Summary: In true prayer, we sign up for the struggle against sin.
April 26, 2009
Where we’ve been:
• Begin by coming to grips with “Our Father”
• Pray then that, above all else, the purposes and plans of God come to accomplishment
o That His moral will be increasingly realized
o That the “not yet” portion of His kingdom be hastened along, acknowledging our readiness for the consummation of the ages to take place
• Acknowledge our own need/insufficiency when I pray, “give us this day our daily bread” and “forgive us our debts”
o Physical needs
o Spiritual needs
• Remember the critical nature, having been forgiven of much, of ourselves being forgiving people
Today, we focus on the final part of the prayer, the first part of verse 13. This embroils us immediately in a bit of controversy, since the version of the Lord’s Prayer that we are used to praying doesn’t end where we end today. We focus today on “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” As typically prayed, the ending goes on further: “for Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” Several thoughts and explanations:
• There is nothing wrong with praying, “for Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.”
• The likelihood, though, from all available manuscript evidence that we have, is that these words were added by a well-meaning copyist. Most of the early manuscripts that we have do not contain that phrase, and we deem that it’s most likely that Jesus did not include it in His prayer, though again, there’s nothing wrong with adding it in , per se!
• A moment, then, on what we do when such issues arise:
o Question: we say that we believe in the “inerrancy” of the Bible; what does this do to that belief? Answer? Nothing.
o Understood correctly, we believe that the Bible is “without error in the original writings”. Technically speaking, then, “inerrancy” doesn’t apply to any given translation of the Bible, but rather to our belief that the Bible is the Word of God to us (thus without error) instead of man’s ideas about God (subject to error).
Perhaps you’ve heard of folks who are called “KJV-only”, believing the King James to be the only inspired Word of God. In Sam’s Club a couple weeks ago, I was walking by the Bible section, when a lady pointed out to her friend that there weren’t any King James versions for sale there, and would her friend be interested in a New International Version? “That’s garbage”, was the lady’s response, and I found myself saddened to think of the fact that some pastor would answer to God one day for putting into her mind the idea that the Bible was “garbage” if it wasn’t in the particular version of his liking. Their error is in a fundamental misunderstanding of a number of things, not the least of which is the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture. In the next breath, we can say that there are a number of translations that qualify as extremely accurate and faithful translations, including some that are much more accurate than the King James (though it itself is a fine translation), and while no translation is itself perfect, none of them qualify as “garbage”.
That’s off our point, but it’s important for Christ-followers to understand the right way to approach the Word. Now we’ll get off that discourse and return to our point, which is that Christ’s final word regarding prayer to us is that we need prayer for God’s protection. That’s not a surprise, but note the area of protection for which we are to pray: protection against the encroachment of evil into our lives.
It’s common for Christians to pray for “traveling mercies”, or for protection for our troops, for instance, but in these instances our prayers are for physical protection, for the continued wellbeing of our bodies. There’s nothing wrong with those prayers, but that’s not what Jesus mentions in the model prayer. Rather, His concern is for the protection of our lives from the influence of temptation, and He encourages us to enlist our Father in our battle against sin. Let’s pray together!
Ever feel as though you were under siege?
• We are bombarded seemingly at every turn by inducements to sin that come as a result of this world in which we live.
o I read too much, I realize, or maybe I read the wrong things, like bumper stickers, t-shirts, and magazine covers at the checkout stand. Sometimes when I do, I come away feeling pretty slimy—because of the filth that appears in some of those places!
o Seems like from every direction, we receive inducements to sin.
TV – watch a good show, but then ads come on!