In 1957, Bible expositor Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895-1960) preached a sermon entitled Temptation And How To Meet It where he gives three ways to defeat temptation. He ended his sermon with this summary statement:
You're going to be tempted by the flesh. Run away. You're going to be tempted by the devil. Stand up and fight with the Word of God in your hand, the sword of the Spirit, and the shield of faith wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16). And as to the world round about you, be not conformed, but day by day, ask God to pour you into the mold of Christ.
When you are tempted with the lust of the flesh, remember the word flight. God does not tell us to fight this kind of temptation. Instead, He tells us to flee (see 1 Corinthians 6:18, 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:9-11; 2 Timothy 2:22).
Have you read the story of David and Bathesheba lately? David wouldn't have ever given in to the temptation of his flesh if he'd had done as Joseph did when Potiphar's wife approached him. Compare those two stories (2 Samuel 11 and Genesis 39).
What did Joseph do? He ran for his life! What did David do? He lingered and watched Bathsheba. Then, he entertained his lustful thoughts that led him to commit two heinous sins in the flesh — adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah.
What is the application for you and me? If there is a magazine, a movie, a television program, or even a person that arouses thoughts in you that you know are wrong, then, we are to flee. Just get away. When I was in college I had a motto on my desk: "He who would not fall down ought not to walk in slippery places."
Proverbs 6:27 says, Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?" You and I are to flee.
How do you and I overcome the world? The key word is faith. 1 John 5:4 says, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." We are not told to fight the world, we are told to have faith in God instead. What does faith do? Faith makes God real to you. Let's return to First John: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15). When we say that someone is "wordly," we are saying that this person loves the world and the things in this world more than God. The love of the Father is not in them.
Suppose you're driving and you notice the oil light blinks red on your dashboard. What do you do? Take a hammer and break the light? No! The light is a warning that your engine is out of oil. To solve the problem, you pour oil into the crank case. Right? Of course.
Now, if you are worldly, warning signs will illuminate that you have fallen in love with the world (which means you have fallen out of love with the Lord Jesus Christ). Don't fight the warning light.
The key word in overcoming the devil is fight. James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." First, we submit to God, then we resist the devil — not in our own strength, but in His strength.
Instead, most of us say to the devil, "If you'll leave me alone, I'll leave you alone." But he's not going to leave us alone until we resist him in the Lord Jesus Christ (see Revelation 12:11).
The devil cares nothing for your resolutions or good intentions. But he fears the blood of Jesus Christ. When the devil comes after you, show him Jesus!
Get on the offensive. Tell Satan, "I bring His Word against you. I bring His blood against you. You are trespassing on my Father's property and in the name of Jesus be gone!" Don't tell me it won't work until you've tried it. Flee the flesh. Have faith against the world. Fight the devil. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might" (Ephesians 6:10).
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