20 November 2016

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK


James 1:19-20

Have you ever said these words to yourself? “Think before you speak” If so! When was the last time you stop yourself with that simple truth? Was it before or after the foot is inserts into the mouth? I can’t count the number of times that I’ve put myself into a situation where I insert my own foot!

Whether it’s with my wife.
Whether it’s with my children.
Whether it’s with friends or strangers.
Whether it’s with people I work with.
Whether it’s with people at church.

We, I myself, fail in this area of life from time to time….Reason being the natural man or woman wants to express what’s on their mind…. without thinking of others or the cost! As children of God we are to think before we speak at all times. For example: Col 4:5-6 says “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” 

I Peter 3:15-16 it says “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

James said “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. (v26) This is only possible when we think before we speak! We have that same responsibility when it comes to handling the word of God. Why? Because it bares the fruit of righteousness found in Christ. James says in (v21) God’s word is “engrafted” which means “the implanted word” this is where we get the parable of the Sower!

Jesus described the:

Hard heart….Matt 13:18-19 “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.”

Shallow heart……..Matt 13:20-21 “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.”

Crowded heart……Matt 13:22  “As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”

Fruitful heart………..Matt 13:23 “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."

See one of the most important tests of true salvation is your fruit! [This means a changed life]. There is only one good soil! And it bares 100, another 60, and another 30. Continue growth by His grace through His written word by God grafting His word into our hearts. Ask yourself! Is my life different today than it was yesterday, last week, last month, or last year? J C Ryle said “The Christianity which is from above will always be known by its fruits. It will produce in the person who has it repentance, faith, hope, love, humility, spirituality, kindness, self-denial, unselfishness, forgiving spirit, moderation, truthfulness, hospitality, and patience. The degree in which these various graces appear may vary in different believers. The germ and seeds of them will be found in all who are the children of God. By their fruits they will be known. Is this your faith? If not, you should doubt whether it is authentic.”
Loved ones….examine your life as it lines up with scripture….the implanted word that sanctifies your soul for eternity. As Jeremiah said Jer 31:31 "…..For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jer 31:31-33

THINK ABOUT

A MARK OF GENUINE FRUIT WILL GROW IN HOLY LIVING.

Rom 6:22 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”
  
A MARK OF GENUINE FRUIT WILL BE BUILDING SPIRITUAL CHARACTER.

Gal 5:22-24 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
  
ASK YOURSELF! How long would it take for you to look at an apple tree to see if it has bad fruit on it? How long would it take for you to look at an apple tree to see if it has good fruit on it? Answer: Instantly
  
Remember what Jesus said in the gospel of John 5:1-5

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser……..Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bares much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

A person can only bear fruit under the supervision of Christ which is found in the gospel and His salvation and sanctifying grace. The evidence of your salvation is that you continue to grow and walk in His righteousness! But understand! This is only possible through the seeds of God’s Word being planted in your life [into your heart]

HERE ARE THREE AREAS IN WHICH THE SEEDS OF GOD’S WORD HELP US GROW ACCORDING TO JAMES’S LETTER!
  
SWIFT TO HEAR

Basically James is saying is “Hurry up and Listen” This is a statement could basically summarize the foundation of the Christian faith! If the bible teaches that “faith comes by hearing” then this is a vital piece of information for the Christian to bear fruit. We are to humbly approach the Word, not coming with our defences up, which leads to anger and resistance to God and His word. As David Platt saidDon’t we often come to God’s Word talking and not listening?” Think about this! Don’t we at times come to God’s word looking to justify ourselves? We’re like people in an argument who are not listening to the other person, because we are too busy trying to think of what we are going to say next. Don’t we approach God’s word with the attitude thinking “Here what I want it to say?” We think we know what’s best for us and everyone around us and ignore what God says. Don’t we have a tendency to think the culture should dictate our homes, schools, businesses and the churches? For this reason! We have our fingers in our ears and we are a people who are not swift to hear. We should be “quick” [ready, excited, eager] to hear what God is telling us through the written word. Again I go back to (v18) “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” He brought us forth by the super-natural power of His will through the gospel and the Word.. James is emphasizing that the sovereign will of God is the source of this new life we live. As children of God we are to be quick to hear what God is saying to us……. like a mother who is always quick to hear her baby make the smallest cry. Think about the Berean’s in the book of Acts! Acts 17:11 said “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Not only did they have a discerning heart to test all things but they had a readiness, excitement to hear the word of God, so that they could grow deeper in love with Christ.

Warren Weirsbe gave a wonderful example of what it means to be swift to hear!

“King David was hiding from the Philistines who were in possession of Bethlehem, He yearned for a drink of cool water from the well in Bethlehem….a well he often visited in his boyhood and youth. He did not issue an order to his men; he simply said this to himself [2 Sam 23;15]. Three of his mighty men heard their kings sigh for the water, and they risked their lives to secure the water and bring it to him. They were “swift to hear

The same principle applies to you and me! James is telling us that we need to be ready [quick] to hear our Masters voice……even if that means giving up everything or losing our life for the sake of the gospel.
  
SLOW TO SPEAK

There is a good reason why God gave us two ears and only one mouth! Because that one mouth gets us into enough trouble as it is. The two ears attached to the side our head should give us a clue to the fact that God desires us to hear more than we are to speak. A prime example of this is Martha and Mary.....Martha was quick to express her displeasure for her sister’s lack of participation. When Mary chose to listen, rather than go overboard preparing like her sister. See, listening is a vital part of growing! From the time you’re toddler, until the time you’re elderly and frail. The bible says in….. Prov 13:3 “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Prov 18:13 “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Prov 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

When it comes to the word of God we must be silent on the inside, just as we are to be on the outside. Basically talk little, not hurried, acting with reflection, thinking before you speak. We must reflect on the word first and go to the Lord with or troubles.

SLOW TO WRATH [OR ANGER]
  
This is where we [all] need to precede with caution! Anger is a natural emotion that usually ends in an instant response when triggered! Examples: Jonah when God removed his shade as he wanted God to pour His wrath on the Ninevites. (Jonah 4). David when he was raged by the refusal of food from Nabal because his pride was hurt. (1 Sam 25). Peter impulsiveness when he cut the ear off of the servant that came to arrest Jesus in the garden. (Matt 26). Wrath (means) hot anger, passion, a violent passion of the mind, is the display of an enraged sinful nature. We are forbidden to bad anger to display itself in our lives; we must flee from all types of wrathful passions and desires. But as Paul said! “Let love be genuine. Abhor (detest) what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Rom 12:9. The anger that James is talking about…..keeping in the context of this letter is a anger towards God’s truth when it confronts our sin or conflicts. This anger is referring to a hostile person to scriptural truth when it does not correspond or agree to one’s own convictions. As John MacArthur explains itPeople desired to have their own opinions confirmed, their own ways approved, their own likes and dislikes accepted by others.” This was happening in the church today! Especially with the health and wealth camps, the Narcissistic emotional driven, to the Emerging / seeker Sensitive so-churches.

I call them Me monster

We have seen this in the life of King David in 2 Sam 12:2-6 A man named Nathan came to speak to David and told him a story about two men. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him." Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die,.”

David missed the point because as Nathan said to David "You are the man! (v6). Choosing not listen and quick to answer which leads to destruction. Many approach the word of God the same way. Paul warned Timothy of this in his last letter“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Tim 4:3-4. James said it was happening among the believers here in this letter “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” James 4:1

Thomas Jefferson was a prime example of someone who was angry with God’s word. Why? Because the bible didn’t co-inside with what he held to be true…meaning the word according to Thomas Jefferson. The word of God is everything to us…….for without it we would be lost like so many people around the globe today. The word of God is our life, our communication with the Creator of the Universe. Is this so in your life? I pray and hope so!
  
To help! Let’s do a personal inventory how we approach the Word of God

Does this book you hold in your hands bring you Joy?
Is it your desire and passion to know Him more intimately?
Does His word bring you encouragement in your darkest hour, as you face the trials of today?
Do you persistently go to Him and wait on Him before you act?
Does anger get the victory, or do you display self-control and give your trials and victories to the Lord?

I ask this because Solomon said this “the way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves Him who pursues righteousness” Prov 15:9. We need to pursue the Word of God and walk in the truth of His word. We need to be hunting His righteousness. And it needs to be done with open ears…..quiet mouths… and gentle obedience. Gospel saturated, born again children must pursue righteousness, which is well pleasing in the sight of God, because it will always produce fruit of Christ righteousness. May this never be said of us that “We are not quick to hear and slow to speak but loathe to listen and anxious to be heard.” This book you possess makes the Christian excited, mindful and humble as He leads us home into His glory and His glorious presence. God’s word deeply rooted produces listening ears, a tamed tongue and a gentle heart of God’s righteousness.

13 November 2016

THE GIVER OF GOOD IN ALL SITUATIONS

James 1:17-18

So what do we do during trials and temptations?

Quick Recap! Many times we succumb to temptation! We are sometimes prone to fix our eyes on our circumstances and we miss what God has in store for us. What are we to do when we are prone to carried away or enticed by the desires that are at the core of our lives? Well…..I hope by the end of this message you will be able to say with me “God is good, and God is always good.” Even in the midst of trials and our failures. See! God is so good there is no changing how good He is! Can you say that about your sanctification today? Maybe this will help answer that….

In the barracks where Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsy were kept in the Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck were terribly overcrowded and flea-infested. They miraculously had been able to smuggle a Bible into the camp, and in that Bible they read that in all things they were to give thanks, and that God can use anything for good. Corrie's sister Betsy decided this meant thanking God for the fleas. This was too much for Corrie, who said she could do no such thing. Betsy insisted, so Corrie gave in and prayed to God, thanking Him even for the fleas. During the next several months, a wonderful, but curious, thing happened. They found that the guards never entered their barracks. This meant the women were not assaulted. It also meant they were able to do the unthinkable, which was to hold open Bible studies and prayer meetings in the heart of a Nazi concentration camp. Through this, countless numbers of women came to faith in Christ.

Only at the end did they discover why the guards had left them alone and would not enter their barracks. It was because of the fleasWe hear that story and say “how terrible “and yes rightfully so….but behind the fleas and suffering we see God’s goodness and providence in their lives to receive grace and for salvation to those who do not know the Saviour.. The same principles Betsy applied to her life and her sister through the written Word can easily be applied to each and every one us today!

We are never to blame God for our situations! We are to give thanks in the midst of them. Why are we not to blame God when things go wrong or bad in our lives? According to James it’s our desires that lead us to take our eyes of the vertical relationship that we with Christ. When we give into temptation it gives birth to sin in our lives. When our desires are led by deception……when we are hooked by the deception it gives birth to disobedience which brings about death according to James. And James says “do not be deceived” which gives idea that no one is immune to the deceitfulness of sin and you are the one accountable, not God! James is telling us that we are not to be deceived when it comes to the character of God.

God's perfection and completeness is displayed in what James says in (v17a) "Every good gift....” means the act of giving……And "every perfect gift..." means the object given “Comes from the Father of Lights" The very same Creator of Light and the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars………As it says in (Gen 1:14-19). Psalm 136:1-9 also speaks of this wonderful truth! “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;…” God is not some light……He is light itself…the Creator and all sustaining One…….nothing evil comes from God, because God can’t do what is wrong or do what is evil. (v17) “Father of light”
  
WHAT JAMES IS SAYING IS? God cannot change for the worse because He is holy! God cannot change for the better because He is perfect! GOD HAS ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR SIN! WHY? There is “No Darkness or variation of shadow of turning” in our sovereign Lord (v17b) which means….

He is Changeless
He is Pure Light
He is Perfect
He is Sinless
He is Righteous
He is Just, He only does what is right or perfect.

There is no darkness in anything God does, because pure Light is where Holiness and His glory is displayed, and it’s also the Light that reveals our sin that is hidden in darkness. Because all sin is done in darkness and by us….NOT HIM! In your trials or temptations, don’t believe the lies. Remember that God is good, very good. And He wants that which is good for you. So we are to trust in Him through our trials and turn to Him in your temptations. Why? He is the source of every good. See! The scriptures declare that He is without a shade of doubt, God is completely perfect in everything He is and does and to be trusted despite your circumstance.

NO ONE OR ANYTHING CAN COMPARE TO GOD’S PERFECT HOLINESS.

Ex 15:11 "Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?”

GOD’S PERFECTION IS DEMONSTRATED IN HIS CHARACTER.

Isa 6:3 “And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

GOD'S PERFECTION IS SHOWN IN HIS NAME.

Isa 57:15 “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy….”

GOD'S PERFECTION PROVES THAT HIS WORD IS SUFFICENT.

2 Tim 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
  
GOD'S PERFECT JUSTICE WAS DISPLAYED ON THE CROSS.

Rom 3:21-26 “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

He is completely trustworthy and unchangeable. The greatest gift came down from heaven to save sinners like us! This is why James is so concerned for his family “beloved brothers” this is a term of endearment. (v16). He’s displaying his love for the church and his desires for the church to stay strong and focused on the goodness of Christ even in midst of their suffering.

JAMES IS REMINDING ALL OF US THAT:

He is the Giver of good gifts.
He is the giver only of good gifts.
He is the giver who constantly gives.
He is the giver who will never change

REMEMBER! God’s gifts are always better than what Satan and his fallen angels bargains to give you. REMEMBER! Satan never gives any gift for free……because you will end up paying for them dearly somewhere down the road.

Prime Example of this!

The book of Joshua where we see the outcome of a man named Achan. God is angry because “Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings.” Joshua 7:10-11. The whole nation was associated and shared in the sin of Achan…..and in (v17 of Joshua 7) God tells Joshua to deal with the sin problem…..“Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me." And Achan answered Joshua, "Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath." Joshua 7:19-21. “And Joshua said, "Why did you bring trouble on us? The LORD brings trouble on you today." And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.” [Which means: The Valley of Trouble] Joshua 7:25-26. What am I trying to say? It’s our sin that causes us the most pain! Not God. Israel was taught that victory is possible only where there are careful obedience to His Covenant and sincere dedication to the promises of God. We cannot cope with our adversaries [sin temptation], unless we live in unclouded fellowship with God and trust Him to see us through (whatever it is). The tragic outcome when our eyes are clouded is that it causes us to take our eyes of the prize [Jesus Christ] the one who gives us everything we need…..not what we want. The giver of good not only does this because He can He does it so the world can see an example of His love and for you see Him through the suffering.

Look at what it says in (v18) “..... He brought (He begat, to bring forth) us forth by the word of truth" 
His scripture (love letter)
His word of truth (unchangeable truth)
The Gospel which is the word of truth, and truth itself.
It contains nothing but truth
By this our souls are begotten and born again (firstfruits)
He has given us His word (His promise) to see us through each and every trial which is the gift from above.

REMEMBER WHAT JAMES SAID “let the testing of your patience have its perfect work!” (v4) We are to be a "firstfruits" of creation. In the Old Testament this referred to the first and best harvest crops, which God expected as an offering

Deut 26:1-2 clearly says "When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it,  you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. Giving God that initial crop was an act of faith and obedience that He would fulfill His promise of a full harvest. This goes for the same today. We are the evidence of God's new creation that is to come. Paul said this in Rom 8:18-19 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” The world will see Christ by your decisions…behaviour….and your joy as you face trials and tribulations through His amazing grace. The world will see who reflect God’s character and the coming hope of eternal things. Because! Nothing on the earth can separate that love…..that bond we have with the Giver of good gifts found in the GOSPEL. When you feel that challenge and feel like succumbing to temptation and doubt our sovereign God! Take a moment and remember the fleas of Ravensbruck; and thank God anyway. Thank Him because He is looking out for you’re to grow and bear fruit of His righteousness and amazing care. Why? He is your Father of light and sovereign over the universe.
  
As A W Pink said “Divine sovereignty is not the sovereignty of a oppressive Tyrant, but the exercised pleasure of One who is infinitely wise and good! Because God is infinitely wise He cannot err, and because He is infinitely righteous He will not do wrong.”
  
His providential love is being made perfect through your weaknesses and tribulation. So, keep looking upwards and never take your eyes of the Light of grace found in Jesus Christ.

08 November 2016

SLOW TO FADE

James 1:13-15

THE WORLD IS FULL OF SIN AND SIN WANTS NOTHING MORE THAN TO REVEAL ITS UGLY HEAD IN OUR LIVES. This is where we need to put a caution sign around our lives, and around our hearts. We as believers are never called to test the waters of sin or take our sin lightly in light of God’s goodness and grace…….with the idea that we won’t sink or He won’t find out. A man purchased a white mouse to use as food for his pet snake. He dropped the unsuspecting mouse into the snake's glass cage, where the snake was sleeping in a bed of sawdust. The tiny mouse had a serious problem on his hands. At any moment he could be swallowed alive. Obviously, the mouse needed to come up with a brilliant plan. What did the terrified creature do? He quickly set up work covering the snake with sawdust chips until it was completely buried. With that, the mouse apparently thought he had solved his problem. The solution, however, came from outside. The man took pity on the silly little mouse and removed him from the cage. What is the point of this story? No matter how hard we try to cover or deny our sinful nature……it's fool's work. Sin will eventually awake from sleep and shake off its cover. Were it not for the saving grace of the God’s hand, sin would eat us alive. Sin is a dangerous game to be playing around with. We must never see how close we can come to edge before we give into sin!! The bible tells us that we are to flee from every form of evil whether that’s false teaching….immorality, the passions and desires of our heart that cause us to fall into sin. “abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thess 5:22
  
THE BIBLE DESCRIBES SIN AS….

The work of the devil………….. (1 John 3:8) “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

The kiss of death…………… (1 Cor 15:56) “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”

Coming from the heart…………… (Matt 15:19) “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”

Complete rebellion against God…….... (Deut 9:7) “Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.”

The works of darkness…………. (Eph 5:11) “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

Deceitful…………. (Heb 3:13) “But exhort [encourage] one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

An abomination to God…………. (Prov 15:9) “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD…..”

Sin is a blasting presence, and every fine power shrinks and withers in the destructive heat. Every spiritual weakness succumbs to its malicious touch. Sin impairs the sight, and works toward blindness. Sin benumbs the hearing and tends to make men deaf. Sin perverts the taste, causing men to confound the sweet with the bitter, and the bitter with the sweet. Sin hardens the touch, and eventually renders a man "past feeling." See we need to understand when sin takes form its ugly and disgusting to a holy and perfect God! But! Sin will never give birth until we fall to the thing that caused us to sin in the first place. WE CALL THIS TEMPTATION! Temptation by definition is……Solicitation of the passions; enticements to evil proceeding from the prospect of pleasure or advantage. We know through Scripture that Satan is called the “Tempter” (Matt 4:3) The one thing we need to understand about temptation is…….So long as we are in this world, we are and will be exposed to temptations, and we need to be on our watch against it. Let me ask you and I want you to search your own heart this morning! What do you do when you are faced with temptation? Do you flee and run as far away from the temptation that is before you? Or do you entertain the temptation until it’s too late and it takes you over? This ultimately gives birth to sin!
  
SEE THIS POST-MODERN WORLD WE PRESENTLY LIVE IN SAYS………… 
Go ahead; take what's yours because you deserved it.
How could it be wrong, if it feels so right?
Just this once I can handle it.
Nobody will ever know.
You only live once. [This by the way is the key phrase of the day] YOLO
See the biggest problem is that sin looks attractive and ok!

As John Blanchard said “Satan has no difficulty in making sin look innocent.” Thomas Brooks said “Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst; he promises honour and pays with disgrace; he promises pleasure and pays with pain; he promises profit and pays with loss; he promises life and pays with death.” (v13) "Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God” To say God tempts us with sin we need to be very careful not to take the next step in our minds and begin to assume that God tempts us to turn from Him. This is a slippery slope. Understand that every trail brings temptation with it. When we face financial difficulty, we are tempted to distrust God’s provisions. When someone dear to us dies, we are tempted to question God’s love. When we experience unjust suffering, we are tempted to challenge God’s justice. But understand this!  God in His sovereignty will test the faith of His people, and He will do it for our good. God may test us, but according to this passage He does not and cannot and will not tempt us. We are responsible in the temptation. See what James is saying here is …….that we are prone to excuse our sin. We call this “Passing the Buck” to someone else and not taking the responsibility for our own actions.

We are amazing excuse makers! We live in a society that likes to pass the buck onto someone else all the time. We play the blame game! It starts as far back when we’re able to walk, and never stops really until we’re put into a box and lowered into the ground. If you have children, who’ve heard these famous words “He did it! No, she did it!” Or the famous one when you get older “the devil made me do it” You go back to the Garden and the first thing you see is Adam passing the blame unto his wife! "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Gen 3:12. Then you see Eve passing the blame onto the Serpent “The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
  
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PROPER RESPONSE SHOULD HAVE BEEN? Well I think David said it best when he was caught in his sin. “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.” Ps 51:4. We need to extremely careful when we fall into sin! It’s us who did it…and no one else. We are all accountable for our individual sins. God didn’t make you do it and Satan can’t be everywhere at one time. James in this short passage helps us to understand that sin has a process before it comes full circle……..

Desire (v14)
Deception (v14)
Disobedience (v15)
Death (v15)

DESIRE (v14)

(v14) “when were lured by our own desire” The natural things like food, drink, even sexual passions (in confines of marriage of course) are all normal desires that God instills in our hearts. These are the blessings of God and the normal desires of life given to us by God. LET ME EXPLAIN: When we want to satisfy these desires outside of God’s boundaries or out of His will…..we are now entering the path of our own desires. Basically what we’re saying is “I’ m not satisfied with what God offers so I go outside seeking my desire.” This mindset is no different than eating the fruit! They went outside the boundaries of God commands because they weren’t satisfied with just Him. 
For example: 
Eating is normal we would all agree on that! …………………..But gluttony is sin
Sleeping is also normal!...................But laziness is sin
The beauty of marriage and undefiled bed is normal!..........But fornication and adultery is sin.

So sin begins with our OWN desires…….because when this happens we begin to take our eyes off the all sustaining grace found Jesus Christ. 

DECEPTION (v14)

The beauty of sin is that it has the baiting effect that truly caters to our natural desires. Like fishing or hunting! I`m no expert or good at either of them……… but them both use methods of deception to achieve their goal or prize.
Think about it! Deer hunters lay out apples in a certain area to keep the herd coming back to same spot….as they hid in bush or a tree waiting for them to return to be ambushed by some get up way to early and cold hunters with guns. Fishing uses the art of deception, by hiding the hook with this beautiful image or array of colours to make the prey find it irresistible or pleasing to the sight. The same principle can be applied to sin as it deceives our eyes thinking that it’s ok. Again I pick on King David! Do you think David would have done what he did with Bathsheba if he knew the future and the outcome of that event?
The violation of a daughter
The death of a husband
The death of a child 
See we always need to be careful! Sin has a way of looking innocent, pleasing without realizing that there is a sharp hook at the end of the line. Again the bait keeps us from seeing the consequences of sin. HOW CAN WE DETECT DECEPTION? I think the greatest example is our Lord Jesus when He was in the wilderness….being tempted by the Tempter. Jesus used the Word of God to detect the deception of sin! 3 times Jesus said “It is written” This same rule or principle can be applied to us today! The more you’re in that intimate relationship with Christ through His word, the easier it will be able for you to detect the deception before it becomes sin. That’s why Paul wrote  “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” 1 Cor 10:13 

DISOBEDIENCE (v15)
  
This is the reason why we are in such a mess in the first place. Disobedience is rebellion against the one who created us…..The living God of the bible. This is the stage where it’s too late!  The hook has already snagged you ……The baby is born…………meaning sin has appeared! Basically! Your desire for the bait is so intense that it causes you to lose caution and overlook or ignore the trap or the hook until it’s too late. This is why we need to put walls around our hearts…… 
When we start up the computer
When we turn on the TV
The movies we watch by ourselves and with our families
The books we read
The people we call friends
The conversations we have the community, at work and most of all in our churches. Remember what Paul wrote in the book of Romans “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.`` Rom 7:18-25
We need to be careful what were feeding! 

Warren Weirsbe said “Christian living is a matter of the will, not the feelings. I often hear believers say “I don’t feel like reading my bible.” Or, “I don’t feel like attending prayer meeting.” Children operate on the basis of feelings, but adults operate on the basis of will. They act because it is right no matter how they feel. This explains why immature Christians easily fall into temptation: they let their feelings make the decisions. The more you exercise your will in saying a decisive no to temptation the more God will take control of your life…...” As Paul said “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Phil 2:13
  
DEATH (v15)

Our desires….our ignorance and disobedience always leads to death not life. It may take years before a person realizes that they are full of sin……. as I look at my life and see that it took 30 years to break this self-righteous and disobedient heart. But the tragic flip side to this is that for many it will be too late for others! When death comes it’s to late to repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness. SEE GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF EVIL! Otherwise this statement is false “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” Eze 18:23 God is perfectly sinless…..everything in Him resists sin, evil is inherently foreign to Him. He is the all-powerful, all knowing and beautiful Creator of the universe. He is the almighty King! When sin gives birth we only have one hope and that is Jesus Christ and the finishing work on the cross. Outside of that hope you will die in your sins as Jesus said to the Pharisee’s because of their disbelief and deception towards their own sin. 

This is a reminder for the Christian in what we have been saved from that we are to flee all forms of evil! And this is also a warning cry to those who don’t have a relationship with Christ! Before you decide to possibly bite into the fruit like Eve did and try to excuse it away. STOP! By getting your eyes off the bait/hook and look ahead to see the consequences of sin? Which is? The Judgement of God “For the wages of sin is death” Rom 6:23. Because there is nobody else to blame but yourself! God is greater than your sin and he is calling sinners to repent and believe the gospel. Sin is a choice a person makes. You either….entertain it, blame it or flee from it!  The Sunday question! What does your heart desire to do? Entertain it, blame it or flee from it? What are you doing when you are faced with temptation? Are you entertaining it, blaming it or fleeing from it, as you run into the sovereign arms of Jesus and His saving grace? 

As John Piper says "Today I will stand before innumerable temptations. That’s what life is: endless choices between belief and unbelief, obedience and disobedience. But, O mighty God, forbid that I would yield. Hold me back from stepping inside the temptation."

Brothers and sisters in Christ, whatever sin you are flirting with, whatever deception you are buying or desire you are fulfilling, run away from themFlee to the door that the Lord has put before you. As Paul said “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor 10:13