#9  (The “Great Escapes” Series)




TEXTS:       James 1:12-15   1 Cor. 10:13


INTRO:       Temptation is a common thread among us as human beings!  Some of the biggest battles you will deal with in your life involve the process of temptation.  The best policy when you give in to temptation and sin is to quickly repent and admit you’re wrong and set a new course of action.


ILLUS:    The wrong approach to failure is demonstrated by the little boy who was caught eating cookies out of the cookie jar after having been told he could not have any.  His response to his mom; "I really wasn't going to eat any mom, I just climbed up to smell the cookies, you didn't say I couldn't smell them, and while smelling them somehow my teeth got caught on several of them and they wouldn't fall off!" – Source Unknown


Much of the sorrow in our lives is the result of having submitted to temptations of sin.  Those who learn to resist temptation will realize a strong happy Christian life.


PROP. SENT:   Though we all are tempted to sin God has clearly said that He will always provide a way out if we are willing to take it, we can ESCAPE FROM TEMPTATION!


I.  EXTERNAL TRIALS   James 1:12


A.   Remaining Steady   1:12a

1.   The phrase translated in the NIV "…perseveres under trial," literally means "enduring temptation." (KJV uses this)

a.   It is the same Greek word used here as in verse 13 where "tempted" is used.

b.   The difference here is between EXTERNAL temptations that are allowed by God to build character in us and internal temptations that come from our sinful nature that tend to destroy us!

2.   The man who “endures temptation” ... or better, “perseveres under trial,” is "BLESSED" or happy because of the fruit or character that it builds into his life.

3.   While God may use and allow trials or temptations to exist from external sources for the expressed purpose of building our faith and character HE NEVER tempts us to sin!

4.   The idea here is like with Job ... God clearly allowed Satan to tempt Job, this made it an “external” temptation ... coming not from within Job's heart but coming from Satan.  God allowed this knowing that Job would grow and God's knowledge would be increased on the earth through the experience!

5.   The call when tempted externally is to remain steady or endure!

6.   These kinds of temptations or trials are to prove our character, not destroy it!


ILLUS:    When the Union-Pacific railroad was under construction an elaborate trestle bridge was built over a certain large canyon in the west as part of the plan to connect St. Louis and California.  Before opening it to traffic it was put to a test.  A train was loaded with extra cars and equipment to double its normal payload, then it was driven out into the middle of the bridge and parked there for a whole day.  One worker complained, "Are you trying to break this bridge?"  "No," said the engineer.  "I'm trying to prove that the bridge is unbreakable." – Source Unknown


B.   Reward & Satisfaction   1:12b

1.   The kinds of trials and temptations that we face that do not come from within our fallen nature allow us the opportunity to not only grow but to experience the rewards and satisfaction that comes from victory over them!

2.   The rewards of resisting temptations include the freedom from many of sins consequences, often those consequences are terrible!

3.   Each successful trial we endure without caving into temptation to sin adds a greater and greater sense of strength and approval from God and with man!

4.   The rewards of a disciplined life are many!

5.   To those who overcome these external temptations the promise in James 1:12 is the “crown of life!”

a.   This is the greatest reward for those who don't yield to such external temptations, a reward that will not quit!

b.   Perseverance has eternal rewards and satisfaction!


II.  ENTICING TEMPTATION   James 1:13-15   1 Cor. 10:13


A.   Recognize Source   1:13-14a   1 Cor. 10:13a

1.   The greatest struggles against temptation however come not from external sources as much as it does from INTERNAL sources – our fallen nature!

2.   Even Satan cannot be blamed for temptations that arise from our fallen nature, such things as lust, greed, selfishness, etc. spring up from within us.

3.   These sources of temptation stem from the nature we inherited by birth through the fall in Eden by Adam and Eve.

4.   It is important that we are honest about our real nature, we can be tempted to sin by just what lies within us, we are sinners by nature!


ILLUS:    For years scientists were puzzled about apples that had worms in them but had no breaks in the surface of the apple!  How did they get inside when there did not appear any outward signs of entrance?  What they discovered was that a certain worm lays its eggs right on the apple blossom in Spring, and as the apple develops it encases the egg right from the beginning.  Later when the apple nears it complete maturing process so does the insect egg, it hatches and eats its way out from the inside! – Source Unknown


5.   The seed of sin was planted in us early in creation by Adam and Eve, ever since then it has been found in the heart of each human at birth, eating its way out in our thoughts and actions as we grow!

6.   Too often we want to blame Satan for our yielding to sin, but even he can't be blamed all the time!


ILLUS:    Satan was said to have this conversation with God one day, he was complaining about being bored!  "Almighty God, I want you to know how bored I am!" complained Satan.  "All day I go through the earth wanting to tempt people only to find there's nothing to do!  There isn't a stitch of work for me to do!" God responded, "I don't understand you! ... There are plenty of people, how can you say you have nothing to do?"  Satan responded, "Lead people into sin … before I get the chance to say a word to anyone they have already gone and sinned!" – Source Unknown


7.   James makes it clear that sin finds expression from us even without Satan's help, it can come from within!

a.   Honesty in acknowledging this fact can help us be alert to the process and help us fight it!

b.   1 Cor. 10:13 makes it clear also that this is a common experience among all people!

c.   No one is exempt from this inner pull toward sin!

d.   "Crucifying this old man" is a daily process even for believers!

8.   It is important for us to know that God NEVER tempts us to sin ... NEVER!

a.   He cannot be tempted to sin by His very nature of Holiness.

b.   So He cannot tempt us to sin ... He allows trials, but only to make us stronger!


B.   Resist Sin!    James 1:14b-15   1 Cor. 10:13b

1.   James now describes the 3 stage process of how sin takes hold of us and destroys us:

a.   Desire

b.   Sin

c.   Death

2.   The time to conquer sin before its ugly consequences take hold is at the first stage:  DESIRE

a.   God has created us with emotions: love, joy, anger, sadness, excitement, etc.

b.   Because of Adam’s sin and the warp to our nature through sin these same emotions have another side to them:

(1.  Love is twisted to lust.

(2.  Joy is twisted to selfish pleasure.

(3.  Anger over right things becomes anger for the wrong things.

(4.  Sadness twists into despair.

(5.  Excitement over good things changes to twisted pleasure over sinful things etc.

c.   At this stage sin has not yet expressed itself ... it is here where sin can be avoided by a planned escape.

3.   The best approach to avoiding “desire” becoming sin when it begins to grow in you is to RESIST it by getting away from it!


ILLUS:     Like the senior pastor who told his handsome new assistant pastor to avoid the dangers of immorality in the ministry.  The assistant pastor quite sure of himself said, "I'll do much of my socializing in groups, there is safety in numbers."  The wise senior pastor however responded, "Yes, there is safety in numbers, but there is more safety in Exodus!"  Flee if necessary! – Source Unknown


4.   When improper desires strike, take your eyes off of whatever it is that is creating the desire and get your eyes on Christ.  Too often we sit and stare at temptation and try to “intellectualize” the event, thinking we are strong enough to do this!  The longer you look at it, the more the temptation level is going to increase.  If you're not looking at it, you might be able to get away from it!


ILLUS:     Like those who train dogs for a living; to discipline a dog into listening to the orders of the master instead of their own desires they will take a piece of meat and place it on the ground near the dog.  As soon as the dog realizes the wonderful piece of meat is there desire will kick in full steam.  At this point the trainer will yell, "NO!"  As the dog attempts to go toward it the master will repeat over and over again "NO!"  What does the dog do?  The dog will usually take his eyes off the meat and stare in the eyes of his master ... by doing this they yield to the power of the master because the pull from the meat is no longer in their sight!  They will often continue to stare at their master waiting for the ok ... if they take their eyes off the master they are likely to be overcome by desire and ignore their master's commands!  Dogs can be smarter than humans when it comes to fighting desires! – Source Unknown


5.   Avoid dwelling on the desire, it may just enhance it!

6.   If desire is nourished it will grow until it is birthed into existence!  Stop feeding it if you want it to die!


ILLUS:    One little girl found a unique way to successfully overcome sinful desires in her heart.  She applied a visual game that went like this: “When Satan comes knocking at my heart's door I send Jesus to answer the door ... when Satan sees Jesus he says, ‘oops, I am sorry, I must have the wrong house.’”  Instead of dwelling on the desire she turns it over to the Lord! – Source Unknown


7.   Desire nurtured will give birth to sin next ... the second stage of this process of temptation.

a.   At this stage tragedy results, evil is expressed; people are hurt, actions that result in pain and loss occur.

b.   Sin is now out in the open, it has been "born" for all to see.

c.   Even at this stage however we can recover ... by repentance and confession we can at least recover to start over again!

d.   While it is true that repentance may bring forgiveness sometimes the consequence of such sinful actions remain ... even at times throughout a lifetime!

e.   At this point God still offers an ESCAPE ... His shed blood on Calvary allows us the opportunity to be forgiven if we confess our sin and acknowledge it!  Recovering is assured to those who seek God and renewal of the heart and mind is promised!

8.   The final stage comes to those however who fail to escape in the earlier stages, this final stage has no recovery possible!  Thus it is a great tragedy to be avoided!  The final stage is DEATH ... eternal & spiritual death!

a.   Notice how this is contrasted to verse 12 where the “crown of life” is promised to those who endure temptation!

b.   When sin has fully matured ... meaning its existence throughout one’s lifetime without repentance, it will bring forth spiritual death, and finally hell!

c.   It is a great tragedy that some will follow the 3 stage process of temptation to its ugly conclusion!

d.   At this final stage there is no hope ... this is after the fact, beyond this life.  While there is still life now there is still hope!

e.   Escape from temptation must take place before this final stage is reached!

9.   In 1 Cor. 10:13 Paul tells us that God will ALWAYS make a way of escape for those who look for one ... NO ONE HAS TO SIN!   WE DO NOT HAVE TO YIELD TO TEMPTATION!


CONCLUSION:   The temptation to sin never comes from God, He is not a tease!  The lure to sin comes from our fallen nature or appetites.  Though temptation is real, we can resist the temptation to sin, God promises to always make a way to escape (1 Cor. 10:13)!  We are to endure outward trials (James 1:12) but to resist inward temptations (James 1:13-15).  Success brings the “crown of life” (James 1:12), failure gives birth to death! (James 1:15)  Take the great escape God gives you!  Jesus is the ultimate escape route.