Last week we talked about the "Reward of enduring temptation." This week I want us to see the "Reason for indwelling temptation" in James 1:13-14
In these verses two major themes of God’s Word jump of the page at us.
1. The corruption of man
2. The holiness of God
Let’s talk first about the corruption of man. I love what Spurgeon said in his message, “Indwelling Sin” from Job 40;
“It is a doctrine, as I believe, taught us in Holy Summons, that when a man is saved by divine grace, he is not wholly cleansed from the corruption of his heart. When we believe in Jesus Christ all our sins are pardoned; yet the power of sin, albeit that it is weakened and kept under by the dominion of the new-born nature which God doth infuse into our souls, doth not cease, but still tarrieth in us, and will do so to our dying day. It is a doctrine held by all the orthodox, that there dwelleth still in the regenerate, the lusts of the flesh, and that there doth still remain in the hearts of those who are converted by God's mercy, the evil of carnal nature.”
We must let God’s Word transform our mind to think biblically and not carnally. To be transformed by the renewing of our mind we must cease from being conformed to this world (Romans 12:1-3). The world screams to us daily, “Mankind is good with the exception of a few bad people.” God’s Word proclaims, “Mankind is wicked, vile, exceeding sinful, an enemy of God with the exception of one just man.”
What is the reason for this? One author said, “The human heart is diseased with sin…” We are not strangers to disease. We all see it’s effects. No matter how strong a person is one virus can cause them to feel like they are on death’s door. Sin is a disease that has infected every person on this planet and just like physical disease, ignoring it does not make it go away. In fact, ignoring sin causes it to do more damage.
So what do we do? Just like disease we must approach sin cautiously and do exactly what the Expert says. There is only one who has the authority to diagnose sin, it is Holy God! Stop comparing yourself with the status quo and start submitting your life in the hands of the great physician. Don’t miss the opportunity for your daily check-up. Lay your heart on God’s examining table and say as the psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Which brings us to the second of the major themes in God’s Word: The Holiness of God!
Bro. Jeff Wright says, “There’s no better word to describe God than Holy.” Amen! One meaning for holy is, “set apart.” God is set apart from all of his creation! You’ll do yourself a favor by not trying figure him out! Just appreciate who He is! Many “scholars” have devoted their life to trying to figure out the mind of our eternal God. Romans 11:33-36 says, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”
Thankfully God has not remained as “the man behind the curtain,” though. He came to this world and “we beheld his glory.” He showed us who He is! He is love, he is tender, he is frightful, he is gracious, he is kind, he is true, HE IS EVERYTHING WE ARE NOT! He is set apart from us! Our feeble attempts at love, tenderness, fright, grace, kindness and truth are nothing more than kittens imitating a lion. God is Holy and he cannot be tempted with evil. He is so Holy that he cannot, yes, CANNOT tempt people to sin. This truth translates into one thing; WE MUST OWN OUR SIN. We cannot blame God for our sin! We must acknowledge that it is OUR OWN lusts which draw us away to temptation! Now Satan might throw out the bait but it is our own indwelling disease that draws us to see it and eventually devour it.
“Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Praise God there is an answer to that question! “I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord!’ We have a deliverer! It is the man Christ Jesus! He diagnosis the deadliness of our sin and all we have to do is agree to treatment! The treatment for our sin was completed on the cross. Just when you’re totally hopeless Christ offers forgiveness. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
In order to have any victory we must first own our sin then humble ourselves under the one who conquered it!
James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
I am praying for our church during this time that we stand strong in the grace of Christ Jesus in the area of temptation. One thing that no one in our body is exempt from is temptation.
Temptation means “testing.” Testing what? Testing our love and obedience to God. God knew about Adam and Eve’s dealings with Satan but He did not intervene. Why? Because they had everything they needed to endure the temptation.
-First of all, they had God! God is enough! Sin separates from a loving, holy, desirable God.
-They not only had the person of God but they had the clear word of God, Genesis 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” --They also had the clear warning of what would happen. “Thou shalt surely die.” Adam or Eve had not seen death but they knew how horrible it was. We follow their exact example because of the innate nature of sin. We know the consequences, yet we willingly disobey.
-So they had God, they had God’s Word and they had God’s warning but they also knew God’s reward! I want us to focus on that reward tonight. What is the reward for enduring temptation?
1. The reward of a clean conscience v. 12 “Blessed is the man that endureth”
“Blessed!” SUPREMELY HAPPY! THE ONLY REGRETS I HAVE IN LIFE ARE FALLING FOR TEMPTATION!
I can stomach some poor decisions; “I shouldn’t have left my line at Lowe’s because the other one was shorter.” Those are small insignificant poor decisions. Life is full of trials of faith! You’re facing them everyday! Temptations usually don’t come in the form of an opportunity to rob a bank or become a terrorist. Temptations are when our flesh is drawn away from the clear direction of God’s Word! Oh how we fail!
The believer who endures temptation is a supremely happy person! It’s a foretaste of our eternal reward! The Crown of life!
2. The reward of an incorruptible crown! “for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
I don’t know much about crowns but we need to forget what we THINK we know about them.
-There are five crowns promised in God’s Word; The Imperishable crown, The crown of rejoicing, The crown of righteousness, The crown of glory, and The crown of life. Are they all different Crowns? Are they talking about the same crown? Will Christ say, “Jim, you loved my appearing but you didn’t run the race, here is one crown.” “John, you ran the race but you didn’t suffer persecution, here is one crown.” This is study for another time.
What we DO know about crowns are that, 1. They are literal promises. 2. They are promised for specific obedience. 3. They never fade away.
4. They are given by the Lord!
My question is this, what believer would not want to be rewarded by creator God? Not a mansion, not a position up the totem pole, not a thing to rub in the face of others…a “WELL DONE, THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!” This is my desire! I pray it is yours too!
Endure temptation! Pray for one another! Be accountable to others! Be transparent with your family! Love each other no matter what!
Revelation 3:11 "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."