The Nature of Temptation


by Mike Ratliff

41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”Matthew 26:41 (NASB)

38 Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38 (NASB)

45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:45-46 (NASB) 

Temptation: Temptation is any thing, state, way or condition that, upon any account whatsoever, has a force or power to seduce, to draw the mind and heart of a man or woman from his or her obedience, which God requires of them, into any sin, in any degree of it whatsoever.

As Jesus agonized in Gethsemane in the hours prior to His trial, torture, and crucifixion, His disciples had a hard time staying awake. He went off by Himself to pray, but asked James, John and Peter to watch and pray. However, each time He came to them, He found them asleep. If we look closely at Mathew 26:41, Mark 14:38, and Luke 22:45-46, we will see the whole of our Lord’s caution to His disciples seems to have been, “Arise, watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.” Our Lord knew that danger was near. He knew that His disciples would be scattered from Him when He was arrested. However, His concern seems to be on these men that they would not enter into temptation. Notice also that it is the flesh that is weak and it is the watching and praying that keeps them lined up with the spirit that they be one in spirit with Him. If they would do that then they would not enter into temptation.

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What is the danger of entering temptation?


by Mike Ratliff

9 “ Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘ Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘ Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] (Matthew 6:9-13 NASB)

In this post we will look at the danger of “entering temptation.” There is no doubt that most believers walk in defeat in this battle much if not most of the time. On top of the guilt and self-abhorrence that are natural products of Christians sinning, there is also the battle fatigue that comes upon them which results in more guilt simply for being “tempted” in the first place. Of course, much of this can be blamed on faulty theology and an extreme drought in the area of teaching the Biblical truth about sin and temptation from our pulpits and Bible studies. To understand the danger of “entering temptation” we must first understand what it is and what it is not.

Continue reading

The nature of God and temptation


by Mike Ratliff

41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (NASB) 

38 Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38 (NASB)

45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:45-46 (NASB) 

Temptation: Temptation is any thing, state, way or condition that, upon any account whatsoever, has a force or power to seduce, to draw the mind and heart of a man or woman from his or her obedience, which God requires of them, into any sin, in any degree of it whatsoever.

As Jesus agonized in Gethsemane in the hours prior to His trial, torture, and crucifixion, His disciples had a hard time staying awake. He went off by Himself to pray, but asked James, John and Peter to watch and pray. However, each time He came to them, He found them asleep. If we look closely at Mathew 26:41, Mark 14:38, and Luke 22:45-46, we will see the whole of our Lord’s caution to His disciples seems to have been, “Arise, watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.” Our Lord knew that danger was near. He knew that His disciples would be scattered from Him when He was arrested. However, His concern seems to be on these men that they would not enter into temptation. Notice also that it is the flesh that is weak and it is the watching and praying that keeps them lined up with the spirit that they be one in spirit with Him. If they would do that then they would not enter into temptation.

Continue reading

Temptation


by Mike Ratliff

41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41 NASB)

38 Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38 NASB)

45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:45-46 NASB)

Temptation: Temptation is any thing, state, way or condition that, upon any account whatsoever, has a force or power to seduce, to draw the mind and heart of a man or woman from his or her obedience, which God requires of them, into any sin, in any degree of it whatsoever.

As Jesus agonized in Gethsemane in the hours prior to His trial, torture, and crucifixion, His disciples had a hard time staying awake. He went off by Himself to pray, but asked James, John and Peter to watch and pray. However, each time He came to them, He found them asleep. If we look closely at Mathew 26:41, Mark 14:38, and Luke 22:45-46, we will see the whole of our Lord’s caution to His disciples seems to have been, “Arise, watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.” Our Lord knew that danger was near. He knew that His disciples would be scattered from Him when He was arrested. However, His concern seems to be on these men that they would not enter into temptation. Notice also that it is the flesh that is weak and it is the watching and praying that keeps them lined up with the spirit that they be one in spirit with Him. If they would do that then they would not enter into temptation.

Continue reading

When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?


by Mike Ratliff

14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (Ephesians 6:14 ESV)

Temporal focus is deadly for Christians. We know that God’s will for us is our sanctification, (1 Thessalonians 4:3) but we tend to let our focus drop from God to self. Our flesh is insidious in its desire to drive us to partake of the world and its ways for self-gratification. Our enemy knows this; therefore his temptations are often rooted there. No one is immune or exempt from this. In fact, God uses this battle to test His saints. Continue reading

What Is Temptation?


by Mike Ratliff

41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41 ESV)

38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38 ESV)

45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:45-46 ESV)

Temptation: Temptation is any thing, state, way or condition that, upon any account whatsoever, has a force or power to seduce, to draw the mind and heart of a man or woman from his or her obedience, which God requires of them, into any sin, in any degree of it whatsoever.

As Jesus agonized in Gethsemane in the hours prior to His trial, torture, and crucifixion, His disciples had a hard time staying awake. He went off by Himself to pray, but asked James, John and Peter to watch and pray. However, each time He came to them, He found them asleep. If we look closely at Mathew 26:41, Mark 14:38, and Luke 22:45-46, we will see the whole of our Lord’s caution to His disciples seems to have been, “Arise, watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.” Our Lord knew that danger was near. He knew that His disciples would be scattered from Him when He was arrested. However, His concern seems to be on these men that they would not enter into temptation. Notice also that it is the flesh that is weak and it is the watching and praying that keeps them lined up with the spirit that they be one in spirit with Him. If they would do that then they would not enter into temptation.

Continue reading

If The Foundations Are Destroyed What Can the Righteous Do?


by Mike Ratliff

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (Ephesians 6:14 ESV)

Temporal focus is deadly for Christians. We know that God’s will for us is our sanctification, (1 Thessalonians 4:3) but we tend to let our focus drop from God to self. Our flesh is insidious in its desire to drive us to partake of the world and its ways for self-gratification. Our enemy knows this; therefore his temptations are often rooted there. No one is immune or exempt from this. In fact, God uses this battle to test His saints. Continue reading

Lessons For the Tempted


Let us look at temptation from the viewpoint of a great Baptist preacher from the 19th Centurty named John A. Broadus. He was an American contemporary of Charles Spurgeon. One of the reasons we look to those theologians who came before is that we live in a time of rampant apostasy and compromise in our churches and seminaries which has bled over into congregations of spiritually starving sheep. Those of us who desperately want to be fed the pure milk from God’s Word often must resort to sitting under the teaching of long dead men who knew not apostasy and compromise. They may have indeed confronted it in their day, but they did not fall under it. In the conception of those enamored with being part of some form of churchianity, the idea that we would study Tozer, Pink, Chambers, Spurgeon, Broadus, Whitefield, Edwards, Gill, Henry, Owen, Bunyan, Watson, Love, Brooks, Tyndale, Calvin and Luther (to name a few) rather than more modern thinkers, is strange bordering on the absurd. In their eyes we must be stuck in the past in areas where the Holy Spirit has departed and moved on. The problem with that sort of reasoning is that God’s Truth never changes. It doesn’t evolve from one form to another. Therefore, when God’s men get it right and obediently expound it then we must listen, learn and submit to the Lord’s truth. – Mike Ratliff

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Praying in Times of Trouble


In our study of temptation for the believer it has become apparent that our major weapon in this battle is prayer. Jesus told us that we should pray as He showed us in what has become known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” It ends with this, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This is a cry to God that He not allow us to be drawn into temptation which is not the same thing as being tempted. In any case, God has given us this prayer as part of what we do in seeing as we become holy and separate from the world. God allows us to be stressed so that we will pray.

by Martin Luther

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: “O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. (Isaiah 37:14-16 ESV)

This chapter is Isaiah contains an interesting story about King Hezekiah. The Assyrians were attacking Jerusalem with a large army and beginning to overpower it. The situation looked hopeless. King Sennacherib ridiculed Hezekiah mercilessly. Sennacherib made fun of Hezekiah’s misfortune by writing him a letter filled with insults about God in order to make the devout king lose all hope. Instead of losing hope, Hezekiah went into the temple, spread out the letter in front of God, bowed down with his face touching the ground, and prayed a heartfelt prayer.

Learning to pray with there’s an emergency or when something is frightening us requires a lot discipline. Instead of praying, we tend to torture ourselves with anxiety and worry. All we can think about is trying to get rid of the problem. The devil often tricks us when temptation or suffering first begins, whether we are dealing with spiritual or physical matters. He immediately barges in and makes us so upset about the problem that we become consumed by it. In this way, he tears us away from praying. When we finally begin to pray, we have already tortured ourselves half to death. The devil knows what prayer can accomplish. That’s why he creates so many obstacles and makes it so inconvenient for us that we never get around to prayer.

On the basis of this story in Isaiah, we should get into the habit of falling on our knees and spreading out our needs in front of God the moment we have an emergency or become frightened. Prayer is the very best medicine there is. It always works and never fails–if we would just us it!

The Danger of Entering Temptation


by Mike Ratliff

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13 ESV)

Yesterday we looked at the nature of Temptation. Today we will look at the danger of “entering temptation.” There is no doubt that most believers walk in defeat in this battle much of the time. On top of the guilt and self-abhorrence that are natural products of Christians sinning, there is also the battle fatigue that comes upon them which results in more guilt simply for being “tempted” in the first place. Of course, much of this can be blamed on faulty theology and an extreme drought in the area of teaching the Biblical truth about sin and temptation from our pulpits and Bible studies. To understand the danger of “entering temptation” we must first understand what it is and what it is not.

Continue reading

Caution to Stir up to Watch Against Sin


by John Bunyan

And bring thee safe to life eternal.–AMEN.

The first eight lines one did commend to me,
The rest I thought good to commend to thee:
Reader, in reading be thou rul’d by me,
With rhimes nor lines, but truths, affected be.
8 April 1684

I.
Sin will at first, just like a beggar, crave
One penny or one half-penny to have;
And if you grant its first suit, ’twill aspire,
From pence to pounds, and so will still mount higher
To the whole soul: but if it makes its moan,
Then say, here is not for you, get you gone.
For if you give it entrance at the door,
It will come in, and may go out no more.

II.
Sin, rather than ’twill out of action be,
Will pray to stay, though but a while with thee;
One night, one hour, one moment, will it cry,
Embrace me in thy bosom, else I die:
Time to repent [saith it] I will allow,
And help, if to repent thou know’st not how.
But if you give it entrance at the door,
It will come in, and may go out no more.

III.
If begging doth not do, sin promise will
Rewards to those that shall its lusts fulfill:
Penny in hand, yea pounds ’twill offer thee,
If at its beck and motion thou wilt be.
‘Twill seem heaven to out-bid, and all to gain
Thy love, and win thee it to entertain.
But give it not admittance at thy door,
Lest it comes in, and so goes out no more.

IV.
If begging and promising will not do,
‘Twill by its wiles attempt to flatter you.
I’m harmless, mean no ill, be not so shy
Will ev’ry soul-destroying motion cry.
‘Twill hide its sting, ’twill change its native hue,
Vile ’twill not, but a beauty seem to you.
But if you give it entrance at the door,
Its sting will in, and may come out no more.

V.
Rather than fail, sin will itself divide,
Bid thee do this, and lay the rest aside.
Take little ones (’twill say) throw great ones by,
(As if for little sins men should not die.)
Yea SIN with SIN a quarrel will maintain,
On purpose that thou by it might’st be slain.
Beware the cheat then, keep it out of door,
It would come in, and would go out no more.

VI.
Sin, if you will believe it, will accuse,
What is not hurtful and itself excuse:
‘Twill make a vice of virtue, and ’twill say
Good is destructive, doth men’s souls betray;
‘Twill make a law, where God has made man free,
And break those laws by which men bounded be.
Look to thyself then, keep it out of door,
Thee ‘twould entangle, and enlarge thy score.

VII.
SIN is that beastly thing that will defile
Soul, body, name, and fame in little while;
‘Twill make him, who some time God’s image was,
Look like the devil, love, and plead his cause;
Like to the plague, poison, or leprosy
Defile ’twill, and infect contagiously.
Wherefore beware, against it shut the door;
If not, it will defile thee more and more.

VIII.
SIN, once possessed of the heart, will play
The tyrant, force its vassal to obey:
‘Twill make thee thine own happiness oppose
And offer open violence to those
That love thee best; yea make thee to defy
The law and counsel of the deity.
Beware then, keep this tyrant out of door,
Lest thou be his, and so thy own no more.

IX.
SIN harden can the heart against its God,
Make it abuse his grace, despise his rod,
‘Twill make one run upon the very pikes,
Judgments foreseen bring such to no dislikes
Of sinful hazards; no, they venture shall
For one base lust, their soul, and heav’n and all.
Take heed then, hold it, crush it at the door,
It comes to rob thee, and to make thee poor.

X.
SIN is a prison, hath its bolts and chains,
Brings into bondage who it entertains;
Hangs shackles on them, bends them to its will,
Holds them, as Samson grinded at the mill,
‘Twill blind them, make them deaf; yea, ’twill them gag,
And ride them as the devil rides his hag.
Wherefore look to it, keep it out of door,
If once its slave, thou may’st be free no more.

XI.
Though SIN at first its rage dissemble may,
‘Twill soon upon thee as a lion prey;
‘Twill roar, ’twill rend, ’twill tear, ’twill kill out-right,
Its living death will gnaw thee day and night:
Thy pleasures now to paws and teeth it turns,
In thee its tickling lusts, like brimstone burns.
Wherefore beware, and keep it out of door,
Lest it should on thee as a lion roar.

XII.
SIN will accuse, will stare thee in the face,
Will for its witnesses quote time and place
Where thou committedst it; and so appeal
To conscience, who thy facts will not conceal;
But on thee as a judge such sentence pass,
As will to thy sweet bits prove bitter sauce.
Wherefore beware, against it shut thy door,
Repent what’s past, believe and sin no more.

XIII.
SIN is the worm of hell, the lasting fire,
Hell would soon lose its heat, could SIN expire;
Better sinless, in hell, than to be where
Heav’n is, and to be found a sinner there.
One sinless, with infernals might do well,
But SIN would make a very heav’n a hell.
Look to thyself then, to keep it out of door,
Lest it gets in, and never leaves thee more.

XIV.
No match hast sin save God in all the world,
Men, angels it has from their stations hurl’d:
Holds them in chains, as captives, in despite
Of all that here below is called Might.
Release, help, freedom from it none can give,
But he by whom we also breathe and live.
Watch therefore, keep this giant out of door
Lest if once in, thou get him out no more.

XV.
Fools make a mock at SIN, will not believe,
It carries such a dagger in its sleeve;
How can it be (say they) that such a thing,
So full of sweet, should ever wear a sting:
They know not that it is the very SPELL
Of SIN, to make men laugh themselves to hell.
Look to thyself then, deal with SIN no more,
Lest he that saves, against thee shuts the door.

XVI.
Now let the God that is above,
That hath for sinners so much love;
These lines so help thee to improve,
That towards him thy heart may move.
Keep thee from enemies external,
Help thee to fight with those internal:
Deliver thee from them infernal,