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Deliver Us

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Prayer - I hope you have been praying. Truly, one of the marks of a Christian is that we are praying people. Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray, and for the past several weeks during the season of Lent, we’ve been studying the Lord’s Prayer and my hope as your pastor we’ve learning to pray through it and pray seeking God first.
This week we come to the final verse of that prayer, Matt. 6:13
Matthew 6:13 ESV
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
There are to key pairings I want to focus on within this verse in our time this morning. The first pairing - the two words that likely stand out to most of us, temptation and evil.
Matthew 6:13 ESV
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
TEMPTATION - we are all tempted all the time, we’re tempted to eat one more donut, or have that second helping; we’re tempted when we find say a $20 bill to simply pocket it and not tell anyone; we’re tempted to blur the lines on our taxes; we’re tempted to share that juicy morsel of gossip or perhaps to break a confidence and share something someone told you and asked you not to share.
So the obvious question here would be, why would I need to ask God not to lead me into temptation? These things aren’t godly at all.
James 1:13 ESV
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
James goes on to tell us that these temptations to sin arise from within, from our own sinful desire. And the evil one, Satan, may also send temptations our way.
The sense of the language here does not have to do with God leading us to temptation, but perhaps a better translation into our modern English might be “Do not lead us into the place of testing.” Jesus is encouraging us to pray that God the Father will not lead us into a place where our faith might be tested or our obedience tested. He no doubt understood the weight that such tests could have.
Think back if you will to the testing of Abraham in Genesis 22, when he was called upon to take the promise God had fulfilled in Isaac, and to go sacrifice him on the mountain God would guide him to. Or as we are in the season of Lent, and every thing points to the cross, imagine Jesus praying in the garden.
Matthew 26:39 ESV
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Jesus fully understood what testing, and temptation were about.
Going on to the second word in our pairing
Matthew 6:13 ESV
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
EVIL: Deliver us from evil. Scholars agree that the simple understanding of this is not accurate. People have all kinds of ideas about what is evil and what isn’t. A more accurate translation would be “deliver us from the evil one.”
There are many linguistic indicators in the Greek that make this a more accurate reading that I won’t go in to here. Simply put, Jesus when he teaches us to pray, “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” He is not only teaching us to pray for deliverance from testing, but to also seek protection from Satan.
We don’t talk much about Satan in presbyterian circles, but the one deemed the evil one, the tempter, the great deceiver, the devil…whatever you might call him, we are told that he is real and that we ought to pray that we would be protected from the Devil’s attacks. Satan will always try and entice us to sin or to destroy our confidence in our Savior by accusing us of our failures and our imperfections.
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church gives us a bit of a promise:
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
You may be tempted in a hundred different ways, but there is no temptation that has overtaken you that is not common to all humankind. Looking further, God is faithful! God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Here’s the point - without God you will not be able to stand up under the temptation. There is always, always, always, a way to respond that does not violate God’s moral laws.
Back to our verse for this morning:
Matthew 6:13 ESV
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
I want to focus on another pairing as we finish our time together.
Matthew 6:13 ESV
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
LEAD - This is so key to our lives as Christians. WHO has the lead in your life? We ask God to “Lead us not” into temptation. But we also need to ask God to lead us in the way of righteousness. How does God do that?
By our listening to Him
By our believing in Him
By our obeying Him.
It really does us no good to call ourselves Christians if we are not going to follow God’s laws as Jesus commanded us.
Matthew 5:17–18 ESV
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
He goes on:
Matthew 5:19 ESV
Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
And finally, the last word I wanted to focus on in our pairing:
Matthew 6:13 ESV
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
DELIVER: God protects, God delivers us from Satan.
God provides the way for us to stand up against his onslaughts. But it is God who does it, not our courage, not our knowledge, not our religious acts, not our charity, - God.
Throughout this prayer, if there is anything I hope that has stood out, this is more about God than it is about us. As we pray this prayer it’s about surrendering and turning our lives over to God.
We begin with God - Our Father in Heaven
We reflect on God’s holiness - Hallowed be your name
We recognize God’s rule - Your kingdom come
We submit to God’s will - Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
We depend on God’s provision daily - Give us this day our daily bread
We seek God’s mercy - forgive us our debts
We commit to following God’s example - as we have forgiven our debtors.
We ask God for mercy - lead us not into temptation
We trust in God’s protection - deliver us from the evil one
This is Jesus’ University of Prayer. Let us consider ourselves educated, and now let us put it into practice.
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