by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 24 February 18, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:Temptation fundamentally arises from within.
Introduction:We have looked into the matter of temptation from several different directions. The most recent was our study last week about the impossibility of God being tempted by the sense of lack that drives creatures to seek fulness apart from God. We also saw that God never tempts man to either sense a lack, nor does He seek to get men to fill their lack by means of their own wisdom. The only time men have a real lack is when they have strayed from the presence of God, and when men have strayed from God it is fundamentally contradictory to think that God would tempt them to depart from Him since they already have. This evening we want to pursue this issue of temptation as James does. Temptation is always a solicitation to depart from fellowship with God. Those who already exist apart from fellowship with God cannot, technically speaking, be tempted because they are already under the dominion of sin. But, where is the real root of temptation? This is the issue that James wants to address in verses 14-16.
I. Temptation as an Internal Reality.
A. James said in verse 13 that temptation does not come from God.
B. In this verse, he also says that temptation does not, technically speaking, come from the devil or Satan.
1. This was not originally true because man was ignorant of the reality of sin and its dominion.
2. This was not true of Jesus because He had no sin nature within to prompt Him to sin.
3. But, ever since the fall, man has never come to the light of fellowship with God apart from experience of sin and darkness.
a. This means that he already knows the appetites of his fallen humanity.
b. This means that he already knows the reality of the darkness.
c. This means that he already has patterns of problem solving that he has developed over the period of his life in the darkness.
C. James declares that ALL temptation comes from the inside.
1. He is not denying external persons/forces as a present reality and as mitigating factors.
2. He is simply declaring that they have no real appeal except as they address a core appeal within.
a. As an inner core appeal, the real problem is within.
b. If the real problem is within, the external person/force takes a secondary place.
II. Temptation as a False Seduction.
A. Temptation arises from powerful desires.
1. These desires are tied to the way man is made.
2. These desires are extraordinarily powerful.
B. Temptation arises from several factors.
1. Believing that desires are equivalent to needs
a. Needs are basic requirements for the experience of life.
b. Desires are anything beyond those very basic requirements.
2. Believing that fellowship with God is not a sufficient foundation for the satisfaction of every true need.
a. This does not mean that fellowship is all that we need.
b. This DOES mean that fellowship will keep the mechanisms in place for the meeting of the other needs.
1) The fundamental law of faith is that God must do what He promised for those who trust Him.
2) There are promises that meet every contingency: 2 Peter 1:4.
3. Believing that it is ok to...
a. Have a divided heart; no single objective.
b. Maintain an uninstructed mind; the choice to remain ignorant.
c. Have a divided soul; no single root of faith.
d. Retain an independent spirit; maintain a second/third option.
4. Believing that self-indulgence is not a problem.
a. Needs are magnified by denial and minimized by satisfaction.
b. Desires are magnified by satisfaction and minimized by denial.