Skip to main content
Genesis 39:7-20

When Tempatation Comes Knocking

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • September 11, 2022

We live in a world filled with temptations and no one is exempt from being exposed. Yet, as followers of Jesus Christ, the Bible declares that we can have victory over temptation because Jesus is our victory. This means that we don’t have to be slaves to sin any longer. So how can Christ’s victory become a reality in our lives?

We will discover life-changing principles from the Bible whenever temptation comes knocking, by looking at the example of Joseph. In Genesis 39, we will discover three tactics used by the enemy of our souls, Satan, to defeat us. We will also discover how Joseph was victorious against all three of Satan’s tactics.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

When Temptation Comes Knocking
Genesis 39:7-20                                     

September 11, 2022

Matthew 10:16, Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

  1. We live in a world filled with temptations and no one is exempt from being exposed.
  2. Yet, as disciples of Jesus Christ, the Bible declares that Jesus is our victory against temptation.
  3. This means we do not have to be defeated by temptation and the sin that results any longer.
  4. Nevertheless, many Christians feel defeated by temptation and overcome by sin.
  5. So how can Christ’s victory become our reality?
  6. Tonight, we will discover temptation-defeating principles from the Bible by looking at the example of Joseph.
  7. In Genesis 39, we will discover three tactics used by Satan, to defeat us.
  8. Then we will also discover how Joseph was victorious against each of Satan’s tactics.
  9. As Christians, we do have an answer When Temptation Comes Knocking.

Genesis 39:7-20


  1. Joseph was his father’s favorite son. Jacob had twelve sons but confirmed his favoritism when he gave Joseph a special multi-colored coat.
  2. Jacob’s favoritism caused his other sons to feel bitter towards Joseph.
  3. In fact, ten of the brothers despised Joseph so much that they sold him into slavery.
  4. He was taken to Egypt and bought by Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials.
  5. Joseph had been betrayed by his own flesh and blood. It appeared that his life of favor was over.
  6. It would have been so easy for Joseph to harbor unforgiveness, bitterness, and even thoughts of revenge.
  7. It would have been so easy for Joseph to give in to temptation, abandon his faith in God, and live a sin-filled life because, from a human perspective, it appeared that God had left him.
  8. But Joseph did not do any of those things.
  9. Joseph rose above it all and ultimately became an example for how to respond to temptation when it comes knocking.

Transition – Let’s look at the first tactic the enemy use to tempt Joseph. . .  

I. Tactic 1: The “Roaring Lion” (7-9)
A. Temptation: “Lie with me” (7)

  1. Potiphar’s wife “looked with desire at Joseph.” Why?
    a. God’s favor was on Joseph so his master, Potiphar, put everything under his charge. (5)
    b. Joseph was like his mother, Rachel, “handsome in form and appearance.” (6)
  2. Now, Egyptian women were known for their promiscuity.
    a. Potiphar’s wife was no exception to this rule.
    b. She literally commanded Joseph to commit adultery with her.

APPL – Don’t be surprised when the devil ‘gets in your face’ and tempts you.

  • There are times, as we will see later in our study, when temptation is subtle.
  • But there are times when temptation is an all-out assault.

1 Peter 5:8, Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion,

seeking someone to devour.

  • We better know the right answer when temptation comes knocking.

APPL – 1 John 2:16 reveals that there are three categories of temptation, where the devil seeks to exploit an area of weakness.

1 John 2:16, For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

  • Category One: “Lust of the Flesh”
  • Category Two: “Lust of the Eyes”
  • Category Three: “Boastful Pride of Life”
  • These are the three ports of entry through which temptation comes into our lives.

APPL – Any discussion concerning temptation requires a point of clarification. To be clear, temptation is not sin.

  • Jesus Christ was tempted as we are.
  • But Jesus Christ never sinned.

Hebrews 4:15, For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

  • Therefore, temptation is not sin.

APPL – Temptation becomes sin when we act on the temptation.

James 1:14-15, But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has

conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

Transition – What did Joseph do when Potiphar’s wife came at him like a roaring lion?

B. Response: Expose Evil with the Light (8-9)

  1. Joseph’s response to Potiphar’s wife is profound and powerful.
  2. Joseph exposed the evil of her temptation with the light of truth, asking Potiphar’s wife, “How then could I?”
    a. Joseph told her that he had been elevated to a position of authority, but he rightly recognized it was authority with boundaries.
    b. Joseph also observed that he had been elevated to a position of authority because he had been faithful to God and to her husband, Potiphar, so how could he violate a sacred trust.
    c. Joseph reminded Potiphar’s wife that she was married and off-limits.
    d. Joseph called her adulterous temptation a “great evil.”
    e. Finally, Joseph said her temptation, if acted upon, would be a “sin against God.” Why? Because. . .
    • All sin is against God, who is holy.
    • All sin is an assault against God’s sovereign authority over our lives.
    • All sin is an attack against God’s holy standard for mankind.
    • Therefore, all sin is against God Himself.

Psalm 51:4, Against You, You only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak, and blameless when You judge.

  1. Instead of being flattered and enticed by her seductive invitation, Joseph turned on the light of God’s truth and called her temptation out for what it was, a “great evil” and “sin against God.”

APPL – The Apostle Paul commands us to follow Joseph’s example and expose the deeds of darkness with the light.

Ephesians 5:11-13, Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.

Transition – Joseph 1 – Satan 0.

  • But the devil does not give up easy.
  • If the “Roaring Lion” tactic does not work, he will try something else.
    The second tactic used by the devil to tempt Joseph was. . .

II. Tactic 2: The “Wear-Down” (10)
A. Temptation: “Day after day”

  1. Whenever Joseph entered the house, Potiphar’s wife was there.
    a. She would get herself all ‘dolled up’, hoping Joseph would say, “Yes.”
    b. Keep in mind, Joseph probably had to take orders from her when Potiphar was gone so it would have been difficult to avoid her.
    c.It is also reasonable to assume that the nature of Potiphar’s work frequently took him away.
  2. Day after day after day she tried to wear Joseph down until she got what she wanted. Likely, she told Joseph. . .
    a. “I don’t love Potiphar anymore.”
    b. “Potiphar does not meet my needs.”
    c. “I’m lonely. Just lay down next to me for a moment.”

APPL – The “Wear-Down” begins with the planting of a seed, often just a thought.

  • “It’s Friday and I don’t want to be alone.”
  • “It’s been a long week, and no one is home.”
  • “It’s okay to look, just don’t touch.”
  • “Just another look” or “Just another text.”

Proverbs 6:27-28, Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Or can a man walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?

APPL – Here are some questions to answer before the devil uses the “Wear-Down” tactic against you:

  • Is there a time of day when it’s more difficult for you to resist temptation?
  • Is it harder for you to resist temptation when you’re alone or with a “certain” someone?
  • When and/or where are you more likely to stumble?
  • What typically precedes a failure (pattern)?

Transition – In order to be victorious, we must know the answers to these questions and prayerfully remain alert. Notice the two choices that Joseph made to defeat the “Wear-Down” tactic.
B. Choice 1: Joseph “did not listen to her”

  1. Joseph heard what she was saying.
  2. But Joseph would not let her words sink into his soul.
  3. He would not dwell on her invitations or replay her enticements in his mind.

APPL – There are some practical things that we can do daily to prepare our hearts and minds for victory over the “Wear-Down” tactic:

  • We must pray proactively.

Mathew 6:13, And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

  • We must be diligent to guard our hearts and minds.

Proverbs 4:23, Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.

  • We must take our thoughts captive. 

2 Corinthians 10:5, and we are taking captive every thought to the obedience of Christ

ILLUS – Satan with a can of spray paint
C. Choice 2: He would not “be with her”

  1. Joseph exercised great care and wisdom.
  2. He knew that Potiphar’s wife was fire.
  3. Joseph also knew that he would get burned by repeated exposure because it would weaken his resolve.

ILLUS – Samson thought he could handle repeated exposure to Delilah, but he could not. He is not alone.

APPL – Whatever your struggle, whether it is the Internet, gossip, lust, drinking, gambling, or drugs; walk wisely and avoid repeated exposure.

  • Like Joseph, we have a choice.
  • Make no provision for our fleshly lusts.

Romans 13:13-14, Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Transition – Joseph 2 – Satan 0. But even after we have said “No”, or have taken our thoughts captive, or have avoided exposure to compromising situations, the devil still has one more trick up his sleeve. . .

III. Tactic 3: The “Trap” (11-20)
A. Temptation: “None of the men. . . was there inside”

  1. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
    a. Potiphar’s wife probably thought Joseph would give in if they were alone and there were no eyewitnesses.
    b. As the woman of the house, she had the authority to clear the house. So, she did.
  2. Nobody was watching. No one will know. What happens in Egypt, stays in Egypt.

APPL – Who are you when you think no one is watching?

  • Do you linger at a channel when the subject matter is not fit for redeemed eyes?
  • When traveling alone, do you visit places which will cause you to stumble?
  • At work, do you cheat your employer when he or she is not around?

APPL – The truth is, God is watching.

  • God knows.
  • As Pastor Jon Courson once said, “We need an awareness of God’s ‘thereness’.”

ILLUS – I find it interesting that so many people are concerned about their privacy on the Internet and the storing of personal information.

  • God is watching.
  • God sees and God knows.

Psalm 139:7, Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

Transition – Please notice how Joseph victoriously eluded the trap. . .
B. Action: Joseph “fled”

  1. Dangerous circumstances require decisive responses.
  2. Joseph did not try to reason with Potiphar’s wife.
  3. Joseph fled from her presence.

APPL – There is a great lesson for us here. . .

  • Flee, do not flirt with temptation.

2 Timothy 2:22, Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

  • You might be thinking, “Well, it’s been a long time since I was a youth.”
  • Then flee from the lusts that you have had since you were a youth.
  • Take God’s escape route.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13, Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

  • God is our Way of escape

Proverbs 18:10, The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.

  1. For Potiphar’s wife, her lust quickly turned to hatred and Joseph found himself suffering though innocent.

One Puritan preacher said, “Joseph may have lost his cloak, but he kept his character.”

Transition – Joseph 3 – Satan 0.


APPL – The best life is a holy life.

  • Jesus made victory over temptation possible for us, but we must apply these principles for His victory to be our reality.

James 4:7, Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

  • But you may be thinking that it is too late, I have made too many mistakes.
  • It is never too late for Jesus to set you free.
  • The Lord promised to cleanse us from all unrighteousness if we will confess our sins to Him.

1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  • Our God is the God of new beginnings.
  • Will you ask Jesus to make His victory your reality?

Genesis 39:7-20    NASB

7 It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” 8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. 9 There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” 10 As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her. 11 Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside. 12 She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside. 13 When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, 14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed. 15 When he heard that I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled and went outside.” 16 So she left his garment beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she spoke to him with these words, “The Hebrew slave, whom you brought to us, came in to me to make sport of me; 18 and as I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled outside.”
Joseph Imprisoned
19 Now when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, “This is what your slave did to me,” his anger burned. 20 So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail.

DonateLike this sermon?

If you enjoyed the sermon and would like to financially support our teaching ministry, we thank you in advance for partnering with us in sending forth the word.


We have a service in progress. Would you like to join our live stream? Join The Live Stream No Thanks