Brokenness, shame and the cover-up.

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6The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. Genesis 3:6-7

My professor Dr. Hunt described this snapshot of The Garden days in the alliteration of preacher-speak: “They listened, looked, lusted, and lunched.” That’s the common progression we have inherited from Adam and Eve when we give way to temptation. But that’s not all we share in common.

What is not yet seen in this moment is the depths of brokenness that will infect all of their relationships. A great shift has happened in respect to themselves as they have abandoned trust in God. “They suddenly felt shame.”

Their capacity for industry latched on to it (shame) and the cover-up began. No shouting voices, no pointing fingers were required. They knew shame. Shame infected their psyche as a consequence of their break away move from God.

Do you know the temptation that accompanies trouble? Authentic Fellowship, Part 3

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1Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 4For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

6But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.   1 Thessalonians 3:1-8

Paul was concerned, The Thessalonian church had experienced trouble from the very beginning. He was afflicted with thoughts that they may have drifted away from the faith and each other. He was concerned:

1. that their troubles would knock them off their faith and off Christian fellowship.

2. that their troubles would open them up to the Tempter’s work of emptying out their faith in Jesus.
What a relief when Timothy came back and shared the good news! The church still exists. People still remember Paul affectionately. The believers are still trusting Jesus even in their troubles.

Troubles and Temptations
Paul knows how isolating troubles can be. Its tempting to keep it all to yourself, to feel forgotten and of no value to God and others. However, authentic fellowship is the place where we can let others know of our troubles and experience the comfort and courage of the Holy Spirit together. During change and pain a circle of brothers and sisters in Christ can make the difference for our faith. But there is a vulnerability during these times. Will it knock us off our faith?

Other Apostles and Christian leaders know of this vulnerability too. James wrote of mature communal faith this way: “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will rise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James  5:13-16

Praise and Prayer
Praise and prayer are experienced in authentic fellowship. Participation in each other’s good times and difficult times is part of authentic fellowship. The amazing part of authentic fellowship is that the focus both in trouble and in good times does not get fixated on the individual and his or her pain, but instead turns toward God and our graceful communion with Him—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Way Out

The Way Out

11These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:11-13

The lusts the attempt to rule us are not unique. The Scripture says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.” Common. Yet, and I love this, the Scripture says, “God is faithful… he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

The way out.

Most of us don’t want to be shown the way out

of a pastry shop till we have had our croissant.

But let that shop fall in around us, and

we are ready to take cover.

We are ready to be lead out. Maybe.

The experience of temptation is not sin.

Temptation identifies the points at which

we are most vulnerable to live independent of God.

And if you have been brought into the family of Christ Jesus

the promise of God is that He will meet us by

His Spirit

and show us the way out.

But maybe you are not yet convinced

of the enduring joy of living dependent on His grace

and in His love.

your personal needs are fuel for temptation

Sunday at Cityview in the Integrity Test series we explored another reality that we have in common with Jesus:  temptation.  The text was Luke 4:1-13.  There we see Satan tempting Jesus by tapping into His personal needs.  You can listen to the message at the Cityview site later this week.  The notes are below:

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The Big Idea:  Your personal needs are fuel for temptation.

 

1.    Temptation is not sin.  It is a reality of the spiritual life.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.  Luke 4:1-2

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Ephesians 6:11, 16

 

2. When you have become a follower of Jesus, temptation is about making you un-godly, less trusting of God, less useful to God, and less influential in the kingdom of God.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.  If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 2 Timothy 2:20-21
 

3.  Temptation targets our “neediness” in order to displace our devotion to Jesus.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.”  For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.    James 1:13-15

Jesus’ Needs               His Response
vs. 2        Hunger            Trust God for provisions.
vs. 5-6    Success           Worship God & serve Him only.
vs. 9-12  Significance  Don’t test God to prove you matter to Him.

 

4.  Temptation can be defeated.

 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.  1 Corinthians 10:13

Our Needs                The Way
Physical                       Choose dependence & trust on/in Jesus.
Finances & Time       Choose devotion to Jesus & His Kingdom.
Emotional                   Choose dedication to Jesus’ ways.

Jesus passed the integrity test in regard to temptation, over and over and over.  You and I do not.  We need a Saviour to give us grace.  We need to repent of what has become habituated patterns of sin in the realm of temptation.  We need His strength to face temptation daily.

We implore you on Christ’s behalf:  Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

 

 

     

 

 

Oswald Chambers on Temptation

A few people have asked for the Oswald Chamber’s quote on temptation that I used in the sermon yesterday.  It is contained in a devotional that I have used for over 20 years, My Utmost for His Highest.  This particular quote is marked September 18th, His Temptation and Ours.  I have included Oswald Chambers in my list of “dead” mentors.  These men and women have influenced me with their writings and their life stories.  One of the best biographies of Oswald Chambers that I have read is, Oswald Chambers: Abadoned by God, The Life Story of the Author of My Utmost for His Highest.  “September” in the devotional has been one of my favorate months as well. 

Until we are born again, the only kind of temptation we understand is that mentioned by St. James—”Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”  But by regeneration we are lifted into another realm where there are other temptations to face, viz., the kind of temptations Our Lord faced.  The temptations of Jesus do not appeal to us, they have no home at all in our human nature.  Our Lord’s temptations and ours move in different spheres until we are born again and become His brethren.  The temptations of Jesus are not those of a man, but the temptations of God as Man.  By regeneration the Son of God is formed in us, and in our physical life He has the same setting that He had on earth.  Satan does not tempt us to do wrong things; he tempts us in order to make us lose what God has put into us by regeneration, viz., the possibility of being of value to God.  He does not come on the line of tempting us to sin, but on the line of shifting the point of view, and only Spirit of God can detect this as a temptation of the devil.            –Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.