Leon Fontaine - Temptations and Trials
Today, I want to talk about this belief that God allows temptation. That God leads us to into temptation. One of the verses that is so misunderstood, is in Matthew chapter four and verse one. Now before I read it, let me explain to you what I see, when people who have this doctrine taught. They will say things like this: It's important to God that you grow. So He is allowing this sickness to teach you something. They will say, God doesn't want you wealthy and all this prosperity doctrine. He needs you humble, and so He bankrupted, allowed, they use kind of nicer, He allowed you, your business to go bankrupt because you were putting too much confidence in that than Him. The list goes on.
I have parents, I have had parents tell me God took their kid, or allowed their kid, because for the greater good. It goes on and on and on, all of the unbiblical but hurting, beautiful people who have not been taught the principles in God's Word. Now, here's where a lot of this is derived. Matthew 4:1. Then, this is right after Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, and the Holy Spirit came upon him in the form of a dove. John the Baptist declares the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And then, next it says. Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit, into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. The same story is taught in Mark, chapter one. Mark records it this way. And immediately the spirit driveth Him, Jesus, into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan. And was with the wild beasts, and the angels ministered to Him.
So, people believe now that, God is going to lead you or allow you into situations to learn. To grow. To drive the pride out of you. To drive the self-centeredness out of you. He is going to let some stuff into your life, man, I'm telling 'ya. So when it does, just suck it up. Lose the things you have to lose. Be broken, and contrite before Him. Put your head down, and just stay humble and stupid and wait until Jesus comes back in this world of woe, with the big bad devil and all the world's incredible leaders, but not the church. This broken, it is such a ridiculous bunch of balderdash, it is starting to tick me off because, in the midst of a storm, in the midst of a storm you'd better know, is the storm I'm dealing with.
If you think for a moment the storm you're dealing with, God has allowed, why in the world would you go to a doctor? You think a doctor's going to help you if God allowed the sickness storm? You'd be crazy to go get a loan, if God's allowing the financial storm don't go deeper into debt. Just lose it all, and take your punishment, or take your lesson. You think that if God is allowing this relationship breakup and He just needs to teach you something, that any kind of counselling is going to help? It is the most ridiculous doctrine. And it is preached everywhere. And it sabotages faith.
So let's dive into this. And let's end this for you. Because even though you want to believe it, do you have the scriptural foundation to walk out of this so that you can confidently look at the storm? And know that God is behind you. What a horrible feeling to look at a storm and then you go God where'd you, oh God is not with me, oh no. Oh, he's with the storm! You screwed. Or, you turn around and a storm is coming, oh! God is not with me. But He's not in the storm. Oh, but He's over there in the neutral zone with His arms crossed going, "Handle this one, Leon". Whichever way you look at this, it's an asinine doctrine.
Yes. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, and He was tempted of the devil. I've heard a teaching that says, if you're going to be a great leader, God is going to allow you to be tempted in these areas and once you conquer these three areas, you are fit for leadership. Now, buried within that teaching, is some incredible stuff. But what you've just done, is sabotaged their faith because that's not completely accurate. Now, in Hebrews, chapter 2 and verse 18, and I'm reading from the Expanded Bible. I like different versions and to see the clarity that some of them can bring. Listen to this verse. And now He can help, he's talking about Jesus. So, and now Jesus can help those who are tempted. Who are tested. Because He Himself suffered. And was tempted. Tested, and He passed the test. Alright. He passed the test.
In Corinthians 10:13, it says for no temptation, no trial, nothing that is enticing you to sin, no matter how it comes or where it leads, has overtaken you. And laid hold on you, that is not common to man. That is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance. And that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience such as man can bear. But God is faithful to His Word. He's not faithful to storms to teach you. He's faithful to His Word. And it says, and His compassionate nature. He can be trusted, not to let you be tempted and tried, and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance, and power to endure. But with the temptation, He will always also provide the way out; the means of escape to a landing place that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.
Now if you don't know the rest of the Bible, you will take this verse, and it makes it look as every one of you that are listening to me today, God is watching you closely and allowing how much temptation you get. Oh, there's Billy Joe. He's a little more mature, we're going to allow more tests and trials on him. Because God's not going to let you get tested beyond what you're, oh here's a baby Christian over here, no, no, no, no. We're going to ratchet it down. Only allow this one. It literally paints a picture like God has got seven billion dials on every person on the planet, and He's controlling how much you are tested, tried, and tempted. What this is saying, when you allow the rest of scripture is, that when you are tempted, Jesus knows exactly how you feel, and He was tempted, tested, and tried, and He won over it. And because He won the temptation, He, the testing and the trial, He won for you the grace of God. The righteousness of God. It's a gift, it's freely given. It's yours.
How do you handle a trial? How do you handle a test? With God's strength. He says your strength isn't going to last you. He's basically saying to you and I, that when everything on this planet that you go through is normal to a whole bunch of other people. Stop thinking you're special. I'm so tempted. And I'm not in any way making light of the brokenness and the heartache that some of you have gone through. To begin to walk through the things that have happened to you, I am not belittling that. The death of the people that we love and the things that are going on, and never am I belittling it. But don't you dare begin to think that God stood back with His arms crossed, and just allowed it. Because you will drive off every generation under you.
Your kids won't serve a God like that. I wouldn't serve a God like that. I'm better off in the world, get saved three minutes before I die to go to heaven, but to live on this planet where I'm just waiting to see, what new test is coming, what new trial God is allowing, no. What he's saying is, that there's nothing coming at you that God already isn't with you, and you're going through. And when He makes a way of escape, what is the way of escape? It's His Word. It's the faith of the believer, that Christ is within you. And yes, in every circumstance, Holy Spirit will guide you.
So Leon, is God allowing trials? Of course. He's not in charge of allowing or stopping trials. Whatever is in this world is here. If you build a boat, and you put it in the water, the water tests it. If you build a plane, and you pop it into the air, the air, gravity, tests it. When you come into this world, He is saying tests and trials and do you think the Christians are special? Go talk to a secular businessman and ask him how many problems he's had to fight to get his business going. Go talk to any marriage with that isn't even the followers of Christ, and but yet they're making their marriage work and they're raising good kids. They'll tell you all the stuff they go through. What is wrong with Christians that we have to spiritualize everything and well everything happens for a purpose. Oh poppycock. Like ridiculous. It does not happen for a purpose, meaning, that God's got His hands on it somewhere.
I have learned through every test and every trial, and every storm, and every loss that we've gone through. I have learned, what a fool I am if I don't learn. But what keeps me so happy and positive and excited, is the fact that I know it's not up to God what does or doesn't happen. It's not, He hasn't got a dial on me, allowing more, allowing less, trying to figure out how much I can handle. No. He's just teaching me, that whatever storm comes, I've got a way of escape. I will be your strength. Jesus was tempted on your behalf, He was your substitute, and because He won the temptation, this power that was within you, comes from Jesus who knows how you feel. He was tempted like every human being on the planet, so get up, square your shoulders, and just declare every storm that comes, if you believe and know that none of it is God-ordained, God's not allowing it to teach you something. He just allows whatever we allow.
The teaching in Matthew 16 and Matthew 18-19, it talks like this. It says, that whatsoever you bind is bound, whatever you loose is loose. As you go into a modern translation, it says whatever we allow, we allow. Whatever we forbid, is forbidden. So as these storms and as these financial issues and health issues and, and all the you know, relationship issues and people trying to hurt you and come against you and you need protection. This is where we go into the Word, we recognize that He is with us, and He's not in control of how much, how little. But now you can be with Him.
You can declare that no weapon formed against you shall prosper. You can declare that any storm that rises, just blows me faster to the place I want to go. You can declare that your enemies are at peace with you. You can declare that your body is healthy and whole and the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you. It makes your body alive. You can declare, great is the peace of your children. You can declare your wife is that virtuous woman. You can declare your husband sits at the city gates in the places of decision making and government. You take the promises of God, and you take on that storm as fearlessly and confidently, knowing God is with me and He wants that thing gone, done, now. He's not so ineffective.
God is not such a lousy teacher, I'm going to give you an example. What would you do about me, if I'm trying to teach one of my grandkids not to touch hot stuff? So, you know, I'm not going to cripple that little hand, but I'm going to put it close enough to the burner of that stove, until there's a second-degree burn which will heal up. It won't be third-degree or fourth-degree that chars bone or sinew. But he's going to be weeping and crying and pain, grandpa please, don't. But he needs to learn. It will help him in the future to never hurt himself. You will lock me up.
Can you imagine? What a crazy thing, yet that's how we think God is. If I want to teach him to not touch hot stuff, I can do it other ways. But do you think God's such a lousy teacher, the only way He teaches you is through pain? Actually, Proverbs says only fools need that. And then it says, and even that won't change a fool. In the New Covenant, God teaches us through His Word. And I want you to notice as you go to 1 Corinthians 10:13, the key is here where it says, and God is faithful to His Word. And His compassionate nature. When it says He can be trusted to not let you be tempted, beyond what you can handle. He's not talking about a dial that God's in control of. He's saying, dive into His Word, He's always here, and He's ready to explode onto the scene.
But, this 1 John 5:4, this is the victory that overcomes the world. Even our faith. Your faith, along with the finished work of Jesus, brought together makes you a conqueror in every sense of the word. You might have gone through the most hurtful, horrible thing in your life. And I'm not in any way saying I get it, I understand, or I know how you feel. But you can't curl into a ball, you can't give up. Your kids need you. Your friends need you. The Kingdom of God needs you. Yes, you need to mourn. Yes, you need to go through that. But don't be deceived that God allowed that to teach you something. That will destroy your faith. It will destroy your love. You can't love somebody you can't trust.
Marriage, is built on trust. And once you can't, once you lose trust for someone, you need to figure out how to re-establish that. Because love, has to have at its foundation a trust. How do you trust a God, who allows all of this stuff as though He's in control dialling it up, dialling it down? There are no generations that will follow a God with that kind of a doctrine. God and His Spirit are so beautiful, that He will teach you His Word. He will guide you with His Spirit. He will lead you into all truth. His Spirit will bring revelations. His Word gets planted in your heart, and it grows. Your mind get renewed, you make your body a living sacrifice. All the teaching of the New Covenant goes against taking this out of context.
Now, let me give you a final verse that I hope just touches your heart. In 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, and I'm reading this from the Message Bible, because I love the poetic, beautiful picture it paints from this doctrine. Here's what it says. It says, thank God in the Messiah in Christ, God leads us from place to place, in one perpetual victory parade. Okay, we're going to just stop right there for a minute. When in those days, when a Roman general would win a war, they would come into the city. They'd have the king of the country they defeated, chained up. And, he would look awful and the kids and the wives as they victory paraded on their horses and their shields, marching through the streets of their home city. They would throw things and they would taunt the enemy leaders that were all chained in a line, and they wanted to show the kids, the wives, there's no more raping and killing of your children, and the killing of your men.
We have defeated the enemy. We've chained them up. We're parading him down the street, we are victors! That's the exact picture that these Greek words are delivering, check it out for yourself in this passage. Now listen to this. Through us, through us, He brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent, rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation. An aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse. This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on? No, but at least we don't take God's Word, water it down, then take it to the street to sell it cheap.
We stand in Christ's presence when we speak. God looks us in the face. We get what we say, straight from God. And we say it as honestly as we can. But we need to recognize, that the religious teaching that has literally controlled much of the church, has got a church so weak, we can't even rise up and raise up great leaders of countries and business, and hospitals and care. We're all because you know, no. We have a choice. I choose, to live in a perpetual victory parade. I choose to know and believe that every storm that comes at me, his will before I even hits me, is to know that Christ is with me, and today is the day of salvation, not four years of it.
Someone said to me well, you know, God decides when the storm ends, when the miracle happens, no. He's very clear: today is the day of salvation. That word 'salvation' doesn't just mean saved from hell, it means saved from sickness, disease, the entire curse of the law. When? Today. That's when it's yours. Now, you may need to walk out, you might need to convince your heart, persuade it like we've been teaching. You may need to stand, and to work the process of faith. There's nothing wrong with knowing I need to persuade my heart in this issue, and go to it. It's not God delaying it, it's not God who's got the dial allowing and not allowing it. He's just saying that there is nothing that is ever going to overwhelm you when you've got Him. You're going to be fine, every way there's a way of escape.
And as you begin to recognize that whatever God wants to teach me, His Holy Spirit and His Word will do that. He's not doing something to teach me. However, in everything I go through, learn. That's what makes you a veteran soldier. What? The fight. And He must have won because He's still here. You're alive, you're still going. Yes, Paul says and talks about this extensively. So, this doctrine, of God is allowing things to teach me. It sounds kind of right because God's not the one allowing or not allowing. That is literally storms are going to happen.
Now, there's stupid things we can do to bring on some storms, like if I start slapping every guy I meet in the mall, I'm going to have a whole lot of fights to deal with. Broken teeth, and broken noses, but I've provoked all those storms. And then there's other times that some guy's just going to want to come at me and I'm going to need the protection and the favor of God. Either His angels will protect me or give me the power to take him out myself. Like, this confidence, that I walk in a perpetual victory parade, is something we've got to, we are more than conquerors through Him who strengthens us. Please get a sense of accurate teaching in the Word of God.
Father, I pray today. That every one of us that are watching, that Father, we would make a decision to dive into the Word for ourselves, and Father to recognize that if we're going to reach the generations, our kids, our grandkids, and the generations are ahead, we'd better figure out what this life of victory looks like. And I pray, that those who are listening to me who've been lied to, and who have given in to every storm thinking God's in it. That Father, they'd rise up with God on their side, and they'd learn to be more than conquerors. I pray this Father, teach them, show them, guide them. And for those who don't know You Lord, touch them.
If you're watching today, and you go I've never heard that before. Then God is speaking to you. There's something within you that goes, well I could serve a God like that, good. Because He's prompting you right now to follow Him. If you say Leon, I need to get right with God, just pray this prayer with me. Just say:
Dear God, I give You my life. Forgive me for it all. Come into my heart. I'm following You for the rest of my life. As my Saviour, my Lord. In Jesus' name, amen.
That born-again experience is yours. Brand new start. New you.