STUDY | Spend the week studying 1 Corinthians 10:12-13. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.
DETERMINE | Which discussion points and study questions will work best for your group.
PRAY | Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their openness to God’s Word.
LANDING POINT | God promises an exit out of temptation when I turn to Him.
Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion
- Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
- No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
- No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
- Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group.
As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.
A DAILY BATTLE
We are roughly forty days into the New Year. Chances are, many of you made goals to be different this year. You’ve committed to reading your Bible more, eating healthy, handling your money more responsibly, procrastinating less, getting your anger under control or being less anxious.
Like anyone, you’ve experienced some obstacles on the way to your goals. You’re tempted to hit the snooze button, indulge your sweet tooth, splurge with a little retail therapy, put off that task one more day, lose your temper or let those anxious thoughts consume you.
We all face temptation. It’s a daily battle that entices us to satisfy our impulses and appetites and seek shortcuts in life. The temptations you face may seem impossible to resist, but they aren’t. God is faithful to give you a way out. This week we’re going to look at a promise about temptation and how God promises to give you an exit out of temptation when you turn to Him.
Q: What goals do you have for 2020? How are you doing so far? Q: How would you define temptation in your own words?
Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.
DON’T BE SO NAÏVE
In this section of his letter, Paul warns the Corinthians against idolatry. The apostle cites the Israelites as a cautionary tale. Despite the favor and blessings God gave the Israelites, they were disobedient and idolatrous. Because of their rebellion against God, many of them were unable to enter the promised land.
Paul wants the Corinthians to see that, like the Israelites, they too could fall into temptation and sin. He tells them, “Don’t be so naïve to think you’re different or special. Human nature hasn’t changed. We’re still sinful and rebellious. You could end up falling flat on your face just like them. I don’t want you to be overconfident and think that what happened to them could never happen to you.”
READ: 1 Corinthians 10:12–13. How does learning from the failures and faithfulness of those in the past help you fight against temptation?
Q: What are the dangers of thinking you’re exceptional when it comes to temptation?
A WAY OF ESCAPE
On the heels of this warning, Paul gives a promise. He wants these believers to remember who God is. He is faithful. Therefore Paul tells them, “God will never put you in a situation where your only option is to give into temptation and sin. He promises to always provide you a way out of the temptation.”
For the Corinthians, turning from idolatry carries with consequences. They will likely suffer and be persecuted for that choice. That’s why Paul reassures them that God will give them strength to endure whenever they do the right thing and obey Him. Other believers in times past had resisted temptation, and so could the Corinthians. What matters is whether they will turn to God and rely on Him in times of temptation.
Q: Recall a time when you were in a tempting situation and God provided a way out.
Q: What does it practically look like to turn to God in times of temptation?
Select 2-3 questions from this section to answer.
THE UNSINKABLE YOU
Paul’s warning and promise are relevant for us today because temptation still exists. We should never think that we are incapable of falling. We shouldn’t think we’re above blowing it and messing up our lives by giving into temptation and sin. Each of us has the capability to do things we never thought imaginable.
The Titanic wasn’t an unsinkable ship, as many boasted. You aren’t unsinkable either, which is why you need to have your guard up, stay humble and admit that it could happen to you. Let that make you turn to God as the One who can give you the power to escape temptation that leads to sin.
Q: What are some ways you can keep your guard up against temptation?
Q: Why is humility essential in the battle against temptation and sin?
KNOW YOUR ENEMY, KNOW YOUR GOD
When you face temptation, it’s essential to remember who your enemy is. The enemy knows you, and he will attack you where you are vulnerable. He will focus in on that sin that is most enticing to you, and he will use any tactic to deceive you. The Puritan Thomas Brooks highlights some of his tactics in his book Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices:
- Presenting the bait and hiding the hook
- Painting sin in virtuous colors
- Downplaying the sin so you think lightly of it
- Making repentance seem easy
- Presenting God as all-merciful
- Leading you into sinful company
- Highlighting godly people's sins and not their sorrow and repentance
- Making you bold to put yourself in sinful situations
It’s also essential in the battle against temptation to remember who God is. He is faithful. He promises to show you an exit sign that will lead you out of temptation. But it requires you turning to Him in times of temptation. If you’re prideful and think you can overcome temptation with sheer willpower, you’re playing a fool’s game. Submission to God is the only way out of temptation.
Q: In which areas of life are you most vulnerable to temptation?
Q: What does it look like to submit to God in your life?
Select 1 question from this section to ask your group.
TEMPTED IN EVERY WAY
The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is like us in that He was also tempted to sin (4:15). He faced temptation and was able to endure it without sinning because He relied on His Father instead of Himself. In Matthew 4:1–11, we find Jesus in the wilderness being tempted by the devil for forty days. In that time Jesus was tempted to give into His impulses for instant gratification by turning stones into bread and using His divine power to save Himself. He was tempted to forego the cross and disobey God’s will for Him. But He didn’t. Of the three occasions when He was tempted to sin, Jesus responded to the enemy with God’s Word every time. Through His temptation, Jesus teaches us that a close relationship with God is our best defense against temptation. When we have intimacy with Him, we see sin in its true light. The closer we are to Him, the further we will be from sin.
Q: How is God’s Word helpful in the battle against temptation and sin?
Q: What are some ways you can seek intimacy with God this week?
Spend time adoring God as your Promise Keeper. Thank Him for His promise to always give you a way out of temptation. Ask Him to reveal sin in your life that needs to be repented of. Ask Him to help you see the destructive consequences of sin and the joy and blessings that come from choosing obedience and holiness over sin.
Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:
• Read James 4:7 and reflect on what he says a believer should do when faced with temptation to sin. • Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their lives.
Defining Temptation Temptation is “the testing of human beings, usually enticement to sin or to apostasy from God. The two paradigmatic biblical stories concerning temptation are those concerning Eve and Adam’s temptation and sin in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3) and Jesus’s successful resistance of Satan’s temptations in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13).” Temptation tests believers and whether they will trust God and rely on Him or trust in themselves and live apart from God.
Be Humble Because of our sinful nature and its ability to lead us to sin, “we should never rest comfortably in the victory that is ours in Christ. Just as the Israelites kept falling into temptation and sin in spite of their redemption from Egypt, the same thing can happen to us. Thus those who feel confident that they could never fall under the Lord’s judgment through sin should watch out, lest they do so.” Even though Christians have been redeemed and have the Holy Spirit as their guide, they are not beyond falling into temptation and sin. Therefore, Christians should be humble and understand their limitations and weaknesses when it comes to sin.
God’s Faithfulness Scriptures that recall God’s faithfulness include Deut. 7:9; 1 Thess. 5:24; Heb. 10:23; Rev. 1:5.4
1. Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 9th ed. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2011), 1–4.
2. Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 992–993.
3. Verlyn D. Verbrugge, “1 Corinthians,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition), ed. Tremper Longman III & Garland, David E., vol. 11 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 344.
4. Richard L. Pratt Jr, I & II Corinthians, vol. 7, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 165–166.