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The Struggle with Temptation (CLOSED CAPTIONED)

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Let us rise for the reading of this morning's sermon text recorded for us in Matthew's Gospel where we read from Chapter 26 beginning with Verse 36: THEN JESUS WENT WITH HIS DISCIPLES TO A PLACE CALLED GETHSEMANE, AND HE SAID TO THEM, "SIT HERE WHILE I GO OVER THERE AND PRAY." HE TOOK PETER AND THE TWO SONS OF ZEBEDEE ALONG WITH HIM, AND HE BEGAN TO BE SORROWFUL AND TROUBLED. THEN HE SAID TO THEM, "MY SOUL IS OVERWHELMED WITH SORROW TO THE POINT OF DEATH. STAY HERE AND KEEP WATCH WITH ME." GOING A LITTLE FARTHER, HE FELL WITH HIS FACE TO THE GROUND AND PRAYED, "MY FATHER, IF IT IS POSSIBLE, MAY THIS CUP BE TAKEN FROM ME. YET NOT AS I WILL, BUT AS YOU WILL." THEN HE RETURNED TO HIS DISCIPLES AND FOUND THEM SLEEPING. COULD YOU MEN NOT KEEP WATCH WITH ME FOR ONE HOUR?" HE ASKED PETER. "WATCH AND PRAY SO THAT YOU WILL NOT FALL INTO TEMPTATION. THE SPIRIT IS WILLING, BUT THE BODY IS WEAK." HE WENT AWAY A SECOND TIME AND PRAYED, "MY FATHER, IF IT IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR THIS CUP TO BE TAKEN AWAY UNLESS I DRINK IT, MAY YOUR WILL BE DONE." WHEN HE CAME BACK, HE AGAIN FOUND THEM SLEEPING, BECAUSE THEIR EYES WERE HEAVY. SO HE LEFT THEM AND WENT AWAY ONCE MORE AND PRAYED THE THIRD TIME, SAYING THE SAME THING. THEN HE RETURNED TO THE DISCIPLES AND SAID TO THEM, "ARE YOU STILL SLEEPING AND RESTING? LOOK, THE HOUR IS NEAR, AND THE SON OF MAN IS BETRAYED INTO THE HANDS OF SINNERS. RISE, LET US GO! HERE COMES MY BETRAYER!" (NIV) This is the Word of our Lord. Let us pray: Glorious and gracious God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of each of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, our only source of hope and comfort. Amen. [Sermon text taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978, 1984, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.] Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: As many of you realize, Jo and I have a new vehicle. And after 14 years, there are a few different things in this car from the last car. The manual's "this thick" and that's not the English-Spanish version. It's just the English version. And there are lots of things to get used to. Everything "beeps". Everything beeps. When you leave the lights on it beeps. When you leave the car keys in, it beeps. When you put the car into reverse, the little screen comes up, you get to see everything behind you. When you get within six feet, it beeps. When you get within three feet, it beeps more. When you get closer than that, it just blares the little "beep thing" at you. [Laughter] And then I thought of all of these other advances that come out. We've seen the commercial where the person's driving in the car and says: Well, I just kinda fell asleep and I was so glad that my car knew when to brake so that I didn't have to. Or the car that parks itself; parallel park ... you just pull up next to the car and you tell it to do all of the work for you. Our car would be beeping because it's within three to six feet of the car behind us. But it's kind of interesting how we get to the point in our lives today where we rely on so many other things to THINK for us. To keep us sharp. To keep us paying attention to what's going on around us. And the thing is with our faith ... we CANNOT allow that to happen. We can't allow ourselves to put our eternal welfare into the hands of someone else to keep us alert. For some beep to always go off when we're starting to get in a dangerous place. We're reminded from Scripture that we really need to be alert. And awake to what's around us because there are temptations everywhere around us. And our bodies are weak! We don't always pay attention. Sometimes we ARE tired. Sometimes we get blindsided by the temptation that comes into our way and sometimes we just wanna flirt with it and see how far it's going to go. And then we hear what our Savior did. And we're reminded of the work of what Jesus Christ did to accomplish our salvation. And at one of the greatest points ... one of the turning points in His life in this world ... just before He is hauled off into those false trials on that Maundy Thursday evening just before he is berated, belittled, mocked ... just before He is flogged and spit upon, and finally placed on the cross to die for us. He realized where He needed to be ... in a solitary place where He could pray. Focusing His thoughts and His attentions on the work at hand. And what needed to be carried out. And who was going to be there with Him, supporting Him through this difficult work. This tremendous sacrifice that was going to accomplish the salvation of all people. Jesus went off with His disciples to a quiet place. He took three of His closest friends with Him to support Him, to be with Him, to pray with Him. To encourage Him to go through this dark tremendous time of trial in His life. He brought them with Him and He said: Stay here and pray because I'm going over there to do the same thing. As He made that tremendous struggle, realizing exactly what was before Him. Asking His heavenly Father if there were any other way to let that be. But if THAT WAS the cup He had to drink, He prayed that it was the Father's will. And He returns to the disciples, His closest friends that He had asked to pray with Him, to pray FOR Him, and He finds them sleeping. He finds them exhausted and He warns them ... He tells them: WAKE UP! Be watchful! Do you realize ALL of the temptations that are around you. Be up! Be watchful! And pray! Because those temptations are great and they are going to assault your faith. And what a reminder to us in our life! If we are not always aware that Satan is waiting at every turn to do what he can to snatch us from the firm position of our salvation, we have lulled ourselves into a false confidence. If we do not think that the world around us wants to distract us so much that the blessings of God and what He has done for us, we have fallen into a place where we need to wake up! And sometimes, yes, we even need to look at ourselves and the sin that is in us and realize that we struggle each and every day to do the good that we want to do and to STOP doing those things that ARE against God's Law! It is a continual fight. It is a continual struggle because Satan is wily and he's crafty. He is the greatest liar that ever lived and he's going to come TO us! He's gonna come to us like he came to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, questioning what did God say. What did God REALLY say to you? And, of course, Eve added to what God had said! We can't even touch it. And then, she continued to listen to what Satan had to say. Why? It really looked like it's good. What a great thing for me to have the fruit from that tree. And when Satan said to her: You're going to gain knowledge. You're going to gain experience. You're going to gain wisdom. You're going to be like God ... knowing the difference of good and evil. Eve thought in her mind: He's right! This is a good thing for me to do. And Adam, who was standing right there, watched his wife go headlong into that sin. In his own sin of standing there ... quiet, doing nothing to stop her. And they looked at the fruit and they ate the fruit, and they realized what they had done and how different their life would be. And their children's lives and the rest of humanity. Because now people would be born in sin. From sinful flesh into sinful flesh. Into a world that would be affected by sin. Where child-bearing would be involved in pain. Where people would have to work and sweat in order to make a living. That the perfection was gone. And we live in that world! In a world that is filled with sin. And Satan still comes to each of us and says: Look at that thing. What a good and pleasing thing it is. It will feel good. It will make you happy. It will make you a better person. It will give you knowledge of things that will make you so much smarter than you are. And we need to be awake. And we need to pray. We need to realize what is out there and what it wants to do to us and that we take our struggle to our Lord! Just as James reminded us that those trials that are going to come into our life are there to build up our faith. They're there to create perseverance in us so we can finish what God has begun. And if we lack something, we turn to God and we ask Him for it. If we need to have wisdom to find out what God has truly said, we ask God to send His Holy Spirit into our hearts and minds to enlighten us. To cause us each day to continue to grow in our faith. To search the Scriptures. To look for these things that the Lord has said to us and apply them into our lives. To gain that knowledge, to take that knowledge because our bodies are weak. Our bodies are tainted with sin. And we realize it's still a tremendous struggle. Christ, whose body, was not sinful at all ... was still tempted by Satan. And He understands our temptations. That Gospel Lesson: Jesus had gone without food for 40 days. Humanly speaking it must have been a relief for Him for Satan to say: Turn this bread ... turn this stone into bread so you can have something to eat. Talk about using something that was at the moment on His mind. But Christ responded with the Word of God. Man doesn't live by bread alone. But Satan didn't leave Him and go: Well, you know, he won. I'm done. He continues to come back to Christ ... and this time with the Word! If you throw yourself down, doesn't Scripture say that God will send his angels to lift you up? Word of God. But Jesus responds also with the Word of God that says we're not supposed to put the Lord our God to the test. And in the end ... after ... Satan says: You can have all of this if you bow down and worship me. Jesus looked him fair ... square in the face and says: Get away from Me. Sometimes we just have to admit in our Christian life that we are not strong enough in and of ourselves to fight the adversary. Our bodies are weak. We're like Jesus disciples who get tired. And we want to sleep. We want to slumber. We don't wanna be bothered with prayer. We don't wanna be bothered with doing the Lord's will. We need to remind ourselves that our strength is not within us. But our strength is in our victorious God who came into this world to suffer and die after enduring all temptation. And, yet, was without sin. That He lived that perfect life for us ... that we could not. Obeying the Law in each and every aspect in letter and its intent. He lived the perfect life. And His sacrifice was the perfect death. So that we could too live in God secure in what He has done. He triumphed over Satan with His death on the cross and His resurrection to eternal life! He sits at the right hand of God in all of His glory and all of His splendor with everything under His feet. Conquered for the benefit of the Church. THERE we find our strength. THERE we find our support. THERE we find the One who never changes. The One who never slumbers. The One who ALWAYS is with us. ALWAYS loves us and WILL always be the victor. And we turn to Him and we pray to Him. Thanking Him for who He is and what He's done. Asking Him to be with us, to FIGHT with us. To live with us in this world so that we can be victorious to the end and that we will live with Him forever in His world. And that takes work. And it takes effort. 'Cuz there aren't little beepers that are gonna go off when we get close to temptation. There isn't anyone gonna be there who's going to remind us: You're getting close. Better beware. Better be careful. We need to be awake. We need to be watchful. We need to arm ourselves with the victory of Christ ... and pray. Amen. Let us rise. Now may the peace of God which goes beyond all of our understanding, keep your hearts and your minds and especially your lives in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

Video Details

Duration: 18 minutes and 7 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 75
Posted by: hischild on Sep 17, 2010

The temptations all around us can be overwhelming if we neglect to keep our focus on Jesus and what He tells us in Matthew 26:41: "WATCH AND PRAY SO THAT YOU WILL NOT FALL INTO TEMPTATION. THE SPIRIT IS WILLING, BUT THE BODY IS WEAK." Pastor Dave may be contacted @ www.ziontorrance.info

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