Reasons Why This Subject Should Be Discussed
There are several reasons why the subject of temptation should be discussed.1. Because Satan is the chief agent in temptation. Moses in the Book of Genesis says, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God made. And he said unto the woman, yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden” (Gen. 3:1). We also read elsewhere that Satan said unto Jesus in the wilderness, “If Thou be the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread” (Matt. 4:3). Paul, in writing to the Church located in Corinth said, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (I Cor. 2:11).
Again, this great preacher said, “But fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtility, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:3).
Still, the apostle, in writing to the church in Thessalonica says, “For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain” (I Thess. 3:5).
We should know the nature, the cunningness, and the devices of Satan. All true believers should be rightly informed of the existence of Satan. For Satan is the source of sin, suffering, temptation, and sorrow and death. He was once a bright and shining light in Heaven. Isaiah said, “How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations ?” (Isa. 14:12, 13).
If there is no tempter, there could be no temptation. A man was talking to Uncle Buddie Robinson, and insisting there was no devil. Uncle Buddie replied, “If there is no devil, who then is carrying on his business?” A man was at the altar praying and crying for mercy. He had been decoyed away from the simplicity of the Gospel.
After praying through, he said, “Never underestimate the power of the devil.” Several years ago, a great French man of science was crossing the Arabian desert under the influence of an Arab guide. When the sun was setting in the West, the guide spread his praying-rug down upon the ground and began to pray. When he had finished, the man of science stood looking at him with scorn, and asked what he was doing. He replied, “I am praying.” The scientist said, “Praying! Praying to whom?” “To Allah, to God” replied the guide. The man of science said, “Did you see God?” “No!” “Did you hear God?” “No”. “Did you ever put out your hands and touch and feel God?” “No!” “Then you are a great fool to believe in a God you never saw, a God you never heard, a God you never put out your hand and touched.” The Arab guide said nothing. They retired for the night, rose early the next morning, and a little before sunrise they went out from the tent. The man of science said to his guide, “There was a camel round this tent last night.” With a peculiar look in his eyes, the guide said, “Did you see the camel?” “No”. “Did you hear the camel?” “No.” “Did you put out your hand and touch the camel?” “No.” “Well, you are a strange man of science to believe in a camel you never saw, a camel you never heard, a camel you never put out your hand and touched.” “Oh”, but said the scientist, “Here are his footprints all around the tent.” Just then the sun was rising in all its oriental splendor, and with a graceful wave of his barbaric hand, the guide said, “Behold the footprints of the Creator, and know there is a God.” I think the untutored Arab had the best of the argument. Everywhere in this magnificent universe we see the footprints of the Creator. But, we also see everywhere in God’s wonderful world, the footprints of Satan. Look at his devastating work everywhere. There is a devil –cunning, subtle, masterly, marvelous — who is more than a match for us in his cunning power. Yet, with Christ, we can win the victory.
2. Because of the universality of temptation. There is no race or color that is exempted from the blighting blow of temptation. There is no place of escape in this world. Here no favoritism is shown to any. If you were to travel to the most remote places of the earth, there you will be tempted and tried. In space, under the earth, on the mountains, and under the water, men will be fiercely tempted. The high and low, the rich and the poor, the educated and the illiterate will meet the temptations of life. Thus, temptation is universal in its scope.
3. Because of the frequency of temptation. The greatest Saints of earth have been severely tempted. These temptations will come with great frequency. Surely no one will doubt the certainty of temptation. Believers in every age have been assailed by Satan. That great army of saints as recorded in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews were tempted and tried. The writer says, “They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world was not worthy: they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” (Hebrews11:37-38). Every saint will come face to face with the enticements of Satan. And each believer will come forth, either triumphant and victorious, or defeated and humiliated.
4. Because of the interest shown in a discussion of the subject. In my evangelistic meetings, I try to bring at least one message on the subject. Usually the people attend this service in large numbers, and are free to express their appreciation. One soul said, “Truly the Lord knew what I needed — and He graciously supplied that need tonight.” Another severely tempted person said, “I feel that I can better grapple with temptation since listening to this message tonight.” Still another person said, “This message should be delivered in every revival”. One family drove sixty miles to attend one of our evangelistic services, and at the close of the service, the mother said, “The Lord knew my need — for I have been going through a period of severe temptation — but tonight, the Lord has so graciously supplied my need.” While it is urgent to take the message of salvation to those who are deeply steeped in sin, yet, it is just as important to inform believers of the spiritual laws to be obeyed in order to fully develop the Christian life. Soul-winning is the mission of the church, yet, it is just as important to instruct the believer how to meet the temptations of life. We should never cease to win men to Christ, yet, we should instruct believers how to have victory over temptation. Since that every godly soul will be tempted, he should be informed of the necessary steps to be victorious.