and an enjoyer of fine cigars, but he also had that mondo-cool inverse gotee thing goin' on.

Reepicheep said...

Yeah, kind of a cowardly lion thing going on.

Frontier Forest said...

Power-filled sermon of abiding Truth! Yesterday’s message was directed for me. Plenty of vine pruning to do in my own sin-filled life. Sometimes, I just feel so dirty, yet I know that’s the enemy telling me of my unworthiness. Thanks for preaching the Word and offering such sinners as me, HOPE!