Did you know, for us, we don’t think much about protection. If you look at Matthew 6:13, we’re supposed to be asking every day for the Lord to protect us and not to lead us into temptation. But we don’t really think that we’re in that much trouble. We don’t live in Afghanistan. We’re not in Syria. They’re not blowing everything up like in Libya, or in Lebanon, or in Iraq, or wherever all the bad stuff is. We’re here and we don’t need that much protection. Do you know, there are things worse than terrorists, and IED’s, and all that? There’s spiritual horror of temptations that can derail and disqualify us. We need protection.
That’s why, look at verse 13, “do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” What is the answer to such regular prayers for protection? God gave it to us right here, His word. What He tells us is temptation is as old and as deadly as it was in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. In fact, for just a minute, let’s go back to Genesis chapter 3. Go to the front of your Bible past whoever gave it to you and the title page, to Genesis 3. First book, third chapter.
What I want you to do is, I want you to see the crash site of humanity. I call it Tempted and Fallen: The Crash Site of Humanity, when humanity began this abysmal slide that we find ourselves in. As we turn to Genesis 3, most Bibles would identify the summary of this chapter as the fall of man or the original sin. In fact, all the small groups that I lead, we were all together going through the 52 greatest chapters, one a week in the Bible. Last week we did Genesis 1 and 2. This week we’re doing Genesis 3, so this is really on my mind. That’s why whatever’s on my mind slips into the message, but this is the crash site in chapter 3.
This is where all pain, all sorrow, every rebellion, all disasters, every disease, all wars, every murder, every theft, all terrorism, every hatred and injustice, and all death started. You realize that? This is Satan tempting and look what happened. All the evil we know started right here. As we sift through these verses and piece together what remains of the fall, we can see just what lies Satan told to tempt Eve. Then she brought it to Adam. What’s amazing is that parts of these same four lies will show up in some form or another in every temptation you and I face.
So, Genesis 3 and what I call this is: Satan’s Four Lies. That he will always plant a little seed in our mind. Those four lies are the underpinnings for the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is the broadcast channels that the devil uses. What are they?
Number one, the first one is doubt God’s word. In your Bible look at Genesis chapter 3 verse 1. It says, “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which LORD God had made. And he said to the woman…” We know something’s wrong there, because women shouldn’t listen to snakes. In fact, most women are afraid of snakes and most people are. We don’t like snakes, but you know that he was so beautiful and such an amazing creature that he talked to the woman. Look what he says, “Has God indeed said…” Just stop there. Satan wants for us to doubt God. If he can get us doubting God, then he can hack it and derail us. Remember what Satan does? He kills, and steals, and destroys.
Did you see this week about the guy in Philadelphia that hailed a policeman on a dark street, waving like he needed help and the policeman pulls over. He runs toward him and empties his guns through the passenger window, trying to assassinate the policemen. Did you know that gunner was hacked by Satan? When someone kills, when someone steals, when someone is a destroyer, Satan has got their attention and he is energizing them to do his will. How does he do that? We doubt God when we doubt His word, that’s the first attack. Satan wants us to believe, that God’s word is just like any other book. I read good books. I have all these books I want to read. I desperately want to read them and they’re all the same, and the Bible is just one of them. That’s dangerous. You ever meet people like that? The Bible is just one of many inputs in their life. Did you know that Satan’s plan just dilutes God. He’s just one of many avenues coming in. Satan wants us to believe God’s word is like any other book. It’s nice. It’s helpful. It’s not absolute. He wants us to question God’s word. He wants us to avoid God’s word. He wants us to neglect God’s word. Whatever it takes to get out of regular contact with the Lord.
Did you know that every time we opened the Bible, 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that when we open the Bible, it’s like opening a mirror. When we look in the mirror, we can see ourselves and in the background, we can see Christ. That’s what it says in 2 Corinthians 3:18. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.” We are changed. The only way I get changed is by looking in this book, seeing what I look like in God’s sight, and what Christ wants me to look like. Asking Him to change me. The process of change only comes through His word. It doesn’t come by New Year’s resolutions. It doesn’t come by me trying harder this year, by me getting in a course, or buying an app to tell me to do stuff. It comes by me wanting to meet with God. God says, I’ll meet you in my word. I’ll talk to you every time you open it. Satan says, I don’t want you to do that. I don’t want you to have regular contact with God. I want you to neglect God, avoid God. I want you to question God’s word. I want you to think God’s word is just like everything else, one voice in your life.
This is a direct attack on the character of God, because one of the great trues about our God is the moral attribute we know as; God is truth, Jesus is the word. Jesus is the word of God. You want to know Jesus? You know Him through His word. We are saved by the engrafted word. You find someone doesn’t have joy… Thy words were found, I ate them. They became to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. Do you know why there’s so many joyless Christians? It’s because they have everything else inputting their life but the source of joy, which is eating the word of God.
Satan doesn’t stop there. His second temptation is to doubt God’s goodness. Notice what he says at the end of verse 1. He said, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” What? You can’t eat from every tree of the garden. God said that? Why? What’s He hiding from you? Doesn’t God have your best interest in mind? Why would He limit you?
Did you know, we, as humans don’t like limits. We don’t like limitations. In fact, we don’t like rules, we don’t like fences, we don’t like speed limits, we don’t like laws. We are at the nature base level lawless. Satan feeds that in us. Satan wants us to doubt God’s goodness. He wants us to doubt God. When we doubt God, when we doubt His goodness, Satan wants us to believe that God is trying to hold out on us. That God is robbing us of some good times, God is out of touch with our needs. That God missed the disaster we went through. That God messed up in the way He made us, everything about that. You didn’t pick your family, God did. You didn’t pick your physical attributes and aspects, and even some of those unchangeable features. God picked all of them. Your folks did not, God did. There are a lot of people that think God messed up in the family He put them in, the body He put them in, the situation in life He put them in. He messed up and they doubt God’s goodness.
They think He’s out of touch with their needs. I hear that one all the time. I hear that all the time when couples are breaking up. One or the other is straying because they say that the other one isn’t meeting their needs. They justify their sin by saying that God isn’t meeting my needs in the way that He ordained through marriage and through that relationship, so they’re going to find it elsewhere. That is always doubting God, doubting God’s character of His goodness. It’s a direct attack on His character because one of the great truths about God is the moral attribute that God is good. He is the standard for good. He is the only one that knows what is good. He is the one that decides what is good. He is the one that gives what is good. We are the ones that are supposed to acknowledge and agree with Him. He says, what He gives is good.
But Satan’s not through. He actually hits Eve repeatedly with wave after wave. Look down in verse 4. Notice what he says in verse 4. Eve talks to him a little bit, which she shouldn’t have even started, but she goes on. She says, “You shall not eat it…” verse 3, “…nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” A little addition there. The Bible didn’t say don’t touch it, but she was just maybe looking at it, and wishing for it, and saying you shouldn’t even touch it. I don’t know. “Then the serpent said to the woman…” in verse 4, “…you will not surely die.” Directly opposing what God said. What Satan wants us to do is to doubt God. We doubt God when we doubt His authority. Satan wants us to believe that God is not in charge, that we are in charge, and God isn’t interested in what we choose. That we’re in charge of our choices and God will never make us accountable for our needs because we’re in charge. That’s Satan’s constant drumbeat. It’s a direct attack on the character of God, because one of the great truths about God is the moral attribute, we know that He is sovereign. He is the absolute and final authority on everything, and anything, and always. We either bow, and submit, and obey; or as Jesus said, depart from me you who practice lawlessness, you will not surrender to my word. You will not be my sheep to hear my voice and know me. Follow me, you’re following your own way not me. A Christian follows Christ, and an unsaved person goes their own way. There are only two settings. Having the son, following Him; not having the son, not following Him.
He goes on. The final one we’ll look at this morning, and you can read the rest of the chapter because that’s what we’re studying all week in our small groups, doubting God’s plan. What he says in verse 5, “For God knows,” that when you do what He’s trying to keep from you, “…that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He says, I want you to doubt God. We doubt God when we doubt His plan. Satan wants us to believe that there’s a better way to immortality. An easier way to Heaven. A quicker way to happiness. Again, this is attack on the very word of God. God said, my word is sufficient. That’s one of the attributes God has given to His word, it’s sufficient. It is complete. It’s what we need.
It’s all that we need for two things. In fact, the sufficiency of God’s word means that the word of God is everything God wants to tell us about how we should think about a particular doctrinal issue or what we should do in a particular situation that’s found in the scripture. What is in the scripture? Doctrine and situations that God has dictated our response. Those contain everything we need.
Now the Bible is not exhaustive. It doesn’t tell you how to change the oil in your model plane that you fly around, your hobby plane. It’s not a manual. It’s everything we need about doctrine and about our response to situations that God addresses in life and it’s sufficient. God has a wonderful and perfect plan. He has revealed it in His word. Every time we open the word, we hear His plan. The question is not, does God speak? The question is, do we listen? Are we listening to Him? Are we wanting His plan? That’s a daily choice, that’s part of wanting His protection, knowing His plan, knowing what He wants. God wants us to be listening to Him as He speaks.
Let’s do it this morning before we go. It’s almost time to go. Let’s go to 1 Corinthians chapter 10, because I want you to specifically hear God speak and respond to it this morning. 1 Corinthians 10, we started this last week. We finished it this week. Satan’s ancient method is still at work. Seeking to bring us to forgetfulness of God, to distance from His word, to the dreadful damage that always does to our life, that’s Satan’s goal. How do we stay protected by God from Satan? The answer is always the same, listening to God through His word and responding. Not merely being hearers but doers of what He says. The scriptures tell us, as God speaks to us through His word in verse 13 of chapter 10 of 1 Corinthians, that God is faithful. God already knows the avenues. He already knows the playbook. He already knows Satan’s triggers that he can use to detonate forgetfulness and disobedience to God. He knows what it is. He knows how Satan operates. He knows our flaws and where Satan can hack in.
We’re really getting into the hacking world. 2015 had the largest breaches, the largest hacks ever known. The US government has been hacked so many times, it’s terrible. The White House got hacked by the Russians this year. Target, do you remember all that? It’s been a big year. They’re now hacking drones. They’re now hacking the self-driving car, the Google car. People in Silicon Valley are hacking it and driving it away from Google control. Everybody wants to hack, but it’s old. Coming and overpowering the operating system is what Satan has always done. That’s what spiritual warfare is. Satan hacking in, and corrupting, and putting malicious ware into our operating systems.
God has told us the protection. God is faithful. He’s warned us of the ways the devil always uses to try and hack into our system and derail us from serving God. Satan is the one who seeks to devour us, but he uses the old playbook. The more we study temptation, it’s amazing. The details that God gives us for how Satan operates, and how we can resist him and not get devoured by. 1 Corinthians 10:13 is where we see the answer. Matthew 6:13 is answered in 1 Corinthians 10:13. Isn’t that amazing? The answer is what we’re going to read this morning.
Now it’s time for our scripture reading. Are you in 1 Corinthians 10:13? Let’s all stand, we’ll see who I’ve put to sleep. They’re the ones that don’t stand, look around you. I’m teasing. I used to do that when I was a professor, I used to catch the sleepers by just saying in a quiet voice. Okay, let’s all stand please. It’s terrible, I’ve just been bad.
1 Corinthians 10:13. This is where we meet God Himself. The faithful one watching over us, seeking to come to our aid the instant we ask Him. This is the best news to all of us who are tempted. Now, whoever we all are, this is the best news possible. Follow along. 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you…” Just for a minute, look up. I’m not reading from the Bible, but I have a phonographic mind. That means what I think about, I talk about. I can’t read that verse without seeing the rear view mirror in the Jeep that I was allowed to look at through Steven Spielberg’s eyes. At that moment in the Jeep, there was a man driving it and all of a sudden Spielberg’s camera went in on that rear view mirror. All you saw, and those of you that have seen that, know what I mean, you could see coming from behind a gigantic dinosaur with its mouth open this wide. It’s coming right to the Jeep and just then the guy looks up, sees it, gets it in gear and escapes.
Now look back at verse 13. “No temptation has overtaken you,” running up with a tooth filled mouth ready to devour you, which is what the devil is. The devil is running behind us, ready to devour us. There’s no time of that happening “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.”
Let’s bow for prayer.
Father, I pray that we would know that today, when our adversary the devil is swooping in to devour us again and we look in that rear view mirror and we see him overtaking us, I pray that we would look at you because you are right on site, managing the situation. You have made the way of escape, so we do not have to be devoured. We do not have to be defiled. We do not have to be once again in the ditch of our own crashing, giving in, and yielding to temptation. You are faithful. I pray you’d teach us to look for you today and every day. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.
You may be seated. Don’t go, we’re not done. Calvary goes 15 more minutes. Number one, let’s just go through the verse. The first phrase of verse 13 says this, we all face the same temptation. There is no temptation that’s overtaken you, but such as is common to man. God waits through every day to answer this sixth petition.
The first thing He wants us to know is that you and I have not receive today a superhuman temptation that no one else has ever faced. There are not superhuman temptations. Everything we face is what all humans have always faced. Nothing we face is ever supernatural, it is common and none of it is impossible to bear. God wouldn’t even let an impossible one come our way.
That’s not all. We can’t ever blame what we do on the devil because we only face common, ordinary, normal human temptations, and we never face anything that’s more than we can bear.
What the Lord wants us to know is He’s already prepared in His word, that we’re supposed to be reading, He’s already prepared us for how to escape that temptation. Do you see why reading the Bible is so important? If Satan was as vivid to us as Spielberg’s dinosaurs and if we paid as much attention to the Bible, as we do to the movies we pay so much to watch, then we would have a more realistic view of how dangerous temptation is. Satan wants to devour us and that is worse than be eaten by something from the Mesolithic era. It’s horrific. It has endless consequences.
We need to realize that there are no new strains of SIN viruses, but the question is; if the medicine or vaccine is in the medicine chest that will protect us from Satan’s attack, why don’t we use them? What good are they when we need them? Jesus said we are to live by every word of God, Matthew 4:4. Now the question is, are you immersing yourself in the only antidote to our adversary, the devil, devouring us? The only way to ward him off, which is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. That’s why Luther said, “the Prince of Darkness grim, We tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, For lo! his doom is sure…”. the next line… “One little word,” what? “Will fell him.” See, Satan knows the power of the sword of the Spirit.
What is the sword of the Spirit? Here it is, right here. It’s trusting the faithfulness of God. Believing God’s word. Look back at what verse 13 says. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful.” God has made a promise, I won’t allow you to be tempted beyond what you’re able. 1 Corinthians 10:13 is a call to all of us who know and love the Lord, to look for God in the time of temptation. Whenever one of those old temptations, Satan uses, gets thrown at us we can be sure God is faithful. You know what that means? God has promised that He will always be on site when the temptation hits. He doesn’t leave us. He isn’t at a distance. He’s there, going through it with us. He is faithful.
Basically, what we can say is this, God promised. This it’s a promise. That’s what trusting the Lord is. He knows our load limit. He’s measured how much we can bear. Every trial and temptation we face, He says, I promised to always be there.
I promised to be there making an exit for you before you get overwhelmed and devoured. He’s waiting to show us the way out. We will never face a situation that we won’t be able to handle. God has promised that. See? What we have to do is trust God. We have to believe Him. And then look for Him. See what happens is, we get fixated on the temptation and the longer we look at it, the more it entrances us. Because Satan is saying, God’s not good. There’s no consequence. Did God really say not to do it? No, you won’t die. He just keeps whispering. Those are those fiery darts of the evil one.
What we’re supposed to do is, always remember God is there. That’s the end of the verse. Look what it says. “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 were able,” but look at this, “but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear. It.” There’s a huge truth in this verse that we need to stop and lay a hold of. You know what it is? God is there all the time. God is always there. It’s not us facing off with that devil that’s trying to devour us. It’s God with us, expectantly looking at us, saying are you going to ask for my help? Are you going to ask for my intervention? Are you going to follow the doorway of escape I’ve made for you? He’s looking right at us in every temptation. We’re looking at the temptation and God is looking right at us, waiting for us to just turn, and look, and say your faithful… what’s the way out of this? The longer we meditate on this verse, the bigger the shadow looming over us becomes. That shadow is none other than the shadow of the One who made the promise. In order to do everything this verse says, God has to actually manage his promise on site. He is not distant. He’s never closer than when we’re tempted. It is God who towers over this passage. God is there all the time. Every trial we face has a clearly marked exit and God Himself is standing ready to usher us out of danger.
The lesson this morning is, God is always there. How have you allowed that truth to sink in? We all know what our besetting sins are. Besetting sins are preceded with besetting temptations. Besetting temptations are preceded by trials. The trial is, do I like the way God made me? Do I like how things are going in life? Do I like what is going on? Or do I think I can run it better then God. I’m tried with that doubting whether God is really in touch with my life. Doubting whether He’s good. Doubting whether His plan is right. Doubting whether He even has the authority to tell me. That’s the trial. Satan says, God’s not good, He’s withholding from you. Go for it. God on-site, in the presently, goes through next to us. Awaiting us crying out to Him.
Before we go, I have enough minutes, I want to read this. Have you allowed that truth to sink into your soul and become part of your operating system? God has told us He’s faithful. Whenever we think we’re alone, we’re not alone. We never face the adversary, the prowling lion called the Devil alone, God has already measured and limited the attack He’ll allow the world, and the flesh, and the Devil to make upon us. He has already provided an escape route if we’ll only look for it and take it. If we were alone in facing temptation, we would be hopelessly defeated, but God knows that. So, He is always there. All the time. All the way. Every time. And has the best way marked out for us. That’s our faithful God.
Now, this is what I want to read. Warren Wiersbe, pastor down at Moody Memorial for many years and the writer of many books, told a story when he was a pastor. He said, this dad called him and said that his son had been picked on by two or three bullies, who had punched him, pushed him over on his bike, and generally made his life miserable. They told the little boy that the next morning they were going to wait for him on the way to school and ambush him. So, the little guy and his broken, damaged bike, and his scraped up-ness came home.
That evening, his dad heard the story and so he worked with him. He showed him a few self-defense techniques. He passed off a few helpful techniques for escape. He even gave him a few tips on how to win over the bullies as friends. And went through a long night. The next morning, the lad and the dad prayed together. The boy knew the inevitable was sure to happen, but reassuringly his father embraced him and gave him a firm handshake, smiled to him confidently, and said son, you can do it. You’re going to make it fine to school, don’t worry.
Choking back the tears. The boy got on his bike and began the long, lonely, fearsome ride to school. But what he didn’t know was that at every block he rode, he was constantly under the watchful eye of his dad who was driving his car at a safe distance from his son, out of his sight. But ever ready to speed up and to completely assist when the scene became too threatening. The boy thought through the whole journey he was alone, but he never was. His father was there all the time.
Now, Wiersbe is as a great writer but what he’s reminding us of is what the Lord’s prayer says. Our Father, who is in Heaven, said you are never alone. I am going through life, and I will never lead you into temptation. I will always lead you out. You have to choose whether you’re going to turn and look at your Father, or if you’re going to stay looking at your temptation, and doubting that your Father is good, and wise, and powerful, and whether or not He has the authority to tell you not to do that. That’s the choice of life.
We’re supposed to pray for each other, that we’ll look for our Father. He’s always there. Let’s stand for our closing word of prayer. It’s time to go. We do have to clear the auditorium, but we’re not in a rush, we have 15 minutes. If you have come here this morning and you say, you’re talking about God in a way I don’t know. God is distant. I don’t know Him like that. Father? I don’t know that He’s my Father. Did you know, at the end of this service are always men and women that will be here. Men and women of God that will be standing in the front. Usually, they have a Bible tucked under their arm and stand like this. They’re smiling and they’re looking at you. I watch, they look at people and people turn away… they’re not coming forward, they don’t want to give the wrong impression. The ones that are here are waiting for you if you need to get started this New Year in your walk with God. If you don’t even know Him, they could lead you to Him.
Maybe you have like many have, right where you’re sitting, cried out to the Lord and reached out to Him. Said, I call on the name of the Lord. I want you to save me, forgive me, but you’re not sure how to get started in this new life. They’d love to help you. Maybe you’ve been overwhelmed and maybe fell in the ditch this week, or last week, or sometime. You just need someone to come alongside you and help you and pray for you. You just want to share that burden, that’s why they’re here. That’s why Calvary is here. We are here to administer, and proclaim, and share the truth of God that sets us free.
Let’s bow for a word of prayer.
Father, thank you for the glorious gospel, that we can come to be in your family. We can be born again, and become your sons and daughters, and have a living hope. You are our Father and you are there all the time. I pray that we would turn and seek you in our time of need, take your way of escape, and find that you’re faithful. In the name of Jesus we pray. And all God’s people said, Amen.