Security Against Temptation


By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

We have security in Jesus Christ. Security for our thoughts and mental condition is found alone by cherishing Jesus Christ and His great love and mercy to us. If we cherish sin or anything, then we have no security in temptation. Jesus said that there was nothing in Him when the enemy would come to Him. There was nothing in Him that he could take advantage of but with us he finds us cherishing something. We want to meditate on this important understanding of how we can be secure from falling into temptation; security against temptation. This security is found alone in Jesus Christ. Ephesians depicts the believer’s passage in Christ from our past wickedness to perfect bliss in eternal glory.

Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:

This is a secure position through Jesus in Jesus. Where we came from is written in verses 1 to 3.

Ephesians 2:1 And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins: 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

From a condition of walking under the power of the prince of the air fulfilling the lusts and desires of the flesh and the mind, from that condition to a condition in Christ sitting in heavenly places. In the condition of verse 3 we are in a position where our mind and our flesh are in harmony. We have desires of the flesh that the mind wants to indulge in. When temptation comes, what is it?

What is Temptation?

James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Is temptation sin? When does sin come into the equation? When lust has conceived then it brings forth sin. When strong temptations come to us while we are in verse 3 of Ephesians chapter 2, is there sin? Absolutely. We fulfill the desires of the flesh and of the mind.

The mind is happy to be tempted, it enjoys it. While we have a mind that is not yet altered by Jesus Christ, we enjoy sin because temptation is the enticing of the desire. If the desire of the mind is in harmony with the desire of the flesh, is there any conflict? None whatsoever. The exercise in temptation is not sin; the exercise of responding to the enticement is sin. Jesus was given so that by having Him we are lifted out of that past life of being children of wrath, children of indulgence. We are lifted out of that by His mercy. In Jesus coming for that purpose, He came right into the very arena where we are tempted.

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Can you see this couples with Ephesians 2? God’s wonderful mercy was given so that we can have help when we are tempted to be lifted above the temptation. Temptation as we have already observed, can’t be sin. We need to understand the beautiful revelations of God’s word in reference to temptation so that we can have that security against it in Jesus Christ.

The Example of Jesus Christ in Temptation

Temptation is not sin. Jesus was holy and pure; yet He was tempted in all points as we are, but with a strength and power that man will never be called upon to endure. {5T 425.4}

In other words, while He was tempted in all points like we are there was a strength of temptation with Him that we will never be really able to identify with but He identifies with us.

In His successful resistance He has left us a bright example, that we should follow His steps. If we are self-confident or self-righteous we shall be left to fall under the power of temptation; but if we look to Jesus and trust in Him we call to our aid a power that has conquered the foe on the field of battle, and with every temptation He will make a way of escape. When Satan comes in like a flood, Ibid.

When the enemy comes in like a flood the Spirit of God will raise up a standard against him.

When Satan Comes In Like a Flood

…we must meet his temptations with the sword of the Spirit, and Jesus will be our helper and will lift up for us a standard against him. The father of lies quakes and trembles when the truth of God, in burning power, is thrown in his face. Ibid

What is the security against temptation? It is found in these words that Jesus Himself was tempted like as we are and He did it so that He would give us an example. He has left us a bright example, that we should follow His steps. This is what we want to appreciate and contemplate.

But the plan of God, devised for the salvation of man, provided that Christ should know hunger, and poverty, and every phase of man’s experience. He withstood the temptation, through the power that man may command. He laid hold on the throne of God, and there is not a man or woman who may not have access to the same help through faith in God. Man may become a partaker of the divine nature; not a soul lives who may not summon the aid of Heaven in temptation and trial. Christ came to reveal the source of His power, that man might never rely on his unaided human capabilities. {5BC 1082.2}

For you and I who are struggling with temptation, these words are the most precious pointers to the security by which we need not to fall into temptation. It was the devising of God that He provided Jesus to us to go through every phase of our experience and that included temptation. That is why Sr White says He withstood temptation through a power that we may command. Then she enlarges to us that it is found by you and I partaking of the divine nature. Only as we partake of the divine nature can we then have summoned the aid of heaven in temptation and trial and receive the source of His power without which we will never be able to be secure in temptation. Understand the actual engagement that Jesus was in during temptation that as we go through the same phase He is going through we may find security and conquer temptation.

If there is an example given to us, what do you do with an example? Don’t you look carefully at it and then copy it? Isn’t that what an example is there for so that we copy the pattern perfectly? I must study the pattern in temptation so that I can know how I can conquer temptation. Let us study the pattern. While Jesus was going through theses phases of our human experience, every phase, what was His experience in those phases? Did Jesus have the flesh?

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

If Jesus would have sinned, would He have died? He needed to be saved from death by being saved from temptation.

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

He was the author; He was the example in the days of His flesh.

Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Succour means to have help in time of need. For Him to be tempted, what was the temptation to Him in His experience? It was a suffering. That is the big question. Is it a suffering to us? To Him it was a suffering. He suffered being tempted and by suffering He learned obedience and so became our perfect example to study closely the exact exercises within temptation that He went through so we can follow them perfectly.

Why did He suffer? Why was it a suffering? Do you remember what we read what temptation is?

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

In the days of Christ’s flesh, could He the Son of God be tempted? What was His flesh? It was your and my flesh was it not? He was in all points made like unto us. In my flesh there are desires. That is what we read in Ephesians. There are desires of the flesh and before our conversion the desires of the mind harmonised. Jesus was pure and holy. Did He have the desires of the mind in harmony with the flesh? Not at all.

Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus. If we have the mind of Jesus then is my mind bound up with evil in the temptation? For God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. (The margin says evils). Jesus became part of us so that God who cannot be tempted with evil became a human being so that He could be exposed to temptations of evils because He had the same flesh.

Would that we could comprehend the significance of the words, Christ “suffered being tempted.” While He was free from the taint of sin, the refined sensibilities of His holy nature rendered contact with evil unspeakably painful to Him. {7BC 927.4}

What was temptation? We already read that God cannot be tempted by evil but Jesus came to be tempted and because He was so pure it was a contact with evil that was unspeakably painful to Him.

Yet with human nature upon Him, He met the archapostate face to face, and single-handed withstood the foe of His throne. Not even by a thought could Christ be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Ibid

In His mind, did He have any desire in thought to respond? Not even by a thought because His mind was pure and holy. It did not respond. In fact it experienced excruciating agony. How intense was this unspeakable agony of soul that He was suffering?

A man is tempted to sin when some attractive object or indulgence is presented to him, and he is drawn to overstep principle, and to violate his conscience in doing that which he knows to be wrong. ST December 18, 1893.7

This is what temptation is. Some attractive object or indulgence is presented to him, and this is our experience on this planet earth. There are lots of attractive objects and indulgences which are always in disharmony with the purity of the mind of God. We are brought to points in our temptation to be attracted to something in the flesh which will cause me to overstep the principle and to violate the conscience in doing that which we know to be wrong. Let us read some more in regards to this internal, powerful solicitation that is taking place. The drawing upon the desire that is in the flesh in Christ’s example.

Unless there is a possibility of yielding, temptation is no temptation. Temptation is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action and, knowing that he can do it, resists, by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power. This was the ordeal through which Christ passed. {5BC 1082.4}

What was the ordeal? It was a painful ordeal. He was powerfully influenced to do a wrong action and knowing that He can do it. Try to comprehend this internal experience. I think you can find that pretty easily in your own experience when a temptation is there, you can feel it, it is really pulling at your heart-strings physically.

The Flesh

There are all kinds of different fleshly indulgences whether they be material or family or engagements with my unbelieving family. Whatever it is, it is a strong temptation knowing that I can do it. Have you ever been in that situation? I want to but I don’t. That is temptation and this was the ordeal through which Christ passed.

He could not have been tempted in all points as man is tempted, had there been no possibility of His failing. He was a free agent, placed on probation, as was Adam, and as is every man. In His closing hours, while hanging upon the cross, He experienced to the fullest extent what man must experience when striving against sin. Ibid

There at the cross was the grand finale of that kind of temptation.

He realized how bad a man may become by yielding to sin. He realized the terrible consequences of the transgression of God’s law; for the iniquity of the whole world was upon Him (YI July 20, 1899). Ibid

Was He not suffering the consequences of God’s broken law deep inside of Him? We know this well from Psalms 22, 69 and Lamentations.

The temptations to which Christ was subjected were a terrible reality. As a free agent, He was placed on probation, with liberty to yield to Satan’s temptations and work at cross-purposes with God. If this were not so, if it had not been possible for Him to fall, He could not have been tempted in all points as the human family is tempted (YI Oct. 26, 1899). {5BC 1082.5}

Now we have seen according to the revelation of the Holy Spirit who takes of Jesus and shows it to us. We begin to appreciate that this is big. He was tempted in a way that was excruciating beyond human ability to cope with.

What was His Secret?

What was His security against this dimension of severity as we have just explored?

John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

What does He mean by, hath nothing in me?

The heavenly universe is watching with the deepest interest the conflict between Christ in the person of His saints, and the great deceiver. . {2MR 343.2}

Was there conflict between Christ and the deceiver? Yes. Now the universe is watching the conflict between Christ in the person of His saints and the great deceiver.

Those who recognize and resist temptation are fighting the Lord’s battles. To such are given the commendation, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation.” Endurance of temptation means the cultivation of patience. The tempted, harassed soul cannot trust in his own strength of purpose. Feeling his utter helplessness, he flees to the stronghold, saying, “My Saviour, I cast my helpless soul upon Thee.” The fiercer the temptation, the more strongly he clings to the Mighty One. Ibid

Is that not what Jesus said at the cross; Father into Your hands I commend my spirit? These are lovely words but follow carefully the application of following the example. Here is material that unless we are able to put into practice we are still floating around in an area of uncertainty. The fiercer the temptation, the more strongly he clings to the Mighty One. What is reflected in Christ on the matter?

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:

Here is the connecting point. Jesus met the severest of temptation at the cross and there at the cross He met with you and me in the severest of temptation. Not only the temptation to sin but the consequences of having fallen for the temptation. As we are there together with Jesus and we surrender all together with Jesus we say, My Saviour, I cast my helpless soul upon Thee. The fiercer the temptation, the more strongly he clings to the Mighty One.

As you and I together in Jesus plunge ourselves together into the hands of God like that, He raises us up together and makes us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That is the way He took us out of that old life of verse 3. In the old life of verse 3, we created the sins that destroyed and crucified Christ. In that very exercise Jesus came so close to us and as we by His mercy appreciate His gift to us, we surrender ourselves to that and as we do so, He makes us alive. He raises us together with Christ. We dwell in our mind in heavenly places with Christ.
And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:

It doesn’t say with Christ, it says in Christ Jesus.

We read the battle, the conflict between Christ in the person of His saints and the great deceiver. In Christ here on earth, we are lifted into heavenly places. Not later on, here and now. As we are lifted into those heavenly places, what did we read in verse 3? In the past we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. He has taken the desires of the flesh and received the hopeless condition of our mind, our sinfulness, everything, at the cross. He died with it.

Now when tempted and the desire is in the mind, have we risen out of that condition? If my mind is still in harmony with my flesh, have I risen out of the condition of my past; have I been raised together with Christ? No indeed. If I have been raised together with Christ, what comes up? What do we learn from baptism? A new creature comes up, a new mind. You are renewed in the power of your mind. That is what happens in a person who is really engaging with Jesus in Jesus. As we are tempted with this new mind by those attractive objects or indulgences, let us see now from the quotes of the Spirit of Prophecy how this becomes clarified.

Not even by a thought could Christ be brought to yield to the power of temptation. {TMK 34.3}

Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. {TMK 34.4}

Do you remember what the question was in the beginning? What is the secret in Jesus that will give me security? In contrast with Christ the human being who is not really in total tune with Jesus, Satan finds something that is cherished in the mind.

But Christ declared of Himself, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30). The storms of temptation burst upon Him, but they could not cause Him to swerve from His allegiance to God. Ibid

We receive a very clear appreciation of what the secret is to conquer temptation. What must I do? If I have truly that mind of Jesus, will I cherish that? Is there anything in my mind that I still cherish which is not God’s will? Am I still in a state of confusion between the mind and the flesh?

There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men 2MCP 432.3

Jesus was the best of men. He had a mind that was pure but there were thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoyed.

…if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt. Ibid

That was Christ’s experience. He was never marred by sin. We may get confused between the thoughts that come to us thinking they are my own thoughts. I have a mind that is of Christ and now I have this thought that is aroused by Satan. I think, oh dear; there is a conflict and in that area we sometimes fall. But we are getting it abundantly clear now not to get confused in thinking that when a thought of sin arises, I have already fallen and am lost because not even by a thought Jesus fell for temptation. Don’t fall for that. Repulse the thought by cherishing Jesus. Cherish Him, don’t cherish the thought and don’t even cherish the thought that you are lost. We flee into the stronghold; we are not lost. He wants to keep us, He wants to save us, so we do not cherish any thoughts that are in harmony with the thoughts that Satan stirs into activity in a born again Christian.

What was it with Christ when those thoughts and feelings were suggested and aroused by Satan? He suffered excruciatingly.

…Our Saviour identified Himself with our needs and weakness, in that He became a suppliant, a petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, that He might come forth braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, “in all points tempted like as we are;” but as the sinless one His nature recoiled from evil; {SC 93.4}

When a spring that is securely curled up and all of a sudden it is released, it recoils. His sinless nature recoiled from evil.

He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and a privilege. He found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. Ibid

That is what He cherished in the temptation. If the mind refuses to cherish and at the same time the flesh does cherish, what is the exercise of the mind? It is torture. It is like Satan is prodding your flesh with a hot poker and he is torturing you. The flesh is going I want, I want, I want and the mind is saying, no way, this is horrible, go away. It keeps on coming. Cherish Jesus. You will appreciate Him so deeply when you understand this. You will love Him. You will flee into His arms and Satan will flee. What is the admonition for those who do embrace this counsel of God’s word?

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses

Remember, the angels are watching the conflict.

Hebrews 12:1 …let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

Jesus did. His suffering was so extreme that it drew blood out of the pores. We have never done anything like that therefore we don’t have to succumb to the endurance that He had to conquer. It is only our own sins not the whole sins of the world, not the temptations of everyone in the whole world. It is only mine so don’t become weary, don’t fall for the thought that this is impossible. Keep the mind illuminated by the bright example of Jesus.

We have nailed it down by reading the statements just as they read. Jesus verily was tempted because He had a flesh like us. If He didn’t, He couldn’t have been tempted. Being tempted with all the temptations and all the infirmities of all the human race, we have somebody to consider who endured such contradiction of sinner against Himself. We have a wonderful example to overcome as He overcame.

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

He who will overcome as I have overcome; this is our mandate.

Ephesians2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:

He has lifted us up to dwell in heavenly places. Dwelling there with our mind we will cherish the security to conquer temptation.

Live in contact with the living Christ… {Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings 119.3}

Now we know what that means; cherish Him, cling to Him in your thoughts in the understanding of His experience.

…and He will hold you firmly by a hand that will never let go. Know and believe the love that God has to us, and you are secure; that love is a fortress impregnable to all the delusions and assaults of Satan. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10. {Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings 119.3}

Live in contact with Christ as in that lies our security, our assurance. Because we are heading into a time of temptation that is going to be the most oppressive of any time in history, we are to conquer according to these words of Jesus. The enemy is coming; the prince of this world is coming and will find nothing in me if we understand this subject exactly as we have been sharing it here.

What is going to happen when this terrible temptation comes?

Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of Himself: “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” John 14:30. Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble. {GC 623.1}

The subject matter that we have just studied here is the subject matter that must be abundantly clear to every single one of us if we are going to stand in that time of trouble.

It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith in the atoning blood of Christ. Our precious Saviour invites us to join ourselves to Him, to unite our weakness to His strength, our ignorance to His wisdom, our unworthiness to His merits. God’s providence is the school in which we are to learn the meekness and lowliness of Jesus. The Lord is ever setting before us, not the way we would choose, which seems easier and pleasanter to us, but the true aims of life. It rests with us to co-operate with the agencies which Heaven employs in the work of conforming our characters to the divine model. None can neglect or defer this work but at the most fearful peril to their souls. {GC 623.2}

The time of trouble is coming and if we haven’t mastered this, we will not stand. This is the meat in due time as this time of trouble is coming rapidly upon us and we already know the kind of tests and trials that have happened to Adventists and have happened to us now. Many people have not responded to the challenge and have gone the way of the temptation.

The Challenge

Satan felt that all the power of this fallen planet was in his possession, but when Christ came to measure strength with the prince of darkness, Satan found One who was able to resist his temptations. The words of Christ are “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” All heaven was watching the result of the controversy between Christ and Satan. . . . Now the question is Will we take advantage of the situation and come off more than conqueror through Him who loved us?—Manuscript 26, 1887. {CTr 215.5}

In the battle over temptation, what is your choice? Will you let this mind be in you and rule; the flesh doesn’t like it? When we are in the city of refuge, who rules in that city of refuge? You are running away from destruction and that city of refuge has its government. We will be ruled by that mind contrary to my flesh. By God’s grace, if we cherish that, we will stand and conquer. May God break that through to our understanding is my prayer.

Amen.

Posted on July 21, 2013, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: