LISTEN: How to Overcome Temptation, Part 27 (Onward Christian Soldiers #150 with Daniel Whyte III)
Welcome to the Onward Christian Soldiers Discipleship Class. I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society and pastor of Gospel Light House of Prayer International. The purpose of this time together is to teach young believers everything they need to know about their faith in Jesus Christ and provide them with the knowledge they need to live victorious Christian lives.
Our key Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Our lesson today is titled “How to Overcome Temptation, Part 27”
In this section of our Onward Christian Soldiers discipleship class, we are going to continue looking at specific temptations that are, as the Bible says, “common to man.” We are reviewing what the Bible says about these sins so we can be aware of its dangers and so that we can hide Scripture in our hearts to use when we are tempted.
The sin that we are going to continue looking at today is the sin of “covetousness”. This is the second sin in a list of 12 temptations that comes from two sources — one ancient and one modern. The first source is a list that was developed by monks in the early church called “the seven deadly sins” or the “cardinal sins.” The second source is a Barna survey from 2011 which tracked the top temptations Americans admitted to struggling with.
We have already looked at four verses on this topic. Today, we delve more deeply into one of the passages that we looked at previously and see what more it can tell us about fighting the temptation of covetousness or wickedly desiring what others have. (Remember, the text of this lesson is made available online after each class, so you can go to our website GLHOPI.com, click the “Onward Christian Soldiers” banner on the home page, and begin to learn these verses by heart throughout the week.)
1 Timothy 6:3-11:
1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Martin Luther said, “It was with good reason that God commanded through Moses that the vineyard and harvest were not to be gleaned to the last grape or grain; but something to be left for the poor. For covetousness is never to be satisfied; the more it has, the more it wants. Such insatiable ones injure themselves, and transform God’s blessings into evil.”
In the last verse of this passage, we come to the positive aspect of Paul’s advice to Timothy. He has told him, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things.” The people of God are to flee covetousness, greed, and the lustful, wicked desire for things that others have and for things that they should not have. What should God’s people do instead?
Paul says we should “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” The term “follow after” means to run after, to run swiftly, to pursue, or to press on. In other words, there ought to be earnestness and eagerness in our desire to go after “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” You won’t achieve these things by happenstance. You can only achieve them by God’s grace on purpose. Let’s examine the first three of these positive traits in light of the temptation of covetousness.
First, we ought to pursue “righteousness.” The definition of the Greek word translated as “righteousness” is the “state of him who is as he ought to be, the condition acceptable to God (through salvation in Jesus Christ).” It also means, “integrity, virtue, purity of life, and correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting.” Coveting after people, money, or material possessions leads to a corrupt heart and a corrupt life. If we want to remain in right standing with God, we cannot let anything come between us and our relationship with Jesus Christ. We must always desire — and decide — that He alone will be on the throne of our hearts because it is through Him alone that we can be seen as righteous by God.
Second, we ought to pursue “godliness.” This word means holiness or piety. The desire to be ‘like God’ is rightfully discouraged, but there are some ways in which we should — yea, we ought to — be like God. God said, “Be ye holy for I am holy.” Godliness does not happen by accident; it takes work. Earlier in this epistle, Paul told Timothy, “exercise thyself unto godliness.” The word exercise means to vigorously train the mind or body. We ought to earnestly pursue those things that promote and encourage holiness in our hearts and lives.
Third, we ought to pursue “faith.” The word “faith” is defined as “belief with the predominant idea of trust (or confidence) in God and Christ.” Too many people today put their faith in other people, in money, or in material possessions. This is foolish because all people are sinful and unreliable, money ‘takes wings like an eagle and flies away,’ and material possessions will one day decay. Instead, we ought to place our faith, trust, and confidence in God and Christ. Jesus is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” God said in Malachi 3:6, “I am the LORD, I change not.” God will never let you down. As Dottie Peoples sang, “Whatever you’re going through, there ain’t nothing that God can’t do; You can count on God.”
Contrary to what the world will tell you, the life of blessing and contentment does not come from finding your dream spouse or buying your dream house. It does not come from cars, cash, or career success. It can only be found by following the way of God and Christ. And that is the way of righteousness, godliness, and faith.
If you struggle with covetousness, take this passage to heart and begin to use it the next time you face that temptation.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Until next time, May the Lord Bless You!
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.