The Protection by God
December 8, 2019 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
Topic: Prayer Verse: Luke 11:3–11:3
The Disciple’s Prayer: The Protection by God
Luke 11: 4b
Theme: The desire to avoid sin is the best tactic in dealing with temptation.
I. The Recollection of the Susceptibility to Sin
A. The Awareness of Weakness
- As our prayer unfolds we have seen Jesus direct our attention upward to the Lord in worship of Him as our Father, to extol His holy and hallowed name, and to express our desire for His rule and reign both in our lives as well as in the affairs of the world around us.
- He then focuses our attention on relying upon the Lord for His daily provision for all of our needs as well as on Him for the regular and constant forgiveness of our sins – so that our relationship with Him might remain free and open.
- However, if there is genuineness in our desire for our relationship with God to remain intimate, it is necessary to not merely continue to come to Him for forgiveness, but to avoid sin before it ever happens.
- In this last petition that Jesus instructs us to offer to the Lord, we see the awareness of weakness that each of us possesses with reference to sin – “… and lead us not into temptation.”
- Our weakness and propensity to sin is evident as each of us falls regularly – despite our desire to avoid sin – Psalm 19:12-13.
- The recollection of our sin is one of the ways that we are able to remain sensitive to the dangers that sin poses – Psalm 51:3.
- Perhaps the most eloquent expression of our struggle is found in Paul’s testimony of his own weaknesses – Romans 7:14-23.
- This is why sinful humanity will never be able to deliver itself – we are reliant upon the Lord – the Savior – to deliver us – cp. Romans 8:3.
B. The Abhorrence of Wickedness
- As we realize the devastation that our repeated sin and the practice of sin has upon our relationship with God – how He is grieved, how He is angered, and how He avenges His holiness, our response is not to love sin, but to loathe it! – cp. Romans 12:9,
- In our prayer, we express our hatred for sin because of the way that it impacts God and pray that God intervene to keep us from the ability to indulge ourselves in sin.
- This is not an attempt to cast the onus to our behavior on God, it is an acknowledgement of inability and a reliance upon grace to be kept from sin.
- There are essentially three sources where temptation and sin come – and Jesus is teaching us here to rely upon God to enable us to avoid these areas of wickedness:
- Our flesh – that is, the lusts that depraved craving for the pleasures of sin, these wage war against our souls that yearn for righteousness - James 1:13-16; 1 Peter 2:11.
- The World – that is, the system of evil that stands in opposition to righteousness – an organized system that seeks to dominate everyone – cp. Ephesians 2:2; Romans 12:2; James 1:7; 1 John 2:15.
- The Devil – that is, the Adversary of God and God’s people who is set against the interests of God and who desires to devour, defile, deceive and defeat God’s people – cp. 1 Peter 5:8-9; Revelation 12:9; Luke 22:31.
- Because we are aware of our weakness and vulnerability, and because of our abhorrence of wickedness, Jesus teaches us to pray that God would lead us in ways away from these vulnerabilities of our flesh, the world, and the Devil – cp. Exodus 13:17-18.
How does seeking forgiveness for sin cause you to be careful not to repeat those sins?
As you become more deliberate in avoiding the occasion for your flesh, what specific steps do you take to avoid sin?
What causes temptation to be the most overwhelming in your life? What are you able to change to avoid it?
II. The Reliance on the Sovereignty of God
A. The Restraining Hand of God
- The term that Jesus uses here for “lead” [εἰσφέρω] – conveys the idea of causing someone to enter into a certain condition or location.
- It is an acknowledgement of the sovereign hand of the Lord in our lives to direct us however He wishes, to protect or to expose us to various trials.
- We do recognize that God will never cause us to be tempted – that is, His agenda for us is not that we sin – cp. James 1:13-14.
- Hence, God is not a participant in our being lured into sin – but He does allow us to be tested or tried.
- The term for “temptation” [πειρασμός] primarily means to attempt to learn the nature or character of something, that is, to test or try – cp. James 1:2-4.
- It can also means “to attempt to make someone do something wrong” - to tempt.
- With these thoughts in mind, we understand Jesus to be instructing us to appeal to God that His allowing our testing to be restrained to within what we can successfully endure so that we do not cross into falling into sin – cp. 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Peter 2:9.
- This is seen in God’s management of Job’s testing – cp. Job 1:6-12; 2:1-10.
- God can “restrain” both the level of our testing so that it does not overcome us and become temptation; but also, He can restrain us in how we respond to temptation.
B. The Reprobating Work of God
- The appeal to God suggests that there is a sense in which God might not restrain and allow us to be overwhelmed in sin – such an action is called reprobation.
- When a person is insistent upon dishonoring the holiness of God and indulging in sinful pursuits, God will “turn them over” to their sinful desires – Romans 1:24, 26, 28.
- Jesus instruction for us to pray that God will “lead us not into temptation” is a prayer that we would ourselves stay as far away from sin as possible, and that when we are tested, that we draw near to God, and when tempted that we take the way to escape that we can escape it.
- The way to escape reprobation is to honor God as God, serve Him as our Creator, and acknowledge Him as our God.
What is your approach to the issue of temptation? Do you have a “confound it” attitude after you fall into temptation? Is your spiritual energy constantly spent on recovery from falling in temptation? What is needful for you to become proactive in seeking to avoid temptations? We cannot just sit and lament that God isn’t doing enough to keep us from temptation. Here are six things that all of us ought to be regularly doing to prepare for temptation – even as we pray for the enabling grace of God to “lead us not into temptation:”
- Be spiritually active – Matthew 26:41.
- Daily confront your heart’s desires – Proverbs 4:23.
- Pursue Christ – Romans 13:14.
- Arm yourself with Scripture – Psalm 119:9-11.
- Ready yourself for Flight & Fight – 1 Timothy 6:11-12.
- Anticipate each temptation as an opportunity to display your faithfulness to Christ Jesus and prove the power of grace, viewing faithfulness to Christ as something better than the deceitfulness of sin – Philippians 2:15-16.
How does acknowledging God’s Sovereignty affect your efforts to avoid sin?
What mistake is commonly made by people who say that they “can’t help” but yield to temptation?
What is the difference between temptation and sin?