Reasons Why This Subject Should Be Discussed
There are several reasons why the subject of temptation should be discussed.
1. Because Satan is the chief
agent in temptation. Moses in the Book of Genesis says, "Now the serpent was
more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God made. And he said
unto the woman, yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree in the
garden" (Gen. 3:1). We also read elsewhere that Satan said unto Jesus in the
wilderness, "If Thou be the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread"
(Matt. 4:3). Paul, in writing to the Church located in Corinth said, "Lest Satan
should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices" (I Cor.
Again, this great preacher said, "But fear lest by any means, as the
serpent beguiled Eve through his subtility, so your minds should be corrupted
from the simplicity that is in Christ" (II Cor. 11:3).
Still, the apostle, in
writing to the church in Thessalonica says, "For this cause, when I could no
longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have
tempted you, and our labor be in vain" (I Thess. 3:5).
We should know the
nature, the cunningness, and the devices of Satan. All true believers should be
rightly informed of the existence of Satan. For Satan is the source of sin,
suffering, temptation, and sorrow and death. He was once a bright and shining
light in Heaven. Isaiah said, "How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son
of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the
nations?" (Isa. 14:12, 13).
If there is no tempter, there could be no
temptation. A man was talking to Uncle Buddie Robinson, and insisting there was
no devil. Uncle Buddie replied, "If there is no devil, who then is carrying on
his business?" A man was at the altar praying and crying for mercy. He had been
decoyed away from the simplicity of the Gospel.
After praying through, he said,
"Never underestimate the power of the devil." Several years ago, a great French
man of science was crossing the Arabian desert under the influence of an Arab
guide. When the sun was setting in the West, the guide spread his praying-rug
down upon the ground and began to pray. When he had finished, the man of science
stood looking at him with scorn, and asked what he was doing. He replied, "I am
praying." The scientist said, "Praying! Praying to whom?" "To Allah, to God"
replied the guide. The man of science said, "Did you see God?" "No!" "Did you
hear God?" "No". "Did you ever put out your hands and touch and feel God?" "No!"
"Then you are a great fool to believe in a God you never saw, a God you never
heard, a God you never put out your hand and touched." The Arab guide said
nothing. They retired for the night, rose early the next morning, and a little
before sunrise they went out from the tent. The man of science said to his
guide, "There was a camel round this tent last night." With a peculiar look in
his eyes, the guide said, "Did you see the camel?" "No". "Did you hear the
camel?" "No." "Did you put out your hand and touch the camel?" "No." "Well, you
are a strange man of science to believe in a camel you never saw, a camel you
never heard, a camel you never put out your hand and touched." "Oh", but said
the scientist, "Here are his footprints all around the tent." Just then the sun
was rising in all its oriental splendor, and with a graceful wave of his
barbaric hand, the guide said, "Behold the footprints of the Creator, and know
there is a God." I think the untutored Arab had the best of the argument.
Everywhere in this magnificent universe we see the footprints of the Creator.
But, we also see everywhere in God's wonderful world, the footprints of Satan.
Look at his devastating work everywhere. There is a devil cunning, subtle,
masterly, marvelous who is more than a match for us in his cunning power.
Yet, with Christ, we can win the victory.
2. Because of the universality of
temptation. There is no race or color that is exempted from the blighting blow of
temptation. There is no place of escape in this world. Here no favoritism is
shown to any. If you were to travel to the most remote places of the earth,
there you will be tempted and tried. In space, under the earth, on the mountains,
and under the water, men will be fiercely tempted. The high and low, the rich and
the poor, the educated and the illiterate will meet the temptations of life.
Thus, temptation is universal in its scope.
3. Because of the frequency of
temptation. The greatest Saints of earth have been severely tempted. These
temptations will come with great frequency. Surely no one will doubt the
certainty of temptation. Believers in every age have been assailed by Satan. That
great army of saints as recorded in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews were tempted
and tried. The writer says, "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were
tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and
goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world was not
worthy: they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the
earth" (Hebrews11:37-38). Every saint will come face to face with the
enticements of Satan. And each believer will come forth, either triumphant and
victorious, or defeated and humiliated.
4. Because of the interest shown in a
discussion of the subject. In my evangelistic meetings, I try to bring at least
one message on the subject. Usually the people attend this service in
large numbers, and are free to express their appreciation. One soul said, "Truly
the Lord knew what I needed and He graciously supplied that need tonight."
Another severely tempted person said, "I feel that I can better grapple with
temptation since listening to this message tonight." Still another person said,
"This message should be delivered in every revival". One family drove sixty
miles to attend one of our evangelistic services, and at the close of the
service, the mother said, "The Lord knew my need for I have been going through
a period of severe temptation but tonight, the Lord has so graciously supplied
my need." While it is urgent to take the message of salvation to those who are
deeply steeped in sin, yet, it is just as important to inform believers of the
spiritual laws to be obeyed in order to fully develop the Christian life.
Soul-winning is the mission of the church, yet, it is just as important
to instruct the believer how to meet the temptations of life. We should never
cease to win men to Christ, yet, we should instruct believers how to have victory
over temptation. Since that every godly soul will be tempted, he should be
informed of the necessary steps to be victorious.