Relevant - The Rewards of Praying (What God Will and Will Not Do)

Sermon Summary

This message wraps of the section of our Lord's Sermon on the Mount that deals with prayer. In the last words of the Lord's Prayer or the Model Prayer, He instructs us to pray these words:" And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." Because we know from Scripture that God does not tempt us with sin, this message looks at the meaning of the request to not be led into temptation. God will sometimes allow us to face circumstances in life that constitute a test, but any temptation to sin that is contained in that circumstance comes from Satan and not from God. Even when Jesus was led by The Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted or tested by Satan, it was Satan that was doing the tempting not God. This prayer request is about our willingness to allow God to lead us. Many times when we end up in a situation where strong temptation happens it's because we've allowed ourselves to go places God would never lead us to go. However, Scripture points out that temptation is common to man even in normal everyday life. Jesus told us to ask for deliverance. The second half of the message gives some very powerful steps we can take to overcome temptation. The three steps mentioned come from Jesus' responses to Satan's temptations. The steps are: Study God, Trust God, and Serve God!

Community Group Study Guide

1. What are the circumstances or situations in your life that seem to put you most at risk for temptation?

2. When Jesus said we were to pray for God to not lead us into temptation, He was not insinuating God would otherwise tempt us to do evil. It's not that God is planning on tempting us, it's that we need to give God permission to lead our lives, our agendas, our priorities, our goals, our motives, our attitudes, and our actions! When we don't allow God to lead us, we are on our own. Why is this a problem?

James 1:13-15 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

3. There is a progression to temptation given in James 1:13-15. It goes like this: Evil desire is the beginning!
Evil desire drags us down a bad path! Once on the wrong path we are enticed and tempted! Evil desire and enticement foster bad decisions! Bad decisions lead to sin! Sin kills! Have you ever experienced this progression in your life and what are some of the things sin can "kill" in our lives?

4. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." Jesus' temptation experience in the desert yields three ways in which we can overcome the evil one: Study God, Trust God, Serve God. Read the story of Jesus' temptation and His responses to Satan and discuss how these three principles can help us in our fight with temptation.

Mat 4:1  Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Mat 4:2  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Mat 4:3  The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
Mat 4:4  Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Mat 4:5  Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
Mat 4:6  "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
Mat 4:7  Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Mat 4:8  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
Mat 4:9  "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
Mat 4:10  Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"
Mat 4:11  Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Full Sermon Notes

Relevant: The Rewards of Praying Part 6

What a privilege to gather here as the church to sing these songs! And for many of us this makes the second time we've gathered to worship in just the last few days! Wow what a night of worship Friday night at Oasis! Thanks team! But did you know we have brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle to gather together for worship because of severe persecution. Many of them meet quietly and in secret. Voice of the Martyrs has for years been their voice. David Sweetland, a young man who lives here in Slidell, serves with Voice of the Martyrs. He has some free books and material out front for you. Please see him today before you leave.

Before we begin our study of God's Word today, I want us to join together to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who live in persecution, simply because they follow Jesus! These people live the words we just sang...

You are more
 Than enough
 You are here You are love
You are hope
 You are grace
 You're all I have
 You're everything

Let's pray for their continued strength and also ask God to help us come to the place in our relationship with Jesus that we would be able to sing those words no matter what comes against us in this life!

Father God, I thank You for the freedoms we have to worship You in this country, but I know there are places in this world that a person can be put to death for worshiping You. I know many of our brothers and sisters must meet in secret. But the fact that they continue to worship even under threat of persecution, the fact that their very lives sing out the words...
You are more
 Than enough
 You are here You are love
You are hope
 You are grace
 You're all I have
 You're everything
Be with them, strengthen them, encourage them, and deliver them we pray! Here in America, some of our biggest struggles have to do, not with persecution, but with temptation. And as we study this topic today, help us to be inspired by the faithfulness of our persecuted brothers and sisters, so that we can truly say,
You are more
 Than enough
 You are here You are love
You are hope
 You are grace
 You're all I have
 You're everything

Okay, we've been talking about the Lord's Prayer, or the Model Prayer, for six weeks. Today we will finish the prayer part of our Lord's Sermon on the Mount. So let's just say the prayer together as we read our text for today. Matthew 6:9-13

Matthew 6:9-13 “This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’

We are going to focus on that last verse today. But before we do, I know some of you may have a question. Like, "why didn't you say the last part of the prayer, you know the part about 'for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, amen"? That part is not found in many of the translations because it is not found in the oldest manuscripts of Matthew's Gospel. It is also not found in Luke's Gospel where we also find The Lord's Prayer. So where did it come from? Good question and no one knows for sure, but many theologians and historians think it was added later by a scribe who was copying Scripture. Here's what I think happened. A scribe was copying the Sermon on the Mount and was really caught up in the message. By the time he got finished with The Lord's Prayer, I think he was just having a moment! A God inspired, awesome moment, and he just blurted out with his writing instrument…"For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, for ever, Amen!"

So, while I agree with the translator's who are trying to be true to the oldest and best manuscripts we have, I don't have a problem at all with the words and the sentiment of one very excited and inspired scribe!! Okay, now let's look at that last piece of our prayer. I know it's the Lord's Prayer, but He taught us to pray it, so He obviously wanted us to make it our own!

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’

The sub-title of our message today is: What God Will and Will Not Do! One thing God will not do is tempt you to sin!

God Will Not Tempt You!

When Jesus said we were to pray for God to not lead us into temptation, He was not insinuating God would otherwise tempt us to do evil. In fact let me share with you a passage that points this out...

James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

God would never tempt you to sin, because He knows what sin will do to you, so He won't do that! He does allow us to be tested, and sometimes in that test, we will be tempted by our enemy, but God is not tempting us. Now I've had some folks go all the way back to Genesis and ask this question: "Why did God put that one tree in the garden and tell Adam and Eve not to eat from it? Seems like a temptation to me." God made Adam and Eve in His image and as such He gave them a free will. He gave them the ability to choose. The only way for them to make a choice was to have a choice and so He put one tree in the garden and then asked them to trust Him. The way they would trust Him was to believe what He told them about that tree and it's forbidden fruit.

And you might remember, God was not the one who tempted them to eat of the fruit. It was the serpent, who we now know to be Satan. Adam and Eve did not know or understand the concept of Satan and Satan disguised himself in the serpent. It went down like this...

Genesis 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? ”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.
“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she
took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

An amazing thing here: Adam was with Eve when this happened! Why didn't he say something? Why didn't he exert some spiritual leadership? Eve gets the bad wrap, but Adam was just as responsible! Did you notice how Satan's strategy was to tear down Adam and Eve's trust in God? Once that happened, their human nature took control and the forbidden fruit no longer looked dangerous, but was appealing. It looked good, it would taste good, and they believed it would give them a special wisdom or knowledge. Did you know that is still the way Satan works today? James said...

James 1:13-15 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Now let's look at the progression of temptation.
Evil desire - The beginning
Dragged away - The path
Enticed - The temptation
Conception - The decision
Sin - The action
Birth - Consequences

Evil desire is the beginning!
Evil desire drags us down a bad path!
Once on the wrong path we are enticed and tempted!
Evil desire and enticement foster bad decisions!
Bad decisions lead to sin!
Sin kills!

Now do you see why Jesus said we need to pray "Lead me not into temptation!" It's not that God is planning on tempting us, it's that we need to give God permission to lead our lives, our agenda's, our priorities, our goals, our motives, our attitudes, and our actions! When God is not leading you or directing your path, your own evil desires will drag you to dark places of temptation where bad decisions lead to sin and sin kills! It will kill your joy, your God-given purpose, your relationships, your witness, your character, and left un-treated by the forgiveness of God, sin will destroy your soul!

I think all of you would agree that it would be better to avoid temptation in the first place and if you are tempted, it is better to say no and walk away rather than succumb to the temptation and have to ask for forgiveness. God is a gracious and forgiving God, and will forgive the penalty of sin, but never forget some consequences cannot be undone in this life.

Now I want to clear up some potential misconceptions in this matter. While God does not tempt us, He will allow us at times to be tested. In fact, the Greek verb peirazein is often best translated test. When the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness it was not to be tempted by God, but for Him to confront Satan and his evil temptations.

But here's the deal, if God leads you down a path of testing, and you face a temptation from the enemy of God, Satan, God will give you a powerful, supernatural strength to refuse the temptation and pass the test with flying colors!!

1 Corinthians 10:13- No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you
can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

So we know God will not tempt us to do evil and when we pray for God to not lead us into temptation we are giving Him permission to lead our path. If He leads us to a place of testing, and we are tempted by the enemy, we know God will provide a way out and the strength to stand up under the pressure! And this leads us to the second part of our message based on this part of our prayer.

God Will Deliver You From The Evil One!

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’

When we give God permission to guide us by way of His Holy Spirit, we can then ask Him to deliver us from the evil one and He will absolutely answer that prayer. You see, if your desire is for God and not for evil, your prayers will be right and God will be able to answer your prayer because you will be praying for the right things!

To discover how God delivers us from the evil one we will look at the battle Jesus had with Satan in the wilderness. There were three temptations or test that Jesus faced from Satan. From these three things we discover three steps we need to take to get on the path of victory over any and all temptation! Matthew 4:1-4...

Matthew 4:1-4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ’”

Remember that Jesus was God in the flesh. As such, He was both God and man. So in the flesh, Jesus was truly tempted like you and me. He had been fasting forty days and forty nights. The temptation to use His power to turn the stones into bread was real. In fact here's what Scripture has to say about Jesus' temptations...

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet was without sin.

So, while our Almighty God in heaven is not tempted to sin, for that brief time while in the flesh on this earth, the temptation was real, although He never succumbed to any temptation. How did He not? Was it simply because He was God in the flesh? Well, I believe the reasons are found in His example to us. He showed us by example how to overcome evil! Jesus said to Satan...

Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ’”

The first step in finding victory over temptation is to Study God!!

Study God!

Jesus said to hang on to every word that comes from the mouth of God!! In other words, study God! Don't just know about Him! Don't just know Him as Savior! Get to know Him as Friend, as Guide, as Teacher, as Protector, as Provider, and as Lord and King! In fact, Jesus came so that we could study God. He told His disciples that if they had seen Him they had seen The Father!

And listen to what God's Word says in about this in Hebrews 2:17-3:1...

Hebrews 2:17-3:1 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in
service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.

There's an old hymn that just puts this so beautifully...

O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free:
Turn you eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are!
Turn you eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

So studying God is the first step to overcoming the evil one and his temptations! But check out the next step...

Matthew 4:5-7 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they
will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ’”

The second step to overcoming temptation is to...

Trust God!

We don't test God we trust God!! This is a crucial step in every way. We have to trust God's heart and that He has our best interest in mind all the time. We have to be willing to let His Holy Spirit guide our thoughts, our steps, our actions, our attitudes, our everything! Two of my favorite passages in this regards are found in the Old Testament...

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

But to follow this advice one must first trust God, His heart, and His plans!
And then there's these words in Psalm 37...

Psalm 37:3-7a Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him...

And check this out in Proverbs 4:11-12

Proverbs 4:11-12 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.

And this leads us to our final step in God's plan to give us deliverance from the evil one and from temptation...

Serve God!

Matthew 4:8-11 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ’”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Satan will offer you the world, but you better look at the details of his offer. Jesus knew the offer was not a good one. It was appealing, but it was not good. You see, Satan was willing to trade Jesus all the souls alive on earth at that time if Jesus would relinquish the souls of the ones who would come later. That deal would have left you and me without any hope, and Jesus was not willing to do that!

When Satan offers you the world, the same thing is at stake, your very soul! That's always the cost of Satan's temptations. He want's to control your, your heart, and your mind! If he's got those things then he's got your life right where he wants it, messed up, confused, aimless, depressed, and without purpose or direction. And your enemy doesn't care what vice you let him use to control you. See, most people would never actually bow down and worship Satan, but they bow down to so many other idols, and Satan really doesn't care what you worship as long as it's not God. Because Satan knows this very basic spiritual principle...

What you worship you serve!

Later in Jesus' sermon on the mount we'll hear Him say these two things...

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

And then He takes one example of something people sometimes worship...

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to  
the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

G. Campbell Morgan made this statement back in 1903...

"The method of the evil one has ever been that of obscuring himself behind some other object of worship."

Don't be fooled by the enemy. Rather, remember the words Jesus spoke to the tempter and you might even use them when you are being tempted...

Matthew 4:10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ’”

So if we follow Jesus' advice and pray...

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’

…If we pray this and we study God, trust God and serve God we can overcome temptation! In fact, when you get to know God through studying Him and you begin to trust Him with your life, your desires will be to serve Him and to honor Him!! When this happens in your life, Satan's temptations begin to loose their appeal, and you'll get so busy doing the do's you won't have time to do the don'ts!!

The writer of Hebrews put it beautifully...

Hebrews 9:14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our
consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Let's pray!!!