Episode 4
|
May 9, 2022

Truest Truth | True Strength in Temptation


God knows we’re not perfect, but He still loves us. Are we willing to choose God’s way and not our own?

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question for you as we get started
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how many of you like candy yeah yeah he does he definitely does uh peanut m ms are the best kind of m m if
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you think otherwise you're just wrong um so we have a candy dish at our house how
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many of you have a candy dish in your home yeah so my wife and i have very different opinions about what candy
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dishes are for uh my wife pictures a candy dish as a decorative item
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that you you fill with candy and like i think in her mind it's all gonna still be there in three months uh when i see a
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candy dish uh it is an invitation to have a snack before dinner um when this started it was a few years
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ago my wife started doing this candy dish and she filled it up with candy corn because it was it was halloween time and
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she went to like dinner with her with her friends or whatever and came home and the first thing she says to me is
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tony what happened to the candy corn i said well
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i may have eaten it and then she reminded me of a really important fact she was tony you don't
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even like candy corn i was like apparently i forgot that because i ate
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the entire thing because it's a big temptation for me to have a bowl of candy in front of this is not
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our candy jar just so you know ours is much smaller than this um but it is to represent temptation
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many times i decide hey i'm gonna just eat healthier like we try to eat healthy and exercise anyway but but there are
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many times that uh i fail miserably at that and so i find myself saying hey i'm gonna i'm gonna focus on eating better
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exercise more inevitably within 24 hours the candy dish is full i don't know if it's my wife's tactic to
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keep me fat i don't know what what the plan is but in those moments i have a decision to make right like i could eat of the
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candy but then it's not going to help me reach goals of being healthy or
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i could eat this and we can have broccoli right now we all know this isn't a secret
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this is not as appealing as that right it doesn't look as good doesn't taste as good even if you like broccoli it's not
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as good as a peanut m m right but when presented with this option
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now we begin to understand what temptation is if you have your bibles romans chapter 8 we're going to look at the same chapter
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we've been digging into and we're going to start discovering like our identity in christ helps us overcome temptation
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and we're going to discover how that happens when we find our identity in him but i think we have to first begin to define a couple of terms we need to
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understand what temptation is and in order to understand temptation we have to understand what sin is because temptation is
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related to sin so think of it this way if i had a a diet that someone gave me say hey eat
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this way exercise this way do these things and you'll reach your your fitness and your health goals
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um what it's probably going to say is something along the lines of broccoli good jar of peanut m m's bad right that's
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just kind of the nature of it and if i decided no matter how tempting it is sometimes to eat all this for dinner uh
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i'm gonna sin against the the purpose and the design and the creation
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of that plan of that diet so very quickly here's the
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the working definition we have of sin it's a shortcoming or falling short of a decided set upon
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morals or values right so if if the diet says broccoli
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good eminem's bad and i devour the m m's we could say that i have sinned
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against the intention and the heart and the purpose and the design of the diet in the same way
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we have a god who created you and he created you with a purpose and a design in mind like he's got a plan for
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your life in a way in which he desires that you live your life so that you can live what john 10 10 tells us as the
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full life and when we live into temptation we live in the sin we find ourselves living
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outside of that purpose in that plan so if that is sin if sin is to break the purpose and the design that god has for
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you then temptation is the allure to live outside of god's plan
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it is the allure to give into temptations it's the allure to live contrary to the way that god designed
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you and created you now before we go any further i want to i want to make sure you're thinking
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about the right kind of sin right i i don't want you today just thinking about hey i was tempted to lie to my
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wife the other day about something silly and and kind of pointless or um i said
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some foul language yesterday and like those those are things that we should try to avoid and not do those things
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but what i really want to talk about is is what are the the big temptations in your life
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like like the ones that don't go away the ones you don't always share with
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everybody the ones that are really hard remember a few years ago i was at a
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a conference in john ortberg who's pastor of menlo park presbyterian church in california written a number of books
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like if you want to walk on water you gotta get out of the boat those kind of books you may be familiar with i was talking about this this concept of
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shadow mission the shadow mission is kind of that that thing it's just like a degree or two off
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of the mission that jesus has for you it feels right it feels good it feels like it glorifies god but but if you continue
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to travel down that road what you realize is you're way off of the plan and the purpose and the design that god
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has for your life and at the end of his talk he he gave a challenge for everyone there he says
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like what is your shadow mission i think about what it is that is that one degree off that thing that feels right but you
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know deep down is not exactly what god's calling you to so i sat and like everyone else in the
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room i thought about it for a minute and i came to the conclusion that i didn't have one that was clearly better than
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everybody else which should have been like the red flag and the indicator of what mine was but it wasn't so as i continued to
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listen to mr orber talk thinking it was completely irrelevant and didn't relate to me at all he shared what his was and
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it hit me like a ton of bricks the mind was just like his when he said the words self-idolization
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because i like me some me and and i like the being known i like
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being on stage i i like those things like deep down like i desire those things now
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over my life i've discovered that who in my identity in christ i can overcome those things
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and live with that but here's the reality about these types of sins like that may not be yours but you have one
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there's a big one a big one that you wrestle with that maybe you've never said to another person but it's the temptations in front
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of you every single day of your life and it's not going away because the enemy knows you really
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really well sometimes better than you know yourself and because of that he knows what
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temptation card to lay in front of you whenever he wants to tempt you and oftentimes it's the same card every
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single time because he knows it works and if temptation is not going away how
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do we discover the strength that we need to overcome temptation because of our identity in christ like
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how do we how do we actually begin to to live into overcoming temptation in our life
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now we're going to look at the same passage that we looked at last week if you're with us last week we talked about
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kind of our devotional life how do we lean into our time with god how do we lean into our time with jesus through intentionality and and personalization
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in it if you if you miss that and devotional time is something you wrestle with like go home and like later go home
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not now but later go home and watch that message because i think it will help kind of free you up to understand and
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think differently about what it means to engage with god on a real personal intimate intentional
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manner but today we're going to look at the same passage through the lens of temptation
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and we're going to begin to discover how we can surrender ourselves to god rather than temptation because in our lives we
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will surrender to one of those two things like we will surrender ourselves to god or we will surrender ourselves to
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temptation in our lives we will do one of those two things every single day of our life you will surrender to one of
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those two things and i think what paul's helping us understand is is what step we have to take what our next step is to to
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overcome temptation and surrender ourselves to god so let's look at what he says here beginning in verse verse 5.
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he says those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires
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for those who live according to the spirit have their minds set on what the spirit desires
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the mind governed by the there we go the mind governed by the flesh is death but the mind governed by the spirit is
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life and peace the mind governed by the flesh is hostile to god it does not submit to
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god's law nor can it do so those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot
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please god so i think i think what paul's saying with a lot of words but here's what i
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think he's saying is that guys this is actually really simple
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the longer i do life the longer i do ministry the more i realize how simple it is to follow jesus not easy
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those are different things but it's quite simple and i think what paul's telling us is guys like if you focus your attention
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your heart your mind your desires which i know is not easy but it's simple if we focus our
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attention on god like temptation is going to have a hard time winning in your life
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if you focus your attention on things of this world and the temptations and the candy jars in your life
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like it's it's going to win it's it's going to win
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and i think this is an important thing for us to begin to wrestle with and understand that the where we put our
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attention is going to dictate what we surrender to and i think paul's saying guys it really is simple it's it's really really simple
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just surrender yourself to god focus your attention on him and you'll be fine
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i mean look if i surrender myself to the candy jar i will never live within any sort of
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like healthy diet in the same way if i surrender to my temptations in life
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if i give into those those polls that the enemy puts in front of me if i give into my shadow mission if if i do those things i'm never going
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to live within the purpose and design that god has for my life and i think the reality is for most of
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us like we're in denial about what our candy jar is we're in denial about what that temptation in our life is
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this past week i made the decision i said i'm going to do something a little bit different in my message i don't normally have props i don't normally
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bring stuff up on stage and so i'm going to go outside my comfort zone do something different so i wanted a visual
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representation of temptation i sat in my office and i thought about it i was like i can't come up with
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anything so i went to my much smarter wife and i said hey i need a visual representation
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of temptation i don't think i got the word temptation out of my mouth and she says oh just
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take a candy jar and i i don't know like that cut deep like
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i mean i felt that on a real personal level when she said that and i was like i don't think you heard like i said i need a
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representation of temptation i think what she heard was i needed a representation of my temptation and it
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really hurt there was like right on the tip of her tongue like she knew in a heartbeat what that was and i'm like i don't
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i don't think it's that big of a deal don't think it's that big of a temptation in my life uh three days later
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i'm walking through the kitchen my kids have like leftover chocolate easter bunnies uh from easter right one of them sitting
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on the counter in the package and apparently the kids thought the chocolate was gross like they wouldn't eat it and i thought it can't be like
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it's chocolate it can't be that bad right i'll just always have an ear so i pulled an ear off and i ate it and they
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were absolutely right it was gross it was it's not good chocolate 10 minutes later i walked back through and i said i
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just have another ear not a big deal about an hour later the package is emptying out the entire
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rabbit and i was like what am i doing and i realized my wife was right
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like this was a big temptation in my life apparently i didn't even like it and i ate the whole
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stinking thing i didn't like the candy corn i ate the whole thing of candy corn like why am i doing this
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like i've been in denial about my temptation and the reason that i think we're in denial about our temptation is because
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we're not tempted to do things we don't want to do you're tempted to do things you want
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to do and no matter how heavy the temptation is or how sinful it may be
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or how disapproving everyone would be if they knew about it like that temptation is in our lives and i know this is hard
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to hear because deep down somewhere inside of you you want to do that thing
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because it makes you feel good you desire it you long for it you
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you look for opportunities to have it in your life i mean statistically speaking and this
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is a conservative number 50 of you right now in this room engage in pornographic
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material 50 that's a again a conservative number now most of you probably don't go
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advertise that to people right you don't go like just show people what you're looking at and engaging in you you do it
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quietly and because you know that they're not going to approve and deep down you don't really approve either
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but science has proven to us that when you engage in stuff like that it triggers this dopamine rush in your brain and your brain just wants it
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so the next time you log on to the computer you're tempted to go to those websites again because you want the dopamine rush that comes from it
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look maybe it's not pornography for you maybe it's alcohol maybe it's some other drug maybe it's
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speaking to people in inappropriate ways or engaging in inappropriate relationships or
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any number of things that it could be for you but when this big temptation keeps
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popping up in our lives and we wrestle with it every single day like here's here's what i think we have
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to just come to grips with the reason that it's in our lives is because deep down somewhere inside of us
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we want that thing more than we want god
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that we have the temptation because somewhere inside of us in a broken part of us we want that thing
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more than we want intimacy with god and i think suddenly verses 7 and 8 begin to
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begin to take on new meaning it says the mind governed by the flesh is hostile to god it does not submit to god's law nor can
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it do so those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please god
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so when we're giving into our temptation we're living in this what he calls the realm of the flesh we're not pleasing god and for some of us that's a really
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heavy thing to to think about like we think about yeah i give in to temptation i sinned but
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but to think about the fact that we're just we're displeasing god and that could be really heavy
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but fortunately for us like the story doesn't end there paul continues on and he uses one of my favorite words in
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scripture look how he starts he says but that's it like i think that's one of the best words in scripture is because it's
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always this transition between something heavy and hard
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and then to the grace of jesus like paul's saying like look i know i know what i just said is not easy to
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hear and it's difficult and it's hard and it may be really painful for you
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but if christ is in you then even though your body is subject to
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death because of sin the spirit gives life because of righteousness
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and if the spirit of him who raised jesus from the dead is living in you he who raised christ from the dead will
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also give life to your mortal bodies because of his spirit who lives in
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you like i said i think this is one of those those passages of scripture we don't
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think about too much that really begins to paint this awesome picture of the resurrection and salvation
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and basically what paul said in those first few verses like hey you're broken like you you keep giving in to
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temptation and sin and you live within that realm of the flesh and when you do that you're not pleasing god and it's
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this constant conflict in your life because of sin and temptation
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but he says but but that doesn't have to be your story
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because of jesus it can look different now notice what paul doesn't say paul
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doesn't say if you work hard enough if you pull yourself up with your bootstraps if you just muster up the strength and
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the willpower and the endurance you can do this and and maybe for some of you when you think about that big
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temptation and sin in your life the problem has been that you've been relying on yourself
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you've been relying on your own strength you just assume that you're just gonna develop the strength on your own i can
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be strong enough next time i log on that internet i will not go to those web pages because i will just will myself
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not to next time i go to the bar with my friends i'm only gonna have one drink not two three four five or six
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next time i see that co-worker at work that i have an inappropriate relationship with i'm not going to engage anymore like
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like we just convinced ourselves that i can i can create the strength and here's the problem like when we're when we're
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focusing on just our own strength the candy jar will always look more appealing than the
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broccoli it always will and we'll always find ourselves coming back to the candy jar because that thing
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that haunts you always looks better and the only way you're going to have
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strength to overcome it is when we surrender ourselves to jesus this was paul's saying he's like look guys like
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your focus attention when you surrender yourself to jesus temptation is going to really struggle with you
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when you surrender yourselves to things of this world you're going to struggle with temptation
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and only when we surrender ourselves to jesus do we find freedom from that now let's talk about let's talk about surrender for a minute
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the definition of surrender is to cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and
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submit to their authority cease resistance to an enemy or opponent
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and submit to their authority it's not by accident that paul throughout this entire text is using like conflicting
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language right like it's the the flesh against the spirit choosing healthy options versus
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unhealthy options temptation god like there's always this this conflict is happening
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between the two and maybe maybe you didn't choose it at least consciously you didn't choose
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it but i think one of the things that paul's trying to let us know is this
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is when you give into temptation when you surrender yourself to temptation you have made god your
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opponent you're battling against god
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and this is what paul's saying like we have to surrender to the one that we're battling we have to surrender to the one
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that we're fighting here's the nuance to surrender
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no one surrenders until they believe it's in their best interest
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like the army doesn't surrender until they believe that surrendering is better than dying or whatever else is about to
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happen guys when you're in an argument with your wife you don't surrender until
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you're absolutely 100 sure that no matter what she's right anyway
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when i play hide and seek with my kids like i always turn it in to scare the snot out of my kids instead
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and they always end up surrendering because they say i would rather uh give up than
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be scared by my dad like there's this they understand that there's a better scenario in my life right now than being
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terrified like we don't we don't surrender until we know that it's in our best interest
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see surrendering is saying god's plan for my life his purpose and his design for me is better than my own design
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it's better than anything i can come up with on my own to surrender says that if i give into
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temptation i'm rejecting god's truth for me and i'm distancing myself from him
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and in a world that values self-reliance at some point we have to acknowledge the
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fact that self-reliance isn't going to get me to the point of having strength overcome temptation it's only through surrendering to jesus
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that i can do that so so maybe the question is
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that like the simple but deep question is what do you desire most
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what is it you desire most like deep down do you desire an intimate
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relationship with god where you're becoming more like jesus or do you desire
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the immediate gratification of these things and these temptations
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but here's here's the good news of what paul's telling us
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see i think oftentimes we we picture the thing that we're being asked to surrender to is a list of rules
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like you surrender these rules and these laws these restrictions these do's and don'ts of life and and sometimes we see it as
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i'm i'm surrendering to being boring i'm surrendering to being like not relevant to my friends in in the circle that i'm
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in like we we see it as all that stuff we come up with a huge list of things that sometimes we feel like we're being
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asked to surrender to but that's not what paul's talking about and that's not what jesus is asking us
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to surrender to look at what paul says here in verse 14 it says for those who are led by the
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spirit of god are the children of god the spirit you receive does not make you
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slaves that you live in fear again rather the spirit you receive brought about your adoption
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to sonship and by him we cry abba father
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the spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are god's
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children to be adopted means to be chosen
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that that god chose you that he brings you into his family
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like i think when we say we're being asked to surrender these rules and restrictions and all these things like what we're viewing god as is
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broccoli right it's this unappealing idea of a distant far-off god who created us views us as
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masses gives us the rules and expects us to live in but maybe
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maybe what paul's communicating to us is that look we're talking about surrendering to a loving father
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a father who loves you and embraces you as his son or his daughter not a distant far off god but a god who wants to know
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you intimately who has chosen you and adopted you as sons and daughters
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see we're not being called to to walk away from the candy dish to to broccoli we're we're being called to walk from
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the candy dish to what i think is kumquats do you mind what kumquats might not know
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what kumquats are oh i'm so sorry i'm so sorry these are amazing when i
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was in business school uh these were um often used as in like a story problems
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in marketing or whatever like we make so many widgets and doohickeys and and one of the things they always say kumquats i
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thought it was a joke like i thought it was just a fake thing and then when i grew up someone introduced me to the
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kumquat and these are like little uh nuggets of heaven is what they
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are so they're kind of like an orange they have some like sourness of of a lemon to
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them you eat the whole thing the rhine and all and they are glorious right
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do you does that sound delicious to you here you go here you go yeah yeah so
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but they're they're so good let me know if you like it if you if you pucker up real bad like the guy in the last service did i know you didn't like it
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but so so for me it's like it's like this is what we're being invited to and you're sitting there thinking what in
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the world is this guy talking about right now here's what i'm talking about if you if i've got a candy dish of
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temptation in front of me and you tell me hey i got another option for you it's broccoli i'm choosing the
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candy dish nine out of ten times [Music] but if you say you got a candy dish in
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front of you of temptation you say how about how about your other option is the kumquat for me
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10 out of 10 times i picked the kumquat no why do i say all this
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some of us have been viewing god as broccoli
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our view of god has been we've got temptation that is delicious and amazing
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or broccoli that's unappealing unattractive and unappetizing [Music]
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i think what paul's trying to get us to do is understand that our relationship with god is something that should be
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appealing and attractive and appetizing and delicious for
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us what he's actually saying is that look we're not talking about surrendering to rules or restrictions or
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anything like that but like we're talking about surrendering to a loving father
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a father who loves you and cherishes you
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a father has chosen you a father that no matter how far off and
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broken and lost you may feel he stands with arms wide open ready to embrace you
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like a loving father would and when we begin to view god
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differently when we begin to view god as appealing and appetizing and attractive then then
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suddenly this [Music] begins to go away and all of our focus and attention is on
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what is good [Music] here's what i think god wants to know
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wants you to know today number one kumquats are amazing
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number two and and much more importantly friends god doesn't want to change how you behave he wants to change how you
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want to behave it's it's one thing to say hey follow
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these rules do these things it's another thing to say i want you to desire me
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i want you to be with me i want you to know me
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i want you to be loved by me and when we begin to experience that
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like the god of scripture the god of abraham and isaac and jacob
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the father of of jesus god of the disciples the apostles
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the god of your ancestors and those who have gone before you the god of you the one who extends his arms to you and says
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i love you and i just want to be with you [Music] like when we see that god
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the real true god that candy jar of temptation means
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nothing because all we will want to do is to be with him
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because the truest truth about you is that you are sons
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and daughters of the living god
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now we're going to transition in a moment to just the opportunity that we have every single week
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to just respond to god that's what this time is it's set aside for you to respond to god
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there's multiple ways you can do that when you came in the door you receive communion elements in a moment i'm going to pray after that when you feel like you're
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ready you can experience jesus forgiveness in that way maybe you need prayer today you have
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been thinking about this big temptation in your life this thing you struggle to have power and strength over and you see
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someone to pray with you we have tables in the corners that have candles on them in the back that they would love to pray
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with you i'll be right down here in front is where i sit during service and i'd love to pray with you as well
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or maybe maybe for you today you are realizing that the god that you have tried to
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please has been some sort of distant
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far off god who just tells you what you can and cannot do and what you're realizing is the god
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that you are called to surrender to is your heavenly father who loves you
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and just wants to be with you and suddenly god begins to look
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much more attractive and much more appealing [Music]
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if that's you maybe your next step is baptism it is to take that step to publicly profess that you have decided to follow
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this god this this loving amazing god that we read about in scripture
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and that's you we have amazing leaders over here and they'd love to have a conversation with you about what that may look like for you today
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or maybe for you maybe for you it's just time for you to sit in the presence of a loving father
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a loving father who wants to give you the strength to overcome temptation not because you change what you do and how
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you behave but because what you want changes
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because the truest truth about you friends is your sons and daughters
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of the living god did you pray with me [Music]
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lord god i give you thanks for uh for your love when we don't deserve it
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[Music] there's not one person in this room of
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god that deserves to be called a son or daughter of you [Music]
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but because you are a loving father
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no matter what we've done what our life is look like
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you love and you choose us
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and you invite us into your family
30:29
god you are the god we want to know you are the god we want to love you are
30:36
the god we want to surrender to
30:41
so lord during this next few minutes i just ask your holy spirit move in this place and just help us to see
30:48
you [Music] not what we have thought you are but
30:55
help us to see you because we know that when we see
31:02
you who you really are we will want nothing else
31:09
but you i'm in [Music]



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