Robert Jeffress - When Sin Comes Knocking - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. No Christian is immune to temptation. Even Jesus himself was tempted in the wilderness, but just because we're tempted doesn't mean we have to give in. Today, we're going to look at a man who experienced victory over temptation. And then I'm going to share with you some practical ways you can have success in your life whenever you find sin lurking on your doorstep. My message is titled "When Sin Comes Knocking" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
She was just looking for a hook up, a sexual hook up with Joseph. No Romance, no flowers, no dinner, no commitment. Just some hot steamy sex. Man, she knew how to appeal to a man's heart, didn't she? She thought that's what Joseph would go for, sex with a beautiful woman. And so how did he respond? Look at verse 8. Three simple words, "But he refused". He refused. I've just gotta stop there and just say something. Joseph was 20 years old at this point. Healthy male, not married, but he refused.
You know, we live in a culture right now that says, "Well, if you're single and not married, I mean, you can't remain a virgin forever. I mean, you can't keep resisting sex forever. Eventually you have to give in because if you don't give in and keep all those desires inside, you will explode like mount Vesuvius. You'll damage some of your body parts if you don't give in". Young people really believe that. We're taught that, that it's just unnatural to say no to sex for over and over and over again. We're also told today if you happen to be somebody who is attracted to somebody of the same sex and you're attracted to that person, you want to have sex to them. Well, God made you that way. You're designed that way. And to say no to sex, well, that is, in some ways, blaspheming your Creator who gave you that same sex attraction. That is a lie from the pit of hell. The fact is, as a Christian, you have a choice. You can say no. We are not animals who have to follow every inclination that we have.
Joseph refused. "And he said to his master's wife, 'behold, with me here, my master Potiphar, and your husband, doesn't concern himself with anything in the house, and he's put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in the house than i, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife". In other words, how could I sin against your husband when he's done so much for me. Not to mention that he's the chief executioner. I mean, how could I do such a thing against Potiphar? But then he gave an even greater reason for refusing. Notice the last sentence of verse 9. "And how then could I do this great evil, and sin against God"? To him, to Joseph, that was unthinkable, sinning against God.
You know, my friend, R. T. Kendall, in his commentary on the life of Joseph writes that it's our love for God alone that will keep us from falling into sin. He says nobody is exempt from temptation, but if we do not have a love for God that is greater than the intensity of the temptation, we will get in. It is then that we discover what we are really like. Listen to me. When you're alone, separated from people you don't know, when you might feel abandoned by God, when temptation comes and there's no consequences on the horizon whatsoever, what's going to keep you from giving in? It's not the words of your parents. It's not the sermons from your pastor. It's not even a fear of consequences. It is a love for God and God alone that will keep you from sin.
Notice that sentence. "Unless we have a love for God that is greater than the intensity of that temptation, we will give in". The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. That was Joseph. He couldn't imagine sinning against God. And how did Mrs. Potiphar respond to his refusal? Look at verse 10, "And Mrs. Potiphar said, 'Joseph, you're right. I am so ashamed of myself. Will you please pray with me so that I can become a Christian and have the same strength you do'"? What are y'all laughing at? And that what your Bible says? Mine doesn't either. Look at verse 10. "And she spoke to Joseph day after day". She wasn't about to give up.
Ladies and gentlemen, don't fall for the delusion that once you say no to sin, swoosh, you can rest. It's gone. On to the next challenge. Does it work that way? The Christian life is a battle that goes on and on and on and on. Paul says for we struggle not against flesh and blood, but against the unseen forces of darkness in heavenly places. She came to him day after day. What did he do? He did not listen to her, to lie beside her, or to be with her. You know, she was very smart in how she approached Joseph. She probably said something to her like, "Honey bunny. Come here and lie next to mama. I promise I'll keep my hands to myself. I'll be a good girl. I just need somebody to hold me. I need somebody who understands me. That old rude Potiphar, he doesn't understand me. But I can tell you understand me, and we just need to talk. Maybe hold hands a little bit. Is that okay"?
What did he say? He didn't fall for that. He didn't listen to her. He didn't lie beside her. He doesn't even want to be with her. He looks for every way possible to keep away from this woman. You know, there's a good word here for us. When you face temptation, you don't see how close to the edge you can get. You don't allow for a little bit of sin just to satisfy yourself. I think of the words of a proverb by reverend Chuck Swindoll's commentary. This proverb says, "He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn't reserve a plot for weeds". If you really intent on living a pure life that God blesses, you don't allow just a little bit of sin in your life and think you're doing something great because you don't have more sin in your life. Paul says it this way in Romans 13:14, "Make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts". Don't allow any sin in your life.
Verse 11. "Now it happened one day that as Joseph went into the house to do his work, none of the men of the household was there inside". Joseph had the right intentions. He was going into the house to do his work. He walks in. Nobody's there. He said, "Did I not get the memo. Is this memorial day, the 4th of July? Well, why's nobody here". He was perplexed by that. We know exactly what happened. Ms. Potiphar arranged for everybody to have an extra day off that day. Verse 12 says, "And she caught him by his garment, saying, 'lie with me. Have sex with me'". She's got hold of Joseph.
Now, what is he doing this moment? Does he say, "Ms. Potiphar I sense you have an unmet need in your life that I'd like to talk to you about"? Does he reach into his coat and pick out an evangelistic booklet and say, "Ms. Potiphar, has anybody ever shared with you that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life"? Does he say, "Let's hold hands, and let's pray about this temptation that God will get rid of it". No, he knew this situation was too hot for his Hebrew hormones to handle. He knew the only way to succeed and resist the temptation was to scram to get out of there as quickly as he could. In fact, the Bible says he left so abruptly. He ran so fast so far in the opposite direction. She was left holding a piece of his garment in her hands. That's how he handled this temptation.
Now, you might think a good ending to this story would be there she is left holding a piece of the garment. Potiphar returns home. Here's what has happened. Divorces his wife and elevates Joseph for another promotion. Is that how the story ends? No. And said his temptation and saying no to it led to his incarceration. Look at verse 14, "Mrs. Potiphar, after Joseph ran away, called to the men of her household and said to them, 'see, Potiphar has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us. He came in for me to lie with me, and I screamed'". Now probably, Mrs. Potiphar was the kind of woman who never spoke to her servants except to bark orders at them. But now she needed some allies. So she calls these slaves in and she says, "I bet you have felt the same way I have about this foreigner that my husband brought in the house. Look at what he's done. He's brought disgrace to this household". And then verse 19, "Now, when Potiphar heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him saying, 'this is what your slave did to me,' his anger burned".
Now, many commentators have noted that there's every reason to believe, Potiphar did not believe his wife's story completely. I mean, after all, if Joseph had really tried to rape her, what do you think the chief executioner would have done? He would have been put to death right on the spot. There's probably a history Potiphar had with his wife. This wasn't her first indiscretion. She probably had a history of it. So he wasn't going to execute Joseph. Instead, he put him in the jail, if you will, back into the pit again. But here's the big difference. The first time Joseph was thrown into a pit, it was because of a mistake he made, acting arrogant to his brothers. He was responsible for his situation. This time, he is placed in jail, placed into another pit, not for doing what is wrong, but for doing what is right. But nevertheless, through his mistakes, as well as through his obedience, God was still with Joseph. And we'll see how God used this unfair accusation to put Joseph exactly where God wanted him.
I want to pause right here and share with you three practical principles for what to do when sin comes knocking at the doorstep of your life. Three principles, write them down.
Number one, hunters are also the hunted. Hunters are also the hunted. I remember reading an account of a man who was on a big game expedition in Africa. He had spent hours one day tracking a lion and finally had his lion cornered. He pulled out his rifle ready to give the killer shot when something told him to turn around and look behind him. And to his horror, he saw why, and another lion about to pounce on him. He had spent hours tracking this lion, hunting it down, not reeling at the same time realizing he was being hunted as well. You know, the fact is all of us are hunting something. Hunting significance, pleasure, wealth, fulfillment. But as we hunt those things, we should never forget were being hunted as well by an adversary who wants to destroy everything important to us. Jesus described our adversary the devil this way in John 10:10, "For the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy".
You know ahead Joseph succumbed of Potiphar's invitation. He wouldn't have only have been a victim of Mrs. Potiphar who was hunting him, but for the enemy behind her who was inspiring her to do what she did. You know, I'm going to ask you ladies to tune out for just a second, if you could. And let me just speak to the men here for a moment. Men, we can be so stupid, especially when we allow our lives and decisions to be governed by our testosterone. You know, in our culture, we paint the man as macho who goes after another sexual conquest. He is pictured in our culture as the victor or another conquest, another sexual conquest. We're so stupid that we don't know we're really the victim. Not of another woman, but of Satan himself. Hunters are also the hunted.
Listen to the way Solomon describes a man who thinks he is being the victor when he in fact is a victim. Proverbs 7:18-23 talks about the adulterous who tries to seduce him. "She says, 'come, let us drink our fill of love until morning. Let us delight ourselves with caresses. For my husband is not at home. He has gone on a long journey. He has taken a bag of money with him. At the full moon he will come home'. With her many persuasions she entices him. With her flattering lips she seduces him. Suddenly he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool. Until an arrow pierces through his liver, as a bird hastens to the snare, so he does not know it will cost him his life".
In today's culture I need to point out to be fair, that many times it's not the woman. It's the man who is trying to take advantage of a woman who is in a position of power over him. Maybe in the workplace. Maybe in a church. And he grooms his victim and waits for the moment to try to seduce her. It really doesn't matter in the end who initiates it. It is all a work of Satan and it leads to destruction. Proverbs 6:32 says, "The one who commits adultery is lacking in sense. He who would destroy himself does it". Never forget you have an adversary who is hunting you while you think you're a hunting another person. In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter said, "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. For your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour".
Truth number two, many times the most spiritual thing we can do is run. Joseph knew 60 more seconds with Mrs. Potiphar and he would have been spiritual toast. He knew he needed to get out of there. And you know, when it comes to temptation, there are two kinds of people. There are those who try to live as close to the line of sin as possible without stepping over. They're going to get up to the line as close as possible without hopefully stepping over into sin. There's another group of people who run and live as far away from the line as possible. You know, we have a name for that first group who lived close to the line. We call them victims. It's only those who live as far away from the temptations as possible that are the victors.
You remember in our series "Invincible," I gave you the formula for how sin occurs. It's from James 1:14. "But each person is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust". Remember that formula I gave you? Corrupt desires plus the right bait plus a wrong choice equals sin. That's how sin happens. Corrupt desires, each man is carried away. Alchemy in Greek, drawn with an inward power. We all have a thirst for sin that has fill a part of as. We can't ignore that. We have that sin nature. Corrupt desires plus the right bait, that's what the word enticed means. Each one is carried away and enticed.
Remember, Satan is the master fisherman. He knows exactly what bait to drop in front of you at just the right time like any good fishermen. For some people, they're most tempted after they've had great success. They think they don't need God. Other people may be tempted when they are discouraged and feel like God has abandoned them. But Satan knows when to drop that bait. And when you see that bait dropped in front of you, you don't swim closer to it to look at it and see if it's something you might be interested in. You don't wonder why it's there and why it appeared there at just that time. You swim away from that bait as quickly as possible because in the middle of it, there is a hook that will destroy your life. That's why Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22. "Now flee," run as far as you can, "From youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness".
Truth number three, obedience does not always result in happy endings. Obedience does not result in happy endings. Remember what Peter said in 1 Peter 2:20-21? "For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and you suffer for it, you patiently endure it. This is what finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example to follow in his steps".
Listen, if you do something wrong and you experienced negative consequences for it, that's not suffering. That's justice. You get what you deserve. No suffering occurs. When you suffer negative consequences for doing what is right, that's suffering. And don't be surprised when you do suffer for doing what is right. I mean, after all, Jesus did what is right. He obeyed his father, and what happened? He got himself crucified for doing it. Do we think we're going to be greater than Christ? Should we be surprised when suffering comes into our life for doing the right thing? God always doesn't reward us immediately, but he does reward us ultimately for our obedience to him. But there's always not a happy ending.
Do you remember the old TV show Perry Mason? Remember Perry Mason, story of the lawyer? Almost every episode ended the same way. Here's somebody being tried for a crime and then a surprise witness appears and says, "I saw the whole thing". And the convicted person gets off because of the surprise witness. Often thought of a better ending to this Joseph's story. What if Joseph is now in shackles, he's arrested, he's been hauled off to jail from Potiphar's house, when at the last minute, a slave steps forward and says, "I saw the whole thing. I was hiding in the kitchen. And it's Mrs. Potiphar who is guilty".
Wouldn't that be a happy ending? Joseph gets promoted and ms. Potiphar gets sent to prison or whatever happens. But it didn't happen that way. There was no vindication, why? Because God was interested in something more than Joseph's immediate vindication. He was interested in what he still had left for Joseph to do. That vindication would ultimately come, but not immediately.
I'm speaking to some of you here right now who can identify with Joseph. You've done the best you know how to do. No, you haven't been perfect, but you've obeyed God the best you know how. And how has God rewarded you? A broken marriage, loneliness, perhaps even poverty, perhaps you feel disappointed with God, abandoned by God. But just remembered this. Just as the last chapter in Joseph's life had not been revealed at this point, the last chapter in your life hasn't been revealed yet either. And just as God was with Joseph 3.500 years ago, the same God who was with Joseph is the same God, Yahweh, who is with you today. That is a great promise to rest in.