Shine: Being a Light in the Darkness – Part 1
Pastor Stephen Hayes
Sunday Aug 5, 2018
Main Idea– Each of us is faced with temptations. When Satan presents us with a temptation, he is testing the confidence we have in our identity as a one of God’s children. We can reassert that confidence by using God’s Word – just as did Jesus - when we are tempted.
Experience with darkness
- God is light. Jesus is light.
- When we move away from the light, we move into darkness and are more susceptible to temptations offered by Satan.
- Everyone has experienced temptations. Because we have experienced darkness we know what we are up against; we know what we are fighting.
- Being tempted is not a sin. It is an opportunity to lean on Jesus and pass a test. With temptations, we have an opportunity to graduate to another level.
Three types of temptations
- In sight – these are obvious temptations that everyone is aware of and can see. This is the easiest type to resist.
- In secret – temptations of which only an individual is aware.
- Inside – temptations only God can see.
- The great majority of Jesus’ recorded words speak of Heaven and of the positive things of God. Very few of Jesus’ words reference Satan or evil.
- Therefore, we should continually focus on the positive things of God. With God, there is an abundance of blessings. There is only a single source of cursing – the devil. Genesis 12:3 – I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
- God made an unbreakable covenant agreement with us through His blessing of Abraham: that we would all receive God’s abundant blessings and would therefore be a blessing to others.
We are in a fight
- Even though we have an unbreakable covenant with God, we still are in a continual fight against evil.
- Ephesians 6:12 – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Fight back with God’s Word
- As with any competition or fight, it takes training to be competitive against temptations. 1 Corinthians 9: 24-26 – Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
- Jesus taught us to pray, and to continually rely on God, even as we train ourselves to be stronger in the Word. Matthew 6:9 & 13 – “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name . . . And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. ”
- When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, He relied on Scripture to fight the devil’s temptations.
- Jesus was not by himself: He had the Holy Spirit with him in the desert; just as each of us continually has the Holy Spirit with us.
- Read your Bible, study the Word, so that when temptation comes to you you can fight it using the Word.
- When temptation comes, don’t worry about quoting Scripture word-for-word. Simply declare in your own words what you know Scripture says.
Satan tempted Jesus in three ways
- A threat to sustenance - Matthew 4: 2-4 – And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread,” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ “
- A threat to influence - Matthew 4: 5-7 – Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you.’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
- A threat to power and authority - Matthew 4: 8-10 – Again the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
- In each case, Satan presented Jesus with a challenge to His identity. Satan was tempting Jesus to question His own connectivity to the Father.
- Satan tempts us to question our own connectivity to God because this connectivity is something he does not have.
- All temptations essentially boil down to a challenge to our connectivity to God.
It’s normal to question God
- It is normal for us to question God when we are experiencing trials and temptations.
- Even John the Baptist questioned his own connectivity to God when he was in prison at the end of his life on earth. Matthew 11:2-3 – And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
- As we do this questioning, we should know God is not the one doing the tempting.Nevertheless, He always provides a way out of it for us. James 1: 12-15 – Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
God is always for you
- In every situation, God is always for you.He is on your side.
- No human, nor other created being, can beat you.
- Stay close to God. Learn and study His Word. Use His Word as your defense when you are challenged or tempted by evil.
- Romans 8: 31-39 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Reflective Questions for Shine: Being a Light in the Darkness, Part 1
- Have you ever thought about the temptations in your life as being small parts of an on-going fight?
- What does it take to win a fight?
- If you know a fight is coming, how do you prepare?
- What are some things a person can do to become better at knowing how to use God’s Word?
- Do you agree with Pastor Stephen’s encouragement to not worry about having to quote Scripture word-for-word when fighting the devil? Why or why not?
- How do you think God will assist you as you learn to effectively use His Word against evil?