Pray Then Like This
Matthew 6:11-13 (CSB) Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
If we are going to pray like the Son of God because we are sons of God, we have to listen and obey what he says.
When Christ told us to pray for our daily bread, I contended to you that it was more than just our nourishment and our physical needs. They are so important–no one is denying that and Christ said it himself in verse 8:
your Father knows the things you need before you ask him.
But what do really need? We need Christ. And we need him every day.
Why do we pray for the indwelling of God every day?
In order to be forgiven of our sins and to forgive other sins against us, who do we need? We need God.
Do we sin everyday? Do people sin against us everyday? Don’t overthink it, justify it, or blame others. The answer is yes. Then go to God every day.
But in this lesson, Christ tells us to pray for two more things. First…
Do Not Bring Us Into Temptation
I would say there are four cornerstone passages that every person who has been to church for a while has heard at least once in their life.
Now, instead of focusing on the nuances and trying to see what God will or will not do, disregard that. Stop hyper-focusing on that. What I want you to keep in mind who Christ is and his heart for us when we are tempted.
Christ is merciful
1 Corinthians 10:13 (CSB) No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to bear it.
Christ is good
James 1:13-15 (CSB) No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God,” since God is not tempted by evil, and he himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.
Christ is vulnerable
Hebrews 4:14-15 (CSB) Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.
Christ is for us
Hebrews 2:17-18 (CSB) Therefore, he had to be like his brothers and sisters in every way, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in matters pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 For since he himself has suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.
But Deliver Us From the Evil One
What is evil?
or to ask it in another way, “Is all sin evil? Is all evil sin?”
And this is how deep sin goes. Because for some of us, our minds are working over time:
- well, that lie I told yesterday–that couldn’t be counted as evil
- well, I can’t tell my spouse I am looking at porn–that would destroy them if they ever find out
The Apostle John does say there is sin that doesn’t lead to death. That was true for Adam and Eve–their sin didn’t lead to instant death.
But look at the context of what John was saying:
1 John 5:16-17 (CSB) If anyone sees a fellow believer committing a sin that doesn’t lead to death, he should ask, and God will give life to him—to those who commit sin that doesn’t lead to death. There is sin that leads to death. I am not saying he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin that doesn’t lead to death.
John was not refuting Paul in Romans 6:23:
Romans 6:23 (CSB) For the wages of sin is death…
But all sin is evil because it is treason against God who is good and holy. And there is sin so destructive that it will kill you immediately. But sin is chaotic in this way–if you continue down that path, it will consume you and leave you for dead.
Is sin evil and is evil sin? I can think of no better way to explain this but by 1st and 2nd Kings.
Look at the word of God says:
1 Kings 15:26 (CSB) Nadab did what was evil in the LORD’s sight and walked in the ways of his father and the sin he had caused Israel to commit.
1 Kings 15:33-34 (CSB) In the third year of Judah’s King Asa, Baasha son of Ahijah became king over all Israel, and he reigned in Tirzah twenty-four years. 34 He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight and walked in the ways of Jeroboam and the sin he had caused Israel to commit.
1 Kings 16:18-19 (CSB) When Zimri saw that the city was captured, he entered the citadel of the royal palace and burned it down over himself. He died 19 because of the sin he committed by doing what was evil in the LORD’s sight and by walking in the ways of Jeroboam and the sin he caused Israel to commit.
1 Kings 22:51-53 (CSB) Ahaziah son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Judah’s King Jehoshaphat, and he reigned over Israel two years. 52 He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. He walked in the ways of his father, in the ways of his mother, and in the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused Israel to sin. 53 He served Baal and bowed in worship to him. He angered the LORD God of Israel just as his father had done.
The Bible is clear: Evil is sin and sin is evil.
The Bible is also clear:
We are called to flee from sin
We read in 1 Corinthians 10 that we are not going to experience something extraordinary temptation, and God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted beyond your limits, and also provides a way out so that you will bear it. But look at the next commandment with God faithfully for you:
Flee from idolatry
1 Corinthians 10:14 (CSB) So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
Flee sexual immorality
1 Corinthians 6:18 (CSB) Flee sexual immorality! Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body.
Flee from greed
1 Timothy 6:10-11 (CSB) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But you, man of God, flee from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.
Flee from anger, unfaithfulness, wickedness, hate, foolishness, and ignorance
2 Timothy 2:22-23 (CSB) Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, because you know that they breed quarrels.
God is with us and will deliver us from the evil one
How is God with us to fight temptation and sin?
It is true that Christ crucified on the cross has put Satan and demons to open shame. But do not be naive nor fooled into thinking that they are not a worthy adversary that wants nothing more to drag your life down into the pit of hell along with them.
You must know we are not fighting against imagebearers of God but rather, against all demonic forces.
Look at what Paul instructs us to do in Ephesians 6:
11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. 13 For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.
But you will not be doing this alone. You and I are vulnerable half-hearted weaklings that have fallen into the snares of the enemy time and time again.
God commands you to fight. But just like David slew Goliath and the David’s mighty men went on to slay the giants in the land, God will be with us to fight.
Trust in God because God is our strength because he is the Almighty God.
Ephesians 6:10-17 (CSB) Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength.
Trust in God because God gives you truth and righteousness
14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest,
Trust in God because God gives you his gospel which is His power in salvation
15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.
Trust in God because God gives you faith to protect you from the attacks of the enemy
16 In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Trust in God because God has saved you to himself and he gives you his word
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God.
What do we get to do?
Turn from evil and rejoice in the goodness of God
Proverbs 29:6 (CSB) An evil person is caught by sin,
but the righteous one sings and rejoices.
Turn from evil and delight in the righteousness of God
Psalms 17:3 (CSB) You have tested my heart;
you have examined me at night.
You have tried me and found nothing evil;
I have determined that my mouth will not sin.
When you turn to God and believe and trust in him, that same righteousness belongs to you.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (CSB) He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Turn from sin, run with boldness and audacity to Christ and confess your sins
Jeremiah 36:3 (CSB) Perhaps when the house of Judah hears about all the disaster I am planning to bring on them, each one of them will turn from his evil way. Then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin.”
When you do so, look at what you find:
1 John 1:9 (CSB) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
You like that? God is faithful and righteous and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Not letting you stew in your your filth. Instant. Now. Quick as a wink he will forgive you.
Here is more gifts you get when you turn to God.
Hebrews 4:16 Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.
God gives mercy and God gives grace to help us in our time of need.
I have seen this play out in two ways in my own life. When I was first saved by God, the porn habit vanished. I was doing deep erasures of my server hard drives. And people in IT and Data Recovery know what this means: I would delete my terabyte drives of all the porn I had stored up every since the Internet became public 7 times over and then rewrite my drives with 1s and 0s. I knew how to recover such data and I knew how to erase data.
But has God was growing and maturing me to look more like his Son, the temptations starting to creep back. And what I have noticed is when I gave into temptation to look at porn, shockingly enough, I tending to make some really god-awful life-changing decisions that lead me to despair, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Never not once would I blame God for that. God was not tempted me. None of my sin is his fault. He was always with me. Never forsake me. Even spare my life over and over again and kept calling me to himself over and over again.
Help us. We need you. Amen.