Chum in the Water
September 18, 2011
One of the easiest ways to attract a shark is to make sure there is plenty of chum in the water. The blood, the bait and the aroma will attract predators from miles away. That is also the best way to catch a shark.
In this message, Pastor Ed Young reminds us that we are all sharks, and that the evil one is out there fishing for us, hoping to drag us away from the purpose and plan God has for us. But just because there is chum in the water, we don’t have to take the bait. Instead, we can avoid the hook and swim free to discover God’s plan for our lives.
Ed: Now we’re in business, baby! Now we’re in business! We’re catching sharks in a very unusual way, a very difficult way, which is on a fly rod. A lot of people think, ‘How can I catch a shark on just a bunch of feathers?’
I got it right here. A little bit of chum, a little bit of blood in the water and the sharks show up.
Dude: I had one of my guys was bitten by a shark last year.
Ed: No way!
Dude: Oh yeah, bringin’ it into the boat.
Ed: There’s a shark coming up, about 2 o’clock. See him? Fish on! By your boat, coming by your boat! …. Popped the line. Awww, sh<bleep!>!
Ed: Uh-oh. Somebody tied a faulty knot, named Ed Young. You gotta have your right knots! It’s not easy just to go out and catch a shark. You really have to work at it. You have to think about it to entice them, to get them to take the fly.
There’s a shark right here… right here, see it? Shark. Shark. Spinner shark.
Dude: It’s coming in. He’s trying to find the scent. See how he’s picking up speed as he gets closer?
Ed: There’s one. He’s on it… he’s on it! Fish on! Yeah, baby! Fish on!!! Shark City, USA!! Wow. Wowowowowowow! Oh he will bite the fool out of ya! Look at him tryin’ to bite! Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo! Awesome! Shark Week, he couldn’t resist the fly. He got it, we’re gonna turn him back loose, but I’m telling you, he cannot resist the temptation of the chum and the fly. A shark on a fly rod!
Intro: Well, for the record I did not cuss. I don’t cuss. I did not cuss. We did that as a little joke to get everyone’s attention. So, Miami, our campus right now that’s watching live, I didn’t cuss. Dallas/Fort Worth, I didn’t cuss. Plano, I did not curse. But I will tell you someone who does curse when we get off of his hook. The enemy. The enemy.
The enemy is the ultimate angler. The enemy is the ultimate fisherman. His agenda is simple. Jesus called him out in John 10. “The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.” He comes to steal from you, from your marriage, from your friendships, from your career, to kill and to destroy. That’s his agenda.
Let’s face it. In life, we all deal with temptation; we all deal with trials and testing. One of the things they don’t tell you before you become a follower of Christ is the reality of temptation. The reality that the temperature of temptation will be ratcheted up the moment you become a believer, the moment you are born again into the family of God. We’ll be dealing with some junk. We’ll be dealing with some serious, serious temptation. We have to understand something.
This is the Tweet of the day. Are you ready for this? Get ready. Here’s the Tweet of the day. God tests us to make us strong. The devil tempts us to make us wrong. <rewind sound effect> God tests us to make us strong. The devil, the enemy, tempts us to make us wrong.
I’m going to read some Scripture verses to you from the book of James. The half-brother of Jesus wrote this text. The word he uses for trial and the word he uses for temptation is the same word. However, the context is different.
What I want you to understand today is the simply reality of temptation. The fact that temptation is a process, not an event. It’s a process, not just something that happens out of nowhere.
Turn to your neighbor and say, “Neighbor, I didn’t realize I was seated beside a shark.” That’s right. Everybody’s a shark. Miami, you guys are sharks. You’re not dolphins; you’re sharks. In Dallas and Fort Worth, yeah, a bunch of sharks. Plano, we’re sharks. If you’re watching by television, you’re sharks.
When you walked in today you were handed an authentic shark’s tooth. You have your shark tooth everybody? It’s free of charge. Now, it did cost us to buy the shark teeth for everyone but that’s just our gift to you. I want you to save it as a memorial, as a milestone, as a memory of today’s topic as we talk about temptation. As we talk about the teeth of temptation. And next time, because there’s no way I will be able to do all of this in one session, I want you to use this shark’s tooth to invite someone to Fellowship Church. Just say, “Hey, here’s a shark’s tooth.” There’ll be another one waiting for you next week as we talk about the teeth of temptation.
T.S. What do you do when you’re tempted? Are you being tempted right now? Yeah. Yeah, I’m being tempted. Are you going through a testing right now? You might be going, “Yeah, I’m going through testing.” What do you do? What do you do?
Well, the Bible says this in the book of James. If you have your Bibles turn to the book of James, James 1. James, man, he puts it right out there. You talk about the raw and the real. James says, “When tempted.”
He says it’s not a possibility, not a strong probability, it’s a reality, dude. It’s a reality. When tempted. You’re going to be tempted.
And basically temptations come in three zones, right? You’ve got the material temptation. The temptation of things. Do you have things or do things have you? Have you ever been tempted in that zone before, lift your hand. I’m the only one? OK, yeah, yeah.
How about personal temptation? The temptation to elevate yourself above others. The temptation of pride, the temptation of status. I like status. Keeping stats on us. Anybody brag? Anybody fight with pride? I’m the only one? Yeah, some are not raising your hand. You’re lying. Yeah, a lot of liars here.
Others fall into another zone, and I doubt anyone here has ever been tempted in this area. The sensual temptation. That is to look upon another person’s body, to use a God-given desire in a God-forbidden way. If you’ve ever been tempted in that way lift your hand. Wow, we have a BUNCH of liars! OK, OK. Yeah, yeah, uh-huh.
Those are the three zones when you’re tempted. In other words, these temptations will be in effect in your life especially when you bow the knee to the Lord Jesus, especially when you’re born again.
“When tempted, no one should say, “God’s tempting me.”
We shouldn’t blame God. Listen very carefully. God cannot and does not tempt. If God tempted you and me, that would mean that God has to be tempted before he tempted you and me. If that were to take place God would cease being God. He would cease being God. He would cease being God!
So God does not tempt. He tests. He uses trials. He allows temptation. He can use anything, great things and horrendous things, for good. And he does for those of us who are called according to his agenda. But don’t ever blame God. “It’s God. it is God tempting me!” No, no. God tests to make us strong. The enemy tempts to make us wrong.
“When tempted nobody should say, ‘God’s tempting me.’ God cannot be tempted by evil.” Look at James 1:14. “But when each one is tempted by his own desire…”
Say desire. Desire. Desires are God-given. Desire. If we did not have the desire for food we would die. If we didn’t have the desire for rest we would die. If we didn’t have the desire for procreation we would die. Desires are good. Desires are divine. We’re tempted, though, when a God-given desire is used in a God-forbidden way. When a God-given desire goes haywire.
How does that happen? James is ADD. That’s why I identify with him. He just changes subjects. He’s talking about fishing, he’s talking about enticement, he’s talking about the enemy being the ultimate fisherman, and now we’re going to see he talks about childbirth. Childbirth and fishing? You mean the enemy is trying to lure you and me from cover, and then all of a sudden he’s into childbirth? James says they fit together like peanut butter and jelly.
Think about your will. We all have a will. Think about your desire. For the desire to get what the desire wants, the desire looks to the will and says, “Will, will you?”
And if the will says “Yeah, I will,” the desire and the will get together. They have a bouncing baby, the Bible says, called sin. Every baby is beautiful to its parents. To Will and Desire, Sin is beautiful.
“Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”
Those are fisherman’s terms. In the original language, “exelkomenos”, which means to bait, to bring a fish out of cover.
Think about what I did. I tied a fly. I chummed the water. I brought the sharks out of cover, and I caught the sharks. I’m not making this stuff up, folks. This is straight from the pages of Scripture. We’re dragged away and enticed.
And then, James 1:15 says, “after desire has conceived it gives birth to sin.” This beautiful baby. “And sin, when it’s full-grown, gives birth to death.”
So the process of fishing is the process of childbirth. Your will and your desire must get together. It has a baby called Sin.
Some of you right now are going, “Ed, I’m living in sin. Sin’s living in me, and I don’t have any problems. I’ve been living a lie. I’ve been doing this. I’ve been doing that. Everything’s cool. I’m the big man on campus. I’m the popular girl. I’m invited to all the parties. We are it. We’re successful and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.”
Hey, I feel you! James says that will happen. The will and the desire, they’ve gotten together, sin has been birthed. But here’s my word of warning to you from the Scripture. Sin has not reached puberty yet.
Sin leads to death. The Bible says “the wages of sin is death.” In other words, the compensation for our conduct is condemnation. That’s what happens when we’re tempted. That’s what happens when we take the bait.
The devil is a liar and he’s the ultimate fisherman. He looks at you and me and he says to himself, “OK. Oh, her. I’m going to catch her!”
[Ed begins to tie a fly on stage.]
He sits down and chooses a hook. Because a hook is really what temptation is all about. He puts the hook in the vice. All right. Because you have to use different flies to catch different fish.
“Let’s see what’s going to catch this girl. I’ve been fishing for thousands of years. I use this fly, too, on certain guys,” he says, “but you know, that girl right there, I’m tying a fly that’s gonna mess her up! This color red, that’s seductive, red. There’s something about red. It’s just sexy. Whoo! Yeah. That looks good.” He’s checking the tides. High tide, low tide, the moon phases. He’s the ultimate angler. He carefully ties that.
See, there’s a recipe for different fish. Certain flies catch certain sharks. And the shark that I caught was a nice-sized lemon shark. He just couldn’t resist it. He came in hot. I put it right in front of him… BOOM! He’s patient.
“Oh, girls like bling. They love bling! I’m just gonna… I need more bling than that. Oh yeah. Sparkles. Whew! She’s not gonna be able to refuse this. She can’t! Oh, does that look nice? Look at that. Woo-woo!! Sensual, sexy, sensitive. Oh man, this is deadly. All right. Put some glue on it, because the glue really holds everything together in this temptation process. A little dab’ll do ya.”
It’s interesting that I’m tying a fly because so many temptations have to do with the fly. I can’t believe I just said that! We’ll have to edit that from this message.
“I will put some agent orange on the fly. It’ll mess some people up. I know how to do it. See, it’s customized. It’s individualized. That looks pretty good.”
What kind of fly is the enemy tying for you? He knows your value. He knows your value to God. See, the enemy is coming after you and me because he knows our value. And that should be a good thing. If you’re feeling temptation you should say, “Whoa! That’s good. That means what is gonna happen around the corner is gonna be unreal.” Because the weakest thing in the world is a virtue that has not been tested or tempted. So really, he’s showing his hand to what’s around the corner. Because see, he’s a liar and the father of lies and he doesn’t really realize all of that.
But again, you know, he’s the enemy. He has confidence in this fly, in this pattern, and oh, this is looking sweet brown sugar. I don’t use the white sugar, it’s processed, so I say sweet brown sugar. Now tie it off.
“That should work right there, for her. I mean you’ve got a little bling. Look at how the hook is disguised. You can’t see it! And what’s gonna happen to you is, see, I’m chumming the waters and I’m tying seductively and I’m chumming strategically with the current. It’s gonna float right up to ya, girl. You’re gonna see the fly and you’re not gonna take a look at the hook. So I’m just gonna start fishing now. I’m gonna start casting.”
Notice this. What does the enemy do? He ties seductively. He chums strategically. Then he casts aggressively. Don’t worry about a hook. We’ve got great legal representation. Don’t worry. I’m not gonna hurt anybody.
“Oh there she is. I got her. I got her. Right there.” He’ll cast, and cast, and cast. He just relaxes, man. “Oh yeah, there she is.
“Oh look at him! I’m gonna get him with pride, man. I’m gonna get him with pride. He thinks he’s the man but I’m gonna bring a little girl into the work place. Yeah, he’s married with three kids but I’m gonna bring somebody, I’m gonna put this fly in front of his face over and over. I’m gonna mess up his marriage, his kids, and his career.
“Oh, there’s somebody else. There’s somebody else dealing with greed and materialism. I’m gonna get them because they think, that’s right, they think the answer is all about money. Yeah, they think the more stuff they get, that’s gonna bring satisfaction. Yeah.
“I might try a back-cast now. That’s OK. It’s right there. I got somebody in the front row! I will just keep the fly right there. I’m the devil, man. I’m patient! Lemme try another one. All right. All right!”
And he moves the fly, he moves the fly and one day, when everything is right. The shark, after I tie seductively and chum strategically, after that, after I fish aggressively, what happens? The shark took the fly and the shark things everything’s cool. He’s swimming off. He’s like, “I got what I wanted. It looked like a bloody piece of bait. I got it!”
He didn’t realize something. The fly had got him! He didn’t take a look at the hook, and he’s swimming off and then all of a sudden he feels the pull, the sting, the barb, he thrashes and splashes.
Collateral damage. Relationships. Careers. Guilt. Pain. Alienation. As we fight, as sin matures, it leads to death. And when the devil brings us in, he doesn’t release us. He has a trophy room that’s unbelievable! Believers mounted on his wall.
“I caught that girl by greed. See that guy there? See him? I caught him with lust! It’s so simple! Ahh… See that person, that student there? I got them with rebellion. Rebellion! They rebelled against their parents and teachers, and they thought they were being hard and strong, and I got them!”
His trophy room is amazing. The devil. The enemy. He ties seductively, chums strategically, fishes aggressively.
T.S. How do you become a giant shark? That’s a replica of a 21-foot great white shark. Sometimes white sharks get to be this big. Do you know how they get this big? They watch a lot of bait go by. They watch a lot of flies go by.
God can give you and me the strength. Here’s what’s so awesome about today’s talk. God can give us the strength to leverage our desires in a God-given fashion. To look past the hook to the results of taking the fly, the results of the fight and the thrashing and the splashing, the results of going to the taxidermist and being mounted as a trophy in the man-cave of the enemy himself. That’s the good news. That’s the great news of temptation.
Now James comes along and continues, man! This is so hot. James 1:16, “Don’t be deceived. Every good and perfect gift is from above.” It’s all about God. We’re walking with God. We’re hearing from God. We allow out desires, by God’s octane, to live between his guidelines and guardrails. We realize “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
So he says that you’re tempted, I’m tempted. You’re tested, I’m tested. Trials come your way and my way. Here are some handles. Remember the greatness of God. Am I the only one that when I’m tempted so often God seems so far away. He seems so, so far away.
Remember the greatness of God. How do we do that? By spending time with God. How do we do that? By talking to others in community with the Lord. How do we do that? By regularly attending a pre-fishing safety talk. By regularly attending a fishing seminar where someone says, “Here’s the fly, here’s the hook. Watch out for it. Somebody’s trying to catch you right now.” Why? Because of your potential.
Well, now James talks about childbirth again. What’s up with him? James 1:18, “He chose to give us birth through the Word of Truth that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.”
(Remember your birth order.)
I didn’t have anything to do with my birthday. Is there anybody here that had anything to do with their birthday, with being born? No. My birthday, because I want you to send me gifts, is March 16th. That’s a joke. But to my parents, I was and am a beautiful baby. You know how parents are. Oh my child is all that! Oh they’re the greatest. She’s the … you know how parents are.
When your will and desire get together they have sin. Will and Desire say, “Oh, Sin’s beautiful! What a beautiful baby!”
When it matures, though, it leads to death. God, in the Old Testament, rejected the first-born. He rejected Cain, he received the second-born, Able. God rejected the first-born, Ishmael, and received the second-born, Isaac.
Your life and mine are the same. God rejects our first birthday. If I’m relying on March 16th, and I’m a 1961 model, I’ve got some door dings, yeah. That’s all right. I’ve got some miles on me. If I’m relying on that to fight temptation, to discover my destiny, to discover the potential that God has for me, I’m not gonna get there. I’m gonna be gravely disappointed when I clock out of here.
Conversely, if I rely on my second birth, when I was born again into the family of God, whoa! Now, do you realize who my family is? Do you realize what my last name is? I’m a part of the family of God! Young is really not my last name; it’s Christian! I’ve been born again into the family of God. Because when the Word of God and the Spirit of God get together, and we turn from our sin and turn to Christ, we have a second birthday. We’re born again!
Are you smelling what I’m stepping in? It’d be a great place to clap. Because the enemy can talk all day and night about your will and desire get together, sin. Blah-blah-blah. Well I’ve got somethin’ better than that. The Spirit of God and the Word of God get together, and supernaturally you’re born again, so am I. We’re a part of the family of God. Thus, we have an inheritance.
You talking about trustafarians? Trust fund babies? You talk about people that can tap into some serious, serious fuel? We’ve got it! We’ve got it. We can fight, we can battle, we can kick some fin whenever we face temptation. Not because we’re strong, because He is strong. Where I’m weak, he is strong. Shark Weak! I’m weak. You’re weak. We can’t fight this alone. The battle is too difficult. Except…. Jesus. He’s already won! So we’re fighting not for, but FROM victory.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13. There are three buts in this. “There has no temptation taken BUT such as common to man, BUT God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you’re able, BUT will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape that you may be able to bear it.”
And James 1:18, “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.”
That’s simply saying this. God will NEVER put you and me, his children, in a situation that he will not give us the strength and the power to get out of. God will never allow a trial or a testing or a temptation to come in your life and mine that we cannot get out of.
So often we go, “Man, I feel like I’m on an island. I’m the only one dealing with this. Oh, it’s about the wear me out. I’m the only one and I can’t reveal this to others!” Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing. Talk to someone about it.
That’s why it’s so important to be in community. That’s why the local church is paramount.
“Oh man, it’s just too strong! It’s like a tractor pull. It’s just pulling me! I can’t say no to it. I’ve gotta take the lure! I’ve gotta take the bait, I’ve gotta take the fly!”
That’s not true. The real essence of this text is simply this. People drive trucks. You got a one-ton, half-ton, quarter-ton truck. The manufacturer knows how much weight the truck can take. God knows how much weight, temptation weight (because he’s the manufacturer) that we can take. He will always provide a swimming lane, a road out. And when we take the road, we’re gonna be stronger for it.
Well, I have got to close it down right now. Next time we get deeper as we swim deeper and talk about the good side of temptation. Use those shark’s teeth. Invite people to Fellowship.
“Here’s a shark tooth on me. Come with me to Fellowship. We’re gonna talk about the teeth, and maybe the false teeth, of temptation.”
We’re all shark weak, but when we’re weak, HE is strong.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]