Monthly Archives: October 2012

Professor: Some Millennials Harmfully ‘Reworking’ God’s Image

“Some of the so-called Millennial generation is finding the Gospel of Christ and the body of ethics it animates is a reproach. So God must be reworked,” said Prof Strachan. “The message of salvation through judgment that propelled the historic church to preach and act and love is being reworked into a declaration of God’s absolute and total love without concern for its holiness.”..

http://www.christianpost.com/news/professor-some-millennials-harmfully-reworking-gods-image-83876/

More Brits Believe In Aliens Than In God, Survey Claims

The number of those who believe in extraterrestrial life is significantly higher than those who believe in God in the United Kingdom, a new survey claims.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/more-brits-believe-in-aliens-than-in-god-survey-claims-83663/

Christian Group Banned From University For Adhering to ‘Biblical Truths of Christianity’

A longstanding Christian organization at a university in Massachusetts has been banned from the school. School officials claim some of the organizations requirements violate the school’s non-discriminatory policy by having members adhere to “biblical truths of Christianity.” ….

http://global.christianpost.com/news/christian-group-banned-for-adhering-to-biblical-truths-of-christianity-83816/

Nicolas Cage Likely to Star in ‘Left Behind’ Rapture Series Remake

Academy Award–winning actor Nicolas Cage is reportedly in talks to star in “Left Behind,” a mainstream remake of the Christian-themed movie trilogy about the End Times .

http://www.christianpost.com/news/nicolas-cage-likely-to-star-in-left-behind-rapture-series-remake-83644/

THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION: MARTIN LUTHER (video)

http://apprising.org/2012/10/27/the-protestant-reformation-martin-luther/

Further reading:

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH HASN’T CHANGED ITS CONDEMNATION OF THE GOSPEL

HAS THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH REALLY CHANGED?

HISTORY OF THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION

The Great I AM

By Steve Lumbley of Apostasy Watch, republished with permission

Mark 13:4-5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Shortly before his arrest and crucifixion, Jesus was asked by his disciples “what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” The first sign he gave them was the sign of false Christ’s

In the quote above taken from Mark 13:4-5 you see that most bible versions place the word Christ in italics. That means the word was not in the original manuscripts but was added by the translators for clarity. The original language here (and in Luke 21:8) would read:

For many shall come in my name saying I AM, and shall deceive many

The phrase I AM is important because that is the name used by God in Exodus 3:14. Moses asked God His name.

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? Ex 3:13

This was Gods reply:

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. Ex 3:14

I AM, is the name that God has chosen for Himself, the very first name revealed to Moses in the wilderness. So when Jesus warned of false teachers his warning was not just that they would claim to be Christ but that they would even claim Godhood for themselves and others.

One example of a modern false teacher using this term is Kenneth Copeland from his Believers Voice of Victory broadcast July 9 1987

And I say this with all respect, so that it don’t upset you too bad. But I say it anyway: When I read in the Bible where He says, “I AM,” I just smile and say, “Yes, I AM, too.”

By using this term Copeland is claiming a form of Godhood which is not surprising since he has long taught that Christians are “little gods” on the earth.

Now we have another example of a modern false teacher using the same term to deceive many.

Source

Joel Osteen has joined up with Oprah Winfrey for a Lifeclass presentation on the power of words. In particular the words I AM. Notice the opening invitation from Oprah;

Start making the best out of the life you are living with two simple words: I AM

According to Oprah and Osteen, the words I AM can be invoked like a mantra to improve your life. What they are really saying is that when you recognize the godhood within you your life will magically begin to change. Some of the comments from her viewers are startling:

Joel S: Oh yes I am and nothing will change that, I am and I’ll always be, with the power of almighty within that’s why I am…….. I am what I am now because of my I am of the past and my I am now will make my I am in the future. I am got 2 sides (Positive and Negative) I am inspired.

Alberta W: I AM is the basic truth of God. “I AM that I AM” said God on the Mount to Moses. Jesus is French for I AM – (Je suis). ISIS is the original human concept concept of I AM – Is Is. “Yahweh” is “I AM that I AM” and the very breath of God that was breathed us into BEing. It all boils down to BE. BEcome (the coming), BElive(the living), BEhold (the holding of faith), BEcause(the cause), etc.

Travelista73: I AM ready to be all I am meant to be. I AM ready to live in love and light. I AM ready to continue exploring, evolving and enlightening my spirit and mind. I AM ready for the AHA… Journal is ready and so am I Oprah!!!!

Terry M: ”I am” are two very powerful words, they are words that we should teach to our children with self empowering words following them….I am smart, I am beautiful, I am all that my God has made me. Love your Super Soul Sundays, they are the favorite part of my week…my youngest has mentioned to my husband that they should not interrupt me while I am watching this show..lol. Keep up the great work!

AD: This brings me back to the lineage (bloodline of Christ)..there were various personas in The DNA whom God created to bring forth His will…when I reflect and look at the various characteristics in my own persona for any given situation that evolves into highet awareness..i hear, I am That I am for such a time as this.
All in all the comments reflect a massive ball of confusion yet the underlying idea is that we all can become gods or that we have godhood within us.

Conspicuously missing from all this God talk is any mention of sin, righteousness and judgment. As always with Osteen there is never any mention of the cross or redemption from sin or the fact that unredeemed men and women are actually enemies of God. Jesus is nowhere to be found in any of this, rather all that is offered is the blasphemous teaching that we can all be Gods equal once we discover the godhood within.

Many would consider this a new age teaching but the idea of inner godhood is as old as mankind himself.

Gen 3:4-5
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

You shall be as gods. The great deception, the original lie repackaged for our modern narcissistic generation. Godhood lies within if only you will eat this fruit, say these words, repeat this mantra, understand this truth, etc, etc etc.

http://apprising.org/2012/10/27/the-great-i-am/

How to spot the “Emergent” Trends In Your Church: Is the “New Liberalism” affecting your congregation?

You may have heard that the Emergent Church issue is a topic from yesteryear that we should now ignore. But those of us who study postmodernism understand that the Emergent Church is far from dead, and evolving by the week with each new book, conference and shift in paradigms.  Eric Barger from Take A Stand ministry wrote an article and developed a PDF printable brochure (included here), about the Emergent Church and how to spot it and remove it from your own place of worship:

How to spot the Emergent Church: Is the “New Liberalism” affecting your congregation?

http://standupforthetruth.com/2012/10/how-to-spot-the-emergent-trends-in-your-church/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+standupwi+%28Stand+Up+for+the+Truth+%7C+All+Feeds%29

Sanctification: How Do You Measure Up?

by John MacArthur

We’ve reached the end of our series on spiritual formation and sanctification, but before we close the discussion, I want to encourage you with some practical ways to evaluate your own spiritual growth.

Yesterday we discussed the true, biblical nature of sanctification—that it’s the work of the Lord in the lives of His people…

http://www.gty.org/blog/B121026?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GTYBlog+%28Grace+to+You+Blog%29

Joel Osteen and Oprah Winfrey Set to Blaspheme God…Again

Only a few weeks ago, Joel Osteen joined Oprah Winfrey in Houston for a taping of her show, Lifeclass. This Sunday, an episode from that taping will air. Notice anything particularly troubling?

I Am. This is the name of the Almighty God of the universe. It is not some magical, mystical mantra that we speak when things aren’t going particularly well in our lives. A look at the comments on Oprah’s Facebook page reveals that her viewers know exactly what Joel Osteen means by this phrase, however. To them, to Oprah, and to Joel Osteen, “I am” is a way to speak things into existence. It is the idea that your words have power and it is a grievous heresy. What Joel Osteen and Oprah Winfrey are engaging in is blatant, unapologetic blasphemy. Since both profess to be Christians (though neither one teaches anything remotely biblically orthodox), then both Osteen and Oprah need to repent of their blasphemous beliefs.

Of course, we won’t hold our breath waiting for that to happen. Rather, perhaps the best weapon here is prayer—prayer that God would open the eyes of some who have thus far been tragically deceived by this New Age nonsense.

http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2012/10/joel-osteen-and-oprah-winfrey-set-to.html?m=1

JOEL OSTEEN AND THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL

The following by Dr. Gary Gilley, pastor of Southern View Chapel, is republished at Apprising Ministries with permission:

The New Age book and video by Rhonda Byrne, The Secret, which gained popularity recently due to Oprah Winfrey’s strong promotion, teaches that we can “create own happiness through the law of attraction.” Whether it is cash, health, prosperity or happiness, all can be ours if we will just learn to use “the secret.” Byrne tells us, “Disease cannot live in a body that is in a healthy emotional state.” But be warned: “If you have a disease and you are focusing on it and talking to people about it, you are going to create more disease cells.”[1]

Such rhetoric should sound familiar to anyone even faintly aware of the Word of Faith Movement, often termed “the prosperity gospel.” This group has been infiltrating evangelicalism for decades and is now the fastest growing segment of Christianity in the world. Some have estimated that up to 90 percent of those claiming to be Christians in Africa are of the prosperity gospel variety.

Well-known personalities within the movement include Kenneth Hagin (deceased), Kenneth Copeland, Robert Tilton, Paul Yonggi Cho, Benny Hinn, Marilyn Hickey, Frederick Price, John Avanzini, Charles Capps, Jerry Savelle, Morris Cerullo, Joyce Meyer and Paul and Jan Crouch.

As implied by the title “Word of Faith,” the supporters of this movement believe that faith works like a mighty power or force. Through faith we can obtain anything we want — health, wealth, success, or whatever we please. However, this force is released only through the spoken word. As we speak words of faith, power is discharged to accomplish our desires.

In Christianity in Crisis, Hank Hanegraaff summarizes the theology of Kenneth Hagin (considered by many to be the father of this movement) as found in his booklet How to Write Your Own Ticket with God:

Read More…

James MacDonald: Prosperity Preacher T.D. Jakes’ “Views On Money” Closer To Scripture Than That Of “Reformed World”

Apprising Ministries walks you back through the evidence shedding new light upon why MacDonald so adamantly defended his decision to mainstream T.D. Jakes.

You’ll also see why it is that guys like James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll would be anxious to embrace Seeker Driven and Word Faith multi-site megachurch pastors like Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes.

It’s not about theology.

http://apprising.org/2012/10/25/james-macdonald-prosperity-preacher-t-d-jakes-views-on-money-closer-to-scripture-than-that-of-reformed-world/

What Is Sanctification? (And What It Isn’t)

You probably know that most people in America and many more worldwide identify themselves as Christians. But how many of them can explain and defend the gospel, articulate basic biblical theology, or live lives that support the claims of their faith? The tragic fact is that compared to the vast number of people who claim to be Christians, very few are actually growing to be more like Christ…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GTYBlog/~3/H4UwROlLh4w/B121025

Kay Warren Preaches Sunday Services at Northwood Church in Texas

Apprising Ministries reminds you that while the issue of women being ordained elders and pastors has been debated within some of evangelicalism, up until now it’s essentially been contained within the more charismatic and Pentecostal fringes. The more mainstream denominations, e.g. the Southern Baptist Convention, have for the most part still maintained the proper Biblical position that women cannot be ordained as elders.

However, as one whose work in the Lord is to monitor Intel along the Internet Front and assess trends within the larger visible church, it’s my considered opinion that this will soon be changing. You need to know that placing women in the pastorate is now going to be a real push by those falling victim to the delusion of Rodney King theology passing as Christian doctrine in too much of the church visible.

With this in mind, General of the Seeker Driven Army Rick Warren tweeted out where his wife Kay would be functioning as an elder once again:

(source)

It’s not the first time Kay Warren has functioned as teaching elder; you may recall Kay Warren Preaches Sunday Services At Saddleback Church. Warren’s message was entitled Beyond the Walls and you’ll see it is found in the section Sermons.

Christian Research Network is a sister work of Apprising Ministries and the following CRN Associate Editor Erin Benziger of Do Not Be Surprised… brings us up to speed concerning Kay Warren at Northwood Church where Bob Roberts is senior pastor:

Recent months have seen a growing number of popular female teachers and leaders casting aside the biblical admonition of 1 Timothy 2:12. Sadly, it is not uncommon in evangelicalism to find on any given Sunday that one of these women has filled a church’s pulpit and willingly has presented biblical instruction to a crowd of mixed genders.

It has now been brought to CRN’s attention that Kay Warren preached the Sunday, 21 October, sermon at Northwood Church in Keller, Texas. Warren’s message was entitled “Beyond the Walls,” and the church website description reads,

What does it take to change the world–is just being a Christian enough?

The answer to that is a resounding “No!” Just being a Christian is like having a tool box and never fixing anything. You have what you need to make an impact, but if you don’t apply those resources, you’ll never see that changes in yourself, your marriage, your family, your finances or your city that you’re looking for everyday.

So we’re going Beyond! We’re going to go Beyond just asking Jesus into our hearts to allowing Him to direct what we do for God’s kingdom. We’re going Beyond knowing the Bible to allowing its truths transform us. We’re going Beyond the Sunday morning church service to change our city and the world. We’re going Beyond ourselves to build community that will make a difference when all of us work together!

SOURCE

Interestingly, this past week at Northwood Church was not the first time that Kay Warren has stepped into this role. In 2012 alone, Kay Warren has not only preached several weekend services at her own church, but also took to the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral.

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) agrees with the biblical standard that women are not to hold the position of elder or pastor within a church. Below is the SBC’s official position on the role of women in the church (emphasis added):

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

THE BAPTIST FAITH & MESSAGE, VI. THE CHURCH

While other SBC documents may offer a perceived loophole in this instruction, most Southern Baptists would affirm the position stated above.

Rick and Kay Warren’s Saddleback Church is officially registered with the Southern Baptist Convention, so it is presumed that they would adhere to the biblical standards set forth by the SBC in regard to women preaching. It seems quite odd, then, that Kay Warren would continue to disregard this clear teaching set forth in Scripture. In preaching Sunday services, Kay Warren undoubtedly found herself teaching a mixed audience of both men and women. How can this be reconciled not only with the SBC’s stated position on this topic, but with the biblical prohibition against women taking authority within the church?

This growing phenomenon of women usurping the role of pastor, if even for one week, has been on prominent display with some of evangelicalism’s popular female Bible teachers. As only two examples, earlier this year, SBC Bible teacher Beth Moore preached at the church of Louie Giglio. Christine Caine of Hillsong Church has preached at Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church as well as Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. Should the body of Christ remain silent on this issue? If it was important enough for God to offer explicit instruction in His Word, then it ought to be of equal importance to Christians today.

http://apprising.org/2012/10/24/kay-warren-preaches-sunday-services-at-northwood-church-in-texas/

If Only…

It’s so easy to slip into an “if only” lifestyle. I find myself slipping into it often. The “if only” possibilities are endless:

If only I’d been from a more stable family…
If only I had a more understanding spouse…
If only my children were more obedient…
If only I’d been able to find a better job…
If only I’d come to know Christ earlier…
The seductive thing about our “if onlys” is that there is a bit of plausibility in all of them. We do live in a fallen world. We all face hardships of various kinds. We all have been sinned against in a variety of ways.

None of us ever lived in ideal circumstances or in perfect relationships. The world is a broken place and we have all been touched in many ways by its brokenness. Yet, the “if only” lifestyle tends to say, “My biggest problem in life exists outside of me and not inside of me.”

In Psalm 51 David says something very radical. It’s counter-intuitive to a culture that tends to say that we all are the result of what our experience has made us. David says, “Surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5)

David is saying that his greatest problem in all of life is not the result of what he has suffered in the situations and relationships of his life. Rather, David is saying that his biggest problem is internal and was there before he had any of these experiences! And David gives this deep and internal problem a name – sin. How humbling!

Think about it this way. It’s the evil that is inside of you that either magnetizes you to the evil outside of you or causes you to deal with the evil outside of you in a way that is wrong. It’s only when you begin to accept that your greatest problem in all of life is not what has happened or been done to you, that you begin to get excited about the rescuing grace of Jesus Christ. It’s only when you begin to accept that your greatest need is something you came into the world with, that you will begin to hunger for the help that only God can give you.

It’s only then that you begin to hunger for more than changes of situation and relationship. It’s only then that you begin to accept the most radical and personally liberating truth that you could ever conceive. What is that truth? It’s that what you and I really need to be rescued from is us! We are the biggest danger to us. That’s why God offers us the gorgeous promise of his grace which has the power to change us from the inside out.

Are you embracing that promise or are you still saying, “If only…”

Make a list of the “If Only’s” that you find yourself repeating. If you’re stuck, I’ve included a much longer list here on my website.
If you’re honest, who do you blame most? Circumstances, relationships, situations (outside), or a heart that’s corrupt (internal)?
How can you become more self-aware that your biggest problem exists inside of you, not outside of you?
God bless

Paul David Tripp

http://paultrippministries.org/wednesdays-word

Doctrine Matters

Doctrine matters. Regardless of the common seeker-driven battle cry that “doctrine divides” or “Jesus didn’t die for correct theology,” the reality is that doctrine matters. In spite of the postmodern attempt to eschew the importance of doctrine and of truth, the genuine Christian knows that, without a right knowledge of the truth, a person cannot be saved. Doctrine matters. Read more of this post

Future Shock – Dr. James Emery White

Future Shock

Dr. James Emery White Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

I was recently asked four compelling questions by Outreach magazine related to the future of the church. They were specific, and as a result, forced me to galvanize quite a bit of “wide” thinking into a concise format.

I am curious to hear your thoughts once you read the questions and my answers. Specifically:

*Did you agree with my answers?

*What would you have answered differently, or added to the answer(s)?

*What questions were raised, to your thinking, as a result of my answers?

I think we will all be served by this conversation. So post, and read the other posts, with a keen mind and open heart.

Here are the questions/answers:

What changes should the church anticipate in the next ten years?

The headline is that the unchurched will be increasingly made up of the “nones”: those who believe nothing in particular, are antagonistic toward religion in general, and are not engaged in any kind of “seeking.” As a result, evangelism will need to make the same transformation as modern military combat: less large-scale, mass invasions and aerial assaults and more house-to-house, hand-to-hand engagement. Further, Christians in America will find themselves in an increasingly hostile environment due to the dynamics of a post-Christian culture. This will be a defining era as churches will have to choose between wider cultural acceptance through cultural compromise or growing animosity and even persecution through continuing orthodoxy. Finally, the technological revolution will only continue in terms of new mediums of communication and interaction. The pace churches keep with technology will prove to be as decisive in the next ten years as the pace churches kept with, say, music or dress in the last ten.

What obstacles do we need to overcome to be more effective in outreach in the next decade?

It is ironic that the very thing the world hates about the church is its worldliness. When churches and church leaders become entangled in the web of party politics, power, greed and sexual immorality, the world’s stomach turns in disgust. So that is first. Once the church purifies itself of such things, the second task is to fill itself with our great distinctive – grace. That things like judgmentalism and condemnation are so associated with the church is an affront to the gospel. Grace combined with truth is what sets us apart, and is the one thing we have to offer the world that it does not already have. Next, we will have to get our own house in order in terms of observable love toward one another. The bitter blogs and polarizations must end. The final ingredient will be the need to have an actual passion for those who are lost. There is much rhetoric in favor of evangelism, but little reality in terms of dying to ourselves to do what it takes to reach people. We are very much a consumer-driven church, giving in to a spiritual narcissism where the needs of the believer are paramount over the needs of those apart from Christ.

What cultural shifts are you observing now that the church should prepare for in the future?

Sociologically, the three great macro shifts have not changed: secularization, privatization, and pluralization. But let me offer three micro shifts that are immediate in their challenge: First, the movement toward becoming an increasingly post-Christian culture. Not an anti-Christian culture, or even a non-Christian culture, but a post-Christian culture. To be post-Christian means the very memory of the gospel is fading. The result is a culture that is more like Mars Hill than Jerusalem; openly pluralistic, spiritual but not religious, embracing agnosticism as a badge of pride. A second shift is the changing nature of thinking, relating and self-identifying as a result of the internet and social media, resulting in becoming more shallow, more isolated, and more tribal than ever before. Third, the increasingly truncated understanding of Christian life and thought within the Christian movement itself must not be ignored. Historic understandings on the atonement and revelation are suspect, issues related to humanity are being made up on the fly if even considered, and a robust ecclesiology is almost a matter of scorn. But it is not simply a new pseudo-orthodoxy that is creeping in, but a shallowness of thinking. We are increasingly in a battle of ideas, yet the Christian sub-culture is as anti-intellectual as I’ve ever seen it. Our thinking is very bad, when we are thinking at all. Much of our discipleship is hands and heart, which is all well and good, but we must not forget the discipleship of the mind. If we’re standing on Mars Hill, let’s not forget that contending for the faith in that context demands the mind of a Paul.

Do you foresee particular changes that will affect your local church and/or community?

Six changes come to mind: First, technology will increasingly become a necessary medium of discipleship due to the nature of how people receive and digest information. Second, in a post-Christian and spiritually illiterate world, visual elements (akin to the stained glass of the Middle Ages) will need to be more widely employed to convey biblical truth, particularly in regard to evangelism. Third, one-on-one evangelism must become more central (as opposed to a more general invitational approach to large-scale events). Fourth, leadership development and theological education will have to be increasingly shouldered by the local church. Fifth, we will have to take prayer much more seriously, and engage it much more intentionally. If culture progresses as it now portends, spiritual warfare will rear its head in ways that most of us have only read about in missionary biographies. Finally, we will need to prepare Christ followers for an ever-increasingly hostile environment where a vibrant faith brings persecution.

http://www.christianity.com/blogs/dr-james-emery-white/future-shock.html

Avoiding temptation

Scripture: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.

So you become a Christian. You think, “Follow Jesus: that won’t be so hard. Obviously, this is the way I want to live, so I’ll avoid all the bad things.” Unfortunately, it is not so easy to avoid those bad things – those sins – that keep you away from God. But the good news at least, as St. Paul noted, is that anything that has tempted you, has tempted others, as well. Any sin you commit is not the first of its kind. Others know how you feel!

But the even better news, he wrote, is that God will give you a way to avoid falling into the trap of yielding to your temptation and falling into sin.

“Get Behind Me, Satan!”

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 4, our Lord Jesus was sorely and brazenly tempted before He started His ministry. Jesus had gone into the wilderness by Himself. While He was alone and hungry, the Evil One tried to get Jesus to turn stones into bread, to have Him summon angels to attend Himself, and to make Jesus worship him. Each time, Jesus used God’s Word to rebuke the Devil; Jesus would not give in to sin even if it made his life easier.

God does not want us to give in to sin either. For us, temptation will probably not show up as the devil. But we are tempted to sin – to make life easier for ourselves, to enjoy a pleasure not allotted to us, to avoid something we don’t want to do – in hundreds of ways.

Our temptations tend to show up in more earthy ways: for the original humans, it was eating a piece of fruit God told them not to. Have you ever taken a sweet, or something else, that didn’t belong to you? That’s an easy temptation to fall prey to. As Jesus quoted in Matthew 4, and in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, God taught His Chosen People after they’d escaped Egyptian captivity. He humbled and tested them in the wilderness, allowing them get hungry and then to feed them, “to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3a) The manna God provided was only available at certain times and certain ways, and the Israelites had to obey God’s words to be able to even eat. We also have to depend on God’s Word for survival in avoiding sin.

It Gets Worse

It might seem like eating something, even if it doesn’t belong to us, couldn’t be that big a sin. You might think of a small temptation, “It’s not so bad” or “Maybe just one.” Does anyone ever stop with “just one?” Isn’t the temptation for “maybe just another” great, too? When does it stop? If you can’t be trusted with something small, how can you turn away from great temptation?

In the story of Jesus’s temptation, we see the way evil tries to work. First, Jesus was tempted to calm His hunger. Next, He was tempted to test God, by throwing Himself off a high point. Finally, Jesus was tempted to give up all His future glory for the ruling of the earthly realm, by worshiping the Evil One.

You can see how each temptation becomes worse and the sin deeper – a good reason Jesus told His followers, “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” (Matthew 26:41) In other words, be aware of what’s going on around you, and keep your focus on God, so sin doesn’t sneak into your life.

What happens when you give in to temptation

If we take something that isn’t ours, we could end up being punished by the law of the land, in hopes that we will learn our lesson. That’s bad enough, but even if we aren’t caught and have no earthly consequences, doesn’t the sin wear away at us? When someone continues in sin, they become immune to knowing the difference between good and evil, craving more and more; yet nothing will fill the void.

Worse, we disappoint God and other people if we give in to the temptation. Sin always hurts someone, even if it’s “just” ourselves – there are no “victimless crimes.” If you lie, cheat, or steal, you become a person people can’t trust. If you harm your own body, you hurt the people who depend on you.

Giving in to sin becomes the habit, and soon, your life – and your relationship with God – could be destroyed

God Gave Us A Way Out

Any new Christian has a host of sins to put behind them as they seek to live a godly lifestyle. More mature Christians must constantly assess their lives to make sure sin doesn’t creep in. It is just so easy to take the sinful way, especially if the sinful behavior is habit. But we can place our trust in Jesus, and believe in God’s Word that He will give us a way out.

The Bible tells us that Jesus “understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testing we do, yet He did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) As a human, Jesus experienced a sampling of all the sins and temptation that humanity falls prey to. He knows how we feel; He knows our weaknesses! So we can rely on His strength to get us past the trouble; we can use His goodness to distract ourselves from worldly evil. Jesus knew how hard it can be to turn away from temptation. When He taught His Disciples to pray (using what is now called The Lord’s Prayer), He addressed it by having them ask God, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One.” (Matthew 6:13) In other words, we’re to pray that God will spare us from times of trial. If He doesn’t, we ask that He help us makes the proper choice: to focus on Him and avoid the sin. Remember, it is set in stone that He won’t allow you to be tempted past your endurance. That means that any temptation you experience IS one you can turn away from. God has already given you the ability, and He is faithful .

Results of Turning from Temptation

Feeling temptation isn’t itself a sin. Jesus Himself experienced temptation, but “He did not sin.” He didn’t pretend He wasn’t feeling tempted; instead, He acknowledged it and dismissed the tempter.

When you see something you know you shouldn’t take, it is hard to pretend it is not there. Instead, understand how you are feeling, and make the conscious decision to choose God’s path for yourself. The more you make the right choice, the easier it becomes. Choosing to turn from temptation becomes a habit.

And most importantly, we eagerly expect God’s heavenly reward, which Jesus referred to in His Parable of the Talents. The Lord encourages us to invest well that which God has given us – we don’t want to squander His gifts by yielding to temptation. The master rewards his dependable servant, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)

Just for You

Jesus knows how we feel. Josh Hamilton talks about his fight with temptation.

Personal Help

Do you feel tempted and would like to talk with someone who could give you ideas about turning from temptation? We have trained, caring followers of Jesus who want to help you say “no” to sin! Just click here to share your story. You will hear from someone shortly!

Prayer Points

Will you pray this week that:
• That God will let you avoid times of temptation
• To praise God for providing escape from temptation
• That you will depend on God in times of trial
• That He will forgive you and help you to “do better next time,” if you sin
• To praise the Lord that He knows our hearts and understands our weaknesses

GodLife Family

Renew your faith every day and provide yourself a godly distraction from temptation by visiting the GodLife Facebook Page. It’s a place we can daily gather as a family to express ourselves and pray for one another!