“Asking the Father for Help with Temptations”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Matthew 6.13
Matthew 6. When I was a boy, I went fishing with my aunt Estelle and my cousin Leslie at my grandmother’s dugout. It was a hot and humid Illinois afternoon. We were fishing for some time and hadn’t caught anything! That is… before we reached that little corner of the pond, that fateful afternoon.
We [*swing around*] swung around to that little corner of the pond [*here no here*]. … and back then, so you know, I was a pretty inexperienced fisherman …not that anything has changed much… but my aunt was the one who headed up this expedition.
And my aunt threw her hook in, all baited with a worm and then…she caught a fish!
So, I decide to I threw my hook in. Zrrrr…. [*tongue click*]. Waiting… Look there, underneath the water, there… observing my little hook, is an equally tiny blue gill. Quite a feast for such a little thing … there it is , thinking, studying it…not thinking of the consequences… and [*clap*]!
At my Aunt’s direction, before we knew it, we were just reeling in all these little tiny, 4-6 inch blue gills. And some were caught without any bait, at all! As I look back however…they would have been better for bait then for eating. We must have had 20 or 30 of them. But my aunt ended up keeping all of these midget blue gill and preparing them.
Those fish had natural desires that got them into trouble. That’s similar to what our desires can do to us. Easily tempted. Does Satan even need to put bait on the hook? How easily we would stray from our gracious Father apart from His help…Our strong desires mix with our sin natures and like that fish…under right provocation, [*clap*] we take the bait and sin against God.
We’re studying the Sermon on the Mount, and we’ve reached the final request of the Lord’s prayer.
Matthew 6:13 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ ]
And that last section isn’t in the earliest and best copies of the New Testament and so that’s why there is a bracket around it in many of our Bibles this morning. That tells us it is unlikely a part of Matthew’s original writing. The ESV doesn’t even include that phrase for that reason.
This request, “do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” is another request of dependence on the Lord. The last 3 requests of the Lord’s prayer each concern our needs. The first three concern our heavenly Father’s honour, His kingdom, and His will. Of the last three requests, 1 concerned our physical needs but 2 concern our spiritual needs, specifically, our sin. Of those two, one concerns what to do after we have sinned … “forgive us our debts.” And the last request about our sin concerns preventing us from sinning, “do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil.”
It is important that we ask for this; otherwise, the Lord Jesus wouldn’t teach us to pray it. But I would venture to guess that this is the least of the last 3 requests that are prayed! It concerns you not sinning when provoked. It’s about your growth in Christ. Do you pray for your growth in Christ…or better, our growth in Christ? Do not lead “us” Jesus instructs. Are you praying for yours and others spiritual success?
NEED: You have and you will experience almost…almost overwhelming temptations in your life. And I fear at least some of you are playing at the Christian life and you see that hook and you’re looking at it like it’s no big deal…
Perhaps you’re looking at the hook of adultery or the hook of stealing or all the hooks that are at your computer or workplace, and you’re seriously contemplating taking the bait…
You might say, “Pastor you’re always talking about sin…Come on, cut us some slack, what is a white lie, really? I mean it’s just a little anger every now and then…or … worrying…it’s just something I’m prone to do…I complain regularly, but doesn’t everybody?”
Like Eve when she was tempted. “I mean, it is just a piece of fruit! Disobeying God can’t be that big of a deal, can it?” How many tsunamis and earthquakes and murders and rapes and forest fires and wars and genocides and mass shootings do you need to convince you that eating that piece of fruit was a really bad idea?
It’s not different with you! Sin didn’t get any better after Eve sinned. Proverbs 6:27 “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?”
God is holy and righteous, perfect in every way, He is a righteous judge who has indignation everyday, one with infinite power… … what has dulled our senses so much that lost people and most Christians don’t think that sinning is a big deal?
ANS: Humanity’s rebellion suppresses truth in the heart.
Sin is bad and it’s a big deal! And you need to avoid it, as they say, like the plague! And sin is the plague of all plagues!
I trust today will be some help to you to avoid sin and temptation like the plague…The request is that our Father not lead us into temptation…so we’re going to discuss briefly that God leads us and then we’ll talk about asking God not to lead us into certain situations and then finally and briefly that the Lord would keep us from sinning.
God leads us
God lead us every day
“Do not lead us into temptation” we’re taught to pray. God does lead us. We’re to ask that He does…We’re to request that He lead us…
Psalm 25:4–5 4 Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. 5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.” Request His leading…
He’s ready to give it..
James 1:5 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
He’s ready to give you leading if you trust in him…
Proverbs 3:5–6 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
And if we do, we can have confidence that He will guide us…
Psalm 139:9–10 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
TRANS: You say, “Well, sounds peachy-keen and like a bed of roses to me…guess I won’t ever experience any hardship, like you know… temptation to sin, then…” Sure, I guess we can all go home now! =)
Now, wait a second…God leads us all the time, and He can guide us into certain unpleasant situations.
Proverbs 16:9 9 The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
And if that mind of yours is proud…
Proverbs 16:18 18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
Unpleasant… And there are other situations and in those situations we are tempted, enticed to sin… and God lead us into that situation!
It’s like when you have to go to the store and buy some groceries and that raunchy checkout aisle…or it’s like when your children are acting up again and you’ve had a long day … it’s not like the Lord is not leading you to go home to be with your family, right? He’s leading you to go home and He knows there will be temptation there.
But you’re not alone, God lead Jesus into temptation.
God leads His people into temptation
God lead Jesus into temptation
Turn to Matthew 4:1. God lead Jesus into many situations. And in this situation in Matthew 4 are temptations. Jesus was tempted. And Matthew 4:1 tells us specifically that the Holy Spirit was leading him the whole time.
Matthew 4:1 1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
And then the devil attempts to entice Jesus to sin with 3 temptations.
Why did the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness? Look at the verse, what does it say? The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. That’s why the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, specifically for temptation. But who is doing the tempting? Is it God? No, it’s the devil. But who led Jesus into that place where that would happen? The Holy Spirit. Jesus was led by the Spirit into that place for this express purpose…to be tempted by Satan.
God lead Jesus into that situation. In that situation were those temptations.
God leads us into temptation
That’s the same with you. In the perfect will of God, God can lead you into places where there will be temptations. Like going back home to be with your family. But let’s be clear: God himself doesn’t do the tempting. But He can lead you into places where there are temptations.
If you turn to James 1, you’ll see that God doesn’t do the tempting. We’re going to camp out on James 1 for a while here… God leads us but He doesn’t tempt us…
He doesn’t tempt us
TRANS: You say, “But isn’t God in control of every circumstance?” That He is.
You say, “But how can God not be the blame for me being tempted to sin?” Not a bad question, one which we entertained at our house just the other day. God, by His sovereign decree, permits evil to be at work. God is never the immediate cause of sin or temptation; He’s not the author of your temptations and He never created sin. However, as the Sovereign over the whole universe, He is permitting evil to run its course, but He Himself is not the author of it.
James 1:13 touches on this very thing…
James 1:13 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
The source of your temptations is not God! God does not tempt anyone. You are commanded not to say that He is tempting you, that He’s trying to get you to sin. That’s never true!
God leads into temptation
God doesn’t tempt, but what does He do? God leads us into situations. And in those situations are temptations. Or God leads us into trials and through those trials, because of our sinful desires, we are tempted.
In the perfect gracious providence of God, you may find yourself being tempted, being enticed to sin. You are not sinning if you are tempted and you are not out of God’s will if you are tempted.
You know what, I’m in this trial and that trial, you know what… “I deserve a little pleasure today” and you’re failing to trust God and you’re discontent and then you go and do/say/think things you ought not do… or … You don’t do things you know you should do: like read your Bible, lead your family in family devotions, or participate in Jesus’ mission of making you into a disciple or of making disciples… It’s greatly tempting not to do that.
God doesn’t tempt, but he does lead us into situations in which we are tempted. And James continues and He says that God cannot be tempted by evil and He doesn’t tempt anyone.
TRANS: Well, if God is not the source of our temptations, then what is? The source of your temptation, verse 14, is your own evil desires.
The source of our temptation is our own evil desires (1:14)
James 1:14 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
When are you tempted? When are you enticed to sin? When you are carried away and enticed by your own lust. Your own lust…that is, your own evil desires carry you away and they entice you.
Your own evil desires are yours. They are unique.
Your own lust or your own evil desire…, but all evil desires…you have your own evil desires.
ILL: No one has exactly your set of evil desires and sinful tendencies. You know, certain bugs are attracted to bug zappers and some aren’t. Some are attracted to apple cider vinegar and sugar and some aren’t.
One year, with our old wood deck, we got fed up with all the flies and we ingeniously redesigned a 2 litre bottle and filled it with apple cider vinegar and sugar. In full anticipation of catching every last fly on our property, we placed it right outside on the deck … and waited and waited and in the morning….
There were many flies…well, some…well, actually just like 3 or 4 who were enticed by that and were carried away and they fell for it and died in that deviously sweet mixture.
Some got it; others didn’t. That’s the same with you. Your set of temptations are unique. You might be overly attracted to women’s handbags and be more tempted to shoplift one. Your phone or your computer can be a great temptation The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are all available at your fingertips. If that thing is a source of temptation for you, you need to do something about that.
ILL: The closer the burning match is to gasoline, the more likely you’ll have an explosion.
Your electronic devices are gasoline and your heart the flame. How close are they?
APP: Have you done anything with your well known sources temptations? What are your sources of temptations? James 1:14 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Do you know your desires?
Get some accountability… and get the help of any of us here to help you through your temptations.
Pride, your appearance, comfort, ease, wealth, stuff, health, technology, all of these are avenues that Satan uses to strike you down.
You may have natural desires for food, water, air, and intimacy but many other desires are learned.
You may prefer certain kinds of music or clothing, or you may imagine yourself driving a Ford F-1 … hundred thousand fifty in all it’s glory! If you think about all the standard features: like cupholders … but man…all those additions you can add to it … crewcab, power adjustable pedals, rearview camera, reverse sensing system, remote start, satellite radio, and 6 way power, luxury cloth seats…. and man…oh… boy, you could get used to that! …this or that house, man toys for your man cave… and before you know if you’re wrapped up in this world with little if any heart for Him, just going through the motions at church.
Find your pleasure in Him!
TRANS: Your temptations are intense! Aren’t they? You know it! The evil desire…or extreme lack of desire for good…it can be greatly discouraging to experience temptations. And to be rescued is going to take a habitual asking of the Lord “do not lead me into temptation!”
Asking God not to lead us into temptation
And draw near to God on that note…on that note, practice drawing near to God and crying out to him.
If you are going through severe temptations, you need to do that! Are you struggling with what even the world says is wrong? The unchurched people are saying what you’re doing is wrong…Christ can rescue you! Draw near to Him, practice praying what Jesus says to pray!
And know you’re not the only one….1 Corinthians 10:13 13 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, so that you will be able to endure it.
In your temptations to worry or anger or fear, you need to realize God is faithful…. He limits the temptations to your grace-empowered abilities, and He provides a way of escape so that you can endure it without sinning. Pray as our Lord instructed!
He hasn’t taught us to pray so that we don’t change our prayer life! Address Him as your Father all the way down to praying to be rescued from evil.
Or pray this, same idea is in Psalm 141:4 4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice deeds of wickedness with men who do iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies.
And pray, “Make me like Christ!” If you have a diligence about you to turn, to utterly and dramatically turn from the delicacies of this world…you’ll begin by God’s grace to have a resolve for righteous living.
“Don’t lead us into temptation…” but do lead us into righteousness! Lead me, O my Father, into the righteous paths You’ve created in my heart. How I long to have a heart that pleases you.
And what redeemed Christian would pray for years and years… “My Father, do not lead me into temptation” …and then after years of genuinely praying this, He then runs into temptation!? If there is no guile or deceit in you, if you pray this genuinely, will not the Holy Spirit mold you into this prayer and you’ll find yourself rescued more often from even the presence of temptation?
TRANS: But we know, the Lord can lead us into temptation if He so chooses. And so we pray… “Father, if not, at least keep us from sinning…”
Asking God to be delivered from sinning
Matthew 6:13 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but [if not at least] deliver us from evil.
If I have to be tempted today, at least deliver me from evil, or, it could be from the evil one, meaning Satan.
Because what we do know, if we look at your life from the perspective of eternity or if we could pull up the shade and look into your spiritual life, we would find a great need for you to…
1 Peter 5:8 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
And that someone has been you! Sin has been crouching at the door your whole life…it’s been desiring to dominate you… and have you been on the alert or have you been devoured?
I think if we were all honest this morning, we’d be able to say that we’ve not been…we’ve had far too many lazy times, basking in the goodness of God’s material provisions in our life, failing to regularly be alarmed that we might choose sin today!.. Today!
“Lord God of glory, do not lead me into temptation today; deliver me from evil!”
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Matthew 6.13
Praying this shows your dependence on Him. Perhaps the reason we don’t pray this as we should is because we’re not dependent on Him and we’re proud and our sin hasn’t humbled us enough. How many pastors and church leaders who have been placed in places of high office have fallen into some great sin. I wonder, if you would ask them, if they also prayed to be delivered from evil? No, invariable, no they wouldn’t have.
We’re instructed to pray it because the Lord desires to answer it! Will He not answer it, if we mold our hearts to His teaching in this prayer?
When tempted, you need some ways of escape! I intend to give you 7 ways of escaping temptation…
WAYS OF ESCAPE
1. You need to realize what constant danger you are in! Sin is crouching at the door, Satan roaring like a lion… constant danger of sinning against our holy and righteous Father, who gave His son to die…. Realize your constant danger…
ILL: I discovered a nice-sized wasp nest in the grass just off our property the other day, right where we like to pick raspberries. I went to go and do them in, spraying them, and pictchforking them…but whenever I would simply hear the sound of a wasp buzzing, it would make me run!
I wish I had more of that response when it came to temptation…like Joseph when Potiphar’s wife tempted him, he literally ran. Sometimes, that is the best way of escape! But you won’t escape if you don’t realize you’re in danger and that sin is truly bad. Know that, your Father says it.
2. Be on guard concerning your desires. What you want… From the youngest to the oldest, we all have our desires, our wants. Sometimes they are strong and when they aren’t met… just ask our 1 year old Paxton what happens when his desires aren’t met… you need to be careful, as we say in our house, you need to be careful about what your little wanter is wanting! Watch out for the desires in your heart, desires from the world, from your flesh, and pride of life.
3. Study in the Scripture your temptation and besetting sin and study the opposite. If you are tempted with worry or material possessions, study that in the Scripture to get God’s mind on it. Then study the opposite of that, whatever good behavior should replace, say covetousness … namely, desiring the Lord, being content with such things as you have, for He said He would never leave you, Heb. 13:5. Study the sin and study what should replace that sin, it’s spiritual opposite.
4. If possible, some temptations are best fought in the presence of other people. Try to avoid being alone during certain temptations. Eve lost the battle when her husband wasn’t near.
5. Avoid laziness and inactivity. The deer that sits still is easily shot. The devil knows how to lure the lazy, inactive mind into temptation.
6. Be careful what you believe. If you believe God is keeping something good from you, you’ll fail to believe God, that’ll lead to discontent, which will result in you being angry, lust-filled, or anxious. In those moments when you are tempted, be careful to trust what God says… believe His words about the temptation you’re going through. Young people, when you’re parents tell you to do something and you don’t want to do it, you’re tempted to complain. You’ve just failed to believe God that He himself gave your parents to you as your authority. It is good to do what they want you to do!
And I can’t emphasize enough: (7) Use His words as the swords that they are and battle and fight…and pray! Pray the Word of God…pray at all times in the Spirit, be watchful, alert, and plead with the Lord not to lead you into temptation and ask Him to deliver you from evil…from sinning against Him.
And when you’re tempted, know that Jesus is near, and sympathetic.
Hebrews 4:15–16 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. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
He himself has conquered Satan and his temptations. He went determinedly to the cross to pay the penalty for all those times when you’ve failed to resist a temptation. Be comforted. He has overcome, so that by simply trusting Him, for all eternity, He has made you too be an overcomer; all your sin on Jesus has been laid, the price entirely paid.
We need His comfort; we need His support, we need Him all the time, at every hour in order to turn from sin. Let’s express that sentiment to the Lord with number 526. stanza 2.