Jesus at the Center of Prayer
Protection – Message 6
November 19, 2023
Introduction: We continue our series, Jesus at the Center of Prayer.
The title of today’s message is Protection, based on verse 13 from the Lord’s Prayer.
- Matthew 6:13 (NLT)—And don’t let us yield to temptation [Greek peirasmos, Or And keep us from being tested], but rescue us from the evil one [Or from evil].
- The Greek word peirasmo means “a putting to proof” by test, trial, or temptation.
- Our response to the test determines whether the test is a trial which proves and strengthens our faith or a temptation which seduces us into sin.
- The character of our faith, or lack of faith, is proven through the trying experience.
- The reference in verse 13 to rescue from the evil one indicates this petition in the Lord’s Prayer primarily concerns enticement to sin, but it applies to both.
- Greek manuscripts differ whether this deliverance is from evil generally, or from, the evil one, Satan (more likely), but the distinction doesn’t matter.
- Jesus knew that tests, trials and temptations lay ahead for His disciples and for every one of us, so He taught them, and us, to pray, “Don’t let us yield [Greek ĕisphĕrō, carry inward, bring (in), lead into] to temptation.”
- In other words, don’t let us bring in the temptation, so we pay attention to it. It enters our minds, controls our thoughts, and commands our actions.
- Jesus was addressing believers who desired to avoid the danger and trouble sin creates—because of personal pain, but more so, because of dishonoring the God who loves us and died for us to free us from these dominating sins.
- The prayer in essence: “Lord, stop us before Satan can turn your test into his temptation.”.
- How can we avoid yielding to temptation?
Resisting Temptation (1 Corinthians 10:12-13 [read earlier]) 
The context of this passage (1 Corinthians 10:1-11) is a warning to believers.
- Paul wrote about the Hebrew’s rebellion against God in the wilderness.
- They were led and protected by God, who provided everything they needed.
- Despite God’s grace and goodness, they grumbled and complained, practiced idolatry, and engaged in immorality.
- The wilderness experiences were recorded to tell us how to survive temptation.
Reject overconfidence. (1 Corinthians 10:12. C/R: Proverbs 16:18; Matthew 26:33-34; 1 Peter 5:8)
- 1 Corinthians 10:12 (NLT)—If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.
- Whenever believers become certain that they will not sin because of their own willpower or supposed spiritual strength, they enter a very dangerous place.
- Whenever we trust in ourselves, which often happens when we have successfully resisted temptation, even escaped a damaging habit or destructive addiction.
- We minimize God’s role in our deliverance and take more credit than we deserve.
- We forget what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT), … when I am weak [aware of my limitations], then I am strong.
- Christians who become self-confident, even proud, become less dependent on God's Word, less reliant on His Spirit, and become more careless in their living.
- As carelessness increases, exposure to temptation expands, which desensitizes us to the awfulness, the evil, of sin, so our resistance decreases. (“It won’t affect me!”)
- When we feel most secure in ourselves—when we think our spiritual life is the strongest, our doctrine is the soundest, and our morals the purest—we should be most on our guard against Satan and most dependent on the Lord.
- Satan is watching, well aware of our weaknesses to certain types of temptation.
- The devil and his demons will attempt to seduce us into sin, which will damage our faith, weaken our trust in God and immerse us in shame.
- Our pride makes us vulnerable because it blinds us to our own weaknesses and causes us to stop watching for dangers.
- APP.: Are you aware of your weaknesses and your continual dependence on God?
Refuse resentment. (1 Corinthians 10:13a. C/R: Job 2:9-10; James 1:2-3,13-15; 1 Peter 1:6-7)
- 1 Corinthians 10:13a (NLT)—The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. …
- The trials and temptations we face may seem more difficult than what others encounter because they are happening to us; in reality, what we suffer is experienced by many, many other people throughout time—and always has!
- Circumstances differ, but the trials and temptations of humanity are similar.
- If we think we have had to suffer more than anyone else, we will view ourselves as victims who our all-powerful and always aware God is neglecting.
- We can become jealous of others who seem to not be struggling as we are.
- We blame God for our difficulties and become resentful toward Him.
- Resentment makes us rebellious—and justifies our revolt against God.
- When we think that God is unfair, uncaring, uninterested in our pain, we can allow our disappointment in Him, our hurt from our situation, to justify our sin.
- We may think, “Since God doesn’t care about me, I don’t care about Him, so I will take care of myself. I will do what I want to feel better.”
- Often, our self-comfort is through sin: anger, alcohol or substance abuse, sexual immorality, wasteful spending, mistreatment of others, withdrawal, self-pity.
- These are “solutions” to our pain but solve nothing; rather, they complicate and intensify our problems as they damage our relationship with God and with others.
- We separate from the support of others and the comfort, grace, strength, of God.
- ILL.: Every person I have experienced who walked away from God did so because of some painful event that caused them to think God isn’t real or, if He is, He doesn’t care; people leave faith for emotional reasons, not intellectual ones.
- James 1:13–15 (NLT)—13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. …
- APP.: Do you know God—His identity, His motives, so you will never doubt that He deals with you with love, wanting only what is best for you?
Rely on God. (1 Corinthians 10:13b. C/R: Proverbs 30:5; John 17:15; Hebrews 4:15-16; 2 Peter 1:3-4)
- 1 Corinthians 10:13b (NLT)—And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.
- No believer can claim that he was overwhelmed by temptation, “I couldn’t stop,” or that, “the devil made me do it.”
- No one, not even Satan, can make us sin; no temptation is stronger than our spiritual resources.
- Romans 6:6 (NLT)—We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.
- We sin because we decide to sin willingly; we can decide not to with God’s help.
- 2 Peter 1:3 (NLT)—By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. …
- This certainly means that God supplies supernatural power to resist enticements.
- But the ability to resist temptation to live a godly life includes living in the strength of being a new creation, a new person, with a new identity
- If I live and speak and act as a child of God always—temptations will not be drawn to me, and if they do arise, I will not draw them in. I will reject them.
- APP. Do friends, acquaintances and co-workers know you as a Christian? Do you obscure your spiritual identity when socializing or traveling for business?
Respond to escape. (1 Corinthians 10:13c. C/R: Matthew 26:41; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; 2 Timothy 2:22; James 4:7)
- 1 Corinthians 10:13c (NLT)—When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure. [Greek “to bear up under, to undergo hardship”]
- Instead of a way, a more literal translation, because it uses a definite article with a singular noun, would be the way (one way).
- When we cry out to God for help in a trying situation, He doesn’t usually just remove it miraculously (though sometimes He does).
- EX.: If you won’t end the relationship He is telling you to leave, He might end it through the other person.
- Usually, the way of escape from temptation is by passing through it.
- We endure the temptation by being exposed to it but refusing to bring it in.
- We do see the attraction, are offered the experience (some enticements can’t be avoided in our world), but we refuse invitations that will be difficult to resist.
- Respond to the way of escape by taking it; avoid situations that, you know, could tempt you; avoid people who enjoy enticing you to compromise your convictions.
- 2 Timothy 2:22 (NLT)—Run from anything [and anyone] that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. [Friends?]
- Pray that God will not allow tests to become temptations to sin.
- Memory verse: Matthew 26:41 (NLT)—“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”