Introduction

The good treats of God – Do you desire the good treats that God has for you?

Trick or treat?  In last week’s sermon – Not Falling for the Devil’s Tricks – you will recall that I opened my sermon with that familiar Halloween phrase of trick or treat.  I then went on to preach about mankind’s great adversary and how the devil is always playing a game of Halloween with mankind.  As we saw, the devil is very cunning and he will do everything he can to deceive you to fall for his tricks.  His primary objective is to lure as many as he can away from the Lord and drag them down to the pit to join him in suffering God’s punishment of sin.

So this week, keeping the idea of the Halloween holiday in mind, I ask you again — trick or treat?  The devil offers mankind treat after treat, but as we have seen, the devil’s treats are nothing but tricks.  The devil in no way can bless you!  To bless or be blessed is to be made spiritually happy or to be spiritually happy.  The devil is a bitter and upset being that has no truth and no love in him, so how can he make you spiritually happy?  

As children hope to get nothing but the good stuff on Halloween when they knock on doors.  Today, I tell you that God has all of the good stuff for you at His house!  The Lord desires for you to come to His house and to knock on His door so that He can give you all of His good treats!  So, will you go knock on the door of God’s house to receive these good treats or will you continue to be deceived by the devil and his so-called treats?  Let’s take a look at these treats of the Lord so that you can choose wisely as to which house you will go to – God’s house or the devil’s house.

Knocking on God’s Door

In the gospels, Jesus directs the believers to go knock on the door of the Lord if we desire the good things of the Lord.  In scripture, we see Jesus specifically state, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened (Matt. 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10).”

The Lord has no false treats for you at His house – He’s not trying to fool, deceive, or trick you as the devil is always trying to do.  God has nothing but good treats at His house that He truly wishes to give away liberally (Jas. 1:5).  As Jesus tells us again in the gospels, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him (Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:13)!”

Skipping pass God’s house

Yet, I tell you today that it does not seem that many people are running to the Lord’s house.  In fact, I would tell you that people are hardly even walking to God’s house.  When I say God’s house, I want you to know that I am not talking about a church building, but I am talking about where He resides.  Are you seeking for the Lord?  Are you trying to go and knock on His door? 

So, why aren’t people walking or running to the house of God?

I believe we saw the answer to that question in my sermon last week.  There are many people skipping past God’s house because the devil is doing everything he can to trick people into staying away.  The devil will lie about God’s house and speak of it in a manner to where none would desire to ever pay God a visit.

To those that believe, we saw that the devil will twist the word of God in such a way to hinder the child of God from visiting the Lord.  To those of no faith, Satan will tell them that he has all of the good candy while God has nothing but raisins and vegetables.  In other words, the devil is enticing those of the world by saying his treats are better than God’s treats.  Let’s take a look at the main treat that the devil is enticing people with.

The devil’s bag of worms 

Again, in his temptation of Jesus, we are shown that the devil took Jesus up exceedingly high on a mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me (Matt 4:8-9).”  The devil was enticing Jesus with the world and its riches as his big treat.

Now, there are some people that believe the world to be the sweetest and best treat that they could ever receive.  There are people that thirst, hunger, and lust for the riches of this world.  Yet, what I know and what the devil certainly knows as well is that this world is temporary – meaning that it’s not valuable at all.  Jesus even tells us plainly not to value this world nor lay up for ourselves treasure in this world because the treasure will either be stolen, rust, or be destroyed (Matt. 6:19).

Jesus was letting us know that this world – the devil’s treasure – is going to perish.  We see in the book of Revelation that this world will pass away when God brings forth a new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1).  Again, the devil knows that the treat that he’s offering is nothing but a bag of rocks and a bag of worms and does not mind to keep offering it as if it is gold.  So, again, I feel I must let all of you know this information so that you don’t pass by the house that truly has the treats for the other house that has nothing good.

Treats for Enduring the Tricks of the Devil

While Satan lies and deceives about the house of God, Jesus offers the truth of God’s house.

Jesus tells us to lay up our treasures in heaven because heaven cannot be taken away nor can it be destroyed (Matt. 6:20).  While the devil is busy lying and deceiving, and hindering the world from paying God’s house a visit by saying heaven is a figment of our imagination, Jesus tells us it’s very real.  Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you (John 14:2).”  Jesus then tells us that He knows the way to heaven and that He will take us there to dwell eternally (John 14:3, 6).     

I believe the devil knows for certain that the Lord and His house will live on forever and that he will have no part in it, which is why he works so hard to deceive the world.  To all of those that desire the treats of God, we must not allow ourselves to be enticed by Satan; we cannot fall for the devil’s tricks.  Why must we endure the devil’s tricks?  What is the benefit to those who resist the devil?  

We must endure

We will see the benefit to resisting and withstanding the tricks of the devil in my key verse for today’s message.  In our key verse, James writes that when we endure the temptations of the devil, we are blessed (spiritually happy).  There are treats (blessings) for us to receive from the Lord.

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

KEY VERSE – JAMES 1:12 NKJV

Now, this statement from James is not a statement of his own, but one that Jesus had taught His closest disciples on the mount as it is recorded in the gospels.  Jesus preached, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven (Matt. 5:11-12).”  There are rewards (treats) for enduring the temptation and wiles of the devil.

God’s love and mercy

The first of the treats that I want to mention here today is told to us throughout scripture, but I want to reference a verse from John’s first epistle.  In his first letter, John writes of this treat from the Lord, “If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).”  God is faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  

When you are not enticed to stay away from the Lord’s house by the devil, but instead go and knock on His door, one of the treats that you will receive from God is His love and mercy.  There is nothing false about the Lord’s love – God is the definition of love.  In the Lord’s love, we see that this treat is God lifting the heavy weight of the guilt of our sins from off of our shoulders!  In other words, He takes our sins and burdens away from us!  

When David spoke of this treat, he said, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit (Ps. 32:1-2).”  God’s treats truly are things that will make you free and happy in your soul.  

So many people overlook the truly sweet treat that is forgiveness because many people have been blinded by the devil to the fact that they are in need of God’s forgiveness and mercy.  There are so many who actually feel the weight of the wrongs that they have done but because they have been blinded by the devil, they don’t take these feelings to the Lord.  Many feel they can do nothing about this heavy weight so they try to carry that heavy load by themselves and do nothing but add on more weight and more burdens.  

So, while the devil is so busy offering the riches of the world, ask yourself, when has he ever offered to lift the weight of the guilt of sin from off of anybody’s shoulders?  Never.  All that the devil has to offer is a world that will do nothing but add more weight and burdens to our shoulders.  Are you sure you want to be going to the devil’s house for a treat of more guilt and more burdens to carry around on your shoulders?  That would be a “no thank you” from me.

Highly favored with good and perfect gifts

Again, I tell you, God has treats (blessings) to give to us.  When you are not enticed to stay away from the Lord’s house but go and knock on His door, there is another treat that the Lord wants you to have.  James writes of this treat to us and we will see that this treat is God’s favor in giving good and perfect gifts to those that come knocking at His door.  You see, God wants to give you His good gifts at all times – liberally.  

James wrote that God is a liberal giver and will give to us liberally without reproach (Jas. 1:5).  He then said, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (Jas. 1:17).”  Let me make this clear to you – every good gift you have ever received came from the Lord!

Just count the ways that the Lord has blessed you today:  we got to see the light of another day, whether it is sunny, cloudy, or raining.  We have our health, our strength, and are in our right mind.  We take these good gifts from God for granted, but I can assure you that the devil couldn’t care less about you having your health, strength, and seeing the light of another day.

You will recall that last week I said that the devil studies you intently, like a chess master, with the frame of mind on how he can best attack you.  Then there’s God who, on the other hand, knows your downsitting and uprising, just as David said; The Lord knows and understands your thoughts afar off (Ps. 139:2).  God has no intentions of attacking you but what He does intend is to give you His perfect and unique gifts that He has crafted just for you.  You will know and recognize when the Lord has blessed you with His perfect gifts.

In the book of Isaiah, scripture proclaims of God, “The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail (Is. 58:11).”  One of the greatest treats of God that so many of us do not realize we enjoy is how His good and perfect gifts constantly strengthens and satisfies us in our soul.  I want you to understand today that it truly is a treat that God is faithful to us, loves, and that we are favored in His eyes.  Our soul is well taken care of and that truly is a special treat.

God’s Great Treat for Us

James then tells us of the great treat that we will receive when we have endured and overcome the temptations of the devil.

James writes again in my key verse, that when we are approved by God, there is a reward of the crown of life that will be given to all of those that love the Lord.  I tell you today that with each treat from the Lord keeps getting better and better.  There is no greater treat that you and I can receive than that of the crown of life.  This treat is so special that Jesus came teaching, preaching, and inviting people to come to God’s house to receive it!    

And to think, the devil is sitting here offering a temporary world for his big treat and God is offering an eternal life of peace and joy as His big treat.  Now, you tell me, which sounds like the better treat?  Again, you will never see Satan offer forgiveness to anybody and you will never see the devil promise an eternal life of peace and joy.  The reason being is because he is simply incapable of offering peace and joy because peace and joy are not in him.

Strictly focused on the treats of God

I want you to know and understand today that the crown of life is truly a one of a kind treat and that we ought to greatly desire it.  We should be like Charlie in the Willy Wonka movie and how he badly desired that golden ticket!  Do you wake up in the morning desiring the great treat of God which is heaven? Do you go to sleep at night desiring the good treat? Do you live each and every day craving and desiring the sweet treat of heaven? We should want the crown of life and I feel I must ask today, do you desire the crown of life?  Do you desire this treat from the Lord?

In scripture, Paul had a very great desire for the crown of life that he wrote about to the Corinthians.  Paul said that athletes compete for a crown that is perishable but he and those of the faith like him out to desire the crown that is imperishable – the crown of life.  We will see in his first letter to the Corinthians how Paul lived his life to ensure that he would receive the crown of life.

Paul stated that he ran his race of faith in a manner that he was temperate in all things so that he could receive the crown.  What Paul meant is that he was strict and disciplined in his run so as not to be distracted or have his eyes taken off of the reward.  So, Paul ran his race to the reward in a manner where he would not allow the devil’s temptations to deter or hinder him from the reward (1 Cor. 9:25-26).  We, the true believers, should go to God’s house to get this great treat in a manner where we do not allow the devil to hinder and keep us away from it.

Trick or treat?  Do you desire the false treats of the devil or will you go to God’s house for the tasty treats that He has for you?  Where so many people are being blinded by the devil and the false treats that he offers, let us not fall for his tricks – let us not be distracted.  Don’t pay the devil any attention!  We have overcome the devil through Christ so let us look beyond him to the prize that is at hand.

Let us be strict (disciplined) in our faith and keep our focus and attention on the Lord.  Let us get up and run to God’s house without being hindered!  If you are not yet of the faith, I encourage you to ignore the false signs and whispers from the devil, and go to God’s house; knock on that door and enjoy the treats of the Lord.

Thought: The Good Treats of God

By Rev. Leo H. McCrary II – October 31, 2021
Responsive Reading – James 1:12-25
Key Verse – James 1:12