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How to Deal with Trials and Temptations | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
October 30, 2022 3:00 am

How to Deal with Trials and Temptations | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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October 30, 2022 3:00 am

How to Deal with Trials and Temptations | Sunday Message

Greg Laurie gives us guidance on overcoming trials that come our way from James 1.

Pastor Greg Laurie begins a new series in the book of James called Walk this Way with a message titled “How to Deal With Trials and Temptations.” 

We all go through unique trials and temptations. In fact, it is a good sign that you are walking in the right direction. It is through the toughest trials and temptations that we learn the most and can become healthier, better followers of Jesus Christ. 

Listen in for good encouragement!

Notes

God allows trials to strengthen us because He wants to use us!

What Jesus is saying is, “Satan will not be able to stop you!”

The Epistle of James is for suffering people.

James and the family did not believe in Jesus until His resurrection.

1. Living a perfect Christian life will not convince some people.

The resurrection of Jesus turned James around. 

2. Make a choice to rejoice when you go through trials.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” —James 1:2

The more we rejoice in our testings, the more we realize they are not liabilities but privileges.

They are ultimately helpful, not harmful; no matter how severe they may appear.

Job gave thanks.

It is very easy to only want to give thanks when we feel like it, but according to Scripture, it is something the believer is to do regardless of circumstances.

“Gratitude reduces toxic emotions ranging from envy and frustration and reduces depression, and actually increases happiness.” —Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D.

Thankful people are happy people!

3. Trials happen to make us stronger in every way. 

In Greek, “The testing of your faith produces ‘patience’” actually translates to, “toughness,” or “fortitude.”

Trials are like God’s gym, where we are broken down to be built up.

God has a purpose for every trial.

Spiritual strength will come through trials.

Jesus would come in His time and in His way because of His love!

Jesus delayed His arrival so He could bring greater glory to His name.

Jesus loves us and wants to be glorified through our lives.

Two words stand out against Paul’s travesty of tragedy: “Nevertheless God!”

4. It is through trials that we learn great wisdom. 

Through knowledge, we have learned how to travel faster than sound, but we show our lack of wisdom by going faster in the wrong direction!

5. God will enable us to endure and get through times of temptation. 

Where does temptation come from?

Answer: We play a key role in our own temptation by giving Satan our cooperation.

Where there is no desire on our part, then there is no temptation.

The temptation itself.

You are now under its power and are enjoying the experience.

You are now almost hooked.

“Drawn away by his own desires and is enticed.” —James 1:14

The lethal effects of sin kick in.

“And sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” —James 1:15 

Temptation often comes after great times of blessing!

  1. We will go through times of trial.
  2. We need to make the choice to rejoice in times of trial. 
  3. God will guide you and give you the wisdom you need.
  4. Temptations will come, but there is always a way out!

Jesus suffered and died for your sin, so you can be forgiven!

Scripture Referenced

John 7:5

1 Corinthians 15:4, 7

Job 1:21

Hebrews 12:11

Romans 5:3 

John 11:4–7

2 Corinthians 7:5–6

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Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

Support the show: https://harvest.org/support

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Hey there, thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners.

I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you, if you wanna find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. All right, let's grab our Bibles. We're starting a brand new series in the book of James.

The title of this series is Walk This Way, and we're in James chapter one. So turn in your Bibles to James one. How many of you have brought your Bible to church today? Let me see your Bible, let me see them. Okay, good.

How many of you are using a phone or a tablet device? That's okay, that's good. All right, James chapter one. By the way, I wanna encourage all of you with our Harvest groups. To be a part of a Harvest group, we have an entire curriculum developed for the series we're going through right now. You'll learn a lot more by being in a Harvest group and diving deeper into the book of James.

The title of my message is How to Deal with Trials and Temptations. You know, working on this film, Jesus Revolution, has been, to use the 60s phrase, like a flashback man. Because when I was on set as we were shooting it, interacting with Joel Courtney, who plays me, and Kelsey Grammer, who plays Chuck Smith, and Jonathan Rumi, who plays Lonnie Frisbee, and Anna Grace Barlow, who plays Kathy. You know, we talked a lot about, well, what was this like? And how did you feel about this other thing? And so, it's caused me to kinda go back, way, way back to the younger me, and revisit that time. And it reminds me of when I first became a Christian. I was 17 years old. I'd never been to church, I'd never read the Bible. I was like a blank slate. And so, I'd asked Christ to come into my life.

Clearly, he had changed me, but I knew nothing about anything. And the Christians came to me and said, now Greg, know this, you're gonna go through trials. My response is, what, I'm going on trial?

For what? No, no, you're gonna go through trials. What is a trial? Well, Greg, a trial is a time when you maybe don't feel God's presence, or you're going through a hardship, or a difficulty that doesn't make sense.

Those are trials. Okay, no one told me that earlier, but okay. And then you're gonna get tempted by the devil.

I'm like, wait, what? There's a devil? Oh yeah, there's a devil, and he'll tempt you to sin. And I said, how will I know when I'm tempted?

They said, you'll know. So, I'm in class, and the class ended, and there was this really pretty girl I'd noticed, but never had the courage to walk up to him and talk to. So, this girl walks up to me. She says, hi, what's your name?

And I momentarily forgot my name. Like, what is my, and I'm thinking, why is this pretty girl talking to me? She's never acknowledged my existence, and now she's talking to me. Then she says, you're really cute, which is true.

No. But the thing is, I never had girls come up to me and say things like that. Okay, just for the record, I'm being honest. And then she says, I was wondering if you would like to spend the weekend with me and go to my parents' cabin.

Weekend with you, parents' cabin? I said, this is temptation. This is the devil. No, he doesn't have a pointed tail.

He has dark hair and blue eyes. And she's looking at me. I said, no, no, no, no, no.

She's like, what's wrong with this guy? I'm like, ah. So, that was the first time I had dealt with that. I wish they could tell you now that all us years pass, you don't get tempted anymore. You don't go through times of trial anymore, but no, you do.

It'll continue on until the final day. So, in this new series in the book of James, again, titled Walk This Way, we're gonna talk in this message about the why of trials and temptations and how to overcome them. Maybe I'm talking to somebody going through a fiery trial right now. Seemingly out of nowhere, the bottom just dropped out and you're facing problem after problem and you don't know why this is happening to you. You're saying, what's wrong with me? What have I done to deserve this? Let me have you look at it a little differently. Instead of asking what's wrong with me, maybe you should ask, what's right with me?

Because the reason you're being attacked is because you are a threat to Satan and his kingdom and the devil wants to stop you. So, God's allowing these trials in your life for a purpose. It's been said, Christians are a lot like tea bags.

You don't know what they're made of until you put them in hot water. Maybe you're in the hot water of temptation right now. Are you going through a big trial? But someone else would say, well, I'm not going through any trials.

I haven't had any hardships and I can't remember the last time I was tempted. Oh, you just admitted you're basically worthless. Ever hear the expression, you don't need to kick a dead horse? See, the devil doesn't need to waste his time within a mobilized, compromised Christian. Instead, he's gonna focus his energies and his attacks on those who are a threat to the kingdom. Take the harvest crusade as an example, only days away. If you're one of those people out there with the bumper sticker on your car, and God bless you if you have that, and you've got the invitations in your pocket and you're handing them out, and you're engaging people in gospel conversations, and you're praying about people you can invite, the devil doesn't like that one bit. And he will try to stop you.

But here's the good news. Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against us. Have you ever wondered what that means?

See, think of it this way. Have you ever seen one of those movies where an army is storming a castle and they close the gate? And as the army gets closer, they pour boiling oil over the side, right? But then what does the army do?

They pull out their battering ram, and they push it through the gate, and finally the gate breaks, and they go inside. So when Jesus says the gates of hell will not prevail against you, we're the invading army. We've got the battering ram of the gospel, and we're breaking through the gates, and we're going to break through those gates, and those gates will not prevail against us because we're on the winning side with the message of Jesus Christ. That's what that means. But if you choose to live that way, you will be opposed, but that's good news.

It's confirmation you're on the right track. All right, so back to the book of James. This was written to the Jewish people who had been scattered. The 12 tribes of Israel were flung far and wide. They were no longer ruling their own nation as they had in the past with kings like David and Solomon. Now they're under the rule of the occupying force of Rome and Caesar, and it's a hard time for them, and they're suffering.

And maybe I'm talking to someone that's suffering right now. If so, this book is for you. The book of James was written by the half-brother of Jesus, James. Now let me explain half-brother. The mother of James was Mary. The father of James was Joseph. But his half-brother, if you will, was Jesus because the mother of Jesus was Mary. But the father of Jesus was God the Father. And his son was supernaturally conceived in the womb of Mary. Mary was not sinless. Jesus was not born of what is sometimes called immaculate conception. Mary was a sinner like everyone else yet.

She was handpicked by God to have this great privilege of being the mother of the Messiah. But Joseph was a stepfather, and clearly an earthly father figure for Jesus, and I think he was a great dad. And we talk a lot about Mary and her life, but we shouldn't forget Joseph because of all the men God could have chosen.

He said, I want that man to be the father figure to my son. And so Jesus had siblings because sometimes we hear it said, Jesus had no brothers and sisters. No, he had brothers and sisters. And James was one of those brothers. But you would think they all believed in him. I knew he was a better kid than Jesus. He always did all of his chores.

No rebellion, no back talk. He was the perfect young man, the perfect teenager, the perfect young adult. He was the greatest example of all time. Yet we read that his own family did not believe in him. In fact, they came to take him home on one occasion because they thought he was crazy.

And so that brings me to my first point if you're taking notes. Even living a perfect Christian life will not convince some people. Even living a perfect Christian life will not convince some people who lived a more perfect life than Christ himself. He never lied, he never stole, he never lost his temper, he never even sinned inwardly. Do you think Mary ever lectured the other siblings and said, kids, why can't you be more like your big brother Jesus?

He's such a great example. In fact, Joseph was out in the shop and he made these little wooden bracelets, WWJD, wear these. Ask yourself the question, what would Jesus do? Well, I don't think that ever happened, but he was a perfect example, but yet they did not believe. In fact, Matthew 13 says he went to his own hometown of Nazareth where he was raised, he performed miracles. Their reaction was, hey, isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't this mother's name Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? And they took offense at him and Christ said, a prophet is not without honor except in his own country.

And he did not do many miracles there, the Bible says, because of their unbelief. Listen, the hardest people to reach are the ones closest to you. Hardest people to reach, kids, are your parents. Hardest people to reach, parents are your kids. The hardest people to reach are your siblings or your friends that go all the way back to your school days and you'll tell them how Christ has changed your life and they'll be suspicious.

Don't give up on them. Keep praying for them, but it just shows even Jesus really didn't have his own family believe in him until he was crucified and resurrected. In fact, 1 Corinthians 15, 4 says, he rose again and was seen by James. So James is the author of this book, but what I find interesting is he doesn't drop that in the narrative. He doesn't say, I'm the half-brother of Jesus. If I was related to Jesus, it would come up in every conversation.

No matter what we were talking about, I'd say, well, you know, as my brother, Jesus said to me some years ago, I mean, you would have the greatest stories of all time. But look how James starts his epistle. James chapter one, verse one. James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ to the 12 tribes that are scattered abroad.

Greetings, my brethren. Count on all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience, but let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Okay, point number one, even living a perfect Christian life will not convince some people. Point number two, make a choice to rejoice when you go through times of trial.

Look at verse two. My brethren, count on all joy when you fall into various trials, or another translation puts it this way, count it pure, unmixed, complete, and total joy. What kind of weird thing is that to say to a suffering person?

Here's what he isn't saying. He's not saying enjoy it when you suffer. I don't think any of us enjoy suffering. He's not saying that the trials themselves are joy because they are not. In fact, Hebrews 12, 11 says, no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. What James is saying is consider it pure joy, or as I said, make a choice to rejoice.

You see, it's a matter of will, not emotions. The more we rejoice in our testings, the more we realize there are not liabilities, but privileges, ultimately helpful, not harmful, no matter how severe they may appear. Another translation says of trials, treat them as intruders, excuse me, don't treat them as intruders, but friends.

Wow, a trial is a friend? Yes, that's what the Bible is saying. There are times in life that we go through hardship, but we make a choice to rejoice. Take Jesus as the ultimate example. It says in Hebrews 12, for the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and now is set down at the right hand of God.

Wait, what joy? Jesus had been scourged 39 times. Jesus had his beard ripped from his face. He had been struck repeatedly with fists.

He had a crown of thorns pressed down on his head. He had lost a tremendous amount of blood, and he's carrying this massive cross, and yet the joy set before him. What joy? That joy was you.

That joy was me. That joy was us, because he knew what the cross would accomplish. Jesus did not come to this earth to be a good example. He came to be a suffering savior, to die in our place on the cross, and to bear our sins, and then to rise again from the dead. But the joy set before him, you see. Think about Paul and Silas sewn into a Roman jail for preaching the gospel. Yet we read at midnight Paul and Silas saying praises to God and the other prisoners heard them.

Or think about poor Job. Literally everything that could have gone wrong went wrong, and one day he lost his seven sons, his three daughters, who all died. He lost people that worked for him.

He loved his livestock. He lost his possessions. And then he was covered head to toe in huge boils. Medical experts of research is trying to figure out what was wrong with him. Some think it might have been leprosy. Others think it might have been a severe form of skin cancer, like melanoma, but whatever it was, it was miserable. And he's just sitting in this horrible state.

And what does he do? Job 121 says, he said naked came I from my mother's womb. Naked shall I return there the Lord gives.

The Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. He made a choice to rejoice. We need a theology of thanksgiving.

Where we choose to do something. Paul says in Philippians rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say rejoice.

By the way, that's a command, not a suggestion. So if you're going through a time of trial right now, just rejoice, all right, I don't wanna, I don't feel like it doesn't matter. Rejoice, why? Because God is in control.

He's aware of what you're going through, right? Right. Right. Right. Right.

Right. Rejoice because God has allowed it for his purposes and it will work together for his glory and ultimately for your good. Because Romans 8.28 says we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and all that called according to his purpose. So God's in control, so we make a choice to rejoice. And by the way, being a thankful person will make you a happier person.

It's not only a good thing to do spiritually, it's good for you physically. An expert on gratitude said quote, gratitude reduces toxic emotions ranging from envy and frustration, it reduces depression and actually increases happiness. Experts say grateful people sleep better too.

So thankful people are happy people. Did you know that it takes 17 muscles to smile? But it takes 43 to frown? So let's all smile on the count of three. Ready, one, two, three, go, smile.

Smile, smile, smile, you're not smiling. Smile, smile, you just make a choice to rejoice no matter what you're going through right now. Point number three, trials happen to make us stronger in every way. Trials happen to make us stronger in every way. Verse three, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience, but let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Okay, so the word patience is probably not the best translation, and I'm using the New King James version here. It comes from a Greek word that translates out to toughness, fortitude, endurance, or staying power. So it's implying something different than simple patience.

A modern translation of James verses three and four say, let it grow, don't try to squirm out of your problems, for when your patience is in full bloom, you're ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. It's like going to the gym and working out. How many of you go to a gym or a health club? Raise your hand, okay? A few more of you might think about it.

Just saying. How many of you that go to the gym like to go to the gym? You enjoy it, you love the release of endurance. Okay, I hope you're not in steroids, sir, I don't know.

Okay, you are. No more coffee for this man over here. So, hey, I admire anybody that enjoys working out. I go to the gym, I don't like it. My favorite time is when it's done, but here's the funny thing. I'll make up every excuse as to why I don't wanna go. Even when I'm there, I don't wanna do this. But then once I'm done, I'm glad I did it. Not because I enjoyed it, but it actually energizes me when I complete it.

You see, that's what trials are like. A lot of people find themselves feeling tired and lethargic. They say, well, I'm just getting old. That may be true, but you might be out of shape. Well, you're in a shape, you're in the shape of a pair.

That's not a good shape. People even call you the Lord's pair and you don't like it. So, you can't fight age, you can't stop age, but you can do the best you can with your body and stay strong and get stronger physically. This thing can be true spiritually as well. You might say, well, I don't feel any spiritual energy. I feel tired and drained, but I'm still reading my Bible. I'm praying, I'm going to church, I'm even in a harvest mall group, and I feel this lethargy. Well, here's my advice to you. Get off your fat, lazy boy recliner. What did you think I was going to say? Wow, where are your heads at today?

Now, get off your lazy boy recliner and do something. You see, the spiritual life is taking in, but it's also giving out. If I only take in and I don't give out, I am going to reach a state of spiritual lethargy.

The Bible says, given it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together, running over with the same measure you give, it shall be given back to you. So trials, trials are like God's gym where we're broken down in order to be built up, where we take our faith from the realm of theory to reality so we can start living out our faith in the real world. You'll always have trials in this life. They won't stop until you get to heaven, but God will be with you through every single one. Verse two says, count it all joy when you go through these various trials.

It's not if, it's when. You're going to go through them. Point number four, it is through trials that we learn great wisdom. So they not only make us stronger spiritually, but through trials we learn things that we would not have otherwise learned. Look at verse five, if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith with no doubting, for he who doubts us like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. Let not that meant suppose he will receive anything from the Lord.

He's a double-minded man, unstable in all of his ways. You know, we live in a time where we can get information on demand. All you have to do is say, hey Siri, what's the temperature today? Hey Google, what about this? Hey Alexa, you ask her a question, and you talk to this artificial intelligence, and in many ways we have knowledge that's a mile wide, but an inch deep. We have knowledge without wisdom. Through knowledge, we've learned how to travel faster than sound, but we show our lack of wisdom by going faster in the wrong direction. See, what we need is wisdom. Knowledge is good, we want knowledge. We need biblical knowledge.

We need other kinds of knowledge, but we need wisdom. And the Bible says, if any man like wisdom, let him ask of God, you know, give it generously, but when you ask, don't doubt. So this is one of those prayers that when you pray it, you know God will answer it. It's praying for the will of God. A lot of times when we sit down to have a meeting, or we make some plans for the future, we'll pray, Lord, give us wisdom. You've told us in your word, if any man likes wisdom, let him ask of you, and you'll give it generously. Lord, we need that wisdom right now. That's a good prayer to pray, because there's so many choices to make in life, starting with Taco Bell.

What's going on over there? Now, I'm a fan of Taco Bell. How many of you like Taco Bell? Raise your hand.

How many of you like Del Taco better? Get here. Get out.

I'm serious, get out now, no, don't, don't get out. But you're wrong, but it's another, another message. Why Taco Bell is better than Del Taco.

That'd be a very interesting message. But I like Taco Bell, but I don't know what's going on with their menu anymore. I pull up and say, well, what is all this?

What are these things? And I found out that Taco Bell is bringing back the enchirito, okay? You've heard me talk about it before, right? Do you know why they brought back the enchirito? Because Taco Bell follows me on Instagram and they saw what I said. No, not really.

No, I just needed a poll of their people out there. And they offered two things. There's two items that used to be popular on the menu.

By the way, both things that I used to order. One was called the Double Decker Taco and then Enchirito. With a Double Decker Taco, okay? So it was basic corn tortilla, normal taco ingredients, with a flour tortilla wrapped around it because you just can't have too many tortillas, right? So that was one. They asked the people, hey, do you want the Double Decker Taco or do you want the enchirito? And the enchirito what?

So go to Taco Bell and have an enchirito. All right, so that's all you're gonna remember from this message which is sad. No, but seriously, we need God's wisdom. We need to know his will, especially on the biggest decisions of life. One being who you're gonna marry or maybe God won't have you get married. But you need wisdom to know.

You wanna make the right decision there. What career path you may choose, what ministry opportunities you may respond to. You need this wisdom and when you pray, believe you will receive it. Point number five, God will enable us to endure and get through times of temptation. God will enable us to endure and get through times of temptation. James one, verse 12, blessed is he who endures temptation for when he has been approved, he'll receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him. But let no one say when he is tempted, I'm tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he himself tempt anyone. Look at this part, don't miss these final verses. Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and is enticed, and then when desire has conceived, he gives birth to sin, and sin when it is full grown brings forth death.

Okay, question. Where does temptation come from? Artiful answer would probably be, well the devil, there's truth to that, but it's not all of it.

It comes from us too. We play a key role in our own temptation where there's no desire on our part, there's no temptation. In fact, in these verses, we have the five steps to temptation.

Number one, the temptation itself. Verse 14, everyone is tempted when they're drawn away by their own desires, which by the way are common to man. So whatever you're being tempted to do, you're not the only one.

Because sometimes we may think, oh man, how could that thought have come into my mind? What is wrong with me? Doesn't mean anything's wrong with you. Listen, it's not a sin to be tempted. The sin of temptation is not the bait, it's the bite. If you don't take the bait, you haven't sinned.

You have to bite at it. So just because a thought comes to your mind doesn't mean you're evil. It just means you're being tempted by evil. The Bible calls it King James, the fiery darts of the wicked one. Years ago when I was a young preacher, I think I was maybe 18 or 19 when I gave one of my first sermons.

Was at a Christian camp, Chuck Smith was there. I wanted to impress everyone. And so I was speaking on Ephesians six about spiritual warfare. And instead of talking about the fiery darts of the wicked one, I instead said the diary farts of the wicked one.

It's kind of an embarrassing moment. But they're not diary farts. Really a better translation would be flaming arrows. Okay, flaming arrows. So, you know, maybe you're worshiping the Lord and your thoughts are in heavenly things and all of a sudden, that's the sound of an arrow.

That sound like an arrow? There it is. All of a sudden, weird bizarre thought.

Horrible thought. And the devil says, how could you think that in church? Well, these are temptations. You just say, I reject that. That is not from God. Okay, so the temptation itself are all going to be tempted. Number two, but maybe you're interested in it.

So everyone is drawn away by their own desires. See, there's kind of been, I won't do it, but show me what you're offering, you know. It's like that test drive.

You're looking at that car, let's take it out for a spin. Oh, no, they could come on now. Why are they doing that?

Because you will be locked in a car with a person that will try to close that deal and make that sale. Or the free sample. You know, I was in a farmer's market yesterday walking along and they were offering free samples and some guy said, I'm free sample. This soup, I'm like, I don't want soup. What, who even wants to eat soup? How can anyone make a meal from soup? Soup to me is like salad. It's what I eat to warm up for real food, right?

Try this. No, it's okay. No, try it.

No, okay, whatever. I take a little sip of this tiny little cup. I'll have it now. How much is it? It was great soup. It was really hearty with turkey in it and all kinds of things. So I bought this bag of frozen soup.

Kathy's buying vegetables. Look what I bought. It's like, why? I don't know if it was good.

It started with the free sample. So the devil says, okay, okay. I know you would never do this because you're such a godly person, but just take this thought for a spin. Just take a little nibble.

It'll be fun. You would never act on it, but that's the whole strategy of temptation. It starts in the realm of your mind. Now you're almost hooked. Verse 14 of James 1, you're drawn away by your own desires. There's still a way out, but you're thinking, you're processing, you're considering, and the hook is now set and you bite. Verse 15, when desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin, and so you've acted on the evil thought. And there's maybe the momentary pleasure that can come from certain sins, but then immediately, if your conscience is working, guilt kicks in, regret, remorse, that spiritual deadness. Thank God you can say, Lord, I'm sorry, I repent, and he'll forgive you. But you know the effects of sin that can happen in your life, and then the effects of sin.

Number five, kick in. Verse 15, sin, when it's full grown, brings forth death. The Bible says the soul that sin shall surely die.

It also says the wages of sin are death. You're now separated from God. So now, I wanna blame someone. This is not my fault. The devil made me do it.

No, he didn't. Devil can't make you do anything. He can tempt you. You have to cooperate. Well, this other person, it's their fault.

They tempted me. Well, maybe they did, but you're still responsible for your own actions. That's what Adam did.

He blamed Eve, and he played a role in it, but ultimately, it was Adam's decision to eat of that forbidden fruit. Okay, here's another thought. We're almost done here. When does temptation generally come?

This might surprise you. When does it generally come after times of great blessing? Remember Jesus was baptized by his cousin John the Baptist. And then you remember that the Father spoke from heaven and said, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, and the Spirit of God came upon Jesus in the form of a dove. What a moment. What a blessing.

And what do we read then? Immediately after that, Jesus went into the wilderness to be tested and tempted by the devil. After the dove came the devil. After the blessing came the temptation. So it might happen after church. Oh, I love that.

Great time of worship, so-so sermon, but still. You're in your car. Someone cut you off.

You stinky. You start fighting with your wife in front of your kids. Something else happens.

No way what's going on. Yeah, well, attacks often come after times of blessing. So brace yourself for that. Be aware of that. And that's what's going to happen in life. But God always has a way out for us, and every temptation can be resisted.

And listen to this. I love that verse. Blessed is the man that endures temptation for when he has been tried to receive the crown of life. Blessed is another word for happy.

Happy is the man, happy is the woman, who says no to temptation, and yes to God. So what did we learn here? Number one, we will go through times of trial. Trials come to not make us weaker, but stronger.

And storms have a beginning, middle, and end. So let me use storm as an alternate word for trial. You may be going through a trial right now. You might be in the beginning of your trial.

You might be in the middle of it, and he might be at the end of it, might change tomorrow. And it will be all better, but others are gonna come, just be aware. Okay, but God allows these trials in our life. We need to make the choice to rejoice during times of trial.

It says nothing to do with how you feel. You choose to give thanks to God. Thirdly, God will guide you and give you the wisdom you need. But when you pray for it, believe it, and fourth and lastly, temptations will come, but there's always a way out. And as I said, trials and temptations are an indication you are on the right track.

Okay, so let me loop back to something I said earlier. I mentioned that Jesus, for the joy that was set before him endured the cross. Think about that day, some 2,000 years ago, as Christ carried his cross to the streets of Jerusalem. And yet there was something that kept him going, and it was knowing what it would accomplish, because he loves each and every one of us.

Jesus put it perfectly when he said, "'For God so loved the world, "'that he gave his only begotten Son, "'and whosoever believes in him should not perish, "'but have everlasting life.'" Maybe I'm talking to somebody as we close in this message who is not sure if Christ is in their life. You're going through a time of hardship, we all do.

But you don't have the hope that God will work it out for some good. You don't have the hope that you'll even get through it, and you feel alone, and you're afraid. Jesus wants to enter into your pain, and walk with you through your time of suffering. He understands like no one understands. He knows what it's like to be abandoned by friends. He knows what it's like to feel abandoned by God, because on the cross he bore the sin of the world, and said, "'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'"

Jesus was the loneliest man who ever lived when he went through that, and so he'll be with you in your times of hardship and suffering, but you must ask him into your life. He won't force his way in, and he's not in every life. He's in the life of the person who says, "'I want you as a part of my life.'" Jesus says, "'Behold, I stand at the door and I knock, "'and if you'll hear my voice and open the door, "'I will come in.'"

He won't force his way in. You have to open that door of your life, so to speak, and say, "'Jesus, come in. "'Come into my marriage. "'Come into my singleness. "'Come into my situation that I'm facing right now. "'Come into my crisis. "'Come into my life. "'I invite you, and I want you in, "'and I want to have you be my Lord.'"

Which means I want you to be in charge of my life from now on, because I believe your plan for me is better than my plan for myself. And so you ask Jesus to come in, and he will. Is there someone here that would like to do that? As we get ready to close in prayer, I'm going to extend an invitation for anyone here or watching online or at Harvest Riverside, wherever you are. If you've not asked Christ to come into your life, you can do it right here, right now.

Let's all pray. Father, I pray that your Holy Spirit will convict and convince any person who does not know you of their need for you, and help them to come to you and believe right here, right now. Now, while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying, how many of you would say today, "'Greg, I need Jesus. "'I want my sin forgiven. "'I want to know that when I die, I will go to heaven. "'I want him to be with me through the things "'I'm going through right now.

"'I want this relationship with God. "'Pray for me.' "'If that's your desire, if you want Jesus Christ "'to come into your life, if you want him to forgive you "'of your sin, if you want to fill that void in your life, "'if you want to be sure, you'll go to heaven "'when you die, wherever you are, pray this prayer "'out loud after me.'" Again, pray it out loud after me. Pray these words if you would. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for my sin, and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now. I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my savior and Lord, as my God and friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer.

In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-09 18:59:50 / 2022-11-09 19:09:01 / 9

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