home  |  Written  Sermons


     "The strongest temptation is no excuse for sin.  However great the pressure brought to bear upon the soul, transgression is our own act.  It is not in the power of earth or hell to compel anyone to sin.  The will must consent, the heart must yield, or passion cannot overbear reason, nor iniquity triumph over righteousness." Maranatha, p 225.

     This is quite a powerful revelation!  To think that all the power of hell, every evil angel and even the Devil himself, can be brought against the weakest child of God to try and force them to commit sin, and yet all this would prove a failure if the Christian does not yield.  The only way the powers of hell could triumph is if the Christian gives in to this pressure, yields their will to Satan, and commits sin.  Thus the Devil is really only as powerful over us as we allow him to be!  Many tend to make the Devil more powerful than he really is (see Ministry of Healing, p 94), but he can only have power over us when we give him permission.
     With this realization in mind, who is responsible for sin?  The Devil originated it, but it is only as humanity chooses to sin that it continues on in this world.  Thus we cannot blame any circumstance, event, situation, heritage, parental rearing, person, or the Devil himself, for the reason why we committed sin because sin is only by our choice.  Yet, what most do not fully realize is that when we commit sin, it is not just we who suffer in consequence, but also others.  The consequence of our sin not only rebounds upon ourselves, but others are affected as well.
     "Every act of our lives affects others for good or evil." Testimonies, vol 2, p 133.

     "...many by their actions have said:...`Whatever we do we are to bear the consequences ourselves.'  Dear friends, you are greatly mistaken.  You are not the only sufferers from a wrong course.  The society you are in bears the consequences of your wrongs, in a great degree, as well as yourselves....It is impossible for you to pursue any wrong course without causing others to suffer." Testimonies, vol 3, p 356-57.

     It is not just human beings who suffer in consequence of our choice to sin, but Someone else suffers as well.
     "By every sin Jesus is wounded afresh; and as we look upon Him whom we have pierced, we mourn for the sins that have brought anguish upon Him.  Such mourning will lead to the renunciation of sin." Desire of Ages, p 300 (see also Mount of Blessings, p 10).

     Yet not only do we wound Christ by every sin we commit, but we also allow someone else to hurt Christ.
     "It is a thought that should arouse Christians to greater zeal and earnestness in overcoming evil, that every defect in character, every point in which they fail to meet the divine standard, is an open door by which Satan can enter to tempt and destroy them; and, furthermore, that every failure and defect on their part gives occasion to the tempter and his agents to reproach Christ." Testimonies, vol 5, p 472.

     But it goes even beyond this.  Before we can commit sin, we must knock over and trample upon our Saviour who lovingly blocks our way down that broad road which leads to destruction!
     "Infinite Love has cast up a pathway upon which the ransomed of the Lord may pass from earth to heaven.  That path is the Son of God.  Angel guides are sent to direct our erring feet.  Heaven's glorious ladder is let down in every man's path, barring his way to vice and folly.  He must trample upon a crucified Redeemer ere he can pass onward to a life of sin....Every one is permitted to choose for himself the narrow, shining steep that leads to heaven, or that broader and easier way which ends in death." Our High Calling, p 11.

     None of us wish our Saviour to be wounded afresh, or reproached by the Devil and his agents, or trampled down by us because of our failure to get sin out of our lives.  And yet, when we choose to sin, this is exactly what occurs!
     Then how, brothers and sisters in the same precious separated faith, can we overcome all temptation, no longer choose to sin, and stop hurting our Saviour and allowing Satan to reproach Him?  What is our most powerful weapon and defense against Satan and temptation?  It is the power of prayer!
     "There is a mighty power in prayer.  Our great adversary is constantly seeking to keep the troubled soul away from God.  An appeal to heaven by the humblest saint is more to be dreaded by Satan than the decrees of cabinets or the mandates of kings." SDA Bible Commentary, vol 2, p 1008.

     "If you are not experienced in discerning the devices of Satan, your only safety is in prayer."  Sons and Daughters of God, p 191.

     Prayer: something so simple to perform that even the humblest and most inexperienced follower of God may use it in combating sin.  And yet prayer is so powerful that even the weakest believer in the truth can utilize it against temptation.  Yet, there is no power at all in the prayer itself!  Prayer itself cannot save anyone from the power of temptation.  The power to overcome sin is not found in the prayer itself, but the power is found in the One whom we direct our prayers to (see Signs of the Times, June 24, 1880).  Without the realization that only in Christ can the strength be found to overcome temptation, our prayers are useless and but a hollow form against the power of the Devil.  It is only as we realize our weakness and flee to our loving and strong Saviour, fervently pleading with Him to grant us the power to overcome the strong foe, that Satan can be defeated.
     "Satan knows better than God's people the power that they can have over him when their strength is in Christ.  When they humbly entreat the mighty Conqueror for help, the weakest believer in the truth, relying firmly upon Christ, can successfully repulse Satan and all his host....
     "Satan cannot endure to have his powerful rival appealed to, for he fears and trembles before His strength and majesty.  At the sound of fervent prayer, Satan's whole host trembles." Testimonies, vol 1, p 341, 346.

     Why does Satan and his whole host of evil angels tremble at our fervent prayers being directed to Christ?
     "Satan is enraged at the sound of fervent prayer, for he knows that he will suffer loss." Testimonies, vol 1, p 295.

     So when we are tempted, and we recognize that we are weak and cannot resist on our own, and we send up our prayers to Christ pleading with Him to grant us His strength to overcome, then what do we do?  We must believe that our Saviour has heard our prayers, and we must believe that He will grant us all the strength necessary to overcome.  Then what do we do?  Will God overcome for us?  No.  We must show God that we are serious about overcoming sin, submit our wills to God, and then exercise this faith in resolutely resisting the temptation and the Devil before we will gain the victory.  In this way our prayer becomes a prayer of faith in the power and grace of God through Christ in us to overcome sin.  By resisting the Devil and his temptations, he must flee from us as he fled from Christ, and as we take this first step in overcoming, we are also cleansing our hands and purifying our hearts from sin.
     "Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded." James 4:7-8.

     "When the first suggestion of wrong is heard, dart a prayer to heaven, and then firmly resist the temptation to tamper with the principles condemned in God's word." SDA Bible Commentary, vol 3, p 1155.

     "The prayer of faith is the great strength of the Christian and will assuredly prevail against Satan." Testimonies, vol 1, p 296.

     But not one of us will obtain the grace and power from God necessary to overcome sin until we show Him that we are serious and put forth the earnest efforts to resist the temptation!
     "There is but one power that can bring us into conformity to the likeness of Christ, that can make us steadfast and keep us constant.  It is the grace of God that comes to us through obedience to the law of God." My Life Today, p 100.

     So after we recognize the temptation, recognize that we are weak, we then pray for God to help us overcome, and then put forth the efforts needed to resist the temptation; it is only at this point that God recognizes our sincerity and sends the grace and power through Christ which then works in us--combining with our feeble efforts--to aid us in advancing until we will have gained the victory.  Thus it is God through Christ who is working in us to do God's will.  And in being thus united with Christ and divinity, we can gain the victory over all sin.
     "...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Philippians 2:12-13.

     "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13.

     So the 4 key steps in overcoming are: Recognize the temptation and humbly admit that we are weak, Pray to God for grace and strength to overcome, Submit our will unto God, and then Resist the temptation by putting forth efforts to do God's will.  Recognize, Pray, Submit, Resist.  But without prayer, there is no possible way we could overcome sin!  That is why Satan hates prayer so much, and is doing everything he can to keep us from praying--especially when we are tempted.
     "Satan leads many to believe that prayer to God is useless and but a form.  He well knows how needful are meditation and prayer to keep Christ's followers aroused to resist his cunning and deception." Testimonies, vol 1, p 295.

     Prayer is the only channel we have to communicate directly to Christ in every time of need.  Prayer is therefore as the breath of life to the Christian.
     "Prayer is the breath of the soul.  It is the secret of spiritual power.  No other means of grace can be substituted, and the health of the soul preserved.  Prayer brings the heart into immediate contact with the Well-spring of life, and strengthens the sinew and muscle of the religious experience." Gospel Workers, p 254-55.

     "Prayer is the breath of the soul, the channel of all blessings....Prayer unites us one to another and to God.  Prayer brings Jesus to our side, and gives new strength and fresh grace to the fainting, perplexed soul." Review and Herald, October 30, 1900 (vol 4, p 231).

     Brethren, as sinful and unworthy as we are, we have been given the distinct honor and privilege of talking directly with, and can even urge our petitions before, the King of the entire universe!  There is no other royalty who will allow every subject in their kingdom to approach them with their petitions and requests at any given time.  It is out of love for unworthy you and me, that our Saviour is willing to take all our fervent requests before the Father.  And the Father, out of love for Christ and humanity, is willing to hear and answer our requests according to His perfect will!
     "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need." Hebrews 4:15-16.

     What love is this brethren?  And yet, many have come to look upon prayer as a drudgery or an almost unnecessary item for salvation.  But prayer is vital for our spiritual life and for a victorious warfare against every temptation and sin--especially on God's Sabbath day.  When we pray on the Sabbath, God has promised to answer these prayers before the Sabbath hours are over! (See Desire of Ages, p 207.)
     Let us never forget that when we are faced with a temptation to commit sin, to pray to God for His strength to overcome, and then firmly resist the Devil.  Let us remember that either Satan will be bruised under our feet when we are an overcomer (see Testimonies, vol 3, p 526), or we will bruise Christ under our feet if we give in and commit sin.  And may we remember the 4 keys to successfully overcome--R.P.S.R. (Recognize, Pray, Submit, Resist).  Thus we can escape sin through our Saviour's power to God's glory.