Teaching Series EP072 – The Lord’s Prayer Pt 8: Temptation and Deliverance

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Friends, hello there and welcome to Part 8
in our series on the Lord’s Prayer. Hey, before we jump into today’s episode,
I just want to say a huge thank you to all of you who are supporting Walking
the Text either through your financial giving or through your prayers. It has
been amazing to see how God is meeting us at Walking the Text and providing
some amazing opportunities. So let me just share one of these with you, is that
we are now taking everything in the teaching series and we’re having it
translated into Spanish. So not long ago, we had a group that came to us and said,
“Man, the Spanish-speaking world needs to have access to the text in context
through the teaching series.” And so we’ve now got a team that has been working
with us on our YouTube channel. So we’ve got a YouTube channel, and if any of you
know how YouTube works it can be then put into different languages.
So if someone comes to YouTube who is a Spanish-speaking individual and they
search for things, if our stuff that’s in English is also made available in
Spanish then they find that as well. And so we’ve taken everything that we’ve
done thus far in English and we’re putting it into Spanish. So what that
means is that the videos are still in English, but the subtitles now are in
Spanish, and then all the descriptions. And we’ve actually moved over the
discussion questions from Walkingthe text.com into our Spanish portion of
our YouTube channel so that people who come to the channel will be able to
utilize this for small groups and all of that. So to date, we have all of the
episodes in the Lord’s Prayer, this mini series, in the Spanish subtitles and
everything being translated has been translated into Spanish. And then what
this team is doing is they’re now going back to all the other episodes, and over
the next–is probably going to take six to nine months–all of the episodes in the teaching series will be made available to the
Spanish-speaking world. Thank you to you for making that possible. So we are a
crowdfunded, nonprofit organization that gets to do what we do because of
generous supporters like you. So I just want to say again, thank you. Thank you
for your giving, thank you for your prayers. It is so much fun to see how God
is utilizing Walking the Text to reach people all around the world. So thank you,
thank you, thank you. All right! Now let’s jump into this
week’s episode on the teaching series, and we’ve been working through the
Lord’s Prayer. Again, this is Part 8, next week is going to be Part 9 and that will
be the last part in the Lord’s Prayer series. So the end is in sight. And by the
way of where we’re at in the prayer, we are in the final two lines. And so, “And
lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” So I want to start with, “And
lead us not into temptation,” because I don’t know about you, but when I hear
that or I read that it feels a little bit confusing. Almost as if I’m wondering,
“Like, is God in the habit of leading us into temptation?” And then those of you
who know your Scripture will go, “But wait a minute. Doesn’t James 1 say that God
never tempts anyone and can’t be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone. So
what’s going on with this? Why is Jesus asking us to pray this to God, ‘And lead
us not into temptation’? And there’s a lot of discussion around whether temptation
is the right word to be translated there into our English. Some look at it as the
word trial. And what I think is most helpful to do is just a step back from
the prayer for a moment, do what we’ve been doing throughout this entire series,
and recognize that this is not only a prayer that Jesus has given his
disciples to pray, but this is a prayer that he is living out in his story as
well. And so a question we need to ask is, “Are there any stories in Jesus’s life
and ministry where he was tempted in any way? And especially because we’re
in Matthew 6 right now, is there anything that comes before Matthew
Chapter 6?” And we go, “Oh yeah, of course! It’s Matthew Chapter 4 when Jesus goes
into the desert.” In fact, this is how Matthew 4:1-2 read. It says, “Then Jesus
was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
And then after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights he was hungry.” Of course he was,
and then the devil comes to him and starts tempting him in three different ways.
But I want to first of all look at this and go, “Alright, Jesus was led by the
Spirit into an environment where he would then be tested by the devil.” So
God’s not in the habit of tempting us– excuse me not to be tested by the
devil but to be tempted by the devil–and God is not in the habit of tempting us
but apparently the Spirit is leading Jesus into an environment where the
devil can then tempt Jesus. And you go, “What in the world is going on here?” Well,
I think there’s two facets that are at play here. One, it is a temptation by the
devil, but it’s also a testing for Jesus. And you go, “What’s the difference between
temptation and test?” Well, here’s where Michael J. Wilkins from the Zondervan
Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary of the New Testament Vol. 1, and yes that
is a mouthful, but an amazing commentary series, he says this on Matthew Chapter 4
in this moment. He says, “A temptation is an enticement to get a person to go
contrary to the will of God, as Satan will try to do to Jesus. A test tries to
get a person to prove oneself faithful to God’s will, with the good intention
that the person pass the test.” So he just does a brilliant job here, because a
temptation is intended to take us away from the will of God,
whereas a test is to solidify the fact that we are going to walk out God’s will.
And so, when it comes to this story in Matthew Chapter 4, it is a test for Jesus
to live out God’s will, but in the same token it’s a temptation from the devil
to try to derail Jesus from walking out God’s will. And so we see that there is a
test underway. Now it’s not just a test with the devil in the desert, there’s a
larger story at play here. Because one of the things that we need to also keep
reminding ourselves is that you cannot understand Jesus’s life in ministry
without recognizing he’s living it out on the canvas of Israel’s story and that
of the Exodus. And so if you just look at the details, and you go, “Ok, 40 and it’s in
a desert. Where was Israel, you know, in a desert for something for 40?” And you go,
“Of course, right, this is the story where Israel spent 40 years in the
desert or the wilderness.” And at the end of their 40 years, Moses in Deuteronomy 8,
Chapter 8 verse 2 says this, “Remember how the Lord your God led you
all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in
order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his
commands.” So they are tested in the desert to see, “Are you going to follow
God’s commands, or are you going to go your own way?” And this is precisely
what’s going on here in Matthew chapter 4. So when you read the story in its
entirety, you see that on three different occasions after Jesus has already been
in the desert for 40 days, the devil tries to tempt him in some way. Once it’s
with food, once it’s with protection, and then the last one–which I think is most
pertinent to our conversation pertaining to the Lord’s Prayer–is that Satan will
take him to a high mountain to show him all the kingdoms (however that played out)
and then he says, like, “All of this is yours if you bow down to me.” Which was
Satan’s way of saying to Jesus, like, “The reason why I’m tempting you right
now’s because you just had your baptism, you just got the Holy Spirit, your Kingdom
movement is under way, you are about a Kingdom. I can give you all the kingdoms
of the earth, you just bow down to me.” And so the temptation there is for Jesus to
receive power and authority, friends get this, without pain and sacrifice. And he
says, “It’s all yours. All you got to do is bow down to me.” Now, the reason why
I wanted to take us back for a few moments into Israel’s story to be
reminded that there’s a connection here, is because the way that Jesus responds
to Satan with each of these three temptations is that he quotes scripture.
And he’s quoting from key moments in the story that has come before him, knowing
that Jesus–his role, his mission–is to take that story forward. In fact, to be
the culminating moment in human history with the cross and the empty tomb. And so
he’s quoting scripture to go, “No, no, no, like, I am fitting into the story, like,
God has been faithful all throughout this story, God knows what he is doing. I
am called to walk out his will, and his way in the world, not to follow this
derailed approach to the Kingdom that Satan is trying to tempt Jesus with.” And
so he quotes scripture, he reminds himself of the story, he proclaims the
story to the evil one and says, “I am walking out God’s will.” He passed the
Test, and the temptation from the devil failed. So that is story #1. Story #2
doesn’t encompass a desert, it encompasses a story that’s going to come
later in Matthew and that is in Gethsemane. In the garden, Jesus will be
tempted once again. Now it’s going to feel a little bit different, but it’s
actually connected. So let me just show you here within this image.
This is a shot that I took from the Temple Mount facing east. And so, this is
the Kidron Valley, this is the Church of All Nations, and on the north end of the
Church of All Nations it commemorates the traditional location of Gethsemane.
So on the night before Jesus was crucified, Jesus and His disciples–after
the Last Supper, after Judas had already left–they will end up here in Gethsemane.
And Gethsemane is another moment of temptation. It’s a test, it’s a trial. And
I just want to read to you from Matthew Chapter 26, these first four verses or so
starting in verse 36 where it says this. “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a
place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’
He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to
be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with
sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Going a little
further he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is
possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” So he
goes into Gethsemane, he feels the weight of the world, he goes in further by
himself. And I just envision Jesus, like, digging his nails into the dirt of
Gethsemane. And he’s saying, “Father, if it is possible, make this cup pass from me.”
And this cup is a representation of all of the pain, the brokenness, the chaos, the
sin, the judgment that was to be poured out on the nation’s. Jesus is going to
take that upon himself, and the weight of all of this is suffocating him to the
point that he says to God, like, if it’s at all possible I don’t want to do this.
And friends, I think this is huge for us to just pause in this moment and
recognize that so often when we look at Jesus we want to focus so much on his
divinity, that we do that at the expense of his humanity. That Hebrews
tells us that yes, Jesus was fully divine but he also lived into the fullness of
humanity to experience what we experience. And in this moment, Jesus
doesn’t want to go through it. There is pain, there is agony that he is already
experiencing and it’s on the horizon. He says, “God, I want this to pass from me.” And
you go, “Well is this just kind of a fleeting moment, you know, for Jesus?”
And the answer is, no it’s not a fleeting moment. He’s actually been praying for
some time, and he’s gonna pray the same prayer two more times for a total of
three times. He’s going to say, “God, I don’t want to go through it.” And in this
temptation, to take another way out, to not go to the cross is one avenue, but I
also just wonder. Knowing that where Gethsemane is, like if you just go east and
you crest the Mount of Olives, off the back end of the Mount of Olives is this
place. It’s the Judean Desert, where Jesus was tempted by the devil. Where in the
midst of his time there, the devil said to him, “Hey, you want power? You want
authority? Do you want the kingdoms of the world? I will give it to you pain
free, sacrifice free.” And I just wonder if not just for a fleeting moment in his
humanity that Jesus is going, “Is there any other way that I can gain this world
without having to go through the cross?” And as he sits, and as he ponders this in
the midst of the Gethsemane, of the midst of the garden, Jesus comes to the
conclusion there isn’t another way. And this is why I love the second half of
his prayer when he says, “My Father if it is possible may this cup be take
from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Friends, this is straight out of the playbook of the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father
who is in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, here on
earth.” Right? If the Kingdom of God is going to advance, to push out all the
brokenness, and the pain, and the chaos that it needs to be dealt with once and
for all. But in this moment in Jesus’s humanity he says, “I don’t want to do it. But
it’s not my will, it’s your will.” And Jesus survives the temptation from the
devil to find another way out, to not walk out God’s will, and instead Jesus
passes the test. Because he says, “It is your will I am going to walk out.” And he
does it.  And he does it precisely because he has been living out God’s Kingdom
movement in his life. And this is where it’s going to conclude. And so when we
look back now into the Lord’s Prayer, knowing where Jesus had been at this
moment, and knowing that this prayer embodies everything he’s going to live
out, we look at this line, “And lead us not into temptation,” and we look at this and
we go, “Of course we want to pray don’t lead us into temptation. It is pain, it is
suffering, it is heartache.” I mean–40 days in the desert fasting, and then being
tempted on three different occasions by the devil, and then Jesus being in
Gethsemane with the weight of the world. It’s like, yes, yes that’s something
we do not want to have to go through. But I think that what else is going on here
is that when it says, “And lead us not into temptation,” it’s also this
recognition, though, that we’re not going to seek it out, but it’s
actually going to find us. And here’s what I mean by that. If you
look at this entire prayer, and everything that we’ve been studying and
looking at in this series. And if we said this, “If you’re faithfully living out the
rest of this prayer, you will be tempted! You will enter trials.” Like, if you are
advancing God’s Kingdom movement here on earth, there is a kingdom of darkness
that doesn’t want God’s Kingdom advancing here on earth. And it is what’s
going to come after us. Now, it might be something where we actually experience
some kind of, you know, evil opposition like Jesus did. I mean, when you look at
Jesus’s life in his ministry, he has opposition everywhere. He’s got it from
the demonic forces, he’s got it from just the the natural realities of a broken
world. Like the death that Lazarus experienced, and Jesus goes and cries at
Lazarus’s tomb. You have the religious leaders who don’t like what Jesus is
doing and constantly bringing opposition. It’s just to understand, friends,
if we are faithful to God we will experience trials and tribulations here
on earth. And some of it will just be natural happenstance things of life.
That’s just part of a broken, fallen world. Tragedy, death, disease, cancer, those
kinds of things, and it actually may be something where we do feel like we’re
being attacked in order to be a derail from what God is calling us to do in our
lives. And so we do pray, “And lead us not into temptation,” but friends we also need
to recognize, we are going to experience it, and we want God to bring us through
it, but one of the things we need to hold in our hands as we recognize this is
that there may be trials, there may be things that actually take us out. And
here’s where I just want to read a really great quote from Tim Mackie. He’s
got this podcast called, Exploring My Strange Bible. He’s one of the co-founders
of the Bible Project. He had a brilliant teaching on the Lord’s Prayer that I was
listening to not long ago, and when it came to this section this is what he
said. He says, “Every day we need to be reminded that
following Jesus is hard. And that great tests and trials will come our way. And
to remind ourselves that they are not signs that the Father has abandoned us.
They’re actually, paradoxically, signs the Father is with us. And that he will
deliver us through in some way…” Right? Because we go through these hard times,
and it’s like, God where are you? And it’s like, no, God is actually with you. When we
experience this, it’s because we’re seeking to live out God’s will and God’s
way, and God’s walking with us in the midst of this. Remember, our Father in the
heavens rules and reigns over all, but he is always near us. He is walking with us.
But here’s how Tim ends this quote where he says, “…will deliver us through in some
way. Though, for many, it has meant giving up their life, and that included Jesus.”
Right? So Jesus survived the temptation, the trial, but he also died on a cross.
But he did so in order to conquer sin and death once and for all so that
friends, we can actually pray this last line, “…and deliver us from evil,” to
recognize that evil doesn’t get the final say. That when we go through our
trials, and our temptations, and our struggles, that ultimately we don’t want
evil to get the upper hand. And if it does get its upper hand in our lives at
that moment, that we are reminded that it doesn’t ultimately have the final say.
That Jesus has the final say, because he went to the cross, he conquered the grave,
and that collectively he was the moment in human history that everything pointed
to. He conquered sin and death once and for all. The story is heading on a track
where all will be made right at the end of the story, and evil will not get its
final say. And so, friends, every day we come to this prayer and we pray, “Dear God,
do not lead us into temptation, don’t give us more than what we can handle. We
recognize by just being followers of Jesus we are going to experience trials,
and temptations, and testings in our lives, and we pray that you would deliver
us in those moments. And if death takes us a result of the trial that we’re
going through, God, may we be reminded that evil doesn’t get the final say.
Death has been defeated, and Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and
will make it right at the end of the story.” Friends, that is why we end the
prayer by saying, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory
forever. Amen.” So let it be. And in the midst of our struggles, in the midst of
our trials, friends, we need to be reminded, “And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us.” This is not about us individually going through things, this
is about us joining together as a community. We need one another to get
through the temptations. We need one another to get through the trials. We
need one another to get through the things that we’re going to go
through. And we also need one another to remind us of where the story is
ultimately going, so that we live every single day in the hope of what is
already true, and that we long to see its fullest expression here on earth. So
friends, there you go! Part 8 of the Lord’s Prayer. Again, next week will be
our last episode, so let’s do what we’ve been doing for every episode.
Let’s pray the Lord’s Prayer together as a way of signing off. “Our Father who is
in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, here on earth as
it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we
have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from
evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” And
friends, may you walk out this prayer well in your life.

 

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