"THE EPISTLE OF JAMES"
The Christian & Temptations (James 1:12-18)
1. One of the greatest challenges of living the Christian life is dealing
2. This is especially true for new Christians:
a. For it can be frustrating to know that your sins have been
b. only to immediately find yourself bombarded by temptations to
continue in your sins
3. In Ja 1:12-18, we find helpful words for the Christian in the form
a. A PROMISE to those who endure temptations
b. A CAUTION not to wrongfully impugn the source of those
c. AN UNDERSTANDING of how sin develops
[As we begin with verse 12, we notice]
I. THE PROMISE (v12)
A. THE MAN WHO ENDURES TEMPTATION WILL BE "BLESSED"
1. The Greek word for "blessed" is "makarios"
2. Which means "happy, blessed"
3. The nature of the happiness enjoyed is described as the verse
B. FOR AFTER HE HAS BEEN "PROVED" HE WILL RECEIVE "THE CROWN OF
1. The promise is that of "eternal life"
2. The promise is given by Him Who cannot lie - cf. Titus 1:2
3. The promise is given to those who "demonstrate" (prove) their
love for God by their endurance of the temptations
[And so, to Christians facing temptations, first we have an ENCOURAGING
word. As we read on, though, we notice a word of CAUTION]
II. THE CAUTION (vs 13, 16-18)
A. LET NO ONE SAY THEY ARE TEMPTED BY GOD! (v13)
1. That is, to blame God for their temptations is wrong
2. God never offers a choice that includes evil
3. For God is so HOLY:
a. He cannot be tempted by evil
b. Nor does He tempt anyone to do evil
B. SO DON'T BE DECEIVED INTO SUCH THINKING (Vs 16-18)
1. God is the source of GOOD, not evil!
2. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him!
3. As an example, it was of His Own Will that He brought us forth
a. Which He did by the "word of truth" (the gospel) - cf. 1 Pe 1:22-23
b. So we might be a kind of "firstfruits" (the "cream of the
crop") of His creatures
[This being true, certainly God would not tempt us with evil! In fact,
through the words of James God gives us insight into the development of
sin which can help us to overcome sin]
III. THE UNDERSTANDING (Vs 14-15)
A. HOW SIN DEVELOPS
1. The first stage is TEMPTATION (v14)
a. This stage involves two things:
1) LUST (desires, NKJV) - a strong desire for something
2) ENTICEMENT - an opportunity and encouragement to satisfy
b. Put into a mathematical formula:
Temptation = Desire + Opportunity
c. E.g., a small boy is TEMPTED to steal some cookies when he
WANTS them (desire) and has a good chance to get them and
not be seen (opportunity)
d. But remember, it is NOT a sin to be TEMPTED -
cf. the example of Jesus, He 4:15
2. The second stage in the development of sin is SIN ITSELF (v15)
a. Temptation leads to sin only when you yield and ACT upon it
b. Sin therefore requires the added step of ACTION
c. Putting it again in mathematical terms:
Sin = Desire + Opportunity + Action
3. The final stage is the consequence of unforgiven sin: DEATH (v15)
a. This refers to spiritual separation from God, which is the
"wages of sin" - Ro 6:23
b. Ultimately such "death" involves eternal punishment - Re 21:8
c. Putting it once more in the form of an equation:
Desire + Opportunity + Action + No Forgiveness = Punishment!
[Sin and Satan will have won if we receive this final punishment.
But with this understanding of how sin develops, we are in a better
position to overcome sin]
B. HOW TO OVERCOME SIN
1. CHANGE OUR "DESIRES"
a. Since this is where the process of sin begins, it is the best
place for us to begin
b. Bear in mind that it is a part of Christian growth to change
our desires - Ro 12:1-2; Ga 5:24
c. How do we change our desires?
1) Notice that the WORD OF GOD has always been instrumental
in helping people overcome sin - Ps 119:11; Mt 4:3-10
2) To see how the Word of God can change our desires
a) As we read of God's love, longsuffering and mercy, we
desire to serve Him - Ps 116:12-14
b) As we read of sin and its damnable consequences, we
come to hate it! - Ps 119:104
d. So the more we study God's Word, the less likely we will have
the DESIRE to sin, thereby beginning to overcome sin by
"nipping it in the bud"!
[But changing our desires takes time; while engaged in the process
of changing our desires, what else can we do?]
2. LIMIT OUR "OPPORTUNITIES"
a. Remember, we are tempted only when there is BOTH desire and
b. So while we work on changing our desires, we should limit the
opportunities to fulfill wrongful desires
c. This can be done by ASKING FOR GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL HELP, as
Jesus taught - Mt 6:13; Mt 26:41
d. We can cooperate with God by:
1) Purposely avoiding situations that might excite wrongful
a) Following the example of David - Ps 101:3-4
b) And the example of Job - Job 31:1
2) Avoiding those whose evil behavior encourages us to sin
a) Again, David sets a good example - Ps 101:6-7
b) Paul also adds his warning - 1 Co 15:33
[But we will unlikely remove EVERY desire and opportunity to sin in
this life, what then?]
3. EXERCISE "SELF-CONTROL"
a. Remember, it becomes sin when we yield to ACTION in
fulfilling our sinful desires
b. If we can control ourselves so as to not yield, then we can
c. How does the Christian exercise self-control?
1) Self-control is but one aspect of the "fruit of the
Spirit" - Ga 5:22-23
2) The Spirit is God's instrumental agent by which He imparts
strength to us - Ep 3:16
3) Strengthened by the Spirit, we are able to "put to death
the deeds of the body" - Ro 8:12-13
4) As Paul said: "I can do all things through Him who
strengthens me." - Ph 4:13
d. It is through faith in God's Word that the Christian believes
that he has this divine help - Ep 3:20
1) It is certainly proper to pray for it, as Paul did in
behalf of the Ephesians - Ep 3:16
2) But equally important, to act upon it, trusting that you
are not alone as you try to do God's will - Ph 2:12-13
3) As an exercise commercial once said: JUST DO IT!
e. The Christian, then, has no excuse for yielding to a
temptation - 1 Cor 10:13
[But there may be times when we don't take advantage of the
strength God provides through His Spirit, and we sin; what then?]
4. OBTAIN "FORGIVENESS"
a. Remember that sin is victorious when it results in punishment
b. But if we obtain forgiveness through the blood of Christ, we
can avoid that punishment and thereby still overcome sin!
- 1 Jn 2:1-2
c. Yes, Christ is truly the "propitiation" for our sins!
1) By His blood, we were forgiven of past sins when united
with Him in BAPTISM - Ac 2:38; Acts 22:16; Rev 1:5
2) By His blood, we can be forgiven of present sins when we
REPENT, PRAY, and CONFESS our sins to God - Ac 8:22;
1 Jn 1:9
d. At any time the Christian can overcome sins that were
committed, by repenting and confessing them to God!
1. Indeed, we can overcome sin by stopping its development at ANY one
of the four stages leading to the final punishment!
2. If you noticed carefully, you should have seen that at each of the
four points in the development of sin, God is able and willing to help
us overcome sin!
a. God helps us to "control our desires" by providing His WORD to
renew our minds (To be forewarned is to be forearmed!)
b. God helps us to "limit the opportunities" through His PROVIDENCE
as we pray for such
c. God helps us to "exercise self-control" over our actions through
His SPIRIT strengthening the inner man
d. God helps us to "obtain forgiveness" through THE BLOOD OF HIS SON
as we repent and pray
3. So how could anyone say that God would tempt us to sin?
a. Certainly He is the giver of every good and perfect gift! - Ja 1:17
b. Even as Paul wrote, in 2 Th 3:3; 1 Cor 10:13
Have you taken advantage of God's way of escape for the sins you have
If not, why not do so by obeying the gospel, the Word of Truth, and
become one of the "firstfruits of His creatures"?
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