Summary: 7th message in an 8 week series on the Lord’s Prayer. This one deals with the phrase: "Keep us from temptation and deliver us from the Evil One."
Can You Hear Me Now? Good! Week 7
“Improving Your Signal Strength”
MATTHEW 6:13 & 1 CORINTHIANS 10:13
Rick Warren tells of a Pastor in California that had to go into downtown Santa Ana for a meeting. He was late and ended up parking in a No Parking Zone. He wrote a note to "bribe" the cop and he put it under his windshield wiper. "I’ve circled this block ten times and I have to make this appointment or my heavenly Boss will be upset with me.. Remember..`Forgive us our sins.’" When he got back he found a ticket on his car and this note from a Police officer.. "I’ve circled this block for ten years. If I don’t give you a ticket, my earthly boss will be upset with me. Remember.. `Lead us not into temptation’"
Today we come to the 7th phrase in our study of the Lord’s prayer. And God may have left at the end of this prayer, the most significative and difficult request of them all. “Keep us from temptation and deliver us from the Evil One.” Is there anyone here that does not understand the need for that appeal? Temptation is the oldest problem on the planet, and we all have problems with it. For we all have weaknesses of the flesh, we all have dark areas we don’t keep under control. That’s the bad news. The good news is: God desires to assist us. He says, “I want to help you get control of your life. I want to teach you how you can handle and overcome temptation.”
In our wireless metaphor this petition represents the strong signal strength of God. He has promised that He will provide clarity for our minds and protection for our souls, that no person or thing will interrupt our connection with Him, except by our own invitation. So, let’s look at today at how God helps us handle temptation.
I. UNDERSTANDING THE PHRASE:
We begin, as we have each week, with understanding the context and language of this phrase. First, most of us learned this phrase by saying, “Lead us not into temptation...” But, that might prompt one who knows the Bible to ask, “Doesn’t Scripture say that God will never tempt us? If that’s true then why would He ever lead us into temptation?” It would be a good question because indeed the Bible does say God does not tempt us. James 1:13- “When someone is tempted, he shouldn’t say that God is tempting him. God can’t be tempted by evil, and God doesn’t tempt anyone.”(GW) So, what are we asking here? Let’s look at the context and language of the verse.
The phrase “Keep us away or Lead us not into..” can be translated “direct me around or away from temptation.” The word here paints the picture of a Father directing his child around some danger. Several years ago at a Promise Keepers conference, Dennis Rainey placed animal traps on stage. They were big ones too. Bear traps and even an African safari large animal trap that took two men to open. There were a dozen or so traps, and he set or opened them all. Then Dennis Rainey had a father blindfold his teen-age son, the father then walked to the other side of the stage and called his son to come to him. The boy took one step and the Father called out, “Wait! I’ll keep you from stepping in the traps.” So this Dad went back across the stage, took his son’s hand and “leads” him through the difficult maze of traps. Such is the heart of this petition.
Now the “traps” or the word temptation in Scripture can have one of two basic meanings depending on the context. The word can simply mean trials or testings. For example, the word is used that way in James 1:12- “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, (same word) he will receive the crown of life..”(NIV) This includes the difficulties in life.. Your health goes bad, your job is ended, a relationship sours and you are put under the “test” or a “trial.” God says that He will honor those who persevere through those times and don’t lost their faith.
The second way this word is used however is in the more common meaning of temptation and that is as an “enticement to sin.” James 1:13 says, “Everyone is tempted by his own desires as they lure him away and trap him.” In fact those last two words, “lure” and “trap” present pictures of a fish that is lured by the bait and is hooked or an animal that is inattentive to danger and is caught in a trap. So, here, the context and language of this petition is not asking God to keep us from the trials and testings of life but rather to keep us from the enticements or traps of evil.