James 1:13-18 – Temptation


Intro: How many of you have ever been tempted? A)If the person next to you doesn’t have their hand raised –Check for a pulse


B)Temptation is part of LIVING – Breathing – susceptible to being tempted!


C)) Temptation is what James deals with in the verses before us this morning


13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.


At first glance this seems like a new section here – James is moving from talking about trials to temptation - But the two go together

A) God allows trials – Purpose is to produce something in us –


B) But temptation can come in the times of trial

1) Tempted to doubt God

2) Give into the flesh


C) Biggest times of trial – Depressed – tired – Stressed –

1) Trials can produce all 3 of those things

But here is the thing James wants us to understand – although God allows trials – He is not the source of temptation  So Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God";

A) Don’t blame God:  Tendency to cast blame


B) Adam was the first to blame God – It was the woman that YOU gave me – Your fault God


C) We can do that too,  You put me in this circumstance – married to this unlovable person –

1) This tough Job with the Cute guy or babe girl

Who is an unbeliever – no Christians ask me out


D) You gave me this desire – it is your fault God


E) People try to blame God all the time!


Others like Eve tried to Blame the Devil – it was the serpent

A) Man with his wife shopping{ Look but don’t buy

Comes home with red dress – get behind me Satan – looked good from that view too


B) People want to blame Satan! – People try to blame others - 

1) Some even try to blame God


C) The first thing James wants to Establish is: 

God doesn’t tempt anyone – here is why!


Temptation is the solicitation to evil

A) The very nature of God is such that temptation has no place in Him or allurement to Him.


B) By its very nature, temptation implies that one is drawn by desire for something that he lacks.

1) It may be a desire for material things or intimate relations or position or attention.


C) We are drawn out by our desire for these things because we have the perception that we are not complete without them.


But God lacks nothing. He is self-sufficient.

A) There is nothing in the makeup or the Character or the nature of God that can be tempted by evil


B) There isn’t anything that He wants.  Every attribute of His being is perfect.

1)There is never a need for growth in any aspect of God's being because everything about Him is infinite.


C) Pt is this: it goes beyond that God wouldn’t do this – It revolves around the fact – that He can’t

1) For God to need anything would mean that He is not God.


D) So God can not be tempted - Nor can He tempt anyone:


All evil repulses God because it stands in opposition to His holiness

A) So the very nature of evil makes it impossible for Him to tempt someone because that  would indicate that He has a delight in seeing someone do evil.


B) He can’t be a Holy God and Do that


C) So James starts with this theological truth – Temptation Can’t come from God !

1) So what is the Source of Temptation?


Temptation doesn't come from God but from within. Temptation starts with us: V.14

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”

A) If we are honest at any given time we look inwardly and see there is a traitor living within us,


B) A traitor who is willing to betray the things of God and be drawn to the things of the world.


C) Our flesh longs to be satisfied in every way!

We should never be surprised by this


D) Story of a young priest who served in the confessional for the first time, accompanied by an older senior priest.

At the end of the day the older priest took him aside and said, “My boy, when a person finishes w/ confession,

you have got to learn to say something other than, Wow!


E) We all Sin ! Give into desires

So it starts with Desires – our wants – Desires are not all bad

A) The normal desires of life were given to us by God and, of themselves, are not sinful.


B) Without these desires, we could not function.

1) Unless we felt hunger and thirst, we would never eat and drink, and we would die.


C) Without fatigue, the body would never rest and would eventually wear out.


D) Sex is a normal desire; without it – Marriage would be lacking something and the human race would not continue.


So it starts with Desire – His own desires -

A) We all have certain things that appeal to us

Mint chip ice cream – Choc chip –


B) Dog, a can of Alpo inviting – to me it is repulsive


C) We all have things that we are attracted to!


Now there are 3 forces that we are always fighting against – there is Satan / our flesh and the World

A) Satan uses the things of the world to bait our flesh into sinning – giving into TEMPTATION


B) That is the imagery that James uses here!


James uses two illustrations from the sporting world when he says “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”

A) Drawn away - carries with it the idea of the baiting of a trap. 


B) The hunter baits a trap for the animal to stumble into by using food or something to draw it in.

1) Draw it out of its comfort Zone by appealing to the animal’s desire for food.


C) The animal moves outside the realm of protection and into the hunter's trap because of his own desires dragging him into danger. 

1) Someone called it  "the magnetism of desire, the hypnotic attraction of bait for a hungry beast"


The second metaphor has to do with fishing - enticed in the original Greek means “to bait a hook.”

A) It pictures the fisherman skillfully casting his bait near the fish,


B) Giving it just the right tug against the current and refracting light, so that the fish is enticed out of his hiding place to inspect the lure.


C) The fish finds it attractive, But the lure isn’t what it appears to be – it is shiny and pretty, it is attractive but in the end it is deadly



Temptation works the same way:

A) Temptation always carries with it some bait that appeals to our natural desires.


B) Inwardly, man has the desire and the potential to sin;

1) Outwardly, he is surrounded by enticements, allurements, temptations.


C) The bait not only attracts us, but it also hides the fact   that yielding to the desire will eventually bring sorrow and punishment.

1) It is the bait that is the exciting thing.


D) But The bait keeps us from seeing the consequences of sin.


Lot would never have moved toward Sodom had he seen the affect it would have on his family

A) David would never have committed adultery had he seen the tragic consequences: the death of a baby (Bathsheba’s son), the murder of a brave soldier (Uriah), the violation of a daughter (Tamar).


B) So Satan used our own desires to bait us into doing something we know we shouldn’t

1) The attractiveness of the bait is meant to blind us to the consequences of Sin


C) And that is what James wants us to see next – there is a progression in Sin.

It starts with desire – desire is not sin – but then comes the bait – the bait is meant to lure us in – attract us –

A) James moves from the analogy of hunting and fishing to Child birth


B) 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;


C) It starts with desire – then comes the bait – that leads to a thought – what about that

1) The question is – will the thought be conceived


D) “Is it really that big of a deal if I cut some corners on this job.” Really save – need the money

1) Just a quiz – matter if I cheat


E) She is a nice gal – if I wasn’t married I would be attracted to someone like her

1) I wish my husband was more like him


Those thoughts come but they need to be immediately aborted – if not, conception takes place

A) The thought has the potential to develop and like a baby in the womb it is going to grow


B) Give birth to an action = SIN

1) Weeks, months, even yrs to mature


C) Nature of sin – Desire – conception – growth

1) And James says when the sin is full Grown it brings forth Death

Death to your credibility & your reputation in the Business world or in the office.

A) Death to your marriage – death to your family


B) Death to the trust in a friendship


C) Death to your intimacy with God!


D) All of that can be restored – God is a God of restoration – but takes time –

1) At the expense of considerable cost and scars

Never repaired over night


James is painting a vivid and horrible picture here

A) The animal gets trapped – the fish – gets caught the human heart gets ensnared – the end result is the same = DEATH


B) Fear can be a healthy deterrent – Growing up wasn’t so much the fear of God – fear of Tony


C) James gives us three deterrents to giving into temptation: The first is “consider the consequences” Sin leads to death


D) Is it worth it?


Denise, every man – Dad abandoned – 2nd killed – good thing, 3rd in prison



So the first deterrent is Death –  2nd is the goodness of God V.16-17


“Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”


A) The goodness of God is a great barrier against yielding to temptation.


B) Since God is good, we do not need any other person (including Satan) to meet our needs.


It is better to be hungry in the will of God than full outside the will of God. God’s gifts are always better than Satan’s bargains.”


C) Satan never gives any gifts, because you end up paying for them dearly.

“It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it” (Prov. 10:22, nasb).


Moses warned Israel not to forget God’s goodness when they began to enjoy the blessings of the Promised Land (Deut. 6:10–15). We need this warning today.


James presented three facts about the goodness of God.



God gives only good gifts.

A) Everything good in this world comes from God.



He gives constantly. “Comes down” is a present participle: = “it keeps on coming down.”


A)God does not give occasionally; He gives constantly. Even when we do not see His gifts, He is sending them. 


Spiritual hindsight is always 20/20


God does not change. comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

A) Living here on earth we are subjected to constantly changing light.


B) The sun rises, and our shadows fall long to the west; it stands high at noon, brightening all;

1) and as it sets, our shadows are to the east, until they fade to nothingness.


C) Day and night light perpetually changes.


But it is not so with the goodness of God.

A) God “does not change like shifting shadows!” God’s goodness is always at high noon.


B) He has never had and will never have more goodness than He has now. He is unchangeably good.

C) In Him there is no variableness or shadow of turning. That is, He’s not moody.

1) He doesn’t have bad days. He’s not generous with me one day, but grouchy the next—as I can so often be.


D) We go up and down. God doesn’t. He can be nothing but good.

1) He doesn’t react to me according to how I’m doing with Him.


E) He is faithful when I am faithless (2 Timothy 2:13). He is good when I am grumpy.

1) He doesn’t change. He’s locked into His nature.


That is one of the things I really love about the Lord He is consistent - He’s solid as a Rock.

A) And I can just enjoy my relationship with Him without worrying about Him being ticked with me or tired of me.


B) He gives nothing but good gifts, for He is a good God.


C) The older I get in the Lord the more I appreciate that God is not like me – but the more that I want to be like Him







O taste and see that the Lord is good

A) When we give into temptation, it’s a direct attack upon the goodness of God


B) When we give into temptation what we are saying by our actions is God I really don’t believe you are good

1) I really don’t believe that you have my best interest at heart


Bb)To give into temptation is really to do what Eve did in the garden – believed the lie – God is holding out on you.


C) The Life that the Bible portrays for the believer in Jesus is simply not good enough


D) But that is not God – God is good – Always moving in a good way toward those He loves ‘

1) Even in discipline – Kindness seeking to lead us to repentance.


E) God gives good gifts – all the time – He is good


The first deterrent against temptation is a negative one: the judgment of God – Sin brings death

The second deterrent is positive: the goodness of God


3rd deterrent is the Life of God in us – V.18 – Born of His word

18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.


Look ahead and see the consequences of sin = death

 “Look around and see how good I have been to you.”


Then God says, “Look within and realize that you have been born from above and possess the divine nature.”


His seed is in us – New Propensity to live


How tragic would it be to take a man who was a pauper, whose whole existence revolved around eating out of garbage cans to satisfy his hunger


Take that man off the streets and make him a prince – living in a palace – lacking for no earthly desire


How tragic would it be if that man insisted on every night going out and finding a garbage can to eat out of

A) What James is saying goes beyond that – beyond status and resources


B) Whole new desires built in – The old desire was to live for self – please self

1) New built in desire for God – Know God – live for God – intimate with God – things of God

Spirit crying abba father


Everyday is a choice – how respond – Give into the desire of my flesh – or give into the spirit

A) Flesh – says sleep extra 20minutes – spirit says get up and spend time with God


B) Flesh says – stay home Wed night watch tv

Spirit says go to Church, seek God


C) Temptation comes and the flesh says this will make you feel better or you deserve this –

1) Spirit says Run – flee


Here is the thing, the more you flee the urges of the flesh, the weaker it gets –

A) The more you say yes to the spirit, the stronger it gets


B) Here is what happens, you lose your appetite for the enticements of the flesh – not as appealing.