From the Archives! Luke Sermon Manuscript: Luke 11:4 part 2

I like reading sermon manuscripts! So, I thought it might be helpful for some if I shared some various manuscripts of messages I have preached from time to time. Now, I am not going to do the work of editing them, so please be patient with the presentation, as I type them a certain way to make it easier for me as I preach. It may be a bit annoying for you, but it would take way too long for me to edit! You can listen to the audio here. This particular message is about asking God for protection from temptation.

If you will take your Bibles and open to Luke 11, we are talking once again about prayer, and specifically looking at the Lord’s prayer.

And.

As I say almost every week we are taking a long time on this because one of the reasons Jesus gave this to us, was as a model prayer, it’s kind of like a pattern we can use to help us, as we go to God in prayer.

We don’t just pray.

We want to pray the way Jesus taught us to pray, and we saw so far.

That involves.

A number of different elements.

Like.

Believing the gospel.

Remembering we are talking to God.

Hoping in God’s great future plan.

Asking Him to provide our daily needs.

And.

Confessing our sins.

In other words, quoting Jesus.

Here.

“When you pray, say:

‘Father.

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”

And this afternoon, obviously, we are going to be looking at the last petition.

The way this prayer ends.

In.

Verse 4.

And lead us not into temptation.”

Which, I think we could summarize, with the word.


Help.

Lead us not into temptation is a way of saying.

Help.

Help.

Help.

And that’s really what I want you to feel today.

A sense of your own helplessness.

Confidence in God’s willingness to provide the help you need.

And the importance of asking Him to do just that.

Which is actually, how I thought we should begin.

Before we do anything else.

Let’s begin.


By asking God for help.

Pray

Now I wonder what your greatest fear is?

It’s good to evaluate your fears.

What am I afraid of?

Because there are a lot of things we are afraid of that we shouldn’t be.

(There are a lot of fear nots in the Bible.

Don’t be afraid of this, don’t be afraid of that

And we need those obviously, because there are things we are afraid of that we shouldn’t be.)

And, yet at the same time, there are some things we are not afraid of that, we really should be.

I think one of the things in the Bible that is most frightening, honestly, is sin.

Sin.

Is disobedience to God’s law.

It’s when you don’t think, or speak, or act, or feel in a way that God says you should and it’s when you think, speak, and act, in a way that God says you shouldn’t.

And biblically speaking, it’s frightening.


Sin.

As one old theologian has put it,

“If we truly sensed the evil and dreadful nature of sin, we should have an exceeding dread of it upon our spirits.

(And dread means terror)

We should hate it worse than death, and should fear it worse than the devil himself, and dread it even as we dread, damnation.”

Which sounds obviously, pretty intense.

Dread sin as we do damnation.

In other words.

Fear, lying like going to hell.

Fear, lust like going to hell.

Fear sin, like going to hell.

If I put hell in front of you and I put sin in front of you, which are you more afraid, well I am afraid of both.

And while that sounds kind of shocking, if we look at what the Bible says about sin, it pretty much only makes sense.

Because of what sin is.

Sin is a crime, basically.

God is the owner of the universe and He has laws, and sin is breaking those laws, and breaking laws, is a crime, and it’s not just a crime against anyone, obviously.

That’s another thing that makes sin so frightening, what it is, and who it is against.

Sin is a crime against God Himself.

That’s why they say sin is an infinite evil. That means an unending evil. You can’t really come to the end of how sinful even one sin is, because sin, is ultimately, against an infinitely holy God.

“What makes sin sin,” as one man put it, “is not first that it hurts people, but that it blasphemes God.”

Sin, every sin, is personal.

It is not just something you do out there. It is something you do to someone, against someone.

Sin is men hating God.

And that is awful because of who God is. God is holy. God is good. And, sin is against all that is holy, and against all that is good.

It’s a challenge to God’s wisdom. 


It’s a fist shaking in the face of God’s sovereignty. 

It’s a person spitting on God’s love.

It’s no small thing.

Sin.

Because of what it is, and because of who it is against, and because of what it does.

Sin wants to undo the soul.

In other words.

Sin wants to make you live.


Like an animal.

It wants to strip you, of what’s beautiful about you.

It’s not something that leads to your long term good. Instead it makes your life more complicated and more difficult.

In the here and now.

And, worse, biblically speaking.


Sin wants to kill you.

Every sin carries hell in it.

Even though God doesn’t give us hell for every sin, every sin deserves hell.

Sin is frightening.

That’s why Jesus says things like, if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away, and if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away, and it makes sense to him, if cutting off your hand and tearing out your eye stopped you from sinning, it makes sense, because sin is that awful, sin is that evil, to him.

And yet, a lot of the time, you know, it isn’t to us.

This is I think one of the greatest problems we face.

Practically speaking.

It’s like if you had a lion, living outside a village, you know.

And that lion.

Kept eating people.


Every day.

And yet, if the people in that village, weren’t afraid of that lion, that’s like a curse, something’s wrong, if they are not fearing the lion, because the lion’s killing them, and.

Something is wrong, spiritually, if we are not fearing sin.

And you know, to try to be specific.

If we are in a situation, where there is something there that makes it easier for us to lust, and we are not fearing that, something is wrong.

If we are in a situation, where we have this opportunity to lie, to say something that is not true, and we are not fearing that, something is wrong.

And you kind of have to ask, what’s wrong, or, maybe, why are we not fearing, what we should be fearing? And I think there are a number of different reasons for that.

One could be that we are not believing what the Bible says about sin.

And we should be honest about that.

Sometimes you make the problem worse, because you are like, yes I think sin is terrible, but you’re lying, because you don’t believe sin is that terrible.

Otherwise, you wouldn’t be making the choices you are making.

If I say, come over here, let me cut off your finger, you don’t come over, you don’t make that choice, and accidentally let me do that, because you believe it’s terrible.

And for some of us, the problem is, even though God says, sin is this terrible, and even really, life experience shows us sin is terrible, we are proud enough, to look at God and say, no, actually I don’t think sin is that terrible, and as a result, we are not frightened of it. We would rather sin than suffer. We don’t mind putting ourselves in places that gives us extra opportunities to sin. We would rather sin than do what God wants, because we don’t think God’s right, about how bad sin is.

That’s one possible reason, we are not fearing it, but another possible reason, is because we’re just not believing what the Bible says about us.

We think sin is terrible, but we are not that concerned, about it, because, we don’t think, we are that terrible, really. (It’s like if I say in China, they are having an earthquake right now, that doesn’t scare you, because we are not in China.) And all this talk about the danger of sin, sometimes doesn’t affect us, because honestly, we have a deluded view of ourselves.

And now you are going to have to listen a little bit.

Because it is going to be heavy, and it is going to be difficult.

For us to hear and process.

Because we usually only like hearing good things about ourselves.

And this isn’t going to sound like such a nice thing, but I am really wanting you to understand, why Jesus ends his prayer, by telling us to cry out.

Help.

Because.

It’s a weird way to end a prayer, you know?

We might expect it to end with something glorious, the Lord’s Prayer, and in Matthew, it seems like some of the people copying the gospel later on, felt that way, and added, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever, amen” to the end of it.

Which is obviously true and good and makes sense given the way, the Lord’s prayer.

Begins.

With us looking at God, and praying all these big things, Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, we might expect a great big ending, but instead, in Luke, it’s like, we turn to ourselves.

And we’re just like help.

Give us our daily bread.

Help, forgive us our sins.

Help, lead us not into temptation.

And, there are a lot of people who would think that is sort of pathetic, really.

Give us our daily bread.

Is.


Basically.

I am a beggar.

And I need you to feed me.

And.

Forgive us our sins.

I am a debtor.

And I owe you so much, I can’t ever pay you back and so I just need you to, wipe away what I owe you.

And lead us not into temptation.

Is.


I am a weak man.

And.

I don’t trust myself.

To be able to do battle.

I am not this great soldier.

You know.


It’s funny.

There are a lot of kings, and, Jesus is a king.

And there are a lot of kings, who have talked to their soldiers, before they go to war, and usually, they give them a pep talk, and they try to say something that is inspiring, like we can do this, you know, the enemy has nothing on us, we’ve got all this power, let’s go in there, and let’s fight.

And yet, Jesus as king, is talking to his soldiers, and he, is like no, you don’t have it in you, and so one of your primary prayer requests should just, be.

God, please, don’t let me give into temptation.

Which is what I think this means.

Basically.

Lead us not into temptation.

Some people have actually kind of made this harder, honestly, than I think it needs to be, because they are like, wait.

Is this saying God tempts us, or something.

Meaning.


Entices us to do evil?

In other words, is Jesus telling us to pray, God please don’t entice us to do evil and I think, no, obviously, that can’t be, what Jesus is telling us to ask.

Because.


God doesn’t tempt anyone like that.

And.

There are others then, who are like, well is he saying that, we should ask God not to let hard things come into our lives?

And the reason they say that.

Is because the word temptations.

Can also mean trials or difficulties.

It has two meanings.

And I know, we hear temptation, and we think temptation, to sin, but most of the time, in the Bible the word means, just tests, hard times, really and yet, I don’t think, Jesus is saying.

Ask God to keep you away from hard times.

Because.

He’s the one who said we have to pick up our cross.

And as we read the rest of Scripture.

We see.


God uses trials to do a lot of good things.

In our lives.

So.

For me.


I think it’s easier to understand what lead us not into temptation means if you just look at the way Jesus spoke to the disciples in other places.

Using very similar words.

Like for example.

Luke 22.

It’s the same book, same disciples even, and Jesus, there goes to pray.

On the Mount of Olives.

Before he’s taken away.


To be crucified.

And, you remember, he brings the disciples with him and Luke tells us, in verse 40 that he said to them.

Pray that you might not enter into temptation.”

Which of course, they were not able to do very long before they fall asleep.

And so he comes to them.

Again.

In verse 46, and says the pretty much same thing.

One more time.

“Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray, that you may not enter into temptation.”

And what’s the temptation there?

I don’t think.

It’s the trials, they are about to go through.

Because.


Jesus knows, the only way to follow Him is to pick up their cross. There is no stopping, what’s coming, in terms of that.

Instead.

I think.

Entering into temptation is Jesus’ way of talking about, basically about giving up, and giving in, and succumbing to the temptation in the middle of those trials, to sin, and abandon him.

They are praying.


God, please, as the trials, come, I don’t trust myself, I need your help, if I am not going to give in.

In fact.

Maybe.

You get the whole picture, by going up to verse 31, in Luke 22, where Jesus says to Peter.

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail.”

And.

He’s saying, a difficult time is coming, when you come under Satan’s attack, and I’ve been praying, God won’t let you enter into temptation.

In Jesus’ words.

That your faith may not fail.

And yet, even with that warning.

You know.

Peter’s like, actually, you don’t really have to be concerned about that with me Jesus.


Because.

I think.


I’ve got this.

And.

Jesus, is, like, no, you really don’t have this, which is why he comes back and says to Peter and the rest, pray, and ask God to help you, not give into temptation; which obviously, was very hard for Peter to believe, given the fact.

That instead.

Of praying.

He started sleeping.

Obviously, he wasn’t that frightened by the possibility of sin, because he didn’t think.

It could happen with him.

Which.

I am saying.

Also.


Can be a problem,

With.

Some of us.

When it comes to sin and temptation as well, because honestly.

Like.

Peter.

We have pretty high views of ourselves.

You know.

And.

Our.


Righteousness.

And.

Godliness.

And.

Self-control.

I mean.


We know.

And.


Don’t get me wrong.

Because.

I don’t want to paint the picture worse than it is.

We know, that before we were saved, before we came to Jesus.

We were in a really desperate position.

I am talking to you if you are a Christian.

You know.

You were.

Helpless.

The picture the Bible gives is death.

We were dead spiritually.


That was our.

Condition.

There was no spiritual life in us. 

We were, quoting Colossians 1, alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds. Ephesians 4, ignorant, hard hearted, callous, given up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. Titus 3, foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Meaning.

We weren’t able.


To do spiritual good.


Or.

Maybe to say it another way, we weren’t able, not to sin.

We weren’t able not to sin.

We didn’t have it in us.

If you think about the way man was, in the Garden of Eden, before Adam disobeyed God and the way we were born, afterwards.

You’ll get a picture, of what it was like for us.

Before the fall.

Man was able not to sin.

And also obviously.

Able to sin..

We had options.

And man was able not to die, and, again, man was able to die.

As well.

And.

Yet.

All that changed.

Clearly.

When man rebelled against God.

When we are born as humans.

Now.

We are still able to sin like we were in the Garden, but, we are not able not to sin. In the Garden we were able not to sin. But now, we are born not able, not to sin.

And.

It’s just like how we no longer have the ability, not to die, as unbelievers, we no longer had the ability not to sin.

Which, given how terrible, we’ve been saying, sin is, was really, a desperate condition, for us, and I think most of us, are willing.

To admit that.

About who we were.

Before Jesus.

Most of us.

Recognize we were in a desperate situation, but now, that we are Christians, sometimes.

I think.

A problem is.

We don’t really feel that helpless.

Any more.

We are like I am saved.

I’ve got this.

And now you need to follow me.


Because, obviously, the grace of God has done some amazing things in us, we’re not who we were, now that we are, Christians.

We are alive.

Spiritually.

“But God made us alive together with Christ.”

Ephesians 2.

And.

We have.

New desires that we didn’t have before.

And.

We have new abilities that we didn’t have before.


One big one being.

That.

We can obey God.

Now.

Paul says.

For example,

“Walk in a manner worthy of the gospel of God.”

And he can say that.

Because.

The grip of sin, has been broken in our lives, through union with Christ, and the miracle of what they call, regeneration.

Our lives.


Can be worthy of the gospel.

Because.

Of what God’s grace has done in us.

And so.

We do have confidence in this war against sin.

We are not just like, oh, there is no hope, I might as well, just sin all the time.

Because, God’s grace has been at work in us, and yet, I think, it’s also important to understand, if it were somehow possible, to suck all that the grace of God has done, out of us, and just leave us there on our own.

Fighting sin.

We are done.

We would do terrible things.

And.

What’s more, even with all the grace of God has done in us, one thing it hasn’t done yet, is remove all the sin, from us.

So.

We still have sin.

In us.

It’s authority has been broken.

But it’s still present.

All the time.


In our hearts.

Meaning.

In your heart, and my heart.

Even though you are a real Christian, you still have sinful desires and while, it’s true, God’s grace has changed you, the thing is, it hasn’t changed the nature of those sinful desires.

In other words.

Your sinful desires are still sinful, and ugly, and gross, and capable of exercising a very powerful influence on your life.

Let me give you an illustration.

One of the men in the history of the church who has written the most on this is someone called John Owen, who quotes Paul actually and talks about indwelling sin, that’s the sin that’s still in our hearts as believers, and describes it, as being like a kind of law.

For us.

From.

Romans 7:21.

This is the verse.

“So I find it to be a law (sin) that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.”

And calling sin a law.

Is a metaphor.

To help us understand.

The power of sin.

In our lives.

You can picture the sin in your hearts as a law.

Now.

Obviously.

For that to be helpful.

You have to think.

What’s a law?

A law is something that commands you.

And.

It’s also something that motivates you.

It says if you do this, good will happen or if you don’t do this, bad will happen.

There will be consequences.

And.

So.

It has a, kind of authority, a law.

It wants to be obeyed.

And.

The sin, remaining in you, as a believer, works like that.

It no longer has real authority in your life. It doesn’t have any real rights over you.

But that doesn’t stop it pretending.

And so it’s always telling you what to do, it’s commanding, it’s enticing, it’s bullying, and, the thing is, as believers we can’t be naïve about how relentlessly, indwelling sin is doing all of that.

In.

Us.

It’s always working against us, to do us evil.

It’s a single-minded kind of enemy.

It has one goal.

And.

It never gives up on that goal.

Quoting Peter.

Sinful desires, “wage war against the soul.”

They want to destroy you.

And.

Obviously.

Now.


John Owen’s.


Not saying.

Because Paul’s not saying.

And.

The Bible’s not saying.

That as believers, that’s all there is, in us.


Only this indwelling sin.

They are not saying, there isn’t also in us, because of grace, a law, working to do good, and even a will, a desire to do good, because, there is.

If you are a believer.

And it’s powerful, it’s great.

This new principle of grace, in your life.

And.

It’s greater than indwelling sin.


If you really are a Christian.

But.

You need to know.

Indwelling sin.


Is.

Pretty.


Powerful.

That’s the point.

As believer, there’s still a fight going on, and it’s a serious fight.

It’s kind of like.

As someone’s said.

Indwelling sin.

Is like a rhinocerous.

If a rhinocerous comes into a restaurant, it doesn’t have any authority in that restaurant. You don’t say, oh, the rhinocerous is the boss. It owns the restaurant. No, it’s an invader. It’s not in charge, and yet it certainly does have a lot of power, and certainly, do a lot of damage.

Like.

The sin, that’s in you, even now, as a believer.

And one reason sin has such power.

In your life.

Actually.

Is because of where it dwells.

It would be one thing.

If we were just fighting the world out there.


And the devil.

That in and of itself is pretty intense.


But if you think about what makes sin so dangerous.

It’s the fact.


It’s not merely attacking us from the outside.

It dwells in us.

We are fighting the sin that’s still in our hearts. And, always, there in our hearts, until we get to heaven.

I mean.

It never fully leaves you.

In this life.

This enemy.

It keeps constant surveillance.

On your life.

And.

Worse.

It’s not just watching you. Or, following you. It’s in you.

Everywhere you go, it goes there with you, actually, in you. And so, it’s like you have this enemy living in your own heart, and this enemy.

It doesn’t get tired.


It never really rests, it’s always excited about destroying you, it doesn’t lose its passion for war, it’s doesn’t grow tired of hurting you, it is always looking for opportunities to take you in the wrong direction.

The way Paul puts it.

“When I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.”

And.

It’s got certain advantages.

As well.

When it comes to influencing us.

Like for one.

Habits.

Because we were unbelievers for so long, it’s got our habits on its side.

If you know what I am saying.

Habits are the things you do without thinking you are doing them and before we became Christians, sin trained our habits, it taught our habits how to work, and so now that we are Christians, even though we want to do right, we’ve still got these habits, these things we do without thinking, that are on sin’s side.

Because sin was their teacher.

And.

So a lot of times sin doesn’t have to do much work, because we just do it, because we have been doing it so long, that it feels natural to us, and we don’t even notice, that we are sinning.

And when we do notice.

The battle is not even done then, because, sin is a really good liar.

There are a number of passages that make the connection between sin and deceit.

Like.

Hebrews 3:13.

Says.

We have to encourage one another day after day, lest our hearts be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

And this is part of what makes sin so dangerous.

It doesn’t just force you to drink the poison. It slowly but surely deceives you into wanting to drink the poison, and thinking that drinking the poison is good for you, and even arguing and getting angry with anyone who is trying to stop you from drinking the poison.

As well.

And.

I guess.

I am going on and on.

And.

Saying all of this, because I am trying.

To.

Give you an idea.

Of.

How foolish it is.


For any.

One.

Of us.

To be casual.

As long as we live in this world with this indwelling sin still at work.

In us.

It’s actually like we know, we are already walking down the path, towards spiritual destruction, if.

We are.

Casual.

About the spiritual threats we face.

If we are not.

Frightened.

By the danger of sin.

In our own lives.

It’s kind of like.

When we moved to South Africa. As a picture. Everyone was telling us how dangerous it was here.

With crime and all that.

And.

Because, we are Americans, we got the idea, that it was.

Like people were just shooting at each other all the time. In line at the grocery store, bang, you know.

If our car broke down.

We thought this is it.

We’re going to heaven.

And at first it kind of worked a little like that even, not our car breaking down and us going to heaven, but the crime was in our face, when we first moved.

We were only here a couple of weeks, when we were in a restaurant down in Johannesburg after I had preached somewhere on the resurrection.


And. 

Thieves came in with their guns, and we were under the table hiding. And they were going around, waving their guns around, and I was thinking, wow, I am going to have apply this sermon, on the resurrection.

Pretty quickly.

And.


As a result, when we first moved here, we were pretty vigilant, about safety, and so we had all these alarms in our house, and we would always be locking all these gates.


Carrying these keys around.

It felt like.

We had to unlock.

Like five gates to get the bathroom.

And.

Yet, what’s happened over time, as we’ve lived here, for so long now, is that we’ve come to understand, at least from our perspective, that things aren’t quite as dangerous as we were imagining.

Or being told.

There are dangers of course, especially if it happens to you, but what I am saying is it doesn’t feel as dangerous as it did when we first moved, and as a result, we are honestly not nearly as careful.

Now.


As we were then.

And I think.

That’s the way some of us are with the Christian life, in that we hear all this talk about indwelling sin, and for a while we take it seriously.

But.

We get a little complacent.

After a while.

And while we maybe agree it is that dangerous for other people, their sins are dangerous, we kind of feel like we are living in a neighborhood, where things aren’t quite as bad.

If you know what I am saying.

When the reality is, pretty much the opposite.

Where.

You’ve heard rumours of how bad sin is, it is actually worse than you’ve been told, and more dangerous, and more deadly; and so much more dangerous, that we can say, apart from the grace of God, you absolutely would be destroyed by it, you have no hope.

Of defeating it.

Which.

I know maybe sounds discouraging to some of you.

And I am not meaning, to be discouraging, but instead to help you get a sense of how reliant you are on God’s grace.

Because God loves you.

And.

If you turn to the Scriptures, you can see God’s made some really great promises.

About.

The resources that are available to you.

To deal with indwelling sin.

Like.

I’ve already talked about regeneration.

He’s given you new life.

A.


Dead man in a battle, is obviously, not going to win.

A living man.

Though.

He’s got a battle.


But, he has hope, because he’s alive.

And.

Spiritually we are alive, and what’s more, the same Spirit, that gave us that life, now lives in us, to keep us alive.

Romans 8.

Talks about the Spirit.

Paul says,

God’s Spirit dwells in you.

And empowers you to fight against indwelling sin.

Romans 8.

Verse 12.

“If you live according to the flesh you will die.”

The threat is real.


In other words.

If you just do what sin tells you, you’re going to be destroyed.

“But”

There’s hope.

“if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

And the key phrase there is the Spirit.

Not only has God given you life to fight this battle, and the Spirit to strengthen you to fight this battle, He’s given you His Word.

I think of 2 Timothy chapter 3.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent equipped for every good work.”

And He’s given us each other.


And He’s given us promises.

Hebrews 4.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence, draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

And that’s actually kind of the whole, really.

As we look out at this world, and our future now, there are lots of things that feel concerning, but if you step back, and you start working your way through the Lord’s prayer, and really believing it.

That God’s your Father.

That He’s going to glorify His name.

That He’s going to establish His kingdom.

Most of the stuff that you are really concerned about, isn’t so concerning.

Say.

I try my best, but I never get a good job.

Ok.

God’s my Father.


I can glorify Him.

I am going to live forever.

A lot of the stuff that we are afraid about, isn’t really that frightening.

But I’ll tell you.

Looking at God’s future plan, and then looking at my own indwelling sin, what is frightening, is just my own deep rooted sinfulness.

Now.

We have hope, of course.

But all that hope, comes from God, and God alone, it’s all dependent on His grace, which means, as we look at ourselves, we should definitely not be overconfident.

When it comes to temptation.

And sin.

We should.

Be in the words of the Bible, watchful.

That’s one practical application from all this.

We should be watchful.

Quoting, Jesus in Matthew 26:41.

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

And what’s it mean to be watchful?

It means to be mindful, careful, cautious.

It means.

Basically.

We do our best to avoid anything that might expose us to sin.

Or even lead us into temptation.

We don’t mess around.

We don’t say to ourselves, I am so mature, I can do things, like this.


No.

That’s a sign you are not spiritually mature, because if you were spiritually mature, you would be much  more careful.


I mean.

What would you think of someone who said he was afraid of a certain enemy.

But then.

Went and had dinner with him or went to a place where he knew that enemy usually ate.

You wouldn’t think he was being careful.

Or watchful.

You would think he was being stupid.

You’ve probably seen movies like that, where someone was being hunted down, and yet, they went to the place, where.

They knew their enemy was going to be.

And you are like, yelling at the TV, don’t go there, what are you thinking?

Or.

Maybe.

Imagine you asked someone to watch your child, and when you come home, you find them sleeping, and your child playing on the edge of the roof of your flat building.

And you wake them up.


And they are like, what?

That’s not being watchful.

And.

If sin is as dangerous, and as close, to us as the Bible says it is, we can’t go through our lives sleeping.

Spiritually.


We have to be watchful.

Luke 22:34.

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.”

It’s not the right word.

But.

It’s almost like we have to be paranoid when it comes to our sin.

And temptation.

In fact.

“It’s impossible.”


John Owen once said.

“we should be…too jealous, doubtful, suspicious, and watchful.”

When it comes to sin.


Because.

“The heart has a thousand different ways of lying, and if we are the least bit, unwatchful, we are going to be, surprised.

And fooled.”

And serious damage.


Can be done.

There’s a saying you know.

It’s not being paranoid if they really are out to get you. Paranoia thinks everyone is out to get them, and if they are not, that’s strange, but if they are, that’s just being smart, and the Bible’s very clear, that sin and temptation, really are out to get you.

And you know that from your own experience.

And so this watchfulness, this carefulness, is not actually paranoia.

It’s real, we know it’s dangerous, we know our own hearts, and so, we don’t stand there and fight against temptation.

We run.

And I am not saying, we just hide ourselves away in a little room, until Jesus comes back, because we have a work to do.

But.

I am saying, as we go about doing that work.

We are careful.

Fearful even.

And we don’t play.

Around.

With temptation.

And especially not with the temptations, that are especially tempting for us.

Because.

While.

We all have some sinful desires in common, we also all, have certain sinful desires, that are more challenging for us.


Personally.

And so.

Part of being watchful.

Is.

Knowing yourself, and avoiding.

Situations where we easily fool ourselves, and also, really because, we know, how easily we are deceived, by ourselves.

We also avoid.

Listening to people who are lying to us about our particular sins.

And.

This.

Kind of vigilance, this kind of watchfulness, is not something we ever grow out of.


Either.

Because.

We’ve seen all kinds of great men, fall to sin.

I was thinking.

You can imagine standing on the edge of the battle, and watching these heros, these great soldiers go into battle, and get defeated, one after the other.

And how does that make you feel?

It makes you feel scared, right?

And that’s good.

That’s the thing.

While, in the world, we often honor men.


Who are like.

I’ll take on the biggest obstacle. I am not afraid.

We don’t usually make a movie about a person who is constantly running from battle.

And.

Yet.


Spiritually.

That’s a sign of strength.

Actually.

Physically, strong men, are like, hey I’ve got this, send me into battle. But not spiritually.

With sin.


With temptation.


That’s not spiritual strength.

Strong men, spiritually, know their own weakness.

   

In fact.

As Jonathan Edwards once put it,

“None are in as much in danger, as the most bold.

They are most safe, who are most sensible of their own weakness; most distrustful of their own hearts; and most sensible of their continual need of restraining grace.”

In other words.

The strongest men are the men who feel the greatest sense of dependence on God.

And on God’s grace.

Which is why, they pray.


What?

Help!

In Jesus’ words.

“Lead us not into temptation.”

God.

You are my Father.

So I trust you.

I believe you.

And.

I know you are God, and what matters most is your glory.


That’s what I am wanting.

And I am longing for your great plan to be accomplished.

I can’t wait for Jesus to return.

And.

So right now, Lord.


What I need is.

Enough to serve you until He does.

And.

I am wanting to honor you, and so I’m asking that you will forgive my sins.

Because I look at myself and I see so much sin.

Lord.


And I hate it.

And as I look at myself and I see all this sin, and I know that I am so weak.


I can’t even stand on my own for a moment.

And so God.

I am just coming humbly.

And asking for help.

For me.


And for us.

“Will you, uphold and strengthen us by the power of your Holy Spirit so that in this spiritual war we may not go down to defeat, but always firmly resist our enemies, until we finally obtain the complete victory.”

In other words, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Help.

And.

You can be confident He does and He will.

Sin is frightening and temptation strong but God gives more grace, but he only gives that grace to those humble enough to know how badly they need it and ask Him for it.

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