Step Towards Transformation

Trials[Tests] And Temptations

July 8, 2012.035.jpg

Sermon Preached On Friday 10th June,2016

James 1:13-16, 4:7

Illustration:Test::  In 1910 The Boll Weevil Was Destroying Cotton Crops.The Farmers Couldn’t Stop Them.One Farmer Said Let’s Plant Peanuts Instead Of Cotton. Boll Weevils Didn’t Like Peanuts.The Crops Took Off.They Made More Money In A Few Months Than They Made In A Year Off Cotton.. The Change Brought Prosperity To The Region. Growers In Enterprise, Alabama, Were So Grateful To The Destructive Beetle For Ending Their One-Crop Dependency That They Eventually Erected A Monument To Him In Their Town Square In 1919. Time Has A Way Of Putting Things Into The Right Perspective.

Illustration: Tempatation:  Struggling To Make Ends Meet, A Village Pastor Was Furious To Learn That His Wife Had Bought A Dress Costing Rs. 2000/- When They Were In Town .‘How Could You Do This?’ He Demanded. His Wife Tried To Explain, ‘I Was Outside The Shop Looking At The Dress In The Window When, Suddenly, I Found Myself Trying It On. It Was Like Satan Whispering In My Ear, “You Look Fabulous In That Dress. Buy It!” ’‘Well,’ The Pastor  Replied, ‘You Know How I Deal With That Kind Of Temptation. I Say, “Get Behind Me, Satan! ” ’‘I Did,’ Replied His Wife, ‘But Then He Said, “It Looks Just As Fabulous From Back Here!”’

Satan Tempts Us To Bring Out The Worst In Us, But God Tests Us To Bring Out The Best In Us.

  • The Difference Between Temptation And Testing (Trials).

A- Test Or Trial: Is A God Given Opportunity For You To Practice And Thereby Test Your Spiritual Relationship The Lord. (James 1:2-5, 12)

  1. It Is An Opportunity To Honor Christ In Your Life. (1 Peter 1:7)
  2. It Is An Opportunity To Prove Your Convictions To Yourself. (Rom. 5:1-5)
  3. A Trial Can Cause One To Be Tempted And But Is Not The Cause Of The Temptation. The Cause Of Temptation Stems From Our Old Carnal Nature When It Is Not Being Controlled.

B-A Temptation Does Not Originate With God. James 1:13-15 Explains:

“Let No Man Say When He Is Tempted, I Am Tempted Of God: For God Cannot Be Tempted With Evil, Neither Tempteth He Any Man: But Every Man Is Tempted, When He Is Drawn Away Of His Own Lust, And Enticed. Then When Lust Hath Conceived, It Bringeth Forth Sin: And Sin, When It Is Finished, Bringeth Forth Death.

  1. Temptation Can Be A Way For You To Disobey God And Gratify Your Fleshly Desires.
  2. When You Yield To Temptation You Inevitably Will Experience Its Destructive Consequences.

C-The Temptation To Sin Comes As An Appeal To Your Self-Centered Feelings And Fleshly Desires Which Can Entice You To Sin.

It Can Come From Two Sources:

  1. Carnal Nature. James 1:14-15
  2. Satan. 1 Peter 5:8. “Be Sober, Be Vigilant; Because Your Adversary The Devil, As A Roaring Lion, Walketh About, Seeking Whom He May Devour”

D-Your Response To Temptation Determines Whether You Will Stand Firm In Your Faith And Please God Or Fall Into Temptation (Commit The Act) And Please Yourself.

  •  The Tests Of God.

1-God Allows All Believers To Be Tested.

Job Said, “But He Knoweth The Way That I Take: When He Hath Tried Me, I Shall Come Forth As Gold.” (Job 23:10).

 We Should All Be Students And Seeking To Learn. It Has Been Said That:

“A Trial Is But A Short Lived Matter If It Is Dealt With, And When Overcome Gives A Life Time Of Benefit.”

Illustration; : A Man Told Of Visiting An Orange Grove Where An Irrigation Pump Had Broken Down. Because The Season Was Unusually Dry, Some Of The Trees Were Beginning To Die For Lack Of Water. The Man Giving The Tour Then Took Him To His Own Orchard Where Irrigation Was Used Sparingly. He Said, “These Trees Could Go Without Rain For Another 2 Weeks. You See, When They Were Young, I Frequently Kept The Water From Them.

2-God Promises To Rescue His Children From Temptation With Are Greater That They Can Bear.

1 Cor. 10:13 Says:”There Hath No Temptation Taken You But Such As Is Common To Man: But God Is Faithful, Who Will Not Suffer You To Be Tempted Above That Ye Are Able; But Will With The Temptation Also Make A Way To Escape, That Ye May Be Able To Bear It.”

The Child Of God Does Not Have To Sin. God Himself Says He Provides The Means To Overcome Or Escape The Temptation Which Means That If A Believer Sins He Does So Willingly And In Defiance Of God. The Phrase “The Devil Made Me Do It” Is Untrue.

Sin Is Always A Willful Act  One Of Knowingly Disobeying God.

How Can We Escape?

Illustration:: We Think That It Is Proper To Go To School To Learn And Prepare Ourselves For Life. Jimmy, A Member Of A Pastors Church Who Is A Underground Coal Miner, Took His Pastor Into The About Five Miles Into The Creek Coal Mine In 1994. But First, The Pastor  Had To Go Through A Training Session To Learn How To Use The Respirator And Emergency Equipment. Everyone Understands That This Was A Good Precaution And A Smart Thing To Do.

What About Taking Precautions Against Temptation?

James 4:7 Says To “Submit Yourselves Therefore To God. Resist The Devil And He Will Flee From Thee.

 Note The Verse Three Parts. It Has Two Instructions Which Cause The Third Result:

  • First: Submit Yourself To God.
  • Second: Resist The Devil.
  • Third: The Devil Will Flee.

The Only Way To Overcome Satan And His Tempting Is To Be Living For God, Filled With The Spirit And Relying Totally On God’s Power. Only God Can Handle The Devil And He Can Only Handle Him Through You If You Are Living For The Lord And Totally Dependent On Him.

The Top Three Tests Of Faith

In Genesis, Chapter 22, And In Hebrews 11:17, We Find The Top Three Tests Of Faith In The Life Of Abraham. Satan Tempts To Bring Out The Bad, But God Tests To Bring Out The Good. Although I Would Rather Be Exempt From Tests, A Faith That Cannot Be Tested Is A Faith That Cannot Be Trusted.

Illustration: The Story Is Told About A Man On The Operating Table Who Was Very Uncomfortable About His Imminent Surgery. Although Anesthesia Was To Be Applied, The Doctor Said, “It Seems You Are Very Uncomfortable About This Surgery.” “Yes,” The Man Replied,” It Is My First Surgery.” “I Understand,” The Doctor Said, “This Is My First Surgery Too.”

We Want To Go To A Surgeon Who Has Passed The Test And Partake Of Medicines That Have Been Approved.

In Genesis 21, We Read That Abraham Was Asked To Send Away His Son Ishmael. Galatians 4 Tells Us That Ishmael Represented The World And The Works Of The Flesh. “Just As The Flesh Was Mocking The Spirit Then, So It Is Today.” We Will Never Give God Our Isaacs Until We Have Sent Away Our Ishmaels.

We Agree That God Has The Right To Ask Us To Give Up The Bad, But We Never Expect Him To Require Of Us The Good.

It Is A Test Between Two Loves. Abraham Loved Isaac And God. Please

 Note There Are Three Big Tests Of Our Faith.

TEST -I. Can You Trust God With The Possessions He Has Given You?

Abraham Was A Hundred Years Old When Isaac Was Born. Can You Trust God With Your Possessions? Sometimes We Say We Are Willing To Give Up Everything For The Lord, But Are We Willing To Give It Up To The Lord?

There’s A Big Difference Between Giving Up Something For The Lord And Giving It To The Lord.
God Had Given Abraham A Priceless Possession And Then Asked For It Back. It Was The Test Of Abraham’s Faith Because He Loved Both Isaac And God. It Is Not Enough To Give God A Place In Our Life, Or Prominence, Or Priority. God Wants To Have Pre -Eminence.

Is There Anyone, Anything, Or Any Blessing That We Love More Than God? Is It Possible That Abraham Was Beginning To Love The Blessing More Than The Blesser, The Gift More Than The Giver?
We Love The Blessings God Has Given Us More Than We Love God Himself. He Has Blessed Us With Liberty, Prosperity And Technology. Yet, We Seem To Be More In Love With The Gifts Of This World Than We Are Of The One Who Created The World In The First Place.

That Same Attitude Flourishes Among Christians Today; It Is Called Indifference.

In Malachi 2:3 God Says, “If You Don’t Listen, I Will Turn Your Blessings Into Curses.”

Thus We Suffer From Immorality, Ungodliness, Perversion, Murder Of The Unborn, The Effects Of Pornography, And A Half-Hearted Attitude.

Illustration:Recently, In Abuja, Nigeria, 93,000 People Arrived By Foot To Attend A Crusade Because Of Their Hunger For God. Yet, Back Home We Struggle To Get A Few People To Travel By Car To Attend A Prayer Meeting. We Have Allowed Our Blessings To Become Curses.

The Test Is Somewhere Along Life’s Journey When God Will Ask Us To Give Some Blessings Back To Him. Can We Trust Him With Our Possessions?

TEST-2. Can You Trust God With His Purposes For You? 

Not Only Did God Give Abraham A Possession, But He Gave Him A Purpose. “With Isaac There Is A Purpose, And Through Him The Nations Will Be Blessed.” Genesis 22;18

Understanding And Doing The Will Of God Requires Three Simple Steps—Finding, Following And Finishing The Will Of God. 

The Opposite Of Obedience Is Disobedience. Faith Is Not Simply Obeying In Spite Of The Evidence;  It Is Obeying In Spite Of The Consequences.

It Is Obeying Whether Or Not We Understand The Purpose. This Was The First Time God Had Ever Asked For Human Sacrifice. It Was No Doubt Perplexing To Abraham, Because Only The Heathens And Pagans Made Human Sacrifices.

Sometimes We Offer Sacrifices For Which God Is Not Asking. We Need To Have An Informed And Intentional Obedience. A Lot Of People Who Plan To Obey Only Postpone.

As Soon As We Move Into Postponement,  We Are Automatically In Disobedience.

Abraham Was Beginning To Walk In The Direction That God Had Planned For Him. His Was Informed, Intentional, Immediate Obedience. You Don’t See Abraham Grumbling All The Way To The Top Of The Mountain. In Fact, When Isaac Said, “We Have The Wood, The Fire And The Knife, But Where Is The Sacrifice,” Abraham Said, “God Will Provide For The Sacrifice.”Genesis 22: 6-8

 He Was Speaking Faith Into The Heart Of His Son. 

Illustration: Nearly Forty Plus  Years Ago, Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke Stood Literally On A Street Corner Of Time In Africa, On A Monday Morning, With Tears Filling His Eyes. He Said, “God, I Know You Have Called Me To Africa. You Have Shown Me A Vision Of Africa Painted Red With The Gospel, But At The Rate Of Five People Here, And A Hundred People Someplace Else, It Will Take Me 6,000 Years To Tell Everybody In Africa About Jesus. Besides, I Don’t Have Enough Money To Pay The Office Rent On Friday. I Need Fifty Dollars, And I Only Have Five.”

God Whispered, “Do You Want Me To Give You A Million Dollars?” But, With His Face Turned Heavenward, Reinhard Said, “God, I Do Not Ask You For A Million Dollars. I Am Asking You For A Million Souls. I Don’t Want To Be A Millionaire, But A Soul Millionaire. I Want To Plunder Hell And Populate Heaven. That Will Be The Purpose Of My Life.”

Not Only Did God Provide The Fifty Dollars For The Office Rent, But In Till The  Recent  Years, More Than 430 Lacs Of People Have Given Their Hearts To Jesus Christ In A Bonnke Crusade.

Can We Trust God With The Possessions He Has Given, And Can We Trust Him With The Purpose He Has For Us? 

TEST-3. Can You Trust God With The Promises He Has Spoken To You ..Waiting Time

  • Jesus Could Have Come And Healed Lazarus When He Was Still Alive.Instead, He Waited To Raise Him From The Dead When He Was Already In His Grave.
  • God Could Have Made David Become King The Day After He Was Anointed.Instead, He Waited 15 Years To Rise To The Throne, Many Of Those Years Spent Fearing For His Life, Hiding Out And Running Away From His Own Father-In-Law.
  • God Could Have Spoken To Moses In The Desert About Sending Him To Help Free His People From Slavery 40 Days After He Ran Away From Egypt.Instead, He Made Him Wait For 40 Long Years.
  • God Could Have Gotten Joseph Out Of Prison One Year After He Was Sentenced There.Instead, He Was Stuck In That Dungeon For 10 Years Before He Was Finally Set Free.
  • God Could Have Given Abraham The Son He Promised Him When He Was Still A Young Man. Instead, He Waited Until He Was 100 Years Old And Because Of Physical Reasons Would Have A More Difficult Time Conceiving At That Age.
  • God Could Have Answered Prayers And Met The Needs Of These Men Of God Much Quicker, But He Didn’t.He Made Them Wait Instead.

And He Often Makes Us Do The Same.

  • He Kept Moses In A Desert For 40 Years.
  • Joseph In A Prison Cell For 10 Years.
  • Abraham Without A Child For 100 Years.
  • David On The Run For 15 Years.

And Maybe He Is Keeping You Right Where You’re At For The Same Reason He Kept These Men For So Many Years: To Build Your Faith.

  • To Build Your Faith In A Dungeon Cell, During The Valley In Your Life Where It’s Too Dark To See And Too Hard To Believe.
  • To Build Your Dependence On Him When You Are Barren And Empty To See If He Is Truly All You Desire And All You Need.
  • To See How Well You Will Trust And Serve Him When You Are Still Stuck In The Background Somewhere, Doing Seemingly Nothing Too Significant For Him.
  • To Build Your Trust In Him When The Storm Keeps Raging, The Battle Keeps Going And Breakthrough And Victory Doesn’t Seem Near.

That We Grow In Faith. That We Learn To Only Depend On Him.

You Say, “I Want To Trust God, But I Don’t Hear Him.”

To Hear God, You Have To Get Near God. You Don’t Hear God When Your Mind Is Filled With A Thousand Other Distractions. You’ve Got To Get Alone With God And Be Quiet.

The Bible Says, “Be Still And Know That I Am God” (Psalm 46:10 Niv). That Means Sit Down And Shut Up. That’s How You Hear God And Get Near To God. You Have To Sit Alone And Just Be Quiet With Your Bible And Say, “God, Is There Anything You Want To Say To Me?” You Read God’s Word, And You Talk To Him About What’s On Your Heart.

Pray This Today: “God, I Want To Listen To You, Not The Voices Of Doubt. I Want To Hear You, And I Promise To Then Obey You. I Want To Be One Of The People That You Can Use And Bless In The Next 10 Years. I Want Those Years To Be A Decade Of Destiny For Me And My Family.”

How To Spend Time With God

  1. Set A Time & Stick With It. Statistics Show That If You Do Something For 21 Days It Will Become A Habit. When You First Get Started, You’re Going To Get Attacked. You’ll Be Sleepy, Bored, Tired, Drained & You’ll Find A Million Reasons To Sleep In. Just Fight Through It & Tell Your Flesh What To Do. Remember That You’re Supposed To Be Controlling It–It’s Not Supposed To Be Controlling You.
  2. Find A Place To Have Your Quiet Time Everyday. Just Find A Place That Is Not Distracting You From That Time.
  3. Set The Atmosphere. I Like To Put Worship Music On When I First Get Started. While I’m Playing The Worship Music, I Sing, I Fall Flat On My Face Before God, Cry Out To Him, Pray In The Tongues & Pray For Others.
  4. Get Quiet. After I Pour Out To God.. I Grab My Book & I Start Writing. I Just Write Whatever He Puts On My Heart.. During These Times, He Begins To Deal With Me About What’s Going On In My Life, Ministry, Work, Jobs, Family, And In The World In General
  5. Talk To God. Don’t Go To God All Deep. Talk To Him The Way You Would Talk To A Very Close Friend.
  6. Pull Out Your Bibles! Grab Your Pen & Paper. It’s Time To Learn. Usually, God Places A Certain Scripture On My Heart But If You’re Just Getting Started, I Recommend You All To Read John First, Then Matthew, Mark And Luke. Then Go Into Acts And Read Through The New Testament.

Have a QUESTION? Ask on the link below:


 Witness Ministries


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