Tested and Tempted

Home » Sermons » Blessed » Tested and Tempted

Auto Generated Transcript

You know what I want. I want to invite you to turn to Genesis chapter 12. We’re in a series together called blessed, and we’re studying them in a significant portion of Scripture. Genesis chapter 12. Abraham. Uh, call or excuse me. God calls Abraham and tells him that he wants him to leave the land of earth to go to the land of Canaan, and that he will bless him. He will multiply him. He’ll create a nation through him and through Abraham. All nations will be blessed. The. The Bible uses the Abrahamic covenant as a backdrop to the explanation, really, is how the Bible is going to play out and God’s identifying for us the place where the Messiah would come, as he calls Abraham. He points to us, the people group through which he would work through and recognizes for us, through that people group and through this person, uh, trusting in the Lord God is going to supply for our need by bringing a Savior. The backdrop to Abraham’s life in Genesis. Chapter 12 gives a wonderful insert of God coming into Abraham’s life by his grace, not by anything Abraham has done. Abraham worships false gods with his family. Abraham experiences God’s grace in his life, and God blesses Abraham through his grace. And Abraham begins to take steps of faith and following after the Lord. And if you’re like me, one of the things that you find out as soon as you begin walking with Jesus, it’s just because you walk with Jesus doesn’t mean everything’s perfect.

In fact, what you find is that there are maybe even additional complications in following Christ before you followed the Lord. Because as a sinful person, doing whatever you wanted to please yourself apart from the Lord, it’s easy to live a life that gives in to whatever temptation you want. But when you start walking with Jesus, it’s important to learn how to align your life with his. And some of the things that maybe you pursued in life, the hopes and dreams that you had, you realize are short of what God’s goal is for your life. And it’s far under anything that you could imagine as far as what God has for your life. But you can’t do it. Apart from God’s grace in your life. And so, in our Christian faith, as we follow after the Lord, what we find is it’s got a lot of ups and downs learning the consistency of exercising our faith in God. And I would say our faith has a both trials and temptations that we face. I’m going to give us a backdrop to the thought of what trials and temptations are about. Because when we come to Abraham’s life, there’s a it’s important for for an understanding to the text as it relates to what he does and his walk with the Lord. But have you have you considered what is what is a trial? What is a temptation? What is the difference between the two? I would say a test becomes a temptation or a trial becomes a temptation when you lust for something outside of the Lord’s will.

Whether or not you face a scenario as a temptation rather than a test is really in some sense up to you. In fact, James chapter four, verse seven says this submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you or thee, if you like King James. Submit yourself to God, talks about the thought of trials in life and our faith and submitting to him. But the devil comes in with temptations, and if we resist the devil submitting to God’s will, then we find ourselves not giving in to temptations, but rather experiencing maybe trials. So let me give this differentiating idea within our mind. We experience temptations when our goal is to please ourselves. Temptation is all about self pleasure. We experienced trials as our goal is to please the Lord. We find the strength to escape temptations in surrendering to God. In James chapter four, it says that and again in first Corinthians ten and verse 13, the Bible says, no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you are able to bear. But when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can endure it.

When it comes to temptations. The author, according to Scripture, is is not the Lord. Temptations are all about failure. Temptations come into your life for the sole purpose of or what it produces is sin, and in sin is death. Temptations are all about failure. When God brings a trial or a test in your life, the the primary basis of it is not failure. Look at some verses on that in just a minute. But Satan is God, author of temptation because temptation is lie. Failure. In chapter four, when job and goes into the outer darkness, it tells us that he is weathered by the devil, something 13 verse three, it says he is the tempter. In James chapter one and verse 12 and describing trials and temptations. Verse 12 says this blessed is a man who perseveres under trials or tests. For once 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 being tempted by God. For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he’s carried away and enticed by his own lust. And so that’s an important thought of temptation. James says here, yes, God allows us to go through trials, but God does not produce us or produce temptations for us to go through.

God does not want us to go through temptations and give give over to temptations, because the birth of temptations is all about sin. And so he says something important in verse 14, every temptation you face doesn’t fall squarely on the devil. Let me just say, just because you sin doesn’t mean you get to say, the devil made me do it. I had a niece who liked to do things when we were little kids and always get in trouble, and then she’d always turn to her grandparents or whoever was watching us and just confess the devil. The devil made her do it. That’s what she would say. The devil made you do it. Well, the truth is that we have a sinful nature in our bodies, and you don’t have to teach a kid to, uh, to not share. You don’t have to teach a kid to throw fits. There’s just something within them. All of a sudden you’re going to the grocery store. As a parent, you realize whatever is coming out of that kid is ugly. What am I doing? What did I do wrong as a parent? Well, it’s this nature within us that draws us to temptation. Now, I’ll say it may not be directly the devil, but it’s certainly demonic influence because it’s a part from the Lord. Temptations are all about pleasing ourselves rather than God.

What it says in James chapter one and verse two is important to recognize when it comes to trials. He says this consider all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Now, I know we could come to this question and ask, why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? And I will. I will first say, there’s no such thing as as good people according to what Scripture says, but that’s a too large of a question for me to answer this morning. What I want to just deal with is trials. God allows trials. We’ll give way later to explain why trials come into our lives, but God allows us to go through trials, not temptations. The reason is God doesn’t desire for you to fail, but God uses trials to expose to you where your faith truly lies. It’s been cleverly said that a faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted. Meaning it’s not until your faith really costs you something that you know. Your faith in Christ is genuine. And so God uses trials not to reveal to himself what you’re going to do in the midst of a trial. God already knows how you’re going to respond. But God uses trials to reveal to you where your faith really lies.

And so God uses to about within our lives to exercise our faith will to show us where his tendency rests in verse in him or else. Proverbs three five and six says, trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not unto your own understanding, and all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path. May they may. The bigger question I ask about trials and temptations is, is there something that can happen in your life that would cause you not to follow Jesus anymore? Whatever it is. If there is something. And asking the question, is my faith in this rather than Christ? God uses trials to expose where our hope is. James. Excuse me first Peter chapter one and writing to the persecuted church, Peter says this, that the proof of your faith being more precious than gold, which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in the praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. And maybe some hopeful news for us this morning comes in Philippians one six, for I am confident of this very thing that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Meaning. God knows your faith has ups and downs. God knows you’re not perfect. If if he expects you to be perfect, he would have never sent Jesus. But God does want you to be holy.

And God wants you to learn in the midst of whatever happens in the world around you. Trust in Christ. Do what the Lord has called you to do and leave the results up to him. Genesis chapter 12 as that story of Abraham, of a man who goes through testing and temptations. Records. For us, a narrative of his actions is not giving an excuse for him. It’s just simply saying, this is what happens in the life of Abraham. The good news for us when Abraham starts his journey to Genesis chapter 12, verses 1 to 3, is that Abraham did nothing to earn God’s favor, and God gave him his grace. And God blessed Abraham apart from his pursuing and temptations and worshipping false gods. And Abraham is called from the land of Ur of Chaldeans, which is modern day Iraq, to the land of Canaan, where God promises him this land to bless him and bless all nations through him. And so he says in verse four, So Abraham went, as the Lord had told him, and lot went with him. Abraham was 75 years old when he set out for from Haran. So we stop here and just say, it doesn’t matter how old or young you are. God is always growing us. God is always challenging us. God is always desiring for us to draw near to him and enjoy him in the life that he’s given us.

And so in verse five, he took his wife Sarah, and his nephew lot, and all the possessions that he accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. The interesting thing about where we’re picking up in the story today is that Abraham is not in her. He’s in, I should say Haran. Abraham at some point had already left Aaron. By the time we get to Genesis chapter four, he’s in this land of Haran. What is Abraham doing in Haran rather than Canaan? Well, in acts chapter seven and verse two, it tells us that Abraham was called when he was in Mesopotamia, which is the land of ur, before he lived. The last part of the verse in verse two says, before he lived in Haran in Genesis chapter 11 and verse 31, it also tells us not only that God called Abraham, but he’s also calling Terah Abraham’s father. Terah took his son Abram, his grandson lot, son of Haran, and his daughter in law Sarah, and the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out for the land for ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there. So somewhere along this journey, they recognize that what God has called them to do is go to the land of Canaan. But what they end up doing is stopping short of where God has called them.

This happens to all of us. We think of a relationship with the Lord, and then we treat it like 75% is good, right? Abraham on this journey stops short of Haran, and I’ve read all kinds of commentaries on this. But Jewish Christian commentators and what they’re saying about the circumstance, whether or not it was the right thing for Abraham to do, I mean, his father was older in years and couldn’t travel as well. So they stopped short in Haran, and his father passed away before Abraham got back up on his journey in Genesis chapter 12 and verse four. And so it wasn’t it wasn’t wrong what Abraham did. That’s what some people have said. And then others say this, um. Abraham was disobedient to God. And I believe Abraham wasn’t following what the Lord had called him to in this passage. Let me tell you why. First. First has to do with archaeological understanding. And that is when when archaeologists have uncovered this region of Mesopotamia and just the history that’s happened there, what they’ve found is in the land of ur, they worshiped a God called sin, who was the moon God also called Gnaana. In certain civilizations and people, the the land of Ur was considered one of the primary places on the earth. If you wanted to go worship the moon God, they had a beautiful place built there for dedication and worship.

To him. There was only one other place where such a beautiful temple was built for worship and dedication to the moon God. Do you know where that is? Huron. I think Abraham and Terah were on this journey, and it wasn’t necessarily an easy, I think, journey. It is a place in which his life comfortable. And so they settled there. Second reason that it was such he was short of God’s calling in her his cousin. Genesis chapter 11 and verse 31, God just didn’t call Abraham. He was calling Tura to. And he stops short of where God had called them to in the land of Canaan. The comfort of what they were before. And the settling for what had God called them to? And they just found themselves in this place apart from the Lord. Hebrews chapter five and verse 11 describes a similar tendency of us as people. Paul is saying, just like Abraham, we we can relate to this as people. It says concerning him we have much to say. As it is, it is hard to explain since you have become dull of hearing. For though by the time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God. And you have come to need milk and not solid food. And saying to us, you know, Abraham’s not different than us. God calls you on a journey to.

And what happens to us on our journey. Circumstances become our excuses, the temptations of life around us. They may even sound pretty to us, but they’re they’re not clear as what God has said to us. And so what they do is they doll her mind. This word dull literally means to become lazy or not a part of this. Not a part of what the bigger picture is that God desires to do. At some point you get off the rail and you got placed on the bench. But what God has imagined and what God has called you to is far greater. And what I should say for us as people, sometimes we talk about what we talk about God’s will like it’s this big, giant mystery of what the Lord wants us to do. But I have the tendency to say to think this way according to what the Bible says in Romans chapter 12, verse one two and three, it says, I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercy of God, you present your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable act of service. Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and perfect will of God. Meaning God’s will is not a mystery. The only part of God’s will that remains a mystery to me is the part where I don’t give to him.

Now may be true. You might be looking for direction or somewhere specific that God is calling you to to do what the Lord has put you on the earth to do that. That could be true. But what God wants you to do and and demonstrating his glory in this world has been given to us in His word. And as God gives us His word. And we’re inclined to give our lives to it, to him, through it. God then directs our hearts. Where is a ministry like mens ministry that we announced this morning? Or blood drive to help people in need or or India outside the hallway? As God molds us and shapes us, he inclines our hearts to help in certain ways. But apart from giving ourselves to him. Our lives become dull. And Abraham, in these moments, found perfect excuses to say when we could sympathize with him. In these moments, he wants to take care of his parents, and this is a good place for his dad to end in his life, rather than the place that God had called him to. It’s comfortable to him, it’s familiar to him. It’s it’s where he wants to be. The only problem with it is that it’s not where God wants him. Maybe one of the good things for us in the midst of this message and recognizing Abraham, stopping short of where God had called him as what happens next? Tells us in verse four, Abraham packs up camp and he’s finally starts heading to where God had called them.

And in verse six, Abraham traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moriah and at Shechem. At the time the Canaanites were in the land, and the Lord appeared to Abram and said to your offspring, I will give this land. So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. It’s like God is saying to him, Abraham in verse seven, Abraham, I recognize your faith isn’t quite where I want it to be. I’m coming. I’m ministering to you as you’re seeking me, and I’m strengthening you and reminding you of the promises that I’m giving you. Abraham comes back to the Lord, and God’s ready to receive him. It’s a beautiful picture of God’s grace. Abraham erects a shrine here to worship his Lord in those moments. It’s a beautiful not only demonstration what God has done in his life, but it also demonstrates the wonder of God to the people of Canaan in the land of Moriah, at Shechem, where Abraham erects this this shrine and worship to his God, there were shrines built to worship false idols, and on top of these shrines built would be the false idol. And now Abraham comes into the land and he builds this shrine.

And instead of putting an idol on it, he just leaves it alone. Because God tells us you shall worship the graven image. Oh, so now, not only is Abraham acknowledging his God in these moments. So the people of Canaan. Had the opportunity to see why Abraham moves into the land. Goes on and says in verse seven, the Lord said to Abraham. Abraham, your offspring, I will give you this land. So he built an altar there for the Lord who appeared to him. From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethlehem, pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and AI on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. Abraham comes to this land as a pilgrim and a stranger. Anywhere you go that God calls you. You are a pilgrim and a stranger. Because the home you’re living for. As not of this earth. Abraham has physical reminder of his life. He left the luxury of air and a nice established home with running toilets. We talked about last week to live in a tent with his wife, who I’m sure is happy. And the entire time they look at every steak they have to drive to put these poles in the ground, they’re reminding themselves that they are pilgrims in their home belongs to the Lord. Bible tells us when Abraham comes to this place that he camps between I and Bethel, which is a beautiful illustration of what God is doing in the life of Abraham.

Because the word Bethel, which is on the west of Abraham. The word Bethel means the house of God. And the word I means ruin. Anytime you read the book of Genesis, when you see someone traveling east rather than west, just go ahead and know there is destruction ahead. The westward direction always represented to them the the direction of the godly. By faith, all of us are placed in these circumstances. There is an opportunity. When God blesses our lives, then comes responsibility to determine whether or not I pursue him with my life or head to I instead. All of us stand between a Bethel and an eye. A few weeks ago, my family and I went out to eat after church on Sunday and we went to Chili’s and I won’t tell you who was driving, but one of the drivers who was not a male. May have accidentally bumped a car, just barely just. It was just like a tiny, tiny nudge. And, um, and we swapped paint. As a matter of fact, it was our paint on their vehicle, and you could just take it off. It wasn’t even anything big. And then we had the conversation. It’s like we looked at it. We were like, that’s not even anything. Like, I go to Walmart and people hit my, my, my car with buggies or whatever, strollers or whatever harder than than.

We just did that and they don’t say anything to us. So here we are justified. Were like, do we really need to bother this person? It’s just a, oh, you just take a fingernail and look, it’s gone now. And we debated back and forth and we were like, yeah, but, but. We represent the Lord. And so regardless if we think there’s no damage or not, this person deserves to know just in case they want to do anything about it. Little did we know it was. It was an unmarked police car, so that worked out well for us, right? But every day, um. Every day. You’re faced with an wasn’t even between Bethel and. It’s easy to compromise. A matter of fact. As Abraham gets up from this place, the story goes on and tells us that as Abraham’s worship worshiping the Lord, his faith is still growing. And he still walks away from God, even even after hearing it says in verse nine. Then Abraham sent out and continued toward the Negev, and now there was a famine in the land. I’ll pause there and say, it’s kind of interesting now. Now there’s a famine in the land. Um, I wonder if Abraham had just went ahead and gone to Canaan without stopping, if the famine would have been there at that time. But Abraham set out and continued westward toward the Negev, and there was a famine in the land.

And Abraham went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. And doesn’t tell us that God called Abraham to Egypt. It tells us that God called Abraham to Cain and into trust in him in the land of Canaan. And it tells us in this passage that Abraham takes it upon himself to leave the Negev and to head towards Egypt. Let me just throw out the illustration. Abraham has an entire family. He has servants, he has animals all need cared for. And God called him to a land where there was a drought. And what would you do? What would it take in your life? Or what would have to happen in your life for you to stop following the Lord? What are you more concerned about than faithfulness to Christ? Abraham in this passage. For him it was a drought. And he hands. He leaves for the land of Egypt. The Bible tells us in Genesis chapter 12 and verses ten and 13. Now there was a famine in the land, and Abraham went down to Egypt to live there for a while, because the famine was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife, Sarah, I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, this is his wife. Then they will kill me, but will let you live.

Say you are my sister. So the AI will be treated well for your sake in my life will be spared because of you. In your life. When you stand between Bethel and AI. It is foolish of us to think in those moments that the decisions we make only affect ourselves. Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary on this portion of Genesis, writes for things that happen in the lives of of Abraham, because he decides to compromise in his faith and pursue his will and temptation rather than the Lord’s. Wiersbe says this in verses 10 to 13. He says Abraham moved from trusting to scheming. First thing Abraham does is he says to his wife, he just loses his spine and drops his wife. I don’t want anything bad to happen to my wife. But you belong to Pharaoh. And so he moves from from trusting to scheming. The second thing he does is he moves from confidence to fear. When you see the call of Abraham in his life in Genesis chapter 12, verses 1 to 3, compared to the the call that Abraham gives to his wife and his family in Genesis chapter 12, verses 12 and 13, you’ll notice that the focus in the beginning of the chapter is all about God. And at the. In the middle of this chapter, when Abraham is discussing here, it’s all about others and himself. Meaning.

When Abraham was confident in his walk with caning, he walked to Canaan. He was thinking of the promises of God. God said, I will. And God said, I will. I will bless you. I will make you famous. I will bless all nations through you. He was living in the confidence of the Lord. But when he quit focusing. On the promises of God. As statements go from the Lord said he will. The fear. Very well. And therefore I will. And who cares what the Lord will. Verse 12. The Egyptians see you. They will say, this is his wife, and they will kill me, but will let you live. Say, you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for you or for your sake. Um, I should tell you this. I’m just going to throw throw the rabbit out of the hat here and let you deal with it, because I’m not going to explain it today. But when Abraham says that Sarah is his sister, it’s half true. Sarah is Abraham’s half sister. What? Well, here’s even more mind blowing. Adam and Eve are the first two people on the earth. Adam and Eve have kids. Adam and Eve’s kids get married. To who? I’m not going to tell you, but I will tell you, this Levitical law didn’t come later. Until God outlines that it’s not good. Incest is not good, right? So. But he says in this, this passage, he moves from confidence to fear.

In verse 13, he moved from others to to self, and then he focuses on I will. I will. Verse 17. He moved from being a blessing. To bring judgment. You look what happens. Life of Abraham. Says, but the Lord inflicted serious disease on Pharaoh. And his household because of Abraham’s wife, Sarah. Even though Abraham’s messing up. God’s still gracious. And Farid brings in Sarah and he looks around. And fair notices. Everyone in this kingdom is sick. But Sarah. And God’s favor is on her. Why? Because God’s grace is on Abraham to. God’s walking with them, even in their failure. Verse 20. Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abraham to his men, and they sent him on his way, and his wife and everything he had. It gives us a good place to pause. And just say. Um. The theme of our life’s story. Is never really a US. It’s about God’s grace. The hero of Abraham’s story is an Abraham. This story isn’t written just for us to stop and say Abraham is bad. The story is written for us to say, Abraham, God is good. The story is written for us to say to us, whatever the scar is in your life and whatever you think the temptation is, it’s too great. And whatever you think that you have that you can’t overcome, maybe, maybe, maybe you can’t. But God can. And God does.

And I should say you can’t, but God can. And it doesn’t matter how much you feel like you failed, or how much of a failure you would call yourself, God is still gracious. And Lamentations chapter three and verse 21 to 23, it tells us his mercies are new every morning. Greatest faithfulness. Abraham is at a place in his life where his faith is just learning to get legs and trust in God, regardless of the circumstances. God and God knows we’re not perfect because he sent Jesus, but what God calls us to is to be holy. And so what God wants in your life, rather than to stop short of the call. And rather than go beyond the call, what God has called you to do is just be faithful and trusting him. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, but what the Lord is calling you to. And and God desires for you to walk with him through it. At a time in Abraham’s life where we could have said in Genesis, you know what, Abraham? You blew it. God gave you a call. You didn’t obey it, you blew it. God still shows up based on his goodness and his glory off the promises. He told Abraham, I will bless you. And he still offers his grace. God is the main character. Everyone in life has an idol that draws them to worship. Everyone is tempted to stop short of God’s call.

Everyone has a drought to endure. Everyone has a share to compromise. Everyone has a pharaoh. That seems like a giant, but everyone has the Lord to trust him. And despite your trials and temptations, God wants you faithful. Trials happen to be the game field where our faith gets the opportunity to exercise. When I was a kid. I moved out when I was still in high school. I moved out on my own. And you know what I really wanted? I missed mom real fast, by the way. But what I, what I really wanted was I wanted I wanted the car without the insurance, and I wanted the the house without the utilities. I didn’t want I wanted the privilege without the responsibility. That’s what I wanted. But we still do that. Okay, laugh at me. But that’s all of us. But the truth is, without the responsibility, I would never recognize the goodness of the privilege. Gods using trials and the life of Abraham. Just show to him his goodness. To show to Abraham. Regardless, he’s worth trusting him. Abraham’s faith in the midst of trials being tested has now the opportunity to grow. Second Timothy 219 says this. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands having this seal. The Lord knows those who are his. Nation of Israel when they are leaving the land of Egypt, they recognized. If you read about the wanderings in the wilderness as they’re called out into a difficult circumstance, they they complain the whole way.

They know wherever God is taking them, it’s got trials in it. And they’re just for 40 years complaining to the Lord. But this is what they say in Deuteronomy six chapter 23. This is Moses’s sermon. He says this. He brought us out talking about Egypt as slaves. He brought us out from there in order to bring us in. God brought you out. To bring you in. God calls you to Canaan to draw you near to him. Whatever God has in front of you. Whatever God calls you to. That’s the most important thing in all of that is not just accomplishing the task. Finding the Lord in it. Walking with him through it. The question we ask ourselves when we go through trials and temptations shouldn’t be. And how can I get out of this as soon as possible? But rather God, how can I walk with you through this as you guide me through, or as you get me through, or you take me through? God, how can I give you glory through what’s ahead? And tell us this morning. Trial or temptation. Whatever you face. God’s desire is to grow with him. Broken in adversity on top of a mountain. God want you to walk faithfully with him. The main character in your life. As God, and the reason you have opportunity to even experience such a joy and blessing in him is because of his grace.