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 40”
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 looking at 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 9 passages on this topic. Today, we will continue looking at 1 John 2:15-17. (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 John 2:15-17:
15 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.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Charles Ryrie said, “One may be covetous when he has little, much, or anything in between because covetousness comes from the heart, not from the circumstances of life.”
Warren Wiersbe said, “Worldliness is not so much a matter of activity as of attitude. It is possible for a Christian to stay away from questionable amusements and doubtful places and still love the world, for worldliness is a matter of the heart. To the extent that a Christian loves the world system and the things in it, he does not love the Father. Worldliness not only affects your response to the love of God; it also affects your response to the will of God. “The world passeth away but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever”. Doing the will of God is a joy for those living in the love of God. “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” But when a believer loses his enjoyment of the Father’s love, he finds it hard to obey the Father’s will. When you put these two factors together, you have a practical definition of worldliness: anything in a Christian’s life that causes him to lose his enjoyment of the Father’s love or his desire to do the Father’s will is worldly and must be avoided. Responding to the Father’s love (your personal devotional life), and doing the Father’s will (your daily conduct)—these are two tests of worldliness.”
Two weeks ago, we dealt with the lust of the flesh. And by way of a quick review, Warren Wiersbe said, “The lust of the flesh includes anything that appeals to man’s fallen nature. “The flesh” does not mean “the body.” Rather, it refers to the basic nature of unregenerate man that makes him blind to spiritual truth. Flesh is the nature we receive in our physical birth; spirit is the nature we receive in the second birth. When we trust Christ, we become “partakers of the divine nature”. A Christian has both the old nature (flesh) and the new nature (Spirit) in his life. And what a battle these two natures can wage! God has given man certain desires, and these desires are good. Hunger, thirst, weariness, and sex are not at all evil in themselves. There is nothing wrong about eating, drinking, sleeping, or begetting children. But when the flesh nature controls them, they become sinful “lusts.” Hunger is not evil, but gluttony is sinful. Thirst is not evil, but drunkenness is a sin. Sleep is a gift of God, but laziness is shameful. Sex is God’s precious gift when used rightly; but when used wrongly, it becomes immorality. Now you can see how the world operates. It appeals to the normal appetites and tempts us to satisfy them in forbidden ways.”
Last week, we dealt with the lust of the eyes… And by way of a quick review, Warren Wiersbe said, “The second device that the world uses to trap the Christian is called “the lust of the eyes.” We sometimes forget that the eyes can have an appetite! (Have you ever said, “Feast your eyes on this”?)The lust of the flesh appeals to the lower appetites of the old nature, tempting us to indulge them in sinful ways. The lust of the eyes, however, operates in a more refined way. In view here are pleasures that gratify the sight and the mind—sophisticated and intellectual pleasures. Back in the days of the Apostle John, the Greeks and Romans lived for entertainments and activities that excited the eyes. Times have not changed very much! In view of television, perhaps every Christian’s prayer ought to be, “Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity”.
Now, the third type of desire that John mentions as he warns us against loving the world is “the pride of life.” Warren Wiersbe said, “The third device is the “boastful pride of life”. God’s glory is rich and full; man’s glory is vain and empty. In fact, the Greek word for “pride” was used to describe a braggart who was trying to impress people with his importance. People have always tried to outdo others in their spending and their getting. The boastful pride of life motivates much of what such people do.”
The Greek word translated as “pride” means: empty, braggart talk; an insolent and empty assurance, which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully despises and violates divine laws and human rights; an impious and empty presumption which trusts in the stability of earthly things. This type of pride is a temptation for all of us. We like to feel and act as though we have everything under control and that we don’t need God.
One commentary states that the “pride of life” is the perspective of a man who “is boasting of what he has and does. The pride spoken of is self-reliance, self-sufficiency. Either people trust in themselves, or they derive their values, assurance and life from God. It is exactly this attitude of self-sufficiency, seeing things in our own light and not by the light of God, that the Elder terms ‘worldliness.'”
The pride of life can lead to covetousness as we look around at other people who seemingly have it all together while we are stuck “waiting on God.” Our flesh tells us that we should be in charge, that we should have things under control. We begin to covet the lives and freedoms of other people, and we forget that what most people show on the outside is usually not an accurate depiction of what is on the inside. If we are not careful, we will also begin to covet the authority over our lives that belongs to God alone. God does not want us to be this way. He wants us to be content with whatever path He has placed us on. He wants us to humbly submit to His will over our lives.
Adelaide Plumptre wrote:
Keep thyself pure! Christ’s soldier, hear,
Through life’s loud strife, the calls rings clear.
Thy Captain speaks: His word obey;
So shall thy strength be as thy day.
Keep thyself pure! Thrice blessed he
Whose heart from taint of sin is free;
His feet shall stand where saints have trod,
He with rapt eyes shall see his God.
Keep thyself pure! For He Who died,
Himself for thy sake sanctified;
Then hear Him speaking from the skies,
And victorious over temptation rise.
O Holy Spirit, keep us pure,
Grant us Thy strength when sins allure;
Our bodies are Thy temple, Lord;
Be Thou in thought and act adored.
If you struggle with covetousness, take this passage to heart and begin to use it the next time you face that temptation.
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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!