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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 32)

What are some temptations that you face as a believer? One of the blessings that I have as a follower of Christ is a sensitivity to the Lord. I don’t want to embarrass my Savior, grieve the Holy Spirit, or hurt myself or my family by giving in to sin.

However, temptation is not sin. The Lord Jesus faced temptation, but turned away from the enticements of the Evil One. And believers face temptations all the time. But I’m pretty sure that Mike — and my other unsaved friends —

32. THEY DON’T HAVE A VIGILANCE ABOUT TEMPTATION!

“Oh, no! Not another missionary!” I just learned that a long-term missionary has been caught cheating on his wife. They are now separated, getting intense counseling, but it seems unlikely that the marriage will survive. Christians aren’t immune to temptation and sin.

But God’s Word does not leave the believer in the dark when it comes to sin and its precursor temptation. We read in Hebrews 4 —


Please notice several key points brought out in this passage: (1) Although the writer to the Hebrews uses negatives to make his point, the positive way to state verse 15 is: we have a high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses! You and I, as children of God, will never be in a situation in which we might say, “Jesus would never understand what I’m going through!”
(2) Jesus has been tempted in every way we are — yet He did not sin.
(3) We can approach God’s throne of grace and find mercy and grace in our time of need.

My lost friend Mike doesn’t enjoy any of those benefits. God may indeed show him mercy when he gives in to temptation, but he (as of yet) has no relationship to the Savior and should not expect to find help in his time of need. His greatest need is to repent of his sins and trust Christ for his salvation. Then Hebrews 5:15-16 will prove to be a great help to him!

So, how do I pray for my unsaved friend? I make it clear that I’m not above or beyond temptation and sin. I might share some of my struggles with my lost friends — and how Jesus as my high priest helps me overcome temptation. And I pray for my friend that he would take temptation and sin seriously and bow his knee to the Savior. (to be continued)

 

 

 

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Got a High Priest? 
(A Look at Hebrews 4:14-16) Part 3

My friends and I have been reading through the book of Hebrews. This week we’re reading Hebrews 4 together. I describe our Bible-reading covenant here and recommend that you consider doing the same with a few of your friends!

As we continue our discussion of the Lord Jesus as our great High Priest, we read the following in Hebrews 4 —

We’ve seen in our first two posts that: (1) Jesus is our “great” high priest — and we need to focus on Him! (2) That He has ascended into heaven (v. 14) and is at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us! (3) That His role as our high priest should motivate us to “hold firmly to the faith we profess” (v. 14). (4) and that we must notice what we don’t have! We don’t have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses!

Let’s make two other observations from our text. (5) We see that our great high priest has been tempted in every way like we are — yet without sin (v. 15)! Temptation is not sin. If you need a really good book on temptation and sin, well . . . I tried to write a good one a few years ago entitled When Temptation Strikes! (And I’ll send you a free copy if you ask me).

Our sixth observation is — (6) We have every reason to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence (v. 16)! How can that be? We are sinners who are tempted, who need to be told to “hold firmly” to the faith, who often fail. But His throne is a “throne of grace” — and that’s what I need.

Today’s Challenge: Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Jesus just wouldn’t understand what I’m going through right now!”? Well, with all the pastoral kindness I can muster, REPENT of that thought! And thank God for your great high priest who has been tempted in every way that you are tempted. And stands ready to help you with the grace that only He can provide!

 

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2021 in Hebrews 4

 

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Got a High Priest? 
(A Look at Hebrews 4:14-16) Part 2

My friends and I have been reading through the book of Hebrews. This week we’re reading Hebrews 4 together. I describe our Bible-reading covenant here and recommend that you consider doing the same with a few of your friends!

Let’s continue our discussion of the Lord Jesus as our great High Priest! Here’s what we read in Hebrews 4 —

We’ve made two observations in our first post: (1) Jesus is our “great” high priest — and we need to focus on Him! (2) The second observation is that He has ascended into heaven (v. 14). We have an ascended High Priest who is at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us!

Let’s notice this morning —

(3) His role as our high priest should motivate us to “hold firmly to the faith we profess” (v. 14). By “the faith” the writer to the Hebrews means the total content of the Christian faith. And we are to “hold firmly” to that. Two people that I love have chosen to abandon their spouses and have (even though they don’t think so) abandoned the Christian faith. Really. They’ve turned away from God’s teaching about marriage and faithfulness and suffering. And they think they are still in God’s will. Whenever you or I choose our own way instead of God’s, we are doing the same! We are to “hold firmly” to this faith we profess!

(4) Observation #4 is that we must notice what we don’t have! We don’t have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses! That’s a lot of negatives, isn’t it? In other words, our great high priest can sympathize, can empathize with our temptations and weaknesses and struggles. We dare not think otherwise.

Today’s Challenge: Are you holding firmly to the faith you profess? How can you tell? And are you grateful for your high priest who is with you in your challenges and trials? Praise Him this morning for Who He is.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2021 in Hebrews 4

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Sinful Nature)

That “primeval well of the human psyche” is called our sin nature in the Bible! We are fallen, broken people whose natural tendency is to turn away from God and His truth. But, thanks be to God, He has rescued us in Christ. And though we still have our sinful natures, we now have the Spirit of God to help us turn away from those desires, plans, and priorities which run counter to His plan for our lives.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2020 in sin nature

 

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Some Good News about TEMPTATION!

So my friend Frank and I are doing our everyday Bible reading — and this week we’re working our way through I Corinthians chapter 10. Just a reminder — we’ve agreed to read the same chapter everyday for a week. And we’ve gone through a bunch of NT epistles already.

But as I was reading through I Corinthians 10 this morning, I was struck with what Paul says in verse 13:

Here’s a brief outline (and a few comments) from this verse that I find very helpful:

I. You are not unique in your being tempted!

(“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind”).

Although we seldom share our temptations with anyone, we are all tempted! And James 4 says most of our temptations come from our depraved desires within us.

II. You are not alone in your being tempted!

(“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind”).

God is not picking on me when I experience temptation. And He doesn’t want me to be a Lone Ranger in my struggle against temptation and sin. That’s one of the main reasons for the local church — to help me!

III. You are not abandoned in your being tempted!

(“And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear”).

God is very much involved in our lives when we are tempted. He does not hide from us. He does not turn away from us when we’re dealing with the precursor to sin. He “won’t let us” implies that He is very much invested in how we respond to temptation!

IV. You are not helpless in your being tempted!

(“But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it”).

There is “a way out.” It is not one of our own creation. We are not left to our finite wits to know what to do. Our God provides a way out!

V. You are not trapped in your being tempted!

(“But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it”).

We would all, in our better moments, want to be done with temptation and sin, immune to our own twisted desires and the devil’s fiery darts. But that’s not God’s program. Temptations, testings, are given (or allowed) so that we might “endure” them, not merely escape them. And probably so that we can help others who face the same temptations.

Not meaning for this post to be an advertisement for my book When Temptation Strikes: Gaining Victory Over Sin. But I would be pleased to send you a copy for any amount of donation you care to provide. My contact information is on the right of this post.

Blessings on you as you, like I, fight temptation so that we can honor our Savior!

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2020 in temptation

 

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A TV Interview of Me from 2009 on “When Temptation Strikes” (Part 1 of 3)

Friends: Just thought you’d find this three-part interview interesting. YouTube edits my interview into 7/8 minute segments. Blessings. Larry

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2020 in temptation

 

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Getting to Know . . . 2 Samuel (chapter 11) David’s Sins and Displeasing the Lord! (Part 1)

Our passage for today has got to be one of the saddest in all of Scripture! King David, the man of God, falls and falls greatly. Like many unfortunate spiritual leaders, he gives in to the dark side of his sexuality. His sins are not just against Bathsheba and Israel and Uriah. The worst, as we will read, is that he “displeased the Lord.” But let’s read through the text first:

Several observations of this text:
1. Apparently David was not where he should have been (v. 1). He is not off engaged in some God-ordained war against his enemies, even though it was the spring “at the time when kings go off to war.” But he is at war nonetheless —with his own temptations.
2. In his leisure David goes up on the roof and sees Bathsheba bathing (v. 2). Nothing in the text suggests that she is being intentionally provocative. As we men know, women don’t have to be for our minds to begin to race. Someone has said, “all the woman has to do is show up!” The temptation is in David’s mind, not in Bathsheba’s inappropriate conduct.
3. Bathsheba’s beauty causes David to send someone to find out about her (v. 3). Incredibly, the servant not only learns her name but says to King David, “she is . . . the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” David knew the law. He knew the texts which forbade adultery.
4. But he turned away from what he knew was true and gave in to what he wanted. He “sent messengers to get her.” (v. 4). One comes to the king when one is “invited.” This was no innocent invitation. This was a rape in the making.
5. David sleeps with Bathsheba at a time that she could quite conceivably conceive (v. 4). And she sends David word, a message of only three words, most feared by many men: “I am pregnant” (v. 5).
6. Now David has a problem. Her husband is off at war (where David should have been). He has Joab, the commander of Israel’s army, send Uriah the Hittite back home to David (v. 6). (to be continued)

A few takeaways for me:
1. Not being where one should be + an abundance of leisure time = the possibility of overwhelming temptation!
2. We should look for warning signs sent by God to keep us from sin!
3. All of us have a measure of power. We must be careful how we use our power and authority.
4. As someone has said, “Sin will out!” In other words, sin has a way of not remaining private.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2019 in 2 Samuel 11

 

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Great Deal on My Book WHEN TEMPTATION STRIKES!

Friends: Have I got a deal for you! My book, When Temptation Strikes: Gaining Victory Over Sin, will be sent to you IF you sent $10 to my PayPal account: theoprof@bellsouth.net.

When Temptation Strikes! examines Screenshot 2016-01-10 09.17.26the topics of temptation and sin, with a dash of humor thrown in.  The chapter titles include:  “Our Enemy’s M.O.”, “Coming Clean,” “What’s the Church Got to Do with It?”, and “Some Specific Strategies for Dealing with Temptation and Sin.”  Many of my friends first read the Appendix which is entitled “My Sin”!

Go to Paypal.com, click on “Pay or Send Money,” and that’s it! I’ll be notified via email that you have paid for the book and I’ll send it to you. You are also welcome to send me your shipping address (email me at theoprof@bellsouth.net).

This book — When Temptation Strikes — makes a great birthday or Christmas gift for your mother-in-law!

 
 

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Absorbing any woes? (Part 3)

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The Bible teaches that we are to “bear one another’s burdens.”  We want to continue to examine that passage in Galatians over the next few posts:

KeynoteScreenSnapz055I have suggested a four–part outline for this passage.
I.  The Occasion for Caring (v. 1)
II.  The Expression of Caring (v. 1)
III.  The Danger in Caring (v. 1)
IV.  The Characteristics of Caring (vv. 2-10)

We’ve looked at I.  The Occasion for Caring (v. 1) by noticing that the ones who are doing the caring are “brothers and sisters” and “you who live by the Spirit.”  The reason for the caring is that another brother or sister has been “caught in a sin.”  We’ve also looked at II. The Expression of Caring (v. 1) and saw there that we are to be looking to restore that person, but in a spirit of gentleness.

Let’s look today at the third part of our study:

III.  The Danger in Caring (v. 1)
Verse 1 tells us: “But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”  Getting involved in the lives of other believers is not a no-risk affair.

Stories unfortunately abound of Christian counselors or pastors who have fallen into sexual misconduct even as they were trying to help someone else “caught in a sin.”  FirefoxScreenSnapz302Those who are in positions of power and influence can allow such power to go to their heads and rationalize their own behavior.  It is always wrong to give into temptation.  The answer is not to avoid those who have fallen into sin, but to “watch” ourselves.  We must know our own weaknesses, take steps to protect ourselves from giving in to temptation, and surround ourselves with several Christians to whom we are accountable.

Questions:

1.  What is the alternative to caring for others caught in a sin?

2.  How does I Cor. 10:13 relate to our discussion:   No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.”

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2014 in temptation

 

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Temptation, Sin, and YOU! (A Message Given at Emmaus Bible College)

Friends:

You may find the following message which I KeynoteScreenSnapz046recently gave at Emmaus Bible College an encouragement!

Comments welcome (unless your comment is, “Each of your sermons is better than the next one!”):

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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