Formations Lesson for May 30- Resist Temptation
May 17 2010 by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville

Focal Passage: 1 Peter 5:6-14  

“I don’t drink, cuss, smoke, or chew, or run around with girls that do.”

Is that what Peter has in mind when he talks about resisting temptation?

Surely Peter would never deny the necessity for personal morality.

Check out his list of vices to avoid: “licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry” (4:3). In today’s passage, though, he has bigger fish to fry. Consider three clues:
  • “Cast all your anxieties on (God)” (v. 7).
  • “Resist (the devil), firm in your faith” (v. 9).
  • “And after you have suffered a little while...” (v. 10).
Peter’s readers are anxious. They’re in danger of actually abandoning their faith. That’s the temptation Peter worries about.            

The reason for it? They’re suffering, precisely because of their faith.

This entire letter is written under the cloud of persecution. And not just your garden-variety ridicule, as when people role their eyes when you mention God, and eventually stop inviting you to their parties.

This is serious business. These Christians are being called “wrongdoers” (2:12). They’re “enduring pain” and “suffering unjustly” (2:19). They’re being “abused” and “reviled” for their “good behavior” (3:16).

Even when faced with “the fiery ordeal which comes upon you,” Peter warns, “don’t be surprised!” (4:12). Persecution is commonplace, at least for these believers.

No wonder they’re anxious. No wonder they’re thinking of giving up. So Peter pleads: “Get serious! Be alert! Resist! Stand firm! Cast all your cares on God” (5:6-9). The costs may be high, but the stakes are higher.

I suppose most of us don’t normally face such a choice: to stand up for Jesus and pay a price, or to surrender our faith and get off free. Is it because we’re not paying enough attention?

Warren Carr was longtime pastor of the Wake Forest Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. At Carr’s funeral, friend and professor Ralph Wood told how Carr started out preaching in a small Virginia coal-mining town. One benefit of the tiny church was that the local mine-owner was a member, and he provided the parsonage with enough free coal to keep the family warm.

That is, until Carr protested publicly about some young women who had been brought to town to “entertain” the miners. The powerful mine-owner promptly warned his upstart young pastor to keep out of other people’s business, reminding him who had delivered that coal. Carr replied, “Sir, you can come take that coal back today.”

Whatever the costs, the stakes are higher. Resist temptation!
5/17/2010 6:36:00 AM by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville | with 0 comments

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