Temptation: The Victory Part 2

Sermon Summary

This message continues the discussion of how we can have victory over temptation. It is based on the second of the two great commandments, love your neighbor as you love yourself. Put simply, if we would get busy doing the dos we wouldn't have time to do the don'ts! When asking the question, what does 'love your neighbor look like?" We discovered that it looks like Jesus. Jesus was the perfect example of what we should aspire to become, and this becomes our new purpose in life. As we seek to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as our self, temptation will begin to lose its appeal and power! 

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Have you thought much about what your purpose in life is? Explain your thoughts on this subject. 

2. What does it mean to you that you are united with Jesus? 

Romans 6:1-8 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin —
because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

3. Discuss the following questions as they relate to being comforted by Christ's love: Have you been comforted by Christ's love? Has He been there for you in your toughest times in life? If He has then why wouldn't you want your neighbor to know? Why wouldn't we find great purpose in being there to love others with the same love we've received.

Romans 15:1-2 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

4. The key to keeping the second commandment to "love our neighbor as our self" is to become more like Jesus. He set for us the greatest example by the way He lived His life. Now you might think it impossible for us to become more like Jesus, but Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to be our guide in this quest. Read the following passage and discuss how The Holy Spirit helps us become more like Jesus in the way we love our neighbor. 

Galatians 5:13-16 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.


Full Sermon Notes
Temptation: The Victory Part 2

What a powerful song and what a powerful praise and worship we've had this morning with these amazing young people and their passion for God! Last week we talked about changing the desire of our hearts, the passion of our soul, the focus of our mind and the use of our strength. This song talks about that: "Let the King of my heart be the wind inside my sails…Let the King of my heart be the fire inside my veins!" That's the number one way to overcome temptation! Have a life change in your desires, your passion, your focus and the way you use your strength. Today we will take this another step to help us have victory over temptation. Let's pray and I'll explain! PRAY!

Our text is the same as last week, but we're going to talk about the verse we couldn't get to last week. Let's read our whole text again. This passage of Scripture is known as The Great Commandments! Mark 12:28ff

Mark 12:28-31 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him,  
“Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Okay, love your neighbor as yourself! And here's where it places on the list: second! Two commandments are the greatest. Love God is the first, and the second, the very next one on the list, second only to loving God is loving your fellow human beings! I'm going to show you how this can help you overcome temptation, but that's not the only aspect of life, living this way, could help. Wouldn't this world be a different place if people followed this commandment? Wouldn't our cities and our communities be different? How about our work and school and relationships? How about our families, our marriages, and our relationships with our children? Indeed!! Today we're going to see why this second commandment is such a help with temptation! Here it is: If you get busy doing the dos you won't have time for the don'ts. Last week we talked about life change. Changing desires, passion, focus and use of strength. This week we talk about...

Life Purpose

If your purpose changes from only loving self to loving God and loving others, then temptation will lose its power because to give in to temptation would be to go against your very purpose for living. When a person's purpose is greater than simply pleasing self, that person will find their desires, their passions, their focus and their use of strength directed outward rather than inward! Now this doesn't mean we don't care for ourselves or love our self, it's just that self is not number one! Jesus did say love your neighbor as you love yourself, so if you don't love yourself then you're going to have a hard time loving others. Malcom Tolbert put it this way in his commentary on these verses, found also in Luke's gospel. Here's what Tolbert said...

"Love for the neighbor is made dependent on one's attitude toward one's self. Without a proper concept of one's own value as a human being, it is impossible to have the right attitude toward a fellow man. Arrogance, contempt for others, and prejudice are basically an expression of low self-esteem and inner insecurity."

So it is important that you know how much God loves you and cares for you. You were so important to God that He gave His One and Only Son as a sacrifice for your sins and mine. That's a lot of love. God didn't love you because you were perfect or had never made a mistake. He loved you because He created you and you have worth and beauty and purpose and meaning and giftedness! And what is this purpose and giftedness for? It all has to do with Gods will for your life and when you pursue God's purpose for your life and use your gifts and talents to accomplish His will, temptation loses it's power! Let me make this clear. I just said when you pursue God's purpose for your life and use your gifts and talents to accomplish His will, temptation loses it's power. I didn't say you wouldn't be tempted! Satan is stubborn and will never stop tempting you. Your old self will rear it's ugly head from time to time. But we can overcome when we change desire, passion, focus, use of strength and then find God's purpose in life. Do you know what God's purpose is for your life? We know it is to love Him and to love our neighbor as our self. But how do we do this "love your neighbor thing? What does that look like? It looks like Jesus! Jesus overcame temptation because He had come to do the will of The Father and The Father's will was that He love others by serving, teaching, healing, loving, and sacrificing for others. And this all meant more to Jesus than any temptation that could ever come His way.

If we are going to overcome the temptations that come our way then we have to become like Jesus! If we are going change our heart's desires, our soul's passion, our mind's focus and the way we use our strength, and if we are going to find our purpose in this life in serving God by serving others we must heed Paul's words in Phil. 2

Philippians 2:1-13 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love,
if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death —even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—
continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

In these 13 verses we discover the keys to keeping the second greatest commandment! We find the keys which unlock purpose in life! We allow that purpose to give us power to overcome temptation! We use these keys to open the chest that contains the treasures of what it looks like to be like Jesus! Let's begin our look at these keys! I say begin because we will finish this on Father's Day.

Key #1
Encouragement
(Unity with Christ)

Phil 2:1 "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,"

You have been united with Christ! This should encourage your heart so much that you want others to know what you know, to find what you've found, to experience what it means to be new in Jesus. This encouragement zaps the temptation to go back to the old ways! It zaps temptations appeal because you know the truth about sin and because you are now in Christ and Christ is in you. Listen…

Romans 6:1-8 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that,  
just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,
that we should no longer be slaves to sin —
because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

This doesn't mean you'll never make a mistake, but it sure takes a bite out of temptations appeal! So take encouragement from the fact that you are united with Christ in His life, His death, and His resurrection! Another key is to take...

Key #2
Comfort
(From His Love)

Phil 2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love,

Have you been comforted by Christ's love? Has He been there for you in your toughest times in life? If He has then why wouldn't you want your neighbor to know? Why wouldn't we find great purpose in being there to love others with the same love we've received? I'm not talking about being pushy or forceful to cram Jesus down someone's throat, but to be there for others when they need you! And if they know you really care about them, they will be grateful. They may not accept Christ at first and it may take years of being an example of Christ's love before they accept. But you might say, "What if something happens to them. I've got to be pushy!" No you don't! It's called faith. You do your part and then let God do His part in His time! Don't take matters into your own hands because if you do it won't seem like love to people and you may push them away from Christ instead of drawing them to Christ! And what does this have to do with temptation?  If you know people are looking at your life as an example of Jesus and His love it will make you think twice before you do things that would destroy that witness! Your witness to others should be more important than any pleasure temptation offers you! John put it this way...

1 John 5:1-4 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Key #3
Fellowship
(With His Spirit)

Jesus was so concerned about His disciples and about you and me, that when He ascended back to heaven, He promised to send His Holy Spirit. He did this so we could have fellowship with God and experience the power of God! The power to not only overcome temptation, but to have the strength, the wisdom, and the willingness to serve others. When we allow The Holy Spirit to lead us and to influence every area of our lives He will show us ways in which we can serve God and many times this will be through our service to others. I can't tell you how many times The Holy Spirit has put someone on my heart, or led me to speak to someone or help someone which led to an opportunity to share Jesus. When you're in fellowship with The Holy Spirit, He will not only give you the power over temptation by saying no to something, He will give you power over temptation by giving you something better to do!

Galations 5:13-16 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Are you seeing this? Loving God will lead us to love others and to serve others and in doing so we defeat the desires of the sinful nature! We destroy the temptations of Satan when we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and when we love our neighbor as our self! Serving God by serving others is powerful. Another key in this passage is...

Key #4
Tenderness and Compassion
(From His Mercy)

Paul then says to the Philippians...

Phil 2:1 ...If you have any tenderness and compassion,

Tenderness and compassion come from the heart and come most abundantly from a heart that has experienced the tenderness and compassion of Jesus on a personal level! There is an example of this in Scripture...

Luke 7:39-48 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and
what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for
my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

This story has been summed up in one sentence...

He who is forgiven much loves much!

There's just no room for mean spiritedness in a person who has been a recipient of the tenderness and compassion of Christ. You can have convictions and standards and morals, but as Dr. Nave said in one of his messages, "Don't be mean!" This doesn't mean that we are to be weak and wishy-washy. Christians are to be meek, not weak. We stand on our God-given convictions, but we do so understanding that we are also standing because of God's grace, mercy and forgiveness. I love the way Peter talked about this in his first letter! It's beautiful.

1 Peter 4:8-11 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides,
so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Let's pray!