Lead us not into temptation

Matthew 6:9-15 –  Lead us not into temptation, by Rev. Colin Pretorius.

(The seventh sermon in a series on the Lord’s Prayer.)

At various times in our lives we all face temptation of some sort. It may be something small, like for the little girl who was standing in the bakery looking longingly at one of the small vanilla slices on display. “Now then, young lady,” said the baker as he approached her, “what are you up to?” “Nothing,” she replied. “Well it looks to me like you’re trying to take one of those slices,” the baker said. “No mister,” she said, “I’m trying not to!”…. She was being tempted, wasn’t she!

But temptation may be about something bigger too… the temptation of flirting with your co-worker or the lure of a stolen kiss. That’s the problem with temptation… it is a lure to bait us, to reel us in. And it’s about this luring, this tempting, that today’s text speaks of. But before we delve into our text, let’s just have a very brief recap of what we’ve learnt since we started on our journey through the Lord’s Prayer in mid-March. We’ve seen how our prayer lives and our very lives themselves should be focused on God. Jesus has told us that we ought to be focused on glorifying the name of our Abba, our heavenly Father, on praying for His Kingdom to come and actively working towards that. Our prayer should also be for His will to be done in our lives. In fact we ought to pray for His will to be done in all the earth, as it is already done in heaven. We’ve also learnt that how we are to humbly submit ourselves to our heavenly Father by ap­proach­ing Him – and trusting Him – to pro­vide the necessities of life, our daily bread. And we saw also how from a spiritual perspective this daily bread points to our heavenly bread, Jesus, and how He is what we require for our eternal life. And then last week we looked at how we are to pray for forgiveness, and especially how to also put that into practice in our lives, at how we need to put aside grudges and unforgiving hearts.

And now, as our series starts drawing to a close, we come to the petition for God’s protection, the petition that asks[1]

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

But what does this petition mean? Is this a plea for us to never be tempted? Is it a plea for a life that’s just plain sailing all the way? Who is it that’s doing the tempting? And what does it mean to ask to be delivered from evil (or from the evil one, as some of our translations have)? I pray that as we delve into this text this morning the Lord will open it up to us and give us insight and illumine our hearts.

We’re going to look first at the reality of temptation, then at our inability to properly deal with temp­ta­tion and lastly we’ll look at our deliverance from the instigator of temptation.

  • The reality of temptation;
  • The inability to properly deal with temptation; and
  • Deliverance from the instigator of temptation.

[1] Matthew 6:13.