A Way Out

With God, there's ALWAYS a way out!

Transcript

INTRODUCTION

Morning.  David Sorn.  Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

We are talking about “temptation” today as we conclude our “I Promise” series on the Promises of God.

Temptation is everywhere. 

In fact…let me walk through your Sunday and show you how common it is:

Many of you were probably tempted not to come this morning (“But it’s SO nice out…but I have housework, etc.)

After church, you might be tempted to eat, how do we say it, “Not as healthy as you should”

Like, I’ll be thinking, “Do I go home and make a boring sandwich OR…do I stop at Burger King on the way home”

Later...yYou might be tempted…if the Vikings lose again and go 0-4 to do a myriad of things…throw something at your TV, say words that should be replaced with symbols, kick your dog…you name it. 

And those are just the minor temptations of our lives. 

And YET…the 4th promise of God we are looking at in this series is that “God PROMISES You a Way Out”

A way out of every temptation.  Pretty powerful stuff!

Let’s check out where He says that.

You can follow along in a number of ways. 

Bible under your chair (Page 929)

Verse is stacked with great wisdom today...it’s great to be able to look and study yourself. 

YouVersion Holy Bible App.  Menu.  Live.  As long as you have your location services turned on for that app, it’ll popped right up.  Otherwise you can search for it as well. 

In the App, you can see Scripture, submit prayer requests, see annoucnements during the week, even give an offering through the App. 

Welcome to the future.

Or you can follow along on the screen.

(1 Corinthians 10:13) – NIV

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

We’re going to spend the whole message breaking this awesome verse down.

 

 

 

NO TEMPTATION EXCEPT WHAT IS COMMON

The author of that verse, the Apostle Paul, says that you’ll never experience any sort of temptation except that which is common to mankind.

Before we get there…I think it’ll actually be helpful if we define what temptation is exactly. 

Temptation to sin can come from three different places.

It can come from us.  And our own internal desires.

It can come from other people.  Think peer pressure…but for adults.

And it can come from evil spiritual forces.  (The devil…demons)

Before you roll your eyes, hear me out.

Even most non-Christian people I know believe in angels.  That angels are watching out for them…guarding them…protecting them from car accidents, you name it.

And if we’re so willing to accept there are good “spiritual beings,” it’s only logical to assume there are evil “spiritual beings”.

Which is something the writers of the Bible speak of often.  Something Jesus talks of often.     

And those evil beings are enticing us to walk away from God’s path for us.

So temptation can come from us, from others, and from evil. 

One place the Bible tells us in James that it does not come from is God. 

BUT…it’s important to note that temptation, in and of itself…is never a sin. 

It’s just a sin to act on it.

As Martin Luther famously said, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair”

And each of us faces such a vast amount of different temptations.

And when we experience our temptations, they feel so unique to us.

Every situation feels so different.

It feels like, “You have no idea what I’m going through with my family, or at work, or in my mind”

Yet, Paul says in 1 Corinthians, “That our temptations are common to mankind”

I think when we really press pause on our obsession with ourselves and our own world…step out of our box…and think about it…

There are tons of people around the world (and of course throughout history) who have experienced essentially the same thing as you. 

But maybe all that causes you do is say…”Oh great…more people share my problems”

But the bright side is:  Common problems have common solutions. 

This is why I think being in Christian community is so important. 

It’s there that we can find common solutions, from each other…and from the Bible…for how God can help us find a way out. 

I think one of the big hooks of temptations that Americans are falling far is the lie from the enemy that says, “No…your situation is so unique…those people at church…at house groups, they wouldn’t understand you…they’re different”

But they’re not.  They’re probably bigger sinners than you are. 

I think you’ll be surprised how helpful their sharing of their own struggles…and how God got them out…might actually be to you.   

If you didn’t get to a house group last week…sign-up…or go this week.

Don’t fret about not being there week 1.  No big deal.  Seriously.

And new people join literally every week of the year.  No joke.

 

 

HE WILL NOT LET YOU BE TEMPTED BEYOND WHAT YOU CAN BEAR

Let’s look at the next part of the verse

(1 Corinthians 10:13) – NIV

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Sounds nice.  But what does that mean?    

Well for one, it means temptation is a given. 

You’re going to be tempted to all sorts of stuff…probably every day.

It’s part of being human. 

We’re sinful…other people are sinful...and evil exists. 

It’s a bad recipe.  

And it’s why we need a Savior

God tells us that we’re going to be tempted (that’s part of life), but never beyond what we can handle. 

Let me tell you what God’s NOT saying here…because without the context of the whole verse, I think this could be misinterpreted. 

He’s NOT saying, “Hey, you are so strong…and awesome…and powerful…you’re a winner…and if you just put your mind to it and try hard enough…you can beat any temptation!  Woo!  Go you! Be the best you and you can do anything!”

That’s not God.  That’s our American self-esteem craze that’s partly responsible for the sky-rocketing depression rate when everyone finds out that, huh, in fact, they can’t do everything they put their mind to”

What God IS saying…is there NEVER….I repeat…NEVER will be any temptation that you won’t have an out to. 

There will never be a temptation that will 100% crush you without a choice. 

You can’t dream up a temptation that there wouldn’t be a possible out to.

“In a reality in which a God who loves you and wants to rescue you exists, there is always an opportunity for Him to rescue you.

If there wasn’t a way for Him to save you, an escape from temptation through Him, than it wouldn’t be a temptation.

A temptation, by definition, means you have a choice.

If you don’t have a choice, that means that evil can be more powerful than God

If you don’t have a choice, that means there exists a scenario in which God can’t rescue you from sin.    

But that’s not our God!

And temptation is not a dead end, it’s a fork in the road.

God can always provide a way out from sin.

And notice that this does say temptation. 

It doesn’t say illness.  It doesn’t say pain.  It doesn’t say suffering. 

Sometimes God uses those things.

But God does not tempt. 

And there will be no temptation that you will face that He couldn’t rescue you from.

But maybe you don’t believe that.

Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s cool in theory David, but why don’t you get down off that stage and come walk a mile in my shoes”

You don’t know my addiction. 

You don’t know how much I hate my family member…and how often I think about it

You haven’t seen my bank account…or lack thereof…so don’t talk to me about dealing with the temptation of “keeping my finances to myself…instead of God” or “not trusting in God my problems”

Don’t talk to me about letting go of pride or gossip or laziness.

If it were possible to avoid the temptation and make changes in those areas, I think it would have happened by now

But I want you to look at the people that Paul is writing to

Because the Bible is a collection of inspired texts over a period of almost 1,500 years.

But we must also remember that these are real letters.

And in 1 Corinthians, Paul is writing to the new Christians in the city of Corinth in Greece. 

A city that was absolutely full of temples to pagan gods.

gods that these new Christians were just worshipping maybe months ago.

And it’s not just that…the temptation to greed…to cruelty…to lust…is EVERYWHERE in Corinth.

In fact, the Greek verb “Corinthianize” use to mean “to practice sexual sin”

The city was famous for the worship of Aphrodite…where people would go to temple prostitutes…to “WORSHIP GOD!”

And that’s what these people Paul is writing to used to do…before they met Jesus.

And that’s what they had to walk by still…every day…on the way to work….walking by that old temple…

Can you imagine the temptation to go back?

And yet God tells them that they aren’t the first people to experience something like this…He’ll be there to provide a way out.

In fact, if you read the context of chapter 10, Paul begins by talking about the sins of the Israelites in the desert…when they wanted to go back to their old ways in Egypt.

And yet, God was there for them then too.

And He’s here for you today too.

Ready to give you a way out.

 

 

THE ESCAPE PATH

And that’s exactly what the last part of the verse says:

(1 Corinthians 10:13) – NIV

 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

This is His PROMISE to you.  That He will always provide a way out.

In fact, let me set up a scenario here.

Imagine that you’ve walked into a room, and unfortunately, it’s a room full of temptations. 

And just like real temptations…this room looks very different for different people.

For some it’s full of sexual temptations. 

For others it’s the temptation to compromise values to get money

Still others…it’s the temptation to let loose on a family member and tell them how despicable you think they are

Maybe the temptation in your “temptation room” is to just lay down, and be lazy…for a few…years.  Let someone else do the work.   Hope all your problems magically solve themselves.

Or maybe it’s a different sort of room.  Maybe in this room, you’re tempted to start believing all the lies about yourself.

Maybe the room is full of different voices telling you that you are worthless.  And that NO ONE cares about you.  And there’s no point to being around anymore anyway.

Maybe the room is playing videos of all your past failures and all your past sins…tempting you to believe that you’re not forgiven…HOW COULD God forgive someone like you?!  

And the reality is…we face temptations like this every day.   

And they look really different for each of us.  Really different.    

But here’s the truth of God’s promise to you:

Somewhere in each room… in every room… often hidden at first…is a way out. 

There’s a door.  It might be the way you came in.  It might be on the other side of the room.  Might be on the ceiling to the attic; It might be behind a dresser, might be through a wardrobe, , but THERE IS a door.  THERE IS a way out.   

God has PROMISED you this door.  A door out of temptation.       

There IS a way out of that negative shaming you do in your head. 

When it comes…start “taking those thoughts captive” as the Paul writes in 2 Corinthians…and start praying.  Start giving them to Jesus. 

Saying God, “I thank you for this way out…I know this isn’t the truth of what you think of me”

There is a way out of the temptation to just continue in “spiritual ho humness” in being spiritually luke-warm.

God might even be nudging you right now about it…saying, “Come…follow me.  Let’s start talking again.

There’s a way out of addiction…to alcohol…to drugs…to porn…to gambling…to you name it.

This is precisely why 12-step groups are so successful around the world.

They are founded on the very concept, that we as humans are powerless over these temptations…BUT God has the power to provide a door…to provide a way out if we surrender to Him.   

And sometimes the way out is long.

It’s not always as easy as just offering up a quick prayer…but it is God that can take you on that path to freedom.

By the way, if you are struggling with any sort of addiction, I can’t recommend that you pick up a brochure to one of the best Christian 12-step recovery programs in the north metro, Quest 180 in the hallway.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, google it later.

Listen, in every “temptation room”, God always provides a door to leave.

But most of the time, you can’t really tunnel your own way out, under your own will power. 

God made the door, and that’s the way out.

But so many of us, we’re trying to beat our sin by our own strength. 

“Oh, I’ll just try harder to fix my marriage.  I’ll just STOP texting that person who isn’t my spouse.  I can stop that.”

“Yeah, I know that I keep judging everyone else as inferior to me…but don’t worry, I’ll stop that next week”

You can’t tunnel your way out of the “temptation room.”  God’s door is the only way out. 

Maybe you don’t believe me, but God is always putting a door in that room. 

He promises you a way out!

Maybe you’ve experienced this before.  I have!

Ever been tempted to do something you know you shouldn’t, at just at the right time, your phone rings?

And it’s your friend from church.  Or your mom.  Or God. 

Ever been tempted to start walking away from trusting God (maybe w/ spending time w/ Him…maybe from Him in general)…and then just at the right time…something happens in your life? 

It’s simply AMAZING how often this kind of stuff happens.

It’s so amazing that it could only be God!

God loves you so much that he’s always has a way out for you!

Yet…yet…So often we just close our eyes to the door. 

For example, I remember when I was studying early childhood development in college (my degree is actually in elementary education…wanted to be a 5th grade teacher before God called me into ministry)

But I remember learning about this study on how when young toddlers cover their eyes they sometimes think you can’t see them.

Like the very young boy who stole cookies out of the kitchen, and then walked through the living room where his parents were, covered his eyes, and walked to his room. 

And so often we do the same. 

Oh, we see the door.  We see the way out.  We feel in our GUT God saying, “Trust me.  I’m so much better than this.  I love you so much.  Follow me.  You won’t regret following me in the morning.  I won’t hurt tomorrow.  Come this way!”

But we just cover our eyes…like we never saw it…and we turn back to our temptations.

Some of you have just said for so long, “Well, I’m already dating them.  I’m already at the club. I’m already at the bar.  I’ve already logged on to the internet.  I’ve already started this conversation about how stupid this other person is…so, oh well.”

Oh we still saw the door all right…and it’s still there…but we went…(cover eyes)… Oh, well…too late”

And we write off that door to freedom we saw in our minds…we write off that random phone call…that tug in our spirit…we write it off (cover our eyes) and dive in.

And we say…”Too late.” 

But it’s NOT too late!  It’s NEVER too late!  

Because God will always provide you with a way out. 

There’s no temptation that’s not common to mankind

There’s always a way out because God is always capable of getting you out! 

I can’t tell you HOW God will provide a way out…I can’t tell you even when…I can just tell you that His Word promises you that He will provide a way out…

Let me explain with some history.  J

Back in 1346, during the Hundred Years’ War, the English army of King      Edward III met a French battalion in France. The King’s Son, Prince Edward, led one vital division of the British force while the King stood nearby with a strong band of soldiers, ready to send relief if he saw the need.

Soon after the battle had started, the prince thought he was in danger, so he sent for help.

But the king didn’t come.  

So young prince Edward sent another message to his father, pleading for immediate assistance.

His father responded by telling the courier, “Go tell my son that I am not so inexperienced a commander as not to know when help is needed, nor so careless a father as not to send it.” (repeat)

And I love that!

God will send help, and when he does.  Grab the lifeline!  Grab it!

Here’s another way to look at it. 

There’s an old story of an eagle who was soaring high above the forest looking for something to eat.

As he followed the course of a river he looked down and spied a small mouse, trapped on a piece of ice that had broken free and was floating down stream.

Seeing an easy meal, he swooped down, landed on the ice, killed the mouse and began to eat.

As he continued his meal, he saw that his new icey perch was rapidly approaching a water fall, but determined to finish eating and thinking he would rise into the air and to safety at the last moment, continued to passionately enjoy his meal. 

As the ice neared the falls, the eagle finished his last bite and licked his beak.  Satisfied with his breakfast he spread his mighty wings and attempted to rise skyward as the chunk of ice tipped over the edge.

While enjoying his meal however, he had failed to notice that the warmth of his feet had caused his claws to become embedded in the ice.

Try as he might, he couldn’t free himself from the ice that would now carry him to his death on the rocks far below.

And it’s a great story about taking lifelines when they come.

If the eagle only would have flown away when he noticed the waterfall was coming.  That was his door out! 

There are places in my life where I look now, and say, “Geez, if I only would have flown away when God was bugging me about this 10 years ago.  5 years ago.  The pain I could have saved.”  

But the story is not a perfect example.

Cuz even if you’ve ignored God’s doors…God’s lifeline to get out of your sin…10 times…or 100 times…or 10,000 times.

God is so in love with you, that He will offer it to you again.  And again.  And again.

Willing to take our mess of a life…that we’ve dashed on the rocks…and raise us from the dead and give us new life.

If you see the door open…and for some of you…that’s RIGHT NOW…run through it.   

Trust Him.

His Word to you in 2 Corinthians says that he can demolish strongholds in your life.

It tells you in Romans 8, that the same spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is with you now…if you’re a follower

He can get you out of this. 

If He couldn’t…He wouldn’t be God.

And remember God’s always providing the escape, but we have to choose to walk through it.

I think too many people pray prayers like, “God, make me stop doing this.”  OR  “God, take this away from me”

And yet while we’re praying “God take this away from me, we’re holding on to our sin with a death grip.”

Surrender is the ability to say…God help me find a way out…see the door, and then walk through it with him.

It’s a relationship.  

 And listen, you won’t be perfect at this…if you could be…you wouldn’t be human. 

But my prayer is that you leave here today trusting in His promise “To always provide a way out for you.” 

That you trust in that promise more than you ever have before.  

That this week…that when you experience temptation…and you’ll get plenty of opportunities…that you’re constantly looking for doors this week. 

Constantly looking for his way out.  Eyes open.  Not covered. 

And when He gets you out…start building roads away from that temptation room. 

So that we wouldn’t let Him rescue us from a burning house…merely to walk back in.

And know this:  Every temptation is an opportunity for you to enlarge your view of God.

When you’re tempted to do something, and you cry out to God for help, and then actually walk through His door…you’re going to experience something amazing.

You’re going to start to go, “Wow.  That REALLY worked!”  And better yet… “I don’t have to go through all that guilt and shame now”  or “My relationships are actually getting better now…” 

And as you start this week with just taking baby steps…

Find the little ways…in temptation…to pray for God’s wisdom to see the door…and for His strength to walk through it.

And let each walk through His emergency exit…be an opportunity to strengthen your faith in Him.

Let’s pray.


Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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