July 4, 2010

#21

Sermon on the mount

Temptations

Now, the sixth petition, & third personal petition, v. 13 (Luke 11:4): And lead us not into temptation...

The previous petition told the King's people to remove their guilt of sin by confessing and forsaking. This petition tells His people to ask for and depend on God's Providence to direct them away from conditions which would entice them into new sin.

This request shows us that part of avoiding sin is prayer.

Passages teaching Divine Providence are so common in the Old Testament that I will only give one:

Jeremiah 15:21 And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.

Here we see that a lot of avoiding temptation rests upon us, and upon prayer:

Lu 22:46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Notice this requests to be delivered from the evil of temptation is a request that the Lord, in His divine providence, would protect us from situations where we will be completely overcome by temptation.

Temptations in themselves are not evil; it is the yielding that is evil. Temptations, many times, are for our benefit and the glory of God:

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1 Pet 1:7.

This petition tells us to obey God's word, do the things that are pleasing in His sight and cast ourselves upon His Divine providence to keep us away from things which would lead us into sin that would overcome us. This petition does not permit us to go our own way, and expect God to lead us in a way of safety.

V. 13. Luke 11:4. Seventh petition & the fourth personal petition: but deliver us from evil.

This fourth personal petition is not a prayer for any kind of escape.

(Over the past 50 years, I have heard preachers encourage their people to pray that the rapture would take place soon because things were getting so difficult. Things will continue to get difficult until God's people decide to get involved in spreading the message of Righteousness for the King's sake. I can well remember a good number of years ago listening to the radio as we traveled, and the radio preachers talked about the soon-coming escape from the bad situations which have developed around us in society. Of course, such teaching is readily accepted because it relieves the listener from responsibility.)

But deliver us from evil... What did the Lord mean here?

But means contrast. The previous petition recognized that the Lord controls all things and circumstances of daily life. The previous petition cast the petitioner upon God's divine providence to direct them away from conditions which would entice them into new sin. This petition recognizes that we will not be completely delivered from sin. Thus, the plea here is for daily victory over evil, not for removal from the presence of evil.

But deliver us from evil is John 15:15 in action:

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

This is not a request to be taken out of trying and tempting situations; Christ Himself was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. This is a request for the daily grace and power of God to remain true to our profession of Christ, despite the surrounding evil.

The Old Testament gives the basis for the request, but deliver us from evil:

Ps 121:7, 8, The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Hebrews 11 records the Old Testament saints who were kept faithful to the Christian faith by the daily grace and power of God.

The Apostle Paul sums up Christ's words as found in John 15:15, in,

2 Timothy 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Clearly, the purpose of the work of the Son of God was to destroy the literal, physical power of sin from over the individual.

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Satan's power to destroy the child of God is broken in Christ. With Satan's power broken, the Child of God is delivered from the power evil, and the child of God is able to please God in every area of life.

But the promise of physical deliverance from the power of evil does not always work like we would like to think of deliverance. Peter was overcome with evil, but it was for his ultimate good that he deny the Lord at a critical point.

It is interesting both here in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, that the Lord does not deal with salvation. As we look at the 4 gospels, we find that our Lord only preached about 1 out of 50 messages on salvation.

The Lord's Sermon on the Mount does not interest many modern day "Christians." Christ made practical application of the law-word of God, as he emphasized both the responsibility and the results of a person fulfilling their Godly responsibility: persecution. No wonder people try to avoid Matthew 6, but they cannot avoid Luke 11.

Therefore, this seventh petition & the fourth personal petition is basically a request that the Lord would keep us enough from sin that we would not fall away permanently from Himself. It is not a request to live a trouble-free life.

Our desire and prayer should be that the Lord would keep us from sin enough that we can be effective servants for Him in this life.

1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.