Sermon Notes & References

“Lead Us Not into Temptation”

Matthew 6:13

August 5, 2018

A. The Sixth Request

    1. A God-Centred Prayer

    2. Lead Us 1

B. Understanding The Request

    1. Concerning Leading 2

    2. Concerning Temptation 3

C. Applying the Prayer’s Lesson

    1. A Two-Fold Entreaty 4

    2. A Promise 5


1 Matthew 6:13 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  “Lead Us Not into Temptation”

 

A. The Sixth Request

    1. A God-Centred Prayer

        a. This model prayer, with which Jesus instructed his disciples, from the opening invocation of “Our Father” to the closing doxology, is centred upon God

            (A)    the first three requests – “Hallowed be Thy Name”, “Thy Kingdom come”, “Thy will be done” – are each concerned with exalting God

            (B)    that Who He is should be recognised and confessed by mankind

            (C)   these requests are clearly God-centred

        b. but even when we come to the closing requests,

            (A)    those made on our own behalf

            (B)    are, upon examination, found to be centred upon God and upon His nature and character

            (C)   our daily bread” – recognition that it is He who supplies all the needs of our physical lives

            (D)   forgive our debts” – recognition that Divine, and human, supply of forgiveness is needed for our spiritual lives

            (E)    and today, “lead us not into temptation” – recognition of our own weakness in the face of God’s sovereignty

 

    2. Lead Us

        a. in the past month or so, the suggestion has twice been made to me – once by a friend, once by a fellow pastor – that we should view this request as though there was a comma after “us”.

            (A)    there is a fine, devotional thought in doing so

            (B)    a recognition of God’s sovereignty and our dependence

            (C)   that is why the hymns that we have and will sing this morning have echoed this thought of God’s leading

            (D)   and is reinforced by the many Scriptures that speak of God’s leading – corporately to Israel and the church, as also individually – as we read earlier in the service: to which we could add

                 (1)    I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you.” (Psalms 32:8-9)

                 (2)    And your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21)

            (E)    so this is a fine prayer to pray; that is, as long as we do so with the willingness to follow that leading

        b. of course, this thought may be based on a concern

            (A)    that in some way for God to lead us into temptation is contrary to His revealed righteous nature

                 (1)    as Paul writes in Romans 3:5, “But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)

                 (2)    and James 1:13, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

                 (3)    but such a concern comes from jumping to a conclusion about what is meant by tempting and this verse, for this is clarified in the next verse:

                 (4)    But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” (James 1:14)

            (B)    for sometimes God does lead a person into a place of temptation

                 (1)    for while, Jesus himself, being sinless, did not personally know the need to make the fifth request for forgiveness

                 (2)    with this one He could know all our sorrows, for we read

                 (3)    Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1)

                 (4)    He led His disciples into Gethsemane, knowing it to be a place of temptation, instructing them, “Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; …” (Matthew 26:41)

                 (5)    and the OT book of Job is an exposition on this matter of the permissive will of God, whereby He brings one of His children into a place of great temptation; and why.

            (C)   there is, therefore, a difference between tempting and leading into a situation or place where temptation may come

 

B. Understanding This Request

    1. Concerning Leading

        a. now, rendering this as “lead us”, as we have already discussed, is a nice devotional thought, and supported by many verses of Scripture

            (A)    but, it is not good exegesis – that is, extracting the verse’s meaning

            (B)    you will search in vain for any good translation with a comma after the word “us” – because the Greek does not permit such division

        b. first, the word translated “lead” is really compound of two parts

            (A)    it begins with the word, “into”

            (B)    and then with the action word, “bear, carry or lead”

            (C)   so by itself it means “lead, carry or bring into”

            (D)   and if we could insert a comma, we need to say, “Lead us into,” which demands an answer to the question, “Into what?”

        c. now, for a little lesson in the Greek grammar

            (A)    which applies as equally today as 2,000 years ago

            (B)    first, that depending upon the relationship between the speaker and the listener, the same word and form can be used as a command, an entreaty, or an exhortation – it this case, in our addressing our requests to God it is best understood as an entreaty, or at most as parallel to a child’s “command” to a parent

            (C)   secondly, that the presence of a “not” in a command, entreaty or exhortation, influences the meaning more than simply making it negative – the “not” must be included or the meaning distorted – perhaps an example will help:

                 (1)    picture a father walking with a child in the streets of Athens; (or even on the Danforth, Toronto)

                 (2)    he says to the child, “Do not talk”

                     (a)    in Greek, he can say that in present or past (aorist) tense; we can only use the present tense in an imperative

                     (b)    the present tense means “Stop talking”

                     (c)    the past tense means “Don’t start talking”; a warning to the child that it should remain silent for some reason

                 (3)    without the “not” the distinction has a different force.

        d. this entreaty to God, is in the past tense

            (A)    so it does not mean, “stop leading me into temptation”

            (B)    but rather “don’t begin leading me …, or, keep on not leading …”

            (C)   which confesses that the sovereign God has the right so to lead, but asks to be spared from temptation

            (D)   and as such parallels the Lord Jesus’ own words in the garden, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove [take, bear, carry, lead away], this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36)

 

    2. Concerning Temptation

        a. to complete our appreciation of this request which the Lord is teaching us we should pray, let us examine what is temptation.

            (A)    there are two words used in the NT meaning “to tempt”, this act being “temptation”

            (B)    both of them mean “to try, to test”, that is put through a trial

            (C)   the first, which is also translated as “to prove, or, to approve”, carries with it the expectation of a person passing the test. That is not the word used here, or in the verses we have already quoted

            (D)   the second word, used here, bears with it the expectation or the possibility of failing the test

        b. but would God lead us into a place or situation where the temptation was such that we could fail

            (A)    the answer is yes!

            (B)    David thought so when he prayed, “Do not drag me away with the wicked And with those who work iniquity; Who speak peace with their neighbours, While evil is in their hearts.” (Psalms 28:3)

            (C)   again, consider Job – and the leeway God gave to Satan

                 (1)    certainly, Satan’s expectation was that Job would fail – he says as much to God; and Job’s wife did fail

                 (2)    and in His darkest hours, Job held onto his faith only by the skin of his teeth

                 (3)    only after much difficulty and sense of loss of God’s presence, was he able to say, “But He [God] knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

        c. why does God lead us into such a place?

            (A)    because He knows our way; and foreknows our result

                 (1)    if we overcome temptation, then our spiritual muscles have been exercised and strengthened – we come forth as gold

                 (2)    for his promise is this, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

            (B)    being tempted is not itself sin

                 (1)    Jesus was tempted

                 (2)    and James preceded the verses read previously with this one

                 (3)    Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial [temptation]; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)

            (C)   but what if we fail?

                 (1)    big, bold Peter failed, though Jesus personally warned him

                 (2)    if he repeatedly failed, how can we hope to pass the test

                 (3)    did God’s purpose for Peter end upon His denying Christ?

                 (4)    Jesus foretold that denial, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)

        d. God’s sovereign purpose for our life is not upset by our failures

            (A)    what He set out to do in us in Christ Jesus He will carry out

            (B)    For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, …” (Romans 8:29)

            (C)   and every temptation, trial and test we face is part of His bringing that to pass in our lives

 

C. Applying the Prayer’s Lesson

    1. A Two-Fold Entreaty to God

        a. this is a recognition of our own weakness;

            (A)    as the hymn-writer said

Prone to wander – Lord I feel it –

Prone to leave the God I love;

Here’s my heart – O take and seal it,

Seal it for Thy courts above. 2

            (B)    thus confessing our dependence on Him to overcome temptation

        b. this is also a confession,

            (A)    that regardless of our own concern that we be not tested, God is sovereign and knows best,

            (B)    And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

 

    2. A Promise

        a. such a prayer enables us to claim for ourselves, Jesus’ words to Paul:

        b. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)


Footnotes

Endnotes

1

© 2018 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:

 

              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

              NLT         New Living Translation © 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust

              NRSV             New Revised Standard Version © 1989 Division of Christian Education of national Council of Churches of Christ

              JBP         The New Testament in Modern English, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

              RSV        Revised Standard Version © 1946, 1952 National Council of Churches of Christ; Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd

              UBS        Greek text of the United Bible Societies; particularly that published in 1954 by The British and Foreign Bible Society

              WEY               The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth


Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:


              Barnes –  Notes on the New Testament by Alfred E. Barnes

              Calvin –   Commentaries on the Bible, by Jean Calvin; translated into English & published in the Online Bible.

              EBC             The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

              EGT             The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder & Stoughton; 1903

              JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

              Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

              Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site, www.holwick.com.

              Lightfoot –      Commentary on the New Testament by Bishop John Lightfoot

              RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson

              TTB      Thinking Through the Bible, Rev’d John McNicol, D.D., © 1944 by the author; The Upper Canada Tract & Book Society.

2

‘Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing’, by Robert Robinson (1735-1790)