Welcome to the Onward Christian Soldiers Discipleship Class. I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society and pastor of Gospel Light House of Prayer International. The purpose of this time together is to teach young believers everything they need to know about their faith in Jesus Christ and provide them with the knowledge they need to live victorious Christian lives.
Our key Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Our lesson today is titled “How to Overcome Temptation, Part 41”
In this section of our Onward Christian Soldiers discipleship class, we are going to continue looking at specific temptations that are, as the Bible says, “common to man.” We are looking at what the Bible says about these sins so we can be aware of its dangers and so that we can hide Scripture in our hearts to use when we are tempted.
The sin that we are going to continue looking at today is the sin of “covetousness”. This is the second sin in a list of 12 temptations that comes from two sources — one ancient and one modern. The first source is a list that was developed by monks in the early church called “the seven deadly sins” or the “cardinal sins.” The second source is a Barna survey from 2011 which tracked the top temptations Americans admitted to struggling with.
We have already looked at 10 passages on this topic. Today, we are looking at James 4:1-3. (Remember, the text of this lesson is made available online after each class, so you can go to our website GLHOPI.com, click the “Onward Christian Soldiers” banner on the home page, and begin to learn these verses by heart throughout the week.)
1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
In this passage, James uses startling language to describe the behavior of Christian people. He likens their actions to war, fighting, and killing. His intent is to shock his listeners into realizing that their behavior is not becoming of those who follow Christ. In light of the sin of covetousness that we are dealing with in this lesson, this passage provides some important insight on the behind-the-scenes reason why greed and covetousness are so harmful.
Warren Wiersbe said, “Selfishness lies at the root of sin. Because our first parents selfishly wanted something for themselves, they plunged the whole of humanity into sin and death. We want things to go our way and satisfy our desires. Selfishness breaks up homes; selfishnss alienates friends; selfishness causes wars.”
In the last passage that we dealt with, we learned that the devil tries to get us to succumb to the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. And here, James says this is the root of our struggle with covetousness: “Your lusts war in your members. Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not.” People go to great lengths in order to get those possessions that they desire or lust after. Of course, we cannot have everything that we want in this life, and because most people refuse to be content, they are always striving, lusting, fighting, warring to get what they want. Yet, they “have not.”
Listen to how Dr. Warren Wiersbe describes it in his commentary on this passage: “People who are at war with themselves because of selfish desires are always unhappy people. They never enjoy life. Instead of being thankful for the blessings they do have, they complain about the blessings they do not have. They cannot get along with other people because they are always envying others for what they have and do. They are always looking for that ‘magic something’ that will change their lives, when the real problem is within their own hearts.”
If you want peace in your heart and life, you must realize that it will not come from anything that you can gain on this earth. It can only come through the peace that can be placed inside of you by Jesus Christ. One way to get that peace is to take your concerns, worries, and desires to Him in prayer. James says that many of us “have not” because “we ask not.” All that you are striving to get, all that you are envious toward others about, have you taken it to the Lord in prayer? Have you asked Him? The Bible does not guarantee that you will get everything that you ask for. But what you can get from prayer is a sense of peace that your desires are in God’s hands and that He will give you what He knows is best. If you trust God, that alone can destroy any feelings of covetousness and greed.
If you struggle with covetousness, take this passage to heart and begin to use it the next time you face that temptation.
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If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to GospelLightSociety.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Until next time, May the Lord Bless You!