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Dealing with Temptation

Dealing with Temptation

Words of Faith 6-26-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Corinthians 10

   [11] These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. [12] So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! [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.

 

         Paul had just outlined a sobering parallel with the Children of Israel. The Israelites also had been greatly blessed by God but yet also experienced His severe discipline. God's dealings with Israel were more than a matter of historical curiosity for Paul. They were examples and warnings for the Corinthians as they were experiencing the fulfillment of God's plan. They needed to understand the same God that disciplined the Israelites in the desert was now working with them.

         Paul wanted to make it clear that the Corinthians were not beyond the reach of God's discipline. This was suggested even more pointedly a little later in the in the letter-- "That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 11:30).   The same God who disciplined the Israelites with death would do so again.

       The point here was that if the Corinthians believed their standing in Christ and corresponding freedom could be exercised in sin with impunity, they were wrong. This was a false sense of security that possibly had grown out of several factors. The Lord had worked dramatically among them. They certainly did not appear to be as bad as the wretched culture around them. God had been patient with them. While all these things were true, there was no guarantee that God would not discipline the Corinthians believers.

         Paul also gave careful warning to those who believed they were "standing firm" to be careful that they did not fall. The insidious nature of sin is that is can creep up on us even when we think things are going great. We may think that we have grown to a place of rock solid commitment only to stumble because we were blind to temptation or clouded by our own pride. Be careful that you don't fall!

         How so? What was the answer? The answer was not in better rule-keeping or more careful rituals. The answer was simply in the One who gives us strength and rescues us. The good news here is that we can escape temptation through the power and leading of the Lord Himself. After kicking out the props of false security, Paul pointed to the One on whom the Corinthians could always rely. The temptations that seized the Corinthians were like those people had always faced. They could be met and endured by depending on God, who is always faithful.

         Verse 10:13 has become a standard memory verse for growing believers for good reason. This verse is a nugget of strength, wisdom and promise that can carry us through the most difficult of tempting situations. This verse boldly confesses that just because we are saved does not mean that temptation will cease!

         These temptations are not new. The lie of the Enemy tells us that we are the only one ever to walk this road of temptation. It simply is not true. There are no "new temptations" going around. Breaking down the pride of life to admit this is another part of the battle. Christian believers often put on a mask to hide the temptations they had already experienced or the ones with which they currently struggle.

         God is always faithful. When we are tempted, we can be sure of two things: God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear and He will always provide a way out. This is not meant to be trite; it is meant to be truth. Part of the Corinthian problem was that, in the face of temptation, some were not looking for the Lord's way out, but a way in for indulgence. If we look for a reason to indulge in sin, we will not have too look far.

         So how is your walk with God? Are there temptations? Idolatry is all around us. Immorality is very present. Paul would advise-- even if we think we are standing firm, be careful that we do not fall. Walk closely with Jesus. Walk in transparency with at least a few other believers knowing that there are no temptations that are not common to us all. Above all, remember that the Lord is faithful. He is always faithful. He walks with us in the time of temptation and will not let us be tempted beyond what we are able to endure and will provide the way out.

 

         Father God, keep my walk with You steady. Draw me close to You in the times of temptation even as I draw myself close to You. Keep me from falling so that I may faithful serve You. In Jesus' Name.