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← Is Scripture a Reality to You in a Time of Temptation? - Ask Pastor Tim

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Showing Revision 3 created 05/27/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. "I was reading through John 4,

  2. and during Jesus' discourse
  3. with the Samaritan woman
  4. where He says, "he
    who drinks of this water
  5. will thirst again, but whoever drinks
  6. of the water I will give
    him will never thirst."
  7. I can read that and believe it
  8. and so clearly affirm it.
  9. I can have a conversation
  10. with another believer about
    it and its implications
  11. and be stirred up full of desire
  12. to live in such a way where we aren't
  13. drinking from the broken
    cisterns of the world
  14. and are satisfied in Christ
  15. and the living waters
    that come only from Him.
  16. But then, I can go home and in a moment
  17. I find myself struggling with temptation
  18. and sin and feeling overwhelmed
  19. even in things that can be so trivial.
  20. My question is about how can a Christian
  21. draw out this transforming power
  22. and strength from the Scriptures?"
  23. He says, "It's one thing
    to read your Bible,
  24. but it's another thing
    entirely to lay hold
  25. of a text like that in John 4
  26. and wield it powerfully
    and draw out strength
  27. in the time of trial
    and apply it to your life
  28. in such a transforming way."
  29. Tim: What do you say?

  30. I mean, here's the thing,
  31. you get in a conversation with somebody.
  32. You get all excited.
  33. You're talking.
  34. These doctrines - they excite you.
  35. Why do they excite you?
  36. That might be worth asking -
  37. why you get excited.
  38. Is it an intellectual exercise?
  39. Is it that you've learned some new thing?
  40. Then you go home
  41. and you fall into all
    sorts of temptations.
  42. Now, I might read between the lines,
  43. but I suspect they're sexual temptations
  44. and probably computer-related temptations.
  45. There's failure and there's falls,
  46. and it's like how can this be?
  47. Now you know, I heard a guy one time say -

  48. preacher, old preacher -
  49. what was his name?
  50. He's that guy that preached
    in Corpus Christi for years.
  51. He was on the radio.
  52. Arminian.
  53. But I heard him say one time -
  54. he'd be on the radio at lunch
  55. when I worked as an engineer.
  56. I heard him say one time,
  57. if a man goes out and he prays
  58. and he comes in and he barks at his wife,
  59. what does it say about his praying?
  60. I guess the same kind of thing.
  61. What do you say if you have a conversation
  62. and you're talking about John 4
  63. and the water - the living water -
  64. and you get all stirred
    up and you go home
  65. and you watch Internet pornography?
  66. It's kind of the same thing.
  67. (from the room)
  68. It seems like it's selfish.
  69. (unintelligible)
  70. Tim: Like the previous guy said,
  71. there's a disconnect somewhere.
  72. So, what's the magic formula?
  73. Is there one?
  74. (from the room)
  75. Is he praying for power,
  76. for strength from the Lord?
  77. Is he praying for deliverance
  78. and protection from temptation?
  79. Tim: I don't know.

  80. But here's the thing,
  81. let's not complicate this too much.
  82. Were you going to say something?
  83. (from the room)
  84. I was going to say the first thing
  85. that popped in my mind -
  86. the most exciting aspect of his walk
  87. should not be happening outside the doors
  88. with somebody else in a conversation.
  89. But it should be happening in his home
  90. personally with Christ Himself.
  91. And that's what struck me.
  92. Because for me, it's
    going out of the house.
  93. That's where I encounter the world.
  94. And in the home is where the strength
  95. and the life and the truth
  96. and the foundation should be.
  97. Tim: (incomplete thought)
  98. What is it that gets us stirred up
  99. when we talk to somebody else?
  100. Maybe you're talking to somebody exciting?
  101. Somebody's very exciting to talk to.
  102. They can make it exciting.
  103. But I would just say this,
  104. I don't think we want to
    make this overly complicated.
  105. You say, what do you mean?
  106. Well, think with me about Scripture.
  107. The psalmist says,
  108. "Thy Word have I hid in my heart,
  109. that I might not sin against You."
  110. What is that assuming?
  111. It's assuming that I have read God's Word
  112. and I have sufficiently
    meditated on that Word
  113. or memorized that Word
  114. so that I can recall it when its needed.
  115. You know what that's saying?
  116. That's saying that when I'm tempted
  117. to sin against Him,
  118. I have His Word in my heart.
  119. I access it.
  120. And there's something in
    the truth of that Word
  121. that I have hid in my heart
  122. that when I think on it,
  123. there's such thought processes happening
  124. that I make a conscious
    decision not to sin
  125. based on that reality from God's Word.
  126. And you see, there's a disconnect here.
  127. Because if I go and talk and get excited
  128. about John 4,
  129. but here I've got the mouse in my hand
  130. or whatever it is,
  131. and now I'm tempted -
  132. do you see where the breakdown is?
  133. If I'm not able to produce the very Word
  134. right at that moment, what's it saying?
  135. What's happening? Where's the disconnect?
  136. Well, I don't sufficiently have that Word
  137. at my disposal.
  138. Or, I don't sufficiently believe that Word
  139. that I have at my disposal.
  140. You see, the truths of God's Word -
  141. they're falling at that point.
  142. You know, I often think -

  143. we're going to get to this - Ephesians 4.
  144. Have you ever thought about
    just how simplistic it is
  145. for Paul to say,
  146. any of you thieves?
  147. Quit it.
  148. Don't steal anymore.
  149. And he encourages the opposite.
  150. Work with your hands.
  151. Be productive.
  152. Not just so that you can be greedy,
  153. but so that you have something to give
  154. to those who are in need.
  155. But isn't that amazing?
  156. Just stop.
  157. Not: Oh, there's this deep,
  158. mystical formula.
  159. Listen, if you are
    regularly falling into sin,
  160. the reality is this,
  161. you're not applying God's Word.
  162. You either don't know it,
  163. you know it and don't believe it,
  164. or you know it and you believe it,
  165. but you willfully are
    choosing sin over that.
  166. I mean, that's what's happening.
  167. It's not a super-complicated formula.
  168. Think about this.

  169. I did a series on self-cleansing
  170. several years back.
  171. It primarily came from this text
  172. out of 2 Corinthians 7:1.
  173. It's interesting at the end
    of 1 Corinthians 6,
  174. Paul is giving these promises.
  175. Just promises about God being our Father;
  176. we belong to Him.
  177. And he says this,
  178. "Since we have these promises,
  179. let us cleanse ourselves
  180. from every defilement of body and spirit,
  181. bringing holiness to completion
    in the fear of God."
  182. Now think with me there.
  183. What's Paul saying?
  184. You ought to be able to think
  185. on the promises of Scripture,
  186. and not fall into defiling activities.
  187. What does Scripture say?
  188. We are to be renewing our minds.
  189. And what are we doing as
    we're renewing our minds?
  190. We're figuring out what God's will is.
  191. You know, you come to Scripture.
  192. You find out what God's will is
  193. and you do it.
  194. And the thing is, as a Christian,
  195. we hunger and thirst after righteousness.
  196. There is a hunger.
  197. There is a hunger to do His will.
  198. There's a hunger to please Him.
  199. There's a hunger after
    what's good and righteous.
  200. And so, there's a huge disconnect
  201. if we find that in the
    moment of temptation,
  202. God's Word just isn't there.
  203. My mind doesn't go to it.
  204. You know, if you get there
    in front of the computer,
  205. and it's just like:
  206. Nope, I don't even want to think about it.
    I don't want to think about this.
  207. I don't want to think about what God says.
  208. See, that's not how I live my life.
  209. I'm studying the Word
  210. not just so I can get lathered up
  211. and all excited when I'm
    talking to you about it.
  212. I'm reading it and I'm
    trying to hide it away
  213. in my mind, in my conscience,
  214. so that as I'm going through life
  215. and there's something,
  216. I'm trying to evaluate everything
  217. through the filter of God's Word.
  218. And it's like: God doesn't like this.
  219. And this will not go well.
  220. And this will grieve the Spirit.
  221. And I will suffer for it.
  222. This is not good.
  223. You know, you convince yourself of that,
  224. that this is not good.
  225. I was just talking to a brother

  226. right before our study tonight,
  227. and he was telling me,
  228. you know I've been in some hard places.
  229. And he said there was a point in his life
  230. when he fell and he said
  231. there was just such darkness.
  232. And he said it was a battle.
  233. He talked about scratching and clawing
  234. to get his way out of that darkness.
  235. And he said he's in the light now.
  236. And he said he feels closer to God
  237. than he's ever felt,
  238. and the last thing he would want to do
  239. is go down that road into sin
  240. that would in any way harm that
  241. or take it away.
  242. And see, if these realities of Scripture:
  243. don't grieve the Spirit.
  244. You've been sealed by Him.
  245. Don't grieve Him.
  246. If you recognize,
  247. my sin is going to grieve the Lord.
  248. My sin is going to take me
    out of fellowship with the Lord.
  249. My sin is going to impact my prayer life.
  250. My sin - it's going to hold me back.
  251. It's going to weigh me down.
  252. It's going to make me less productive.
  253. I'm not going to be the vessel
  254. fit for the Master's use.
  255. It's going to pollute me.
  256. It's a defilement.
  257. Sin never does good.
  258. It never helps you.
    It never makes you better.
  259. It doesn't.
  260. It doesn't make you stronger.
  261. It doesn't make you run better.
  262. It doesn't make you more Christlike.
  263. It isn't. It's bad all the time.
  264. And if you've got enough Scripture
  265. packed away in your heart
  266. that you know that's true
  267. and you're confronted by that
  268. when you're making decisions -
  269. I recognize sometimes
    we're grabbed immediately
  270. by temptations,
  271. and we get swept away.
  272. I recognize those kind of things happen.
  273. Scripture says in Psalm 37,
  274. "The law of his God is in his heart.
  275. His steps do not slip."
  276. Why? Because the law's in his heart.
  277. It gives firmness to your step.
  278. I guess before I move on to the last one

  279. if I even get there,
    I would just say this.
  280. One of the thoughts that just came
  281. when I was thinking:
  282. what do you say to somebody like this?
  283. I got to thinking about the devil.
  284. We know that the devil snatches the seed.
  285. And look, the devil is a seed-snatcher.
  286. And he will seek to snatch it
    from the true Christian
  287. just as well as from the lost person.
  288. And I would say this,
  289. don't lose the Word of God.
  290. Don't go sit and read
  291. three chapters out of your Bible
  292. and then listen to garbage music,
  293. garbage TV,
  294. garbage Internet use,
  295. and social media -
  296. don't do that.
  297. It's like taking a bunch of seed
  298. and you've just thrown it there,
  299. and you want to see fruit come from it,
  300. and you purposely walk out
  301. to where all the ravens are.
  302. Just like daring them to take it all away.
  303. Don't do that.
  304. I mean, you hear the Word of God preached,
  305. I know - our church breaks out
  306. into immediate fellowship,
  307. but there can be a place to get out,
  308. get away.
  309. I mean, I felt that at the conference
  310. when Geoffrey Thomas preached.
  311. I just wanted to run away
  312. and just go be alone.
  313. Why? You just want it to soak in.
  314. I mean, don't throw
    away the Word of God.
  315. We're trying to cleanse.
  316. It's kind of like taking soap and water,
  317. and you're trying to clean something,
  318. and then throw a bunch of mud on it.
  319. It's counterproductive.
  320. Don't do that.
  321. If you're going to hide Scripture,
  322. do it effectually.
  323. Do it in such a way that
    it's readily retained
  324. and readily accessible.
  325. (Incomplete thought)
  326. Don't compartmentalize your life.
  327. What do I mean by that?
  328. Well, I've got to read my Bible.
  329. But now, okay, I'm done with that.
  330. It's kind of like the person
  331. that just splits up their week.
  332. Sunday mornings - religious.
  333. The rest of the week, I'm a pagan.
  334. But see, we can divide our
    days up like that too.
  335. We've got our little
    segment of prayer there,
  336. and we've got our Bible reading.
  337. We've got that done.
  338. Now I can go gossip with
    the people at work.
  339. Don't do that.
  340. Listen, we're Christians.
  341. Live Christian lives 24/7.
  342. Let Scripture permeate 24/7.
  343. Don't shut down.
  344. If you're using your Christian liberty
  345. and it's like yeah, I feel like
  346. I can take rest and I can camp out
  347. with my family, and I can watch
  348. Little House on the Prairie -
  349. I only say that because my daughters
  350. had that on last night.
  351. I mean, look, assess it.
  352. After you watch three shows
  353. of Little House on the Prairie,
  354. are you messed up?
  355. Does it pollute you?
  356. Then don't do it.
  357. I mean think, think, think.
  358. We're to be renewing our minds.
  359. What is God's will?
  360. Run everything through that filter.
  361. Through God's will;
    through God's will; through God's will.
  362. What's pulling me away?
  363. What grabs my heart?
  364. So that my mind goes off it?
  365. What are the idols?
  366. What are the things in life?
  367. You know, somebody could watch
  368. a football game, and it's like,
  369. they're thinking about
    the Lord through it.
  370. Now they might focus
    on the game a little bit,
  371. but they're feeling like
  372. I need to go outside and pray.
  373. There's some people:
  374. how could you ever go outside and pray
  375. during a football game?
  376. What? Are you crazy?
  377. You're so excited.
    You're so into it.
  378. And then all you can think about
  379. is football stats and everything
    for the next week.
  380. You need to stop.
  381. Listen, Paul said, we've got liberty,
  382. but you don't let anything bring you
  383. under its power.
  384. You need to live your life that way.
  385. If you're living your life where it's like
  386. all you can think about is -
  387. whatever it is, put it in there,
  388. but if it's distracting,
  389. we need to live -
  390. and it doesn't mean
  391. that every song you listen to
  392. has to be specifically
    be the Christian song.
  393. But, it certainly doesn't hurt
  394. if you're singing Christian songs
  395. all through the day,
  396. and you're reciting biblical truths.
  397. Look, the more you
    can permeate your mind -
  398. I recognize, we don't
    read and we don't pray
  399. every hour of our waking day.
  400. I recognize we have lives to live
  401. where we have to work
  402. and we go to school
  403. and we shop and we get gas.
  404. I recognize that.
  405. But listen, if you're storing up
  406. and treasuring that Word in your heart,
  407. it's there when you're at the gas station.
  408. It's there at HEB,
  409. and it's there in the classroom.
  410. It's there in the workplace,
  411. and it's there at home when
    you're taking care of the kids.
  412. And it's there and it's permeating,
  413. and it's regulating, and it's guiding.
  414. The Word is a lamp unto my feet.
  415. You imagine walking around,
  416. pitch black outside.
  417. A lamp to your feet -
  418. it means I can see.
  419. I can see where I should put my next step.
  420. Notice it's a lamp to your feet,
  421. not just a lamp to your eyes;
  422. not just a lamp to your body.
  423. It's a lamp for your feet.
    What does that mean?
  424. It's showing you the ground -
  425. where to step, where to avoid.
  426. Fill your heads with it.
  427. Fill your minds with it.
  428. Don't just put it on the walls
  429. because that's the thing to do.
  430. Memorize it.
  431. Hide it.
  432. (From the room)
  433. Brother, can I read this verse in Job?
  434. In Job 23:11-12, Job says,
  435. "My foot has held fast to His steps.
  436. I have kept His way and
    have not turned aside.
  437. I have not departed
  438. from the commandments of His lips.
  439. I have treasured the words of His mouth
  440. more than my portion of food."
  441. Tim: Yep, and you have
    the New Testament version,
  442. "Man shall not live by bread alone..."
  443. Well, actually that comes
    from the Old as well,
  444. but it's recited by our Lord
  445. in His temptation.
  446. Man doesn't live by bread alone,
  447. but by every word that proceeds
    from the mouth of God.
  448. Remember that.
  449. The thing is Scripture is putting
  450. the Word of God in a
    more important category
  451. than food.
  452. We don't do well without food.
  453. We're constantly thinking about it.
  454. We need it.
  455. The thing that you don't want to do -
  456. what is it that kills physical appetite?
  457. Have you ever had times in your life
  458. when you're not hungry?
  459. Never?
  460. I mean you get sick?
  461. You know if you have a child
  462. and they're not hungry, that's bad.
  463. Like just recently this family,
  464. their little Abigail -
  465. she was in bad shape.
  466. They had her in ICU and transfusions.
  467. She wouldn't eat.
  468. But you know, that's not healthy.
  469. And when you get
    Christians and they don't eat,
  470. that's bad.
  471. That's your sustenance.
    That's your life.
  472. The Word.
  473. The Word.
  474. We had a sister here beforehand,
  475. she was talking about
    coming to our church,
  476. or coming to the conference,
  477. and she was making comments
  478. about how Scripture seems to be the focus.
  479. It's got to be.
  480. It's our only source of truth.
  481. There's no other source
    of truth in this world.
  482. This is it.
  483. God has given us one place.
  484. This is the only place we
    know for certain that's true.
  485. Even the stacks of books and stuff -
  486. yeah, they're written about the Bible,
  487. but you don't know if they're always right
  488. and the way men are
    interpreting it is always right.
  489. But here, we have a sure foundation.
  490. I mean, look, this is a treasure.
  491. People have died over it.
  492. Tyndale - his blood ran
  493. for trying to put this in our language.
  494. Many people have given their life
  495. for this book.
  496. There's no more precious book
  497. because of the truths held in it.
  498. These are the truths of life.
  499. There's places in the world
  500. where they have one Bible
  501. or a part of one Bible for a whole church.
  502. Most of you probably have
    multiple Bibles in your home.
  503. Don't take this for granted.
  504. Well, I think we'll call
    it a night right there.
  505. Let's pray.
  506. Father, we thank You that
    You've given us the Word.
  507. Lord, help us. Help us.
  508. We never want to take it for granted.
  509. Lord, open it up.
  510. May it become more alive,
  511. more real, more gripping.
  512. Lord, give us eyes to see.
  513. Give us hearts to dig.
  514. I pray for these brothers
    and sisters in this room
  515. that they would hide
  516. and continue to hide the Word of God
  517. in their hearts;
  518. that they would not be hearers only,
  519. but doers.
  520. Hearers and doers.
  521. Lest they deceive themselves.
  522. Lord, we thank You for this treasure
  523. that You've committed to us.
  524. We thank You in the name
    of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  525. Amen.