Grace be unto you and peace from the One True God, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Proverbs 1:10, 15-19
My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.
My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path; For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird; But they lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners.
In the Name of Jesus Christ,
Who is able to help us when we are Tempted to sin,
Dear Fellow Redeemed by His Precious Blood –
A toddler runs toward a busy street laughing and playing. He doesn’t understand the danger present in the cars that are speeding by him without noticing his tiny frame. Why should he be afraid, these cars just look like larger versions of his toys! Just then, He sees a toad hopping across the road and he begins to step off the curb onto the busy street…
In a busy but momentarily unattended kitchen, another toddler sees a bright orange glow coming from the burner atop the stove. It seems to be the same color as his little ball, the little ball that he’s been trying to find. He waddles across the linoleum and on tiptoe reaches to touch the hot burner…
Still another young child sits quietly in the corner of the living room, looking at the screwdriver his father forgot to put away. He notices the wall outlet and concludes that it would be the perfect place to stick the shiny screwdriver. After crawling across the room, he reaches out to insert the tool into the electrical outlet…
Suddenly a fatherly voice cries out: “STOP! Don’t you ever go near the road without me! STOP! Don’t touch that it’s hot! STOP! Don’t put that in there, you’ll get hurt! The lower lip of the startled toddler begins to quiver and with wide eyes he begins to cry. Then with loving concern a his father lifts his child out of harms way and comforts him, saying, “My Son, Don’t be afraid, I love you. I don’t want you to get hurt. If you walk in the road or touch the hot burner or put that into the outlet, you will be hurt." These words and expressions show the concern that every loving father should have for his children. A loving father disciplines, admonishes, and encourages, because he doesn’t want his children to be hurt in body or soul.
The words of our text this morning are also the words of a loving father to his children. But these are not merely the words of Solomon to his son, they are the words of our loving Heavenly Father who wants no evil of body or soul to fall upon us. These are not the words of a disinterested impersonal God who ‘just thought we should know’ about temptation. These are the words of our loving father, who sent His own dear son to live the innocent life we could not and to lay down His life so we might have a place in His House forevermore. Yes, these words are for each one of us, for by faith in Christ we are His Children, as it is written (Galatians ):
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
This morning our loving father warns us about Temptation. He warns us because the goal of the Devil is that we should fall to temptation and sin and refusing to repent be lost to eternal death. May the Holy Spirit fill our hearts and minds with these precious words of our heavenly father. Amen.
I watched a television program some time ago that told the story of a man whose job it was to daily milk venom from the world’s most deadly snakes. But one day he didn’t pay enough attention, perhaps it had become so familiar that he didn’t respect the danger any longer. Suddenly, a deadly poisonous snake bit him. He could have died had it not been for a co-worker who quickly drove him to the hospital.
Can you imagine being careless around a deadly snake that has all the tools to kill you? Well, we do it all the time. Oh, we don’t literally play around with poisonous snakes, but we aren’t nearly as careful as we should be when it comes to that Old Serpent, the Devil. This is a danger that we all have to beware of -- young and old alike. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to be careless when it comes to the Devil. In fact, He even tells us to watch out for those who act as his cronies, for those who tempt us to sin. For these can be just as dangerous as poisonous snakes.
My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent….My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path;
When the LORD says, ‘If sinners entice you’ he’s not saying that this is mere possibility. He’s not saying, “Oh, by the way, this might happen to you once or twice in a lifetime.” We all know from personal experience that temptations to sin don’t come just once in a while. The voice of temptation is a persistent and powerfully persuasive voice. The Devil is a crafty fellow, he doesn’t attack us as a group, but knowing our individual weaknesses, he attacks them.
He may tempt us in different ways. The voice of temptation sometimes threatens: “If you don’t do this then you’re not really my friend.” It sometimes flatters: “We are going to bring some cigarettes and marijuana along. We think that you are cool enough to handle it.”
It lures: “Hey, just one time couldn’t hurt. Everyone does it. Give it a try.” It fills us with grand ideas: “Just think of what you could do with all that money! Just think about how much better life could be!” It tries to justify sin: “Hey, you love her. You are engaged, what would it hurt?”
Our Heavenly Father tells His children that when they are tempted to sin they should not be inclined to follow. In simple terms we are not even to silently approve or be sympathetic. We are not to wink and smile at sin and temptation. We are to turn our back when someone encourages us to sin. In fact, our Father tells us, “Don’t even set your foot on their path.”
The Devil has had more than 7000 years to practice and perfect temptation. If that wasn’t enough, he has a man on the inside, inside of each one of us, our own sinful natures. So the LORD warns us ahead of time about the temptations we may face. In the Proverbs alone our Father warns us about specific temptations. He says (; ; ; 30:8-9):
v “Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids.” Sexual desire can be a constant temptation not only for men, but for women also. So our Father warns us.
v “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” If we do not carefully choose for our friends those who share our faith in Christ, then we will face temptations of a faith destroying nature. This is especially important when choosing a wife or husband. Many are the temptations to leave the Lord in the marriage whose foundation is not Jesus Christ.
v “Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly.” When a person looks forward to and longs for alcohol, when alcohol becomes an attempt to escape from reality, from sins and from guilt, it is misused. For many people today drunkenness and the misuse of alcohol is a severe temptation. So the Lord warns us.
v “Remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches— feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.” Truly one of the greatest temptations of our time is the lure of easy money, of riches and wealth. The LORD gives us what we need for body and soul. May He also lead us to be content with the thing He gives to us.
The Devil didn’t just tempt Jesus 3 times when in the wilderness. We dare not think that Satan is going to let us off easy. It is for this very reason that our Father says (1 Peter 5:8):
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Now our Father doesn’t warn us of these things because He’s upstairs pressing the buttons. He warns us because our souls are at stake. God is not the source of Temptation. Temptation has its origin in our sinful hearts. It is written (James -15):
“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.”
Our Father warns us about temptation because it can lead to death. He also here gives us three good reasons why we should not follow those who tempt us to sin:
For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird; But they lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners.
1) Their feet run to evil. Their object is no secret. They set out with sin in mind. God didn’t send His Son to suffer and die to atone for my sins so that I should continue in sin!
2) They spread the net in vain in the sight of any bird. What does that mean? Well, in those days birds (doves) were caught in order to be offered as sacrifices. Those who caught these birds did so by net, and they knew not to spread the net in the sight of the birds. If the birds knew better than to stay near the man who laid out a net to catch them in their presence – shouldn’t God’s children know better than to avoid the man who lays out the net of temptation to catch them? The birds know enough to fly away from danger, shouldn’t we?
3) Finally, those who tempt us to sin lie in wait for their own blood. Those who tempt us to sin and are successful, the same bring judgement on their own heads. We should remember the same if we tempt or lead others to sin by our words and actions. We should be very careful not to willfully or accidentally lead others to sin. This is so serious that Jesus once said (Matthew 18:6):
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
When a child is nearly hurt and his father comes to the rescue, that father will not soon turn his back and leave the child to be hurt. So it is that our Heavenly Father doesn’t just warn us about these things and expect us to stand up and make the right decision when tempted to sin.
v He equips us with an open line to His Throne and invites us to pray for help in time of need. Our Lord Jesus taught us to pray: Lead us not into temptation. Lord, don’t let temptation overcome your child but be at my side to protect me.
v Even as an earthly father is stronger than his children, so our Heavenly Father is stronger than us and most importantly stronger than the Tempter. He provides us with the Mighty Protection of His Holy Word, which will send the Devil running. Through that Word our loving father would take us by the hand and lead us out of danger.
v He gives us the Holy Spirit to guide our hearts and minds so that we may defeat the Devil’s Temptations.
Finally, He promises and comforts us with these words (1 Corinthians ; James ):
“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.”
“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.”
May God so equip us and be with us that we endure temptations to sin and receive that crown of life.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.-Pastor Andrew Schaller