How to Triumph Over Temptation (Luke 4:1-11)


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SYNOPSIS OF THE SERMON
In this weekend’s service, Pastor Rich preached on the topic of triumphing over temptation. As followers of Jesus we are constantly tempted by the enemy to exist for ourselves instead of for Christ and the world around us. Drawing from Luke chapter 4 he outlined the temptations that we face and when we face them. Whether in times of great success or great failure, the human heart is tempted to self-reliance apart from God. Satan always tempts us in our areas of need by trying to confuse us into thinking that God can not or will not meet those needs. However God leads people into the desert to restore their love for him and prepare them for the task He has assigned them. We can triumph over these temptations by obeying God in the present, slowing down our lives, responding with God’s word and allowing others to strengthen us in fellowship.
GETTING THE CONVERSATION STARTED
These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.

1.Do you have anyone in your life that has served as a “warning” for you about how to live or how not to live? Please share briefly.
2.Do you personally know someone who “finished well” – what were they like? What allowed them to do so? Please share briefly.
3.What is the distinction between temptation and appetites (from sermon)? How do you separate and understand the two?

INTERACTING WITH THE SERMON
1. In 5 minutes or less. Briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Explain.

2. Read 1 Cor. 10:1-14:

1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 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. 14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

•The for in v.1 links the proceeding verses with the previous section. Discuss the context for Chapter 10 in 1 Cor. 9:24-27. Paul exhorts the Corinthians and us, to self denial and effort – what is he really driving at? What is his warning in v.27? Briefly mention the metaphor of the runner and boxer.
•Vv.1-5 What word is repeated through the first 4 verses? What might Paul hope to communicate to the Corinthians about these specifically Jewish historical examples? What do they all have in common (God’s favor)? V.5 reveals what happened to most of the Israelites (Psalms 78 for further reading). Why is Paul building this case (v.6)?
•The Corinthians were suffering from false security – how might we do the same today? Beginning well does not mean we finish well. Can anyone relate to this warning? Please share.
•v. 6 How do you avoid “going your own way” (The Message version)? Recall some of the examples regarding temptation from the sermon.
•v.7 Read Exodus 32:5-6 (source of the quote) – what was going on? What did idolatry lead to? Just like the Israelites, and the Corinthians, idolatry was all around them. What is idolatry and what has it lead you to do? Please share.
•v. 8 Obviously, sex is an idol in America today – what does Paul’s warning say to you? Sexual immorality causes many to stumble – what’s been your struggle (please share appropriately)? How have you endured?
•v. 9 What does it mean to test Christ? Perhaps mention Acts 5:9.
•v. 10 A warning against grumbling – what is grumbling? Who were the Israelites grumbling against (Num 14)? Ultimately, what happened? The warning is if we continually grumble, or complain, we might end up in the wilderness for 40 years, cut-off from God’s promises. How do we guard our hearts from grumbling?
•v. 11 These 4 warning stories are biblical examples, part of God’s word – do you have other significant life examples that serve as warnings for you, perhaps from your family? Please share briefly.
•v. 12 Read 1 Cor. 6:9-11. What is Paul saying? Is this hard for you to reconcile with God’s grace? Please unpack. How do we maintain our faith for today, let alone a lifetime?
•v. 13-14 Why can we count on God? What will he do? Has anyone seen this truth in their life? Please share. (v.14) What is our part? Please explain.

3.In his sermon, Pastor Rich reminded us that, “How we handle temptation is the central issue regarding whether we’re going to be able to fulfill our individual purpose as God’s children and whether we, together, are going to be able to fulfill God’s purpose for our church.” As you close your meeting, consider the following:

•Ask the Holy Spirit to identify any areas where you’ve allowed something other than God or a desire for more to distract you from God’s best for you.
•If you’re feeling the pull of temptation during this season of your life, ask your small group or an accountability partner to support you in prayer.

Small Group Leaders, We Need Your Help!!!

For Lent this year, we are doing a sermon series entitled, “40 Days of Drawing Near to Jesus” where we will be studying the various spiritual disciplines found in the book of Luke, which we hope will help all of us draw near to Jesus. And for Easter weekend, we wanted to do something really special and have live cardboard testimonies as part of our worship time during our services.

If you don’t know what a cardboard testimony is, please click on this link to see an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvDDc5RB6FQ

Here is where we need your help. We are looking for about 100 people from our congregation who would be willing to share a cardboard testimony during our worship time in one of our Easter weekend services (25 people at each of our 4 services). We would like to ask if you would consider having your whole small group (or even just a few people) participate in this together. This would be a great opportunity for your small group to serve together in our church. And it would also be a chance to share the amazing Jesus stories of the people in your small group with our church.

We would like to encourage you to pray about this and talk with your small group and see if this is something that you might want to do together.

Here is one thing you can try: For worship time during your small group, show the video that I referenced above. And then you can ask people to share their own testimonies (just on a sheet of paper) during worship time. And if this is something that was meaningful for the group, you might ask if this is something that your whole group would do together on Easter (in front of 3000 people) to celebrate together what Jesus has done in our midst.

If your group is willing and able to help out in this way, can you please respond back to us at your earliest convenience and let us know how many people from your group will share a cardboard testimony on Easter? As noted above, we are looking for about 100 people.

We would appreciate it if you can respond back to us with the number of people from your small group who will be participating by 3/11/2011.

To respond, please contact Miriam Gray at 614-259-5235 or Miriam.Gray@vineyardcolumbus.org.