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Series Theme:  Spiritual Warfare

Title: 3. The Enemy - His Activities - b) Temptation



We saw on the previous page how Satan uses deception as one of his main strategies, getting people to believe a lie.   We now move on to his second strategy, that of tempting people to do wrong. Temptation is Satan's strategy of enticing or inciting people to do wrong.




1. The First Temptation

Again we consider that first attack of Satan in the Garden of Eden. What are the components of the situation:

1.1   God sets clear boundaries, i.e. we know right and wrong Gen 2:16,17

  •  there was a clear indication of the one tree from which they shouldn't eat
  •  there was a clear indication of the fatal consequences that would follow

Find Gen 3:1-6 to have the study passage before you

1.2  Satan seeks to deny those boundaries    Gen 3:1

  •  he sought to raise questions about what was actually said.

1.3  Satan seeks to deny the consequences of crossing those boundaries      Gen 3:4

  •  he sought to deny the consequences

1.4  Satan seeks to get us to think wrongly and then act wrongly   Gen 3:6a

  •  he was obviously seeking to get Eve to be disobedient to God and do what had been forbidden
  •  she saw that it “looked good” but forgot the restriction and consequence

1.5  Very often Satan seeks to get us to involve others   Gen 3:6b

  •  by getting others involved means we can justify it (everybody does it!)

        SUMMARY : What are the stages of downfall?

  •  thinking about wrong
    •  with wondering desires
  •  listening to the enemy
    •  who seeks to incite & excite
  •  thinking wrongly about the wrong
    •  justifying it in your own mind
  •  focusing on the wrong
    •  developing a desire to do wrong
  •  speaking or doing wrong
    •  i.e. the sinful act
  •  possibly involving others in it
    •  to share the guilt or justify it




2. Is Temptation Sin?

Read Mt 4:1-11,  Heb 2:18 & Heb 4:15

1. Was Jesus tempted?     YES !  (Mt 4:1)
2. Did Jesus sin?         NO!   (Heb 4:15)
3. Conclusion: Is temptation sin?     NO!
4. What is the relationship between temptation and sin?
    •  sin is actually doing wrong
    •  temptation is seeking to get you to do wrong



3. Results of Succumbing to Temptation

Look up Gen 3:7-12 to have the study passage before you.

3.1  Sense of guilt and need to cover up   Gen 3:7

  •  because God has given everyone a conscience, and in particular has given every Christian His own Holy Spirit, we become instantly aware that we've done wrong
  •  when we realise we've done wrong, we try to cover it up, i.e. we either try to hide it or justify it

3.2  Sense of guilt and fear and hiding from God   Gen 3:8,10

  •  although as Christians our eternal destiny is not changed by a single failure (sin), our relationship or communion with God is changed
  •  we want to run away and hide, or not be up front with God.

3.3  Self-Justification or blaming others    Gen 3:12

  •  we try to off load the guilt by sharing it around, or justifying it by blaming others
  •  none of these techniques actually change the situation; we are still guilty!

3.4  Destructive Consequences Gal 6:7,8

  •  giving way to temptation produces sin
  •  sins may appear “little” (e.g. lying) or “big” (e.g. killing someone)
  •  yet they all have further consequences
    •  e.g. the liar has seared their conscience, justifies their lies, is estranged from God, and may well have to tell further lies to cover up
    •  e.g. the murderer does all the same things but is also answerable to the laws of the country and may end up in prison

       SUMMARY: Succumbing to temptation

  •  results in sin
    •  which results in a breakdown in relationship with God
    •  may include a breakdown in relationship with others
    •  may cause destructive things to happen in your own life.

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4. The Difference between “Temptation” and “Testing”

The Hebrew and Greek words that are used for these three words are all the same in overall meaning.

The Hebrew “nasah” = to try or to prove but is often translated “tempt”.

The main Greek word “peirazo” = to try, test or prove and similarly is often translated as “tempt”

Depending on the version you use you find some interchange on the English word used in the translation.

When we look at WHO brings these things we see WHY there is a different emphasis.

When we look at the Scriptures we find:

Satan TEMPTS i.e. seeks to bring downfall (N.B. God doesn't tempt anyone - Jas 1:13 )

God TESTS i.e. allows temptation to check the state of the heart because He wants you to overcome/pass the test! - Jas 1:2,3,12 )

A TRIAL is simply something that tests the state of our heart.


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5. What are the Areas of Attack?

5.1  To give up on our faith (& deny the truth)

1 Thess 3:5 /  2 Cor 11:3

  •  God has given us the truth in the Scriptures
  •  this truth is how things work, how God has made things to work
  •  Satan will try to make us deny these truths and live contrary to them
  •  God has communicated the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus to us
  •  Satan tries to get us to add to the Gospel or vary it.

5.2  To give way to sensual desires contrary to God's Law (self gratification)

Jas 1:14

  •  God has given us our senses for our pleasure
  •  the use of those senses is to be limited, to achieve greatest pleasure
  •  excess use of those senses produces pain and upset
  •  excess eating is gluttony and results in obesity and breakdown in heath
  •  excess of drinking is drunkenness and leads to a wide range of upsets & ills
  •  excess of sex becomes illicit sex and results in a variety of social & physical ills
  •  Satan seeks to stir us on into each of these areas

5.3  To have wrong self-centred ambitions (selfish godless goals)

1 Tim 6:9,10

  •  a desire to succeed or achieve is not wrong in itself
  •  God has made us with the need for self-fulfilment
  •  when that need goes to excess it creates over ambition which is then only fulfilled at the expense of integrity and of others

        SUMMARY : Temptation may be:



To challenge the truth of what God has said

         e.g. Mt 4:3,6 "IF you are the Son" (this challenged Mt 3:17 "This is my Son")


  •  to challenge a declaration of truth by God
  •  to challenge the meaning of a prohibition and deny it
  •  to challenge the consequences of rejecting it


  •  GRATIFYING self, e.g. Mt 4:3     "tell these stones to become bread"
    •  over eating (gluttony)
    •  over drinking (drunkenness)
    •  wrong use of drugs (abuse)
    •  illicit sexual activity (outside marriage)
    •  bad sleep patterns (too much or too little)
  •  DEFENDING of self, e.g. Mt 4:6    "throw yourself down"
    •  not trusting in God
    •  taking God's place
    •  defending our reputation
    •  keeping quiet when challenged as a Christian
    •  becoming isolationist or critical of others
  •  PROMOTION of self, e.g. Mt 4:9    "All this I will give you if…"
    •  selfish ambition
    •  entering into wrong relationships
    •  use wrong methods
    •  super-spirituality or false asceticism
    •  disobedience to the word of God


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6. How do we Overcome Temptation

Look up 1 Cor 10:13 for the following:

6.1  Realise it's not as difficult as it might seem

  •  what you have to resist is not different from what others have to resist     1 Cor 10:13a
  •  God will only allow what you CAN cope with  1 Cor 10:13b

6.2 Look to God for means of deliverance.

  •  God will provide the means for you to overcome  1 Cor 10:13c
  •  sometimes he'll give you right thinking to overcome it  e.g. Gen 39:7-9   or  Jas 1:5
  •  sometimes it will be simply to flee it   e.g. Gen 39:11,12

6.3  Be alert & prayerful

  •  recognising the potential for attack means we need to remain alert
  •  talking to God about all these issues takes the steam out of them
  •  listening to God means He can warn us when a particular thing is coming      Mt 26:41

6.4  Simply say “No” to wrong   Tit 2:11,12

  •  at the end of the day the responsibility is ours to say no
  •  it is an act of self-discipline (fruit of Spirit) to say no.

6.5  Submit your Life to God, THEN resist the enemy Jas 4:7

  •  this is the divine order of wisdom
  •  first give yourself over to God so He is ruling in your circumstance
  •  then you will be in a fit state to resist the enemy
  •  then the outcome is guaranteed

6.6  Hold onto the basics of your faith

  •  make sure you are well grounded in basic doctrine     Eph 6:14-18  
  •  ensure truth holds everything in your life together
  •  ensure you are righteous in all your relationships with others
  •  remember Jesus death (the Gospel) is the cause of your peace with God
  •  seek to operate in faith as you respond to His word
  •  cover your mind with the truth that you are saved
  •  use His word to cut through untruth
  •  as you pray, let the Spirit lead you

  If you hold onto all of these, you will overcome all the wiles of the enemy.


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7. What if we do fall?

There are likely to be times when we do fail (hopefully not often), but what happens then? Do we give up? No, there are clear things to do:

7.1  Be honest & up front with God and repent!

  •  there is NO progression without confession!   1 Jn 1:9

7.2  Remember Jesus is working on our behalf

  •  Jesus is always seeking and working to restore you      1 Jn 2:1,2

7.3  Remember, the Father is for us

  •  the Father is ALWAYS totally for us, Calvary is the proof of that!    Rom 8:31 …God is for us…….

7.4  Remember Father is more concerned with restoration that condemnation

  •  God wants his ‘sons' to grow up; He's not wanting to hold us back      Gal 6:1 /  Rom 8:1

7.5  Take Steps to Avoid Falling again

  •  you don't want to keep on doing the same thing over and over
  •  therefore work at avoiding that same sin by God's strength & grace

        Summary: To put it right when we give way and sin:

  •  Repent, say sorry & seek forgiveness & cleansing
  •  Trust that Jesus is speaking up for you, and be thankful
  •  Trust that the Father is for you and wants to restore you, and be thankful
  •  Look to avoiding that situation of temptation.


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