Temptation and Sin – Paris Reidhead

Paris Reidhead, “Temptation and Sin” (Audio Teaching)

Temptation is the proposition presented to the mind or the intellect to gratify a good appetite in a forbidden way. Temptation isn’t sin. It is an idea presented to the intellect. Our Lord Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. Temptation isn’t sin. Sin is the decision of the will to gratify a good appetite in a bad way. It’s not the gratification of it; it’s the decision to do it. The decision to do it before the act is complete gives to the act the character of transgression. The decision constitutes the essence of sin.

When a child of God sins,
1. Fellowship with God is interrupted. “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with one another.” If we walk in darkness, that fellowship is broken. If we never had the witness of the Spirit, and joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit, we would not ever know whether the fellowship was interrupted or not, because we never ever had any. We know that fellowship is broken, when the Spirit of God is grieved.
2. Prayers are not answered. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord does not hear me.” (Psa.66:18). It hasn’t even gotten into my lips yet, it hasn’t even gotten into my hands yet; if I regard it in my heart. If I decided to do and I’m not through yet, God will not hear me.
3. God won’t use him. He may go on using God, and people may never know the difference; but, God will not use him. God never uses a life that gets Him dirty (F.B. Meyer illustration of a leaking fountain pen that the author would never use because it gets him dirty every time he uses it).
4. He gives place to the devil (Eph.4:27). The fear of the Lord is the basis for the angel of the Lord encamping around us. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. When we tolerate in our lives that which grieves God, then you can just be sure that the devil’s dogs are going to sneak in and tear up everything that’s precious to you.
5. If we permit unconfessed, unforsaken sin in our lives, we fall into the chastening hands of God. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. There’s something marvelous here. God never lays a finger on the devil’s family. But, He chastens every child and scourges every son. Why? Because with His own children, this is all the hell they’re ever gonna know and when they die it’s gonna be heaven forever. But, with the devil’s family, this is all the heaven they’re ever gonna have, and when they die, it’ll be hell forever. And if they traded their soul for a mess of pottage, God doesn’t go around throwing gravel in it to make their teeth grit on.

God’s Prescription for this Problem (John 15:3): You are clean through the word.
Symbol: The Laver in the Tabernacle. It functioned as a mirror that showed where one was dirty and the water was used to clean.

1. Use the Word as Mirror to the Heart. Proverbs 6:16-19. The Spirit of God never wants to depress us; He only wants to cleanse us. He focuses on the thing that is there now in order to deal with it. God hates pride. He hates racial pride, He hates facial pride, He hates financial pride, He hates educational pride, and I think the one He abominates most is religious pride. He hates a proud look. And, He hates a lying tongue; misrepresentation and deception in speech. And, hands that shed innocent blood, an intention to hurt somebody…. Romans 1:29-32. Gal.5:19-21.
2. The Word tells us how to deal with sin. (a) Judge yourself (b) Let the wicked forsake his way (c) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

“Victory” Through Identification With Christ on the Cross
At Calvary, we were wired for victory. We need to only put the switch on. And, the switch is to reckon ourselves crucified with Christ.

The Narrow Gate (Matt.7:13,14)

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt.7:13,14)

narrow road

To enter through the narrow gate means to leave every worldly luggage outside of the gate. One must save his own soul. Therefore, Christ said that he who wished to be His disciple had to deny self and all earthly relations, then take up his own cross, and follow Him. The cross is another symbol of the difficult road. For Peter and John, it meant to leave their business and life of security in order to follow Christ. For the rich young man, it meant to sell off his wealth, distribute it to the poor, and follow Christ. The rich man wasn’t willing to leave his baggage behind; therefore, he refused to enter the narrow gate and chose the wide one instead. Jesus said that it would be easier for a camel to enter through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. They say that there was a gate called the “Needle’s Eye”, which was both narrow and low, and so caravan camels would have to unload their baggage and bow low in order to enter through it. The rich man wasn’t willing to either unload his earthly baggage nor willing to bow low to a life that Christ chose to live Himself. How miserable is the state of a person who chooses the temporary enjoyment of this world and spurns the treasures of heaven!

To enter through the narrow gate also means to take the difficult path. Remember the gate is narrow and the road is difficult, but it is not crooked. It is still the King’s Highway. However, it is not an easy road; firstly, because the road is given to us in a world that is now under the sway of Satan. We are just foreigners and pilgrims here. The devil has wide and broad roads in his kingdom; however, no matter how embellished and pompous they look, they are all going to perish with the world and the devil. The broad roads are roads to destruction. However, though the road of our Lord is very narrow and difficult, it is solid, strong, and secure. It will last forever. It leads to life.

Secondly, the gate is narrow and the road difficult because the gate is opposed to our natural inclination. Our natural inclination, after the Fall, has become sin and sinful pleasures, that is anything other than the enjoyment of God. Therefore, for a sinner, spending a few hours in worship is more difficult than a sports event, prayer is more tiresome than a day’s labor, spending time with the Father is more difficult than spending time with friends and family. For the degenerate, even spending time with family is painful because he longs for sinful company. But, as a person becomes spiritual, the lusts of the flesh die and the things of God give more joy than anything else in the world (Rom.8:1; 1Jn.5:3). Yet, this doesn’t mean that the flesh will not feel pain. However, the beauty of the narrow road is that one can rejoice even in the midst of pain and suffering (James 1:2; Acts 16:25; Phil.4:4).

Read Also: Heb.13:12-14; 2Cor.4:8-18; 1Pet.4:1; 1Pet.2:21-23

Guarding the Vulnerable Points Against Satanic Advantage

BODY
Hunger (Matt.4:1-4; Phil.3:19; 1Cor.6:19)
Sleep (Matt.26:41)
Incontinence/Sex (1Cor.7:5; 1Tim.5:14,15; 1Cor.6:19; 1Thess.4:7)
Infirmity (2Cor.12:7)
etc…

Solution:
Assert that the physical need is not primary; God’s will is (Matt.4:5).
Assert that the Grace of Christ is sufficient (2Cor.12:8)
Be wise about your weakness (1Cor.7:1-5)
Abstain/flee from fleshly lusts (1Pet.2:11; 2Tim.2:22)
Discipline body (1Cor.9:27)

SOUL
Anger (Eph.4:26,27)
Pride (1Tim.3:6)
Sorrow (2Cor.2:7-11)
Fear (Lk.22:31)
Worry (1Pet.5:7,8)
etc…

Solution:
Pray for each other (Lk.22:31,32; Jas.5:16)
Encourage each other (Eph.5:19; Jas 5:13)
Build each other up (Gal.6:1,2)
Be aware of others in same tribulation (1Pet.5:9)
Question the emotions and thoughts that war against soul and submit them to God (Psa.42:5,6,11; 2Cor.2:4,5)

SPIRIT
Love of Power and Money (Matt.4:8-10; Matt.6:24; 1Tim.6:10; Lk.22:3; Act 5:3)
Rebellion (Heb.3:7,8; 1Sam.5:23; 2Pet.2:10; Jude 1:8,11)
etc…

Solution:
Be Sober and Vigilant (1Pet.5:8)
Submit to God in true humility (1Pet.5:6-7; James 4:7)
Be strong in the power of God’s might (Eph.6:10)
Put on the full armor of God (Eph.6:11-17)
Hold your ground and do not give a foothold to the devil (Eph.6:13)
Resist the devil (1Pet.5:9; James 4:7; Matt.4:10)
Pray without ceasing in the Spirit (Eph.6:18)

Hindrances to Fruitfulness

1. Lack of Repentance (Luke 3:8-9)
2. Lack of Spiritual Wisdom and Understanding (Col.1:9-10; Psa.19:7)
3. Lack of Right Fellowship–Walking in the Light (Eph.5:11-16)
4. Lack of Godliness with Contentment (Matt.13:22; 1Tim.6:6-10)
5. Lack of Partaking in the Divine Nature (2Pet.1:3-11)

God-Centered Gospel – Zac Poonen (Excerpts)

Christians are generally speaking, categorized into two groups as follows:

(1) “Roman Catholics” and “Protestants” – depending on birth;
(2) “Episcopal” (conformist) and “Free church” (non-conformist) – depending on church-pattern;
(3) “Born again Christians” and “Nominal Christians” – depending on an “experience”;
(4) “Evangelicals” and “Liberals” – depending on doctrine;
(5) “Charismatics” and “Non-charismatics” – depending on “speaking in tongues”;
(6) “Full-time Christian workers” and “Secular workers” – depending on profession.

There could be other such categorizations too. But none of these categorizations deal with the root of the problem that our Lord came to solve.

Many know that “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor.15:3). But many do not know that the Bible says that Christ also died “that we should no longer live for ourselves but for Him” (2 Cor.5:15).

A more Scriptural way of categorizing Christians, therefore, would be as follows: “Those who live for themselves” and “Those who live for Christ”; or “Those who seek their own” and “Those who seek the things of Christ”; or “Those who seek earthly things first” and “Those who seek the kingdom of God first”; or “Those who love money” and “Those who love God” (Jesus said it was impossible to love both -Lk.16:13).

But I have never heard of such a categorization being used. This categorization deals with the Christian’s inner life and private walk with God, whereas the methods mentioned earlier deal with the external details of his life. Yet, it is in this latter way that heaven categorizes Christians. And if that be the case, then this is the only categorization that matters! In this method, others cannot categorize us. We have to categorize ourselves – for no one but we ourselves know our inner motivations and desires. Even our wives may not be aware what we are living for.

Our Lord did not come primarily to give people a doctrine or a church-pattern or to make them speak in tongues or even to give them an experience!

He came to “save us from sin”. He came to lay the axe to the root of the tree. And the root of sin is: Being centered in ourselves, seeking our own and doing our own will. If we do not permit the Lord to axe and uproot this “root” from our lives, we will be Christians only superficially. Satan may, however, deceive us into imagining that we belong to a higher class than other Christians, because of our doctrine or our experience or our church-pattern!

Satan doesn’t care even if we have the right doctrine, experience and church-pattern, so long as we continue to “live for ourselves” (This, by the way, is just another phrase for “living in sin”!!).
….
The man-centered gospel promises man that God will give him everything he needs to make his life on earth comfortable and will also give him a seat in heaven at the end of his life. Man is told that Jesus will forgive all his sins, heal all his diseases, bless and prosper him materially, solve all his earthly problems, etc., etc.

Self still remains at the center of such a man’s life, and God revolves around him – as his servant – to answer his every prayer and to give him whatever he wants!! All that he has to do is “believe” and “claim every material blessing in Jesus’ Name”!!

This is a false gospel, because no mention is made of “repentance”. Repentance is what John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul, Peter and all the apostles preached first of all. And repentance, unfortunately, is what is not preached today, even last of all!!

The God-centered gospel, on the other hand, calls upon man to repent. It explains that “repentance” means:

Turning FROM Self as the center of one’s life, from doing one’s own will, from walking along one’s self-chosen way, from loving money, and from loving the world and the things in the world (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life), etc., and

Turning TO God, loving Him with one’s whole heart, making Him the Centre of one’s life and doing His will henceforth, etc.

Faith in Christ’s death on the cross can forgive a man his sins only when he has repented. Then he can receive the power of the Holy Spirit which will empower him to deny himself daily so that he can live a God-centered life. This is the gospel that Jesus and the apostles preached.

The false gospel, makes the gate wide and the way broad (easy to walk along, because one does not have to deny one’s Self or stop living for one’s own interests or stop seeking one’s own gain). Millions attend meetings where such a false “gospel” is preached. And many enter through this gate and walk along this way, imagining that it leads to life. But it actually leads to destruction. The evangelists of this gospel, however, gloat in, and report about the large numbers of people who “raised their hands and made decisions for Christ” in their meetings!! But it is all a deception. Although some are indeed genuinely converted in such meetings, because of their sincerity, many such “converts” end up becoming “twofold children of hell” (Matt.23:15) – deceived about their true state.

The true gospel however, makes the gate small and the way narrow – not smaller or narrower than Jesus Himself made it, as some “super-spiritual” cultists do, but just the same size as Jesus made it. Few there be that find this way to life. There is not much for the evangelists of this gospel to report about, and the statistics are not impressive. But this gospel leads people to the Lord Jesus and to heaven.

“Be careful how you listen. Whoever obeys what he has heard, to him more light and understanding will be given. But whoever does not obey what he has heard, even what light and understanding he thinks he has will be taken away from him.” (Paraphrase of Luke 8:18)

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.