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11. The Sources of Temptation

Purpose: The purpose of this session is to give biblical understanding of the nature of temptation and sin, and acquaint you with our chief adversary, the devil. This is necessary to “fight the good fight” of faith against him and his emissaries (demons). We not only need to “walk by the Spirit,” which enables us to not fulfill the desires of our sinful nature, but we need also to understand the protection we have against the direct assaults of our enemy.


1. The disciple will understand how sin is deeply entrenched in our human natures, and is deceptive.

2. The disciple will understand the process of sin in order to be on guard and choose not to sin when you are tempted.

3. The disciple will understand more about demonic activity as it relates to temptation in everyday life.

4. The disciple will understand what happens to our fellowship with God when we sin.

5. The disciple will know the resources for victory provided by the Father.

Scripture Memory

But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16

Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

Ephesians 6:10-11


1. Pray together for various needs and requests.

2. Share memory verses.

3. Discuss the worksheet.

4. Review questions.

5. Discuss new terms.

This is an important session on the nature, development, and ultimate results of sin in the life of an individual. It is important because each of us is a sinner, and we are prone to sin. Sin can bring calamitous results to the life of a believer, as well as to an unbeliever. We need to learn how it develops and how to resist it.


We are human beings. We are children of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Because Adam sinned, we are all sinners because we are his children. Romans 5:12 tells us that ________ entered the world by the sin of one man. That man was _________. Therefore, we are all born ___________. Romans 3:23 tells us that we have all __________ and continually _________ ____________ of the glory of God. There is no way I will ever be able, in this life, to be free from sinning. Yet I am able to choose to not sin. I am no longer a __________ to sin, Romans 6:6,7.

Two Sources of Temptation

I. Temptation from Within.

Where does sin come from? There are two sources of temptation to sin that I need to be aware of. The first source is from my great enemy—my own sinful self. Let’s look at this reality carefully.

I have experienced the new birth. I have been made a ______ __________ in Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:17. My sins are forgiven and I now have ________ _________, 1 John 5:11,12. However, I still find myself being drawn away and I sin. I find that saying I have no sin is ________________ myself, 1 John 1:8. The reality that sin is still in me is demonstrated by my continuing sinning.

1 John 2:16 calls these urges the _______ ____ ____ ________, the ________ ______ ____ ________, and the boastful ______ ___ _______. They are still part of my makeup as a human. It is important for me to know that one of the reasons I have the Holy Spirit is related to this kind of temptation. Galatians 5:16 says that if I “______ ___ _____ ________”, I will not carry out the ________ ______ ________ ________. So the greatest guard to help me with temptations from within is to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.

Temptation from Without.

This type of temptation is from our strongest enemy, Satan, and his hosts of demons. This truth is supported and explored in the worksheet that follows.

That there is progression in the development of sin, as well as in the continuance of sin itself, is taught in the Scripture. This study is one that will attempt to show this progression, as well as the devastating results of sin that is continued long-term in the life of an individual.

How Sin Develops in the Life of an Individual

We have indicated that there are two main tempters in our lives. The first of these is our personal enemy. See if you can determine from the following verses what or who this enemy is.

James 1:14 says that temptation comes from our _______ _________. Because we are ________ ____ ______ , Psalm 51:5, we are subject to ___________. Realizing and admitting this is a necessity if I am ever really to understand what goes on in me when I am tempted and sin. I have a nature that is negative to spiritual things. How is this taught in Galatians 5:17?

These verses teach us that I am my own worst enemy. When I am tempted, I do not need the devil to tempt me. I have a nature that is prone to sin and in reality, can only please itself. I understand the fact that I have all the seeds of sinning in myself, and I do not have to be assaulted by anyone to be tempted and sin. James says sin begins when I am drawn away by my own desires.

But how does sin come about? Let's approach it by looking at three things Scripture speaks of that can be involved in sinning. In 1 John 2:16 there are three things that can pull me away from walking in the Spirit and cause me to sin.

The first of these is called the ________ ____ _______ ___________ . When Jesus was tempted by Satan, how was this aspect of Him appealed to by Satan? See Matthew 4:2, 3.

Of course, Christ did not have a sinful nature so He could not be tempted in the same way man is tempted. There had to be an outside source (Satan). But Satan appealed to the craving of His human nature, which because He was human, was very real. He was man and He was hungry.

The craving of our sinful nature can get us into trouble with sin. What choices do we have? Much of this craving is related to normal human need gone awry. These may be legitimate needs, but the fulfillment of them becomes illegitimate and sinful. Christ's need for food after fasting for forty days was certainly legitimate. But food was not the supreme need for His sustenance. He spoke of this in His reply, in Matthew 4:4. Even the right thing, in the wrong way, is sin!

The second source of temptation John speaks of is _______ ________ ______ ________ _________ (1 John 2:16). The eyes are involved in temptation to sin. Through the "eye-gate" many evils are introduced. What eye involvement did Eve have in the garden which resulted in sinning on her part? Genesis 3:6

How did Satan use the eyes of Jesus in an attempt to get Him to sin? Matthew 4:8, 9

Of course, Jesus was not a sinner so He was not drawn away by His own desires. But for us, it is better to not look than to look and then try to deal with it. The Gospels are clear about the eye and its importance. Matthew 5:29 speaks of the severity of our dealing with an offending eye. Does this mean self mutilation? Of course not. We would be mutilating the temple of the Holy Spirit.

What does it mean? See Gal. 5:16

How did the eye play an important part in the sin of King David? 2 Samuel 11:2?

Matthew 6:22 tells us that if _______ _________ is ________ , your whole body will be full of ______________. What does light refer to here?

In the mall by my building was a magazine shop. One could scarcely enter without noticing the large number of men who were gathered at one end of the shop. They were pouring over the magazines dedicated to offending the eye and bringing about great temptation.

The third source of temptation mentioned as a "gate" for sin is also seen in 1 John 2:16. It is the boastful ___________ _____ ____________. Pride is so very central in sinning, and in the acknowledgment of sin. In Matthew 4:6, Jesus experienced Satan tempting Him to demonstrate who He was. How can this part of the temptation of Jesus relate to the pride of life or who Jesus was?

James 4:6 says that God __________ the ___________, but gives ___________ to the _______________ .

In review to this point, note the avenues through which temptation most often occurs.




What are the mental processes one will experience as he moves toward sin? See Proverbs 9:17. The first process is probably the anticipated feeling of ___________ , Hebrews 11:25. That sin is enjoyable, as a rule, is clear. The anticipated pleasure involved in sin gets its grip on the thinking of a person. In the case of Moses, the pleasure of sin and its prospects were present, but he chose to be identified with the slaves. Regardless of what it is, most sin has pleasure connected with it. What fact about this kind of pleasure is evident from this verse? (Heb. 11:25)

The second process is rationalization for the behavior about to take place. This was true of Adam in the garden after he sinned, Genesis 3:12. Whom did Adam blame? _________________ Rationalization is a process we all use when we choose to sin. We justify it, excuse it, or change it to meet our reasons for behavior we know is wrong.

The third process is _________________________, Hebrews 3:13. The deceitfulness of sin is well known. Let's look at some of the ways sin is deceitful.

1. Sin says "I can sin and get away with it.”

Scripture says, Proverbs 28:13, that I cannot __________ _________.

My ultimate lack of prosperity when I continue in sin is an indication of sin’s deceptive character.

2. Sin says, “ I can sin with no serious repercussions.”

Proverbs 13:15 says the way of the unfaithful is __________________.

In this way sin is deceptive. It is impossible to live in sin and not ________ ________ ________ _________, Galatians 6:7. In fact, Scripture says we will often reap the _______________, Hosea 8:7.

Being in a sin-induced whirlwind is not a light thing to experience. Some personal experiences that result from sin are the following:

a._____________________________________ , Hebrews 12:6. This is corrective discipline. It can be severe!

b. _____________________________________ , 1 Timothy 4:2b. This searing would produce an in-_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ to sin.

Insensitivity means that I will gradually reach a place where sinning no longer hurts. "Now I can sin and get away with it for sure!"

c. __________________________________________ , Isaiah 32:17. If righteousness brings peace and confidence, unrighteousness will bring ____________________________________________ , Isaiah 48:22.

d. Sin will bring scarring and injury, the effects of which can never be completely eliminated.

e. Sin forms a tendency which becomes a habit which molds a character, and ultimately becomes a destiny. It ruins and eliminates usefulness and misshapes a life.

Now we should observe the progression in James 1:14, 15. First, one is tempted when he is ______________ ____________ (from what is good) by his own ____________________. He is _____________. From that desire, ________ can be conceived. It seems at this point one can make a choice of sinning or not.

If the Word of God is in the heart, and there is a commitment to obedience, there can be a choice at this point to not sin. If such a choice is not made, sin can emerge. Even at this point one can deal with the sin and not let it become full-grown. What would be a description of a "full-grown" sin?

And the result of this sin is "temporal" _________. What kind of death is this?

Note: This does not mean that every time I fall into sin, I have lost my salvation. As we have pointed out in previous sections, death always has the inherent idea of separation. In this setting, death is temporal or temporary. It refers to sin taking me out of fellowship with God. And I will continue to be out of fellowship until that sin is dealt with and I am restored.

External Sources of Temptation.

The second source of temptation is a direct assault of Satanic forces. This too will be the experience of every Christian. The best example of this is the temptation of Jesus. This kind of temptation is what we can call “spiritual warfare.”

1. Some things to know and remember about Jesus.

a. He was born of a virgin and therefore had no sinful nature.

b. He was very much a human man who had all the needs of a human.

c. He was God incarnate - the God-man!

2. How this type of temptation is different.

a. Intelligence is involved.

b. The spirit-beings involved in this temptation are very strong.

c. We cannot bind these powers but we do have instructions concerning what to do.

d. Satan can only be one place at a time so his fallen troops are involved.

What would cause you to think that the temptation of Jesus was different than the temptation we have?

Satan and his agents are involved. How does Peter describe their work today? 1 Peter 5:8

Would every temptation we have be an attack from Satan? Why?

Who are Satan’s helpers? These fallen angels fell when Satan fell, Isaiah 14:12-14.

A good example of spiritual warfare is seen in Daniel 10. What do we find here? Read also Matthew 8:28, 29; Mark 5. What examples are seen here?

Ephesians 6 tells of his warfare with the church. It also includes instructions concerning how to be successful in our encounters with him.

Ephesians 6:14 tells us to _____________ _____________. We are not told to engage him in warfare, but to stand, having _________ ______ ______ ________ __________, and having put on the ____________________ _____ _________________. This armor is to enable us to withstand the assaults of Satan that are vicious and often unrelenting. Our winning the battle is dependent upon God. The victory is His.

Putting on the Full Armor of God

In Ephesians 6:14-18 we are told of our armor. Note the first instruction given us. It is not to fight these powers but to ___________ _____________. “Standing firm” does not mean to go out and try to beat the devil up or “bind him.” He is much too strong for any Christian to win the battle with him alone. God is the one who wins the battle with him. Our winning the battle depends upon our willingness to “stand still” and let the battle be G______. We need also to put on our armor in its entirety. Then we can with_ _ _ _ _ the schemes of the _ _ _ _ _.

The belt of ________ is the first piece of armor mentioned by Paul. It was really more than a belt in that it was important for holding everything together; his sword was also held by it. In some unique way it was related to everything else to be used to defend one’s self. Among whatever else it means, it speaks of an inner condition of our life that enables us to always choose _________ over untruth. Honesty should characterize the life of a believer. There would never be an option for one to lie. It will give Satan an opportunity to defeat us. Truth may also refer to sound doctrine as well.

The second piece of armor is ________ __________________ _______ ____________________,vs. 14. This is a covering of righteousness for our heart. Righteousness is, of course two-fold. It is im_______ righteousness and also p_ _ _ _ _ _ _ righteousness. Imputed righteousness refers to my standing and personal righteous to my state. Since I am righteous before God’s eyes, being justified already, this piece of armor includes both. Could this possibly have any connection with practicing spirituality? _____ Could it possibly have something to do with a command to “guard our hearts?” __________ I do not guard my heart when I open it to pornography. When I grasp at making all the money I can (the love of money is the root of all evil), I lose some of my heart coverings. Perhaps it refers to all of these conditions.

The next piece of armor has to do with feet shod with the ____________________ ______ _____________ _____ _____________, vs. 15. The Lord speaks of the beauty of feet that___________________________________________, Isaiah 52:7.

Should it not imply that I am to be a witness wherever I go. “G______ an __________________ for the hope that is within us . . . ,” 1 Peter 3:15.

Then in Ephesians 6:16 there is the ________ _____ ________, with which we will be able to _______________ _____ _____ _____________ ____________ of the evil one. The Roman soldier carried two kinds of shields when he went into battle. One was used in hand-to-hand combat. The other was a large shield which was wide enough to cover him, as the soldiers marched together in phalanxes. Paul likens faith to the latter type of shield. In what way does Hebrews 11:7 teach us the reliability of this piece of armor?

Ephesians 6:17 gives us two pieces of the soldiers’ paraphernalia. The first is the h _ _ _ _ _ of s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. This helmet covers the head of the believer. The head is where our thinking takes place. It is where our basic essence is located. What do you think you can do to follow this command?

What is involved in the “renewing of our minds?” Romans 12:1, 2. What has taken place in the life of the believer that needs to be in the forefront of his life? 2 Corinthians 5:17.

What does 1 Thessalonians 5:8 have to do with this?

His entire perspective and approach to the world is different. He needs to see every experience in life in the light of his “being _____ ______,” John 3:7. This means being born from above.

The final piece of armor that is discussed is the __________ _____ ______ _____________, Ephesians 6:17. How can we make the Word of God our sword?

How much are you utilizing this aspect of your weapons for the spiritual engagement you have encountered?

Now think through carefully how this armor is “put on” in a Christian’s life.

One aspect of spiritual warfare that has troubled me in the past deals with the number of pieces of armor (6) which might seem to be incomplete, and the fact that nothing is mentioned about our “backside.” I could possibly be vulnerable during battle. Then I became acquainted with Psalm 139:5 and its message to me. What is stated in this verse that is appropriate to this session?

How does this help us and in what way?

Questions for Review and Discussion

1. Describe a time when you felt an experience of temptation was true spiritual warfare, and why was this true?

Which area of temptation has been your greatest problem?

Elaborate on this

2. Why do you think we are told to stand firm rather than go after the devil or demons that may assail us?

3. What are some areas in which spiritual warfare truly has involved us?

4. What’s wrong with the idea that we can bind Satan?

5. List the lessons we can learn from the temptation of Jesus.

6. What does Satan and his demons do to make us feel that temptation is not an ugly thing? 2 Corinthians 11:14

7. How possible is it that temptation can be both from satanic sources and from my own sinful nature?

Life Application

Keep a journal. See and record how practicing spirituality carefully, and putting on the whole armor of God daily helps keep you from sinning.

Related Topics: Discipleship

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