MONTH 5



The Five Greatest Temptations Men Face

Dr. Dan Reiland

The victory over temptation started in a garden with Eve and ended in a garden with Jesus. At both places the price was high. We too stand in a garden daily, with choices to make. One choice glorifies the Serpent, the other glorifies the Savior.

I. The Tempter

A.He has superior subtlety.

B.He is a _______________ creation.

C.He is committed to his cause.

D.His base of operations is _______________ to human beings.

E.He has ability to influence our behavior.

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:1–8


II. The Great Seduction

A.The hook is _______________.

13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

James 1:13–14

1. Your _______________ area is attacked.

2. The appeal is to our _______________ desires.

3. The _______________ are hidden.

B.God’s _______________ is challenged.

C.You make the _______________.

1. It is not a ___________ to satisfy God-given natural desires, in the _______________ context.

2. The essence of the choice:

Will I or will I not satisfy these God-given desires according to God’s given commandments?

III. The Five Temptations

A.The Temptation of _______________ Lust.

Lust is not noticing that a woman is sexually attractive. Lust is born when we turn a simple awareness into a preoccupied fantasy. When we initiate sexual thoughts into our minds and nurture them, we have passed from simple awareness into lust. Luther put it this way: “We cannot help it if birds fly over our heads. It is another thing if we invite them to build nests in our hair.”

R.C. Sproul

PRACTICAL TIPS:

1. _______________your struggle.

2. _______________ the results.

3. _______________ the source.

4. Take in the _______________.

5. Get tough _______________.

B.The Temptation to Have _______________ and _______________.

6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:6

18Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

PRACTICAL TIPS:

1. _______________ yourself before God.

2. _______________ admitting faults.

3. Seek to _______________ from others.

C.The Temptation to Love _______________.

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1–2

PRACTICAL TIPS:

1. _______________ is a key to financial success!

2. Follow the _______________ principle.

3. Understand that you cannot _______________ two masters.

D.The Temptation to _______________ Success.

33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:33

PRACTICAL TIPS:

1. Determine your _______________.

2. Keep your _______________ in touch with God’s heart.

E.

The Temptation to _______________ God.

37Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Matthew 22:37–39

PRACTICAL TIPS:

1. Make a commitment to put God _______________.

2. Pick a specific _______________ and _______________.

3. Go for _______________.

IV.The Way Of Escape

A.Put on the _______________ of God.

B._______________ the Source.

7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

Matthew 26:41

C.Feed your spirit with the Word of God and _______________.

D.Use the “_____________   _________________”.

E.Recognize the _______________.


The Pursuit of Holiness

Jerry Bridges

Offense or defense? Which is most important? Professional sports coaches will insist that both are important but without offense you will never win the game. This truth has application to your spiritual life. It is important to “resist the devil, and he will flee from you,” James 4:7, but that still leaves you running on human fumes which are short lived at best. You must pursue God not just resist the Enemy. You must pursue holiness not merely resist sin. Come near to God and He will come near to you. James 4:8

We all face temptation. Jesus Himself was tempted. When it comes to temptation, it’s not about if, it’s about when. The real issue is whether or not you give in. Draw near to God and strengthen your ability to resist temptation.

Chapter 1 — Holiness Is For You

What is your practical understanding of the meaning of holiness?

Bridges asks a great question and offers three insightful answers.

Why do so many Christians feel constantly defeated in their struggle with sin?

“Our first problem is that our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered. We are more concerned with our own ‘victory’ over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve God.”

“Our second problem is that we have misunderstood ‘living by faith’ (Galatians 2:20) to mean that no effort at holiness is required on our part.”

“Our third problem is that we do not take some sin seriously.” Bridges then makes a couple of brilliant statements, first quoting Andrew Bonar: “It is not the importance of the thing, but the majesty of the Lawgiver, that is to be the standard of obedience.” Then Bridges adds: “Are we willing to call sin ‘sin’ not because it is big or little, but because God’s law forbids it.?”

Take a moment to reflect. Are you tempted to qualify sin by large and small and occasionally let yourself off the hook? Are you thereby tempted to play God by calling the shots rather than your obedience being driven by your pure love for God and desire to be like Him? Give a brief personal illustration to explain your answer.

Chapter 2 — The Holiness Of God

What is the danger of “cultural holiness” and how is that different than the holiness of God? Have you ever slid into cultural holiness? Briefly explain.

Chapter 3 — Holiness Is Not An Option

There is a holiness that is given to us and a holiness that is expected from us. Please explain the difference. How would you rate yourself on the holiness that is expected from you?

Chapter 4 — The Holiness of Christ

Bridges quotes John Brown: “Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervours, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks, and willing as God wills.” Bridges continues: “Neither does holiness mean, as is so often thought, adhering to a list of ‘do’s and don’ts,’ mostly don’ts. When Christ came into the world, He said, ‘I have come to do Your will, O God.’ (Hebrews 10:7). This is the example we are to follow. In all of our thoughts, all of our actions, in every part of our character, the ruling principle that motivates and guides us should be the desire to follow Christ in doing the will of the Father. This is the high road we must follow in the pursuit of holiness.”

This is rich, deep and potentially overwhelming. Reflect for a moment, and jot down a couple thoughts as to what you believe the will of the Father is for you today. Meaning: not His overarching will for your life, but what is He asking of you today?

Chapter 5 — A Change Of Kingdoms

This chapter gives an excellent Biblical explanation of the tension between death to sin (Christ did for us) and resisting sin (what we do for ourselves.) Take an honest moment and write down what temptation or sin you are “resisting” right now.

Chapter 6 — The Battle For Holiness

Reflect on David’s prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23–24.

On a practical lifestyle level, tell what you do and how often to “search your heart.”

Any recent discoveries? (Some of your previous answers may cover this question.)

Chapter 7 — Help In The Daily Battle

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 6:11

What does it mean to you to be alive to God? In what specific way can you see evidence of His power in your life?

Chapter 8 — Obedience Not Victory

As a leader, if you were offering guidance to a Christian who told you they were “defeated” by a chronic sin they just could not stop, what would you say?

Chapter 9 — Putting Sin To Death

Bridges gives a great set of four questions in this chapter that help guide us in knowing right from wrong, help in discerning the “gray” areas of life.

Is it helpful — physically, spiritually and mentally?

Does it bring me under its power?

Does it hurt others?

Does it glorify God?

Try using these questions on one issue this month…jot down a brief note about what you discovered.

Chapter 10 — The Place Of Personal Discipline

What is your plan for your “devotional” time? (Bible and prayer) Tell how often and what you do.

Chapter 11 — Holiness In Body

How would you describe your control over your physical body and appetites?

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WEAKSTRONG

Give a brief explanation of your answer.

Chapter 12 — Holiness In Spirit

Which of the following is your greatest struggle?

What progress are you making?

Envy

Impure thoughts

Jealousy

Anger

Bitterness

Critical

Selfish

Moody

Rebellious

Dishonesty

Unforgiving

Greed

Slothfulness

Other ___________


Chapter 13 — Holiness And Our Wills

“It is the will that chooses to yield to temptation, or to say no. Our wills, then, ultimately determine our moral destiny, whether we will be holy or unholy in our character and conduct.”

Solomon said: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

How do you “watch over your heart?”

Chapter 14 — Habits Of Holiness

No question for you. Just soak on these great insights.

…sheer human resolve has never once broken the shackles of sin. God has provided us with wisdom however, such as found in some of these paraphrased thoughts from Bridges.

Good habits are reinforced by frequent repetition.

Beware of exceptions — the “just this once” idea is a dangerous one.

A life of diligence in all areas is needed to conquer your tougher struggles

Don’t be discouraged by failure.

This is important not only to relieve any possible interpretation of ascetic legalism, but to understand that on occasion you will fail and God will be there for you when you do. (Don’t be discouraged by failure). The key is to find that your failures are from taking higher ground, not repeated issues that control you.

Chapter 15 — Holiness And Faith

How are faith and holiness connected to one another?

Chapter 16 — Holiness In An Unholy World

How are faith and evangelism related?

Chapter 17 — The Joy Of Holiness

Holiness is not about a life of drudgery, but ultimately a life of joy. In what way have you experienced the joy of the Lord that comes from holy living?



So, what does all this “holiness stuff” have to do with leadership? Everything. Living a life committed to truly following Christ (progress not perfection) is the foundation upon which we earn the privilege of leadership. Anything short of that is to lead from your own talent and power…which is obviously a big mistake. To lead with God’s anointing results from a life dedicated to His will. To lead (and live) with joy is found clinging to the vine!

Stay On Course

“It is important to know that there are two pains all of us must consider. You cannot escape them both, and you always trade one for the other. The first pain is the pain of Discipline, and the other is the pain of Regret. The pain of Discipline comes first, and the pain of Regret comes after. Here is the best reason for trading the pain of Regret for the pain of Discipline: Discipline weighs ounces, and Regret weighs tons!”

E. James Rohn

Adventures in Achievement

Accountability Questions

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Proverbs 27:17

Are you spending time alone with God?

Is your love for God increasing?

Is your thought life pure?

Are you walking in total obedience to God?

Are you continuing to grow?

Are you giving more than you’re receiving?

Have you been completely truthful with all of your answers?