Keith Gomez is the pastor of Northwest Bible Baptist Church and founder/president of Providence Baptist College.
“And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph, and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:7-9)
I want to wrap up this series on Temptation. Nobody in this room ought ever get to the point to say you’re not ever tempted. Everybody will have temptation. I’m thankful for the Word of God, that it’s pure, powerful, it’s a two-edged sword and it does spiritual surgery on us when we read it and heed it. I pray it would have its effect upon lives and hearts today. God has worked on my heart, and I hope He will do a work in the lives of people right now.
There is somebody who has never really have come to Him in a born again experience. Some folks have got the language down, been a part of the church, but they’re not saved. The reason they’re struggling is that they’ve never truly been born again. I pray the Lord will do His work in our lives, save the soul that’s nearest to Hell, and revive backsliders.
The Bible talks about Satan having snares, darts, and traps. In more than 35 years here, I’ve watched how Satan has lured people into his traps. You can tell me how you’ve lived above that, but that’s not true. Everybody in this room has fallen, sometime, in some sort of snare or trap, some sort of bait that Satan put out there.
This past Thursday night when we flew into Louisiana, they had a big crawfish boil that evening. They had big tables with newspaper on them, some of you know what I’m talking about. They just pour the crawfish right on top of the table, and you start eating it. Corn and potatoes in there and all that good stuff. Troy Landry, the guy from the swamp people, caught the crawfish. He and I used to fish together umpteen years ago when that’s all he was doing. Some of you have watched where they catch the gators and shoot them. I have shot five with my bow and arrow, years ago, when the season first started.
They catch those gators a certain way. You can harpoon them with a bow, but you can also catch them. Are you listening, now? Because Satan’s going to catch you one day with his bait.
Some guys hang a big stainless steel hook from a tree with a clip. Sometimes they put chicken or a piece of liver on it, hook it and hang it above the water. Those gators smell that, and they come up, grab it, and swallow it and then you’ve hooked him. Then you pull him up and shoot him in the back of the head.
We understand a predator, and that’s exactly what Satan is likened to in the Word of God, a predator. Hunters are predators. We know how to ambush. If you bow hunt bear, you know a bear’s stomach will override his better senses and he’ll come to the bait. What happens with these gators is that their stomach overrides their better senses, and they’re hungry and they come and take it anyway.
These hunters are smart, but they are no smarter than the devil. What I’ve found out in all of these years of trying to help Christians, is that Satan knows exactly how to bait the hook for us. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your name is. When we think we’re something we’re not, trust me, he knows exactly what to bait the hook, and sometimes Christians fall. The weakness Satan will come and exploit, as he knows we’re weak. He’ll come at a weak time. I told you about watching your strong side, because he’ll blindside you. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
But also, he’ll approach you from your weak side and try to nail you there. Are you all listening to me? Just like, when Jesus had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, the devil came to Him and offered Him, in His weakness, to eat. Turn stones into bread. The devil always tries to exploit your weakness, your need, your desires. We must understand that, if we’re not careful, Satan will bait you with something in your weakness to make you do something that you would never, ever consider doing in your strength.
Joseph was baited, too. He understood what we are talking about. As we examine the story of Joseph being tempted by Potiphar’s wife, we know he didn’t fall for the devil’s bait. What a great example for us here in the Word of God, and also a type of Christ, as he resisted the devil’s temptation and didn’t fall for the devil’s bait. He overcame by understanding a great truth.
Listen to me carefully. If you don’t live by Bible principle, you’re going to fall. You can’t live by what you think at the time, and try to make a decision, because in most cases the devil is whispering lies and bringing folks around to confuse you. “Well, I don’t believe the Bible has the answer to every question.” Yes it does! God’s Word has the answer to every one of your dilemmas. If you know it well enough, study it as much as you watch TV, you’ll know what to do and be strong enough to do it when that time comes.
I’m simply saying that you’ve got to live by principle. Joseph paid a price for doing right, and you will, too sometimes. When he didn’t fall for the bait, he paid the price. He was lied about, accused wrongfully, imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. The doing of wrong will always bring judgement, but sometimes there’s a price to be paid for doing right, also. You may suffer because of doing the right thing, like Joseph did, but it’s still right.
I was talking to somebody the other day. “Listen, men. You have to get over this matter of what everybody thinks. Make sure you know what God thinks, and that He thinks good about you.” If you don’t have a right character and obedience before God, who knows the truth, you may have a great reputation with man. Reputation is what man knows about you. Character is what God knows about you. Reputation is what man thinks about you. Character is what God knows about you. You need to have a good character and a real relationship with God.
Listen carefully. Joseph paid the price for standing for right, and not being caught by the devil’s bait. In fact, he was thrown in prison. But understand that God will take your pain and promote you through it. Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible, friend.
So, how did Joseph triumph through temptation?
Number One: He remembered his privilege.
Notice verse 8, please. “But he refused, and said unto the master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;” Isn’t that an amazing statement? His master had put so much responsibility and trust in Joseph. He had total confidence in Joseph’s honesty and diligence. He had given him everything to care for and trusted him completely.
Now, some folks read that and you’re really not getting it. At this point Joseph was a slave. This guy had not come up in the ranks and been promoted by the government to end up in the vice presidency of this home of Pharoah’s captain. Joseph was a slave, and still ran all the affairs of the house.
Listen to me. Joseph couldn’t believe the privilege he had. Joseph had proved himself and risen to a position of great privilege. He was over all of the affairs of Potiphar’s business, even though he was a slave. When Potiphar came home, the food was cooked, the house was clean. All of the business of Potiphar’s household was cared for. Potiphar could come in, prop his feet up, relax a while and go to bed. I’m telling you that nothing was ever done in that house where Joseph wasn’t the doer of it. I don’t know if you know this, but slaves didn’t have that privilege. This was very much out of the ordinary. Most slaves were not given access and power such as he was given, and Joseph understood the privilege that he had.
Can I say this to you, child of God? We have been given great privilege. We’re here in the house of God. I’m not talking about only the pastor. I’m talking about all of us, ‘we the people’ that enjoy the fellowship and carry on the affairs and work of the Lord here of this house of God. Do you understand that God has given us responsibility and privileged access? Do you understand that’s exactly what it’s likened to when Joseph had oversight of the whole affairs of Potiphar’s house? What a blessing to be a child of God and a member of His family and His church.
Joseph understood that he was entrusted with great responsibility and privilege, and we’re entrusted with the great salvation that we possess and message of the Gospel. The Blessed Holy Spirit that indwells us. The Eternal Security of the believer that we have, and we should never abuse 1 John 1:9! That’s what Joseph understood; that because of my privilege, because I am what I am, and God has promoted me to this place and put me over the affairs of this house, I can’t do this this great wickedness! And I won’t do it!
He understood the privilege, and when a child of God understands the privilege that he has as a child of God, andthat God put us over this House and entrusted us with doing His work, with Salvation, the Spirit of God and Eternal Security, we shouldn’t ever abuse our position as an excuse for sin. Our Eternal Salvation is not a license to sin. Never trod the Grace of God under foot. ‘Christian’ means ‘Christ-like’ and we should live up to the name. Joseph understood that great responsibility and great privilege. With every privilege comes responsibility, folks, and Joseph understood that very clearly.
Number two: He regarded his position.
These words are seen in verse 9. “There is none greater in this house than I;” Think about that. Joseph looks at his life where God has put him and says, “There’s nobody in this house greater than me.”
Potiphar had put that guy in a position, as second in command. Of course, Potiphar ran the whole thing. But he said, “Nobody in this house, as far as any positions under the master, nobody has ever been put in this position of trust and authority, but now I am.” When he understood his privilege, then he understood his prominent position put him in light of being watched and accountable.
Every person in this room is being watched, and you’re accountable. For some reason, we think that when we cut the lights off, or what we do in a back alley, that God doesn’t see us. But remember, “Thou, God seest me.” Everything we do, every thought we have, everything that we are, God sees every act of obedience and disobedience. I’m trying to tell you that because of his position, Joseph understood this great truth. And, because of the position, he couldn’t do certain things. He understood that principle.
Do you understand that there are some things I can do that maybe are not sin, but it’s just not best that I do it? Because some of you would see and misinterpret and judge me by it. But, could I say the same to you? Why did it go quiet right now? I hear you shout other times, but when we talk about you living like Jesus out there before the world, it sounds like you lost your shout.
Some of you frequent places that you shouldn’t. I don’t ever sit at the table with alcohol, and I don’t drink out of the glasses that look like it, even if its non-alcoholic. I’m not gonna give somebody something to wonder about. “Boy, that’s just a little overboard…” Not at all. If somebody sees it, they can accuse me of being a part of that. I can’t.
We have some precious people that are still with me 35 years later. The first time they took me out to eat years ago, they ordered one of those drinks. I said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t do this.” They said, “What’s wrong?” I said, “Man, you ordered a drink that’s non-alcoholic, but it looks just like an alcoholic drink. Most places I go, people know me. If they see that, they’re going to think I’m doing the same.” They had ordered me one, too. I said, “I can’t do that.” You say, “Preacher, that’s crazy.” God has given me a position and privilege to serve Him, and I’ve got to be careful about my testimony.
Why are you all so quiet now? See, your little compromise could cause your family to go to Hell. You’ve got kinfolk to get saved, but they think you’re a compromiser and a hypocrite because you do these things and think its no big deal. When you are a child of God and the Spirit of God lives in you, you’ve got to back off of some things that are not necessarily sinful, people just may interpret it wrong. It could put a question mark on your testimony.
Joseph understood his position and it caused him to be very careful. If you’ll read what’s said in chapter 39, verse 11, you’ll understand the reason that verse is in the Bible, because at no time did Joseph ever go into that house without being surrounded with people to make sure everything was fine. But this time she had cleared the house of everybody because she had planned to trap him. She had plotted and planned the bait for him, arranged things for all the men to be out. So Joseph was such a man that he made sure when he entered into something he wasn’t going to enter into temptation, and had folks around him.
A President was riding in a carriage -- I forget which one, exactly. There was a woman who appeared to be in distress. She looked like she was beat up, trying to wave them down. The president told his driver, “Keep driving and do not stop.” “But the woman…” “Keep driving! Don’t pick her up!” He passed by and sent somebody back to get her. When they went back, it was a plot and a plan. She was going to jump in his lap and they were going to accuse him. It was a wicked plot to wreck that man.
I’ve had preachers tell me the same thing. One named a place and said, “I had a knock on my door. I opened the door and woman threw herself at me, grabbed me around the neck, and a man behind her snapped a picture.” He said, “I threw her off, grabbed the man, pushed him against the wall, and grabbed his camera and smashed it.”
For 35 years, I’ve traveled almost every week of my life. I’ve been in rooms and had a knock on the door too. Sometimes, it’s the church’s secretary with a big fruit basket I never answer that door, ever. I look through the peephole. “Thank you, ma’am. Just put it right there at the door. I’ll get it in a minute.” They set it down and walk away. I listen for a little while, then go get my basket.
Years ago I was in Mexico in a place where they didn’t have locks on the doors. It was hotter than blue blazes, and I had preached my guts out. I was sweated soaked, got to my room and began to cool off and get comfortable. I was lying on the bed like a big ol’ bear and talking to my wife on the phone, and two of the senoritas came in to clean my room, which was already clean. I’m not quite sure why they’re coming in. Maybe to check my bags out, and see what might be there to steal. They walked in, and went, “Oh!” and went back out the door. I tried to go buy locks. So, I told the preacher, “Man, can we get locks on these doors? I’m nervous at night!”
I want you to notice that Joseph was in the habit of being watchful and careful. He wasn’t going to fall for that bait. I make this statement one more time. Don’t put yourself in a situation you can’t get out of. Now, I might preach it a little more practical, but in this sex-soaked society, we are always being put in a vulnerable position. You don’t even have to go to the zoo as long as there are airports! I’m flew out of New Orleans yesterday, right after Mardi Gras, and saw some stuff on the plane I wanted to will to Brookfield Zoo.
Remember Joseph’s prominent position put him in light of being watched and being accountable. I’m simply saying, “You’ve got to get this down.” Certain things could be misunderstood by the world, even by your family. Be careful. Understand the position God has put you in when you’re called a ‘Born Again Christian.’
There was a guy I had witnessed to for a long time when I worked at the steel mill, during Bible College. He never would get saved. He’d kind of laugh at me. One day he came to work and said, “Guess what? I got saved.”
I said, “Wonderful.”
He said, “Yeah. I was watching a woman preach on TV.” Well, that kind of bothered me. Two days later he went around telling everybody, “I’m a Christian, like these other guys.” Then one day he reached in his pocket during lunchbreak and didn’t have any money. He took his coffee thermos and slammed it against a piece of steel and started cussing a blue streak, just like he did before. Well, so much for his testimony. Everybody started laughing. “Whoa! What happened to the Christian?”
I got to thinking, “Man, as hard as we preacher boys work to have a good Christian testimony here, this guy goes around blabbing to everybody how he was Christian.” We were actually trying to live it out, as well as give the Gospel and invite them to church. I mean, we’ve got enough barnacles, all of us, where somebody can pick us to death if they want to. But we were really trying to live it, then here’s this guy who claims to be a Christian and goes off.
I grabbed him and said, “What’s wrong with you, man? We’ve been trying to live a Christian testimony and you go around blabbing that you’re a born again Christian and really got turned around. Then, all of a sudden, you do this.”
He goes, “Well, I had $5 in pocket and my wife stole it!” He just went off and cussed her again.
I said, “You and your woman preacher are going to figure this out. I think y’all both have a problem, personally, because the Bible says, ‘No,’ to women preachers.” Some of you have got the audacity as a born again Christian to watch a woman preacher which God forbids!
Come to find out his wife actually had taken his old britches and put them aside and put some new britches out for him. The $5 was still in his old britches. He blew his testimony because of $5 and some of you will blow your testimony over that, too. That’s very sad, because people are watching you.
Joseph regarded his position. He knew that, because of his privilege and now he’s second in command, there’s nobody in that house greater than him. He understood that the position does not give him special privileges to break the law. We have cops that do that. When a cop passes me, doing 100+ mph down the left side, and he doesn’t have his lights on he’s breaking the law as much as I am when I’m speeding. I love policemen. You know I do. But they are suppose to obey the law too.
That’s what some of you do. “Because I’m somebody’s son, a preacher’s son.” Or! “My daddy owns the company. I can get away with…” Not so. “Because I’m a Christian and I know that I’m eternally secure, I can get away with a little bit and run to 1 John 1:9 and confess my sin and everything’s alright!” See, if you’re not careful, you can talk yourself into believing that you can get away with stuff that you can’t.
Politicians do it. Some preachers do it. Church members and staff members are doing it, now. Why do you think you have special privileges? We’re all in this together. We’re all Christian. Just because you have a position, doesn’t mean that you can break the law.
Some of you have the privilege to have concealed carry permit. But, if you abuse that, you’re going to end up in jail one day. I know a former staff member who lost his job, his reputation and, most of all, his testimony and his family for a few dollars. How sad that is. Another guy was stupid enough to rob a bank in the church van, with the church name and pastor’s name on the side of it!
Do you understand that God says we’re already seated in the Heavenlies? When people look at us and we say that we’re a Christian, do you understand that word? I know the world and TBN and some of these Rock ‘n’ Roll churches and television trash, I know they have diminished that word in the eyes of the world with all this unbelievable heresy and blasphemy they promote. But when they called them “Christians” at Antioch there was a reason why they called them that. It was like a cussword because they were like ‘little Christs,’ so people who hated Jesus hated them. It was not because they were being cursed for being a hypocrite.
Now folks, I know we’re all going to fail at times, and fall for the devil’s bait. But when we just don’t care that the world is watching us, and we carelessly reproach the name of Christ, we will face God over that. They’re watching every move you make, everything you say.
Number three: He recognized the principle.
“What principle?” Look at verse 9. “There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife:” He understood the principle that this woman didn’t belong to him. She was another man’s wife.
Some of you all are only seeing this temptation of sexual sin, instead of the general principle that I’m trying to give you. You belong to God. And, when you prostitute your gifts and you do other things besides serving Him, you’re doing the same thing that she was doing.
Ownership means that He’s got this thing. This is not my church. This has been His from day-beginning, and I understood that. All I am is one person that you put in leadership. But I’m trying to run this ministry to please the Lord. I understand the principle of ownership – It all belongs to Him.
The devil always paints a beautiful picture and makes sin look enticing and exciting. But he never shows you the end result. They’ve got a Budweiser commercial with a cute doggie and all the big beautiful horses pulling a carriage through breathtaking scenery. They’ve always got to make something that’s damnable, look cute, attractive. They know that people love animals, so they use that stuff. But they never show you the end results, the car wrecks and mangled bodies, the battered wives and crying children.
But if you want to know the end results, ask some of these folks who work with those who come to RU.” Come to a pastor that’s pastored as long as I have and ask me how many folks I have dealt with, and tried to help salvage their lives and families. There’s people here now who’d tell you, “I’m an alcoholic. I haven’t had a drink in 10 years, but I was absolutely enslaved with that stuff.” There is nothing that has caused more divorces than booze! There is nothing that’s caused more children to grow up in a fatherless home than booze. Nothing as damnable! Where are the Billy Sundays preaching against that trash?! They never show you the end result. So, we have our favorite quarterback that goes there and wins the Super Bowl and says, “Man, all I want to do is praise my God and spend some time with my family…and drink all the Budweiser I can.” Here’s a guy that’s in a position, but not understanding the principle and, because of that, he promoted Budweiser to a bunch of kids that idolize him.
Have you ever heard of binge drinking? Have you ever seen these kids that are taking this stuff and drinking so much that they fell over, dead? Everything I’m preaching right now ought to have people shouting and running the aisles right now because some of you used to be there and you know I’m telling the truth.
When I go back down yonder, I remember my old life and pass places and I try to erase them out of my mind. I tremember incidents from before I got saved and I try to erase them out of my mind. Twenty years, living in sin. Twenty years without God.
I like to go to the places I have good memories of. The gridiron. The swamps. But there are some places, boy, I just kind of turn my head when I pass. But when I got saved, I turned my back on all that. I never had to go back to the pigpen. I knew exactly what it smelled like and what it felt like and, when I got out of there, I shook it off and I went, “Whew! Man! I didn’t know I could be free like this. How wonderful.”
We’ve got the dumb government who legalized booze because they were not making money on it, so they had to put some taxation on it. So they legalized it. Now they’re making all kinds of money off of booze. Now, they’re going to do the same thing with drugs.
A lot of you don’t understand, that have been away from that so long. That stuff is like ten times stronger than what you knew about before you were saved. I’m talking about marijuana. Ten times stronger. I can’t even wrap my mind around that. Right now, in Chicago and around the country, there is an epidemic of heroine? An epidemic. It’s crazy what’s going on. If I were you, I’d lock my doors. I’d get locked and loaded because, when that stuff hits an area and takes over, they have to find it somewhere. When they get addicted they have to have it, and they’re going to get it any way they can. They will do anything for the money to buy it. They’re going to come to your place.
A guy told me about a lady who heard something and didn’t know what it was. She just kind of put it off and heard it again and didn’t know what it was. So she decided, ‘I’m going to go get the gun.’ She hit the guy coming around the corner. She didn’t kill him. She just shot a few times. But you’re scared of guns. Just wait till it comes your way. You’re going to wish you had one to protect your home and family. If you don’t have a gun, you will be helpless.
That’s what happens with drug addicts. I’ve pastored here 35 years. We’ve had children that ended up in drugs, and robbed their own mom and dad, and have robbed this church and robbed me. That’s the first time I ever said anything about that in 35 years.
We had all our big cameras stolen one time. I knew exactly who did it. They showed up at service, sat in the back on the left. They didn’t go to the Sunday school class and hid. We locked up all the doors and they went up here and stole all the cameras. Sold them. Came in my office just shaking because he was so addicted. He said, “Help me, help me!” I said, “I’ll try to do anything I can to help you, son. If you’ll just tell me how much you got for my cameras.” You say, “You’re judgmental.” No. It’s called, ‘discernment.’ And he said, “Not much.” That’s what he told me. How sad.
They get addicted. They’ve got to have it. And they’re coming to your place. That’s why, if this government ever fails and they’re not getting their checks on the 1st and the 15th to supply some of their drug habit, they’re coming to the suburbs and they’re going to take what’s yours. You’d better be ready for it.
The booze and drug crowd never show you the end results. They never show you the suicide that happened, the vegetable they have for brains right now. One of our good families are not here today. They’re in at a funeral of a young man that came here to live with them a little while. That man gave him an ultimatum. “Hey, man, I want to help you. You can’t lie to me. You can’t do drugs. You can’t mess around. We’ll try to help you.” He moved in.
I forgot exactly what it was, but something happened where he had to tell him, “Get out. I’m done. I told you not to do that, and you did and you have got to go.” When people give me bad news I try to deal with it and move on. I can’t try to remember all that stuff. It would drive me crazy and then I can’t give people a fair shake. So the boy went back to California and lived for a while, then fell back into this mess, and he blew his brains out in his house. How sad that is.
They never show the end results of drugs. Nobody will. I’m not being unkind. Some of you have done drugs. Some of you are trying to get victory now. When you’re dealing with drug addicts, it’s the most pitiful thing in the world. Sometimes we have sins, but sometimes sin’s got us. For me to sit across the table and look in the eyes of an individual, and they tell you, “Preacher, you have no idea!” They’re so helpless! Their body is screaming, “I’ve got to have it!” Now their body is dictating to them like a dictator, “I’ve got to have it! I’ll kill my mama for it. I’ll do whatever I have to do, but I’ve got to have it!”
How sad to see somebody in such a pitiful plight. Made in the similitude of God, Almighty and now, totally under the domination of Satan. There are young people playing with sin, and playing with their little Facebook, playing with your little sex idol, and playing with your little pictures. Just wait! When the devil gets finished with you, he ain’t going to leave nothing behind. Sin will absolutely destroy you! It never shows that part.
We don’t understand this matter of ownership. Some of those preachers look at me and say, “Gomez, how in the world did you ever stay in the North for this long?” Ownership, ownership. That’s all I can tell you. “Well, don’t you love us, preacher?” I absolutely love you. That’s why I’m here. But I didn’t know you back then and most of you were not here. I only had 31 people and some of them didn’t much love me at the time, but I understood this principle of ownership. When God tells me to do something, I’m to do it.
Ownership. If you could get that right now, you wouldn’t miss Sunday school. You would not miss church tonight. You would be here on Wednesday night. You would read your Bible. You’d pray. You’d try to reach people with the Gospel if you understood the matter of ownership. I’m not talking about you that are physically unable, I’m talking about you that don’t care. If you would understand that your children are God’s, you’d have them in the House of God every time the doors are open. When you try to do it later, after you keep them out, they’re going to laugh in your face.
Ownership. They’re not mine. They belong to God. When you get that principle, it’ll change your life. It’ll even change them, the way you raise them, because some of you are raising your children for yourself and that’s why you’re exploiting your children. That’s why you’re always putting them out front so they’ll look good, so you’ll look good. If you’ll understand that you’re raising them for Him, it’ll change your attitude because of ownership.
The same thing with smoking -- lung cancer and heart disease. They never show you the end result. They always just show you Mr. Marlboro Man on this big horse. If you check out all those guys in the advertisements, many of them died of cancer. There’s nothing macho about dying early because you smoke.
Joseph understood his privilege. He understood his position. He understood the principle of ownership.
Number Four: He recognized the problem.
This temptation was not just between him, her and Potiphar. Listen carefully. This was a sin against God. Now, that should stop everybody, cold in their tracks. “How could I…” Look at what he said, “…how…can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9) Are you with me? It wasn’t just between her, and him and Potiphar. It was between him and God, and her and God. He didn’t want to sin against God. We need to be concerned about what our sin does to God, to others and to ourselves.
A preacher called and told me, “There’s a missionary’s wife that got on Facebook and met one of her old flames. She snuck out to the airport, jumped on a plane and flew away from the mission field, ran away from her husband and her children.” People don’t really understand how selfish and self-centered, but that’s where sin will take you! We don’t understand this matter of ownership, and we don’t understand somebody is watching us so closely.
I hugged John’s neck a while ago and welcomed him back from visiting his kids and grandkids on the mission field. He said, “Preacher, do you know how hard it is to wave goodbye to your daughter?” I said, “Yes, sir. I kind of do, but it’s going to be worth it one day, serving Him.” I’d rather them be on the mission field, serving God, than right here on drugs, or alcohol, or out of the Will of God.
But, boy, when you sin, just think about the different people you hurt. When you sin, you not only sin against God. It affects others. It affects your children. I can’t tell you how wicked sin is, and how the devil just, absolutely, glories in some of you as his trophy. When he gets the upper hand in our lives, he says, “See, I won that round.”
What you need to do is resist. The Bible says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) The only defense we have against him is the Word of God. It’s not you being strong or powerful. None of that. It’s the Word of God. The more of this Book you internalize, read, listen to, study, the more victory you can experience over Satan’s attacks and temptations. “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) The more you read this Book, the more you live by this Book, the more you’ll have power over temptation.
Keep in mind what sin does to our God. God’s Word says that He bottles our tears. The Lord knows how much I’ve wept throughout these many years, over Christians that have been in my office and I’ve watched the devastation of sin, not only reproaching and giving God a black eye, but how it has affected their families and others, and how it’s affected themselves. Absolutely unbelievable.
Number Five: He Recognized the punishment
Joseph understood all this about the sin and temptation that was placed before him, and responded correctly: “There’s no way I can do this.” He just said, “I’d be sinning against my God, and when I do, this ain’t going to turn out all right. God has put me in all of these situations, and, in every situation, if I obeyed and honored the Lord, He’s brought me to the top, the highest level possible. I know God has a reason why He’s allowing this. I’m not quite sure what it is just yet, but He’ll reveal it to me, one day!” All of a sudden, you see that Joseph has gone from the pit to Potiphar’s palace, to prison, to the position of Prime Minister.
Can you imagine that? Prime Minister of Egypt. Nobody was ever going to be fed, except when Joseph said so. The very brothers that sold him into slavery show up, because they’re starving to death. He could say, “Save them,” or, “kill every stinkin’ one of them.” But Joseph had chosen to honor the Lord and demonstrate godliness, so he chose forgiveness. Most of us, we’d want vengeance. But, because he was the Type of Christ, and understood God’s ownership, he knew they were still his brothers and he forgave them, and you know the end of the story.
You can have victory over temptation. “Well, I don’t know. I’m just a sinner. I guess I’ll be a sinner the rest of my life….” Yeah, keep making excuses for yourself to walk right into the devil’s traps. But Joseph understood the consequences, and he did not want his conscience defiled. He wanted to do what was right. Every day that he was in prison, his conscience never did bother him, because he knew that he did the right thing.
For 20 years, down in Louisiana, I often wept myself to sleep. At the latter end, after my football career went down the tube, I was wondering. I had heard enough through the Christian Fellowship for Athletes -- not through my Catholic Church, but the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I had heard enough Gospel, had been around a bunch of Baptists, though none of them ever witnessed to me except one guy, and, I don’t know who he was.
Every night, my conscience accused me. You try to drown it, that’s what people do out there. They’re drowning themselves in money, materialism, popularity, fame, whatever. Almost everybody out there is trying to drown themselves with something if it’s not drugs or alcohol, because of their conscience.
Because God made us, He put something inside that’s always saying, “There’s something that I need more.” That’s called conviction. That’s what kept bothering me. After I got born again, when I went to sleep that night, oh, my goodness I slept like a baby. Finally my conscience was clear.
First 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.” It doesn’t matter what kind of temptation it is or how strong the pull, there’s an exit door. The problem with some folks is that you don’t want to hit the exit door because you enjoy want sin more than pleasing Him. Whatever sin you’re being tempted by right now, understand, that God has given you a way out, if you want it.
I love the good work you people are doing with RU, but this ain’t a self-help group where we hold hands and everybody says, “You’re a drug addict? I am, too, man.” It’s Bible instruction to get victory and then march on and become fine members of this church and servants of God. There are a lot of ex’s out here, people who once were enslaved to sin just like you and God delivered them -- some of the finest people I’ve ever pastored, they finally got victory. It’s so wonderful to see. It always thrills me when I sit back here, and I know that somebody has struggled, but now they have victory, and they’re living for God. My old heart just gets blessed.
Do you know what? One of our missionaries, an old ex-hippie and drug addict, when he got saved, he thought God wanted him to go like Jesus did; “Take no scrip.” He had a backpack and a Bible and took out across the world. He went down to South America, went everywhere preaching, “You need to be born again!” He finally crossed paths with a preacher who said, “Son, you probably need to go to Bible College and get equipped and prepared, and learn…” God has blessed and used him greatly to see souls saved and churches planted. A huge ministry from just one hippie boy who understood that sin and Satan had baited him up. He turned his back on that, gave himself to the Lord and God has used him in a marvelous way. God could do that with you, if you want Him to.
Temptation. Paul said, “The thing that I would do, I don’t do. And the thing that I shouldn’t do, that I do.” I read a story where a preacher was preaching that and King Louis XIV stopped him in the middle of the service and said, “Oh! I know these two men very well.” And, you do, too. We’re always fighting within ourselves. Don’t blame and point your finger at other people. The biggest problem you have is you, fighting with yourself. If you’re saved, your spirit is fighting against the flesh. The devil baits up his trap, presents temptation all the time. You’ve got to resist and walk away from that, and you can if you will understand these principles that Joseph understood.