People often come to me seeking how to get right with the Lord. For whatever reason, they have drifted away from their relationship with God. They feel distant from God. They feel that their life is not going the way they believe it should. They keep giving in to the temptations which come their way. Personally, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly I can walk away from the Lord reverting to my own self-centered ways in my own life. Even as a minister of the Gospel, I must be diligent to walk with Him moment by moment.
Temptations come to all of us who are following the Lord and seeking to do His will in our lives. These can serve to strengthen our walk with the Lord or they can serve to encourage our wandering from the ways of God in our lives. Temptations usually appeal to desires and addictions that are outside of the will of God for our lives. The Apostle James says it this way: “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:13, NIV).
To battle temptation in our lives, first use Scripture to face the issue you are dealing with. Find verses which deal with your issue - read them, study them, memorize them, and then speak them to the temptation. When Jesus faced temptations in his life, we are told by both Matthew and Luke, that he quoted Scriptures to the tempter and the temptations (See Matthew 4 or Luke 4). You will be amazed at the power this will unleash in your life.
Secondly, when encountering temptation look for the ‘way of escape’ provided by the Lord: “No temptation has seized you except that which is common to man. 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 stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). God will always provide a way out. The question usually becomes: “Do you want to take the way out?!!”
Thirdly, have someone hold you accountable for staying on the path and saying ‘no’ to the temptations you are facing. Find a prayer partner or accountability partner who with your permission, will ask you about the temptation and hold you lovingly accountable.
In life anything of worth comes with a struggle. The spiritual life is not immune to this principle. Temptations and struggle should not to be feared. Rather, rejoice in them for they lead to achievement in the spiritual life and give you strength from wandering from the ways of God.
We have a God that loves us so much, and God’s love for us is expressed to us through His “covenants”. Also, God’s “covenants” reveal to us His grace and faithfulness. In today’s message, we will discuss God’s Covenant with Noah. A “covenant” can be defined as an “oath or promise of God”. In a Biblical covenant: 1) God establishes the Covenant; 2) God always implies that “I am your God, and you are my people” – God desires a personal relationship with us; and 3) God sets the covenant’s terms and rulers.
In Genesis 6:5-22, the corruption of humanity, through mankind’s sin after the Fall, became too much for God, and He became sorry that He made mankind. From Genesis, we know that God “grieved in His heart” because of human evil, corruption, and violence. However, Noah found favor in the eyes of God. Noah was righteous and blameless, and Noah “walked with God”.
After destroying all humans and all other inhabitants of the earth, except for Noah, his family, those animals that Noah collected for His arch, God “blessed Noah in Genesis 9:1-29; and God established His covenant with Noah in Genesis 9:9-1:10,11-13: “’Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you . . . that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.’". Therefore, this covenant is not only with Noah and all other living things on the earth; but God’s covenant with Noah is with us too! The “rainbow” is a sign of this covenant between Noah and all humanity; and this “rainbow” is, also, a sign of God’s love, grace, and mercy.
In 1 Peter 3:18-21, the Apostle Peter relates Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, which is a redemptive covenant for our salvation, to God’s earlier covenant with Noah: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . .". In this text from 1 Peter, we learn that our “baptism” represents our Salvation through Jesus. Like Noah and his family, we have been saved “through the water” not “by the water”. Therefore, “baptism” is another covenant between God and all humanity, through God’s Grace, to save mankind from itself if we accept God’s Grace. God does not see us, now, in our sin like humanity’s evil of Noah’s time; rather, God sees us through the eternal (like the “rainbow”) “Justifying” covenant blood of Jesus.
TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: I affirm that because of what God has done for me in His Son, Jesus, I AM FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13).
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE (ESV): Genesis 6:5-22; Genesis 9:1-29; 1 Peter 3:18-21; Psalms 28: 1-9.
WEBSITE LINK TO DR. BEACH’S SERMON VIDEO: https://awordfromthelord.org/video-archives/
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