Beware of the tempter, New City pastor warns

Brian Kruckenberg, lead pastor of New City Church, tells Monday's Chapel audience to be aware of temptation.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow / Livestream

Another word for Satan?

“We actually call him the tempter,” Phoenix New City Church lead pastor Brian Kruckenberg said Monday at Chapel in Global Credit Union Arena. “Because it is this enemy, I contend, that wants to set the snares and wants to entice us with delicacies.”

Psalm 1:41, about seeking God for wisdom, served as the basis for Kruckenberg’s theme of not being led into sin by temptation.

Instead of giving into Satan's temptation, he said, look to God and asked Chapel attendees to write down: “I am being tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted by evil, and God himself does not tempt anyone.”

Despite our convictions, Kruckenberg stressed that everyone is tempted by desire.

Students rejoice with the Worship team.

“And when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death,” Kruckenberg said.

God does not possess a shadow that can distort things. He cannot lie, break a promise or tempt anyone, said the pastor, adding that Jesus was tempted frequently.

“The Word gives us what we need to fight that and to overcome that,” he said. “The Word actually gives us the principles by which we must follow in order that we don't fall into the traps or the snares that the enemy sets.”

As a proud native of Kansas, he recalled fondly on his fishing trips with his grandfather on a small boat on Lake Wilson, where gusty winds would create some amusing adventures.

Lures were used as an essential part of their mission to catch fish, and Kruckenberg displayed a shiny chartreuse-colored fake fish on the large screens as part of their trolling.

“The tempter is a great fisherman, all right,” Kruckenberg said. “The tempter knows what you would like to bite on. He knows what you'd like to go after. And just like this lurer, it's an imitation of the real thing. A fish, that by sending this, is going to get a rude awakening when that fish realizes that's not lunch. He's going to be lunch. That this is a plastic imitation of the real thing, that this has spines and hooks and wants to take that fish out.

Pastor Brian Kruckenberg of New City Church in Phoenix speaks about the lure of sin during Chapel.

“The Scripture says that we are tempted when we are lured. We are hooked. What are you lured by? I think there's a two-pronged element. There's this outside factor, this luring factor, is a fisherman, the enemy, is fishing for you. And then there is something that says that we desire, right?

“It says we're lured and enticed by our own desire.”

Kruckenberg emphasizes that desires can be good things, specifically if we “delight ourselves in the Lord’s desires.”

“But a desire pointed at the wrong thing, well, it leads us to trouble.”

Kruckenberg is confident that most are tempted through isolation and when alone with their own thoughts, which often are “idiotic thoughts.”

Students are inspired at Chapel.

“Think about some of the dumbest things that you've done, and maybe you should have voiced them to someone else, right?” Kruckenberg asks. “ ‘Hey, I have a desire to get this grade. I didn't really study. I'm going cheat.’

“‘Bro, that's dumb. Don't be an idiot.' If you spoke that to someone and they really loved and cared for you, they would say ‘that's an idiotic desire that will lead to death.’ And as you grow older, the stakes only get higher if I’m being tempted. And Satan desires me to be tempted. And maybe he tries to throw something out in front of me.”

Kruckenberg also cites the vulnerability of lingering on the computer for too long, creating isolation and allowing the enemy to cast more bait.

“You have to flee,” Kruckenberg said. “Just run from it.”

Pastor Brian Kruckenberg of New City Church makes his point at Monday's Chapel.

Instead, Kruckenberg stresses James 1:17, in which you don’t have to be tempted because “every good thing comes from above.” That can apply to even experiencing a delicious meal.

“Everything good comes from God, so you don't have to be tempted by the cheap counterfeit that the enemy offers us,” Kruckenberg said. “The Word says it wants to remind us that the God is the Father of light. Satan is the father of lies.”

Kruckenberg adds that the tempter will show you the pleasure of sin, but none of sins’ pain.

“Ultimately, we cling to Jesus because we hit our goal, and our prize is this crown of life,” Kruckenberg said. “Jesus came to earth, tempted in every way we were tempted, but did not sin.”

Resisting temptation? We should do the same.

Next week: University Pastor Tim Griffin will speak at next Monday’s chapel at Global Credit Union Arena.

GCU News Senior Writer Mark Gonzales can be reached at [email protected]

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Bible Verse

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

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