Matthew 4:1-11 "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."
The 5th Petition says, "lead us not into temptation." Sounds good, but most people have no idea what it means. You see, in the Bible there are 2 kinds of temptation, one that leads to sin and destruction, and another one that we usually speak of as ‘testing’. Lets pick the last first, as its easiest. Quite simply, sometimes God tests us. Its not really a test, God already knows the answer. But it is a test never the less, because we don’t. God tests us in this way, circumstances may come up that show the richness of God’s love, grace and mercy. God shows us, by his grace, that with his help, things which appeared impossible, are accomplished. God tests us so that we can grow in faith, and rely on him more fully. God tests us, so that we can see the victory that we have been given in Christ at work in our lives. God tests us, so that we can tell people from firsthand experience how God is faithful, and how God has been at work in our lives, and how God has provided exactly what was needed, when it was needed.
So when we speak of temptation, we are not talking about testing, but an enticement to evil, about lies and deception, and worst of all - the consequence of going that way. One of the great promises we have, is the promise of God that we will never be tempted beyond our ability, but with every temptation, God provides a means of escape, so that we may be able to endure. This petition works with the one that follows, "deliever us from Evil" and in part is calling on God to keep us away from the circumstances that might bring difficult temptations upon us.
Lets be honest, there are some places where tempatation might be hard to resist. We ask God to help us stay away from those kind of places. So also, there are some people who just seem to lead people into trouble. We ask God to give us good and pious friends, who lead us to the cross and the Word of God, and not into trouble. Finally, there are circumstances that can cause us trouble, not enough money or too much money, either can cause trouble. Not enough time, or too much time, either of those, can also cause trouble. In a way we’re asking God to help keep us in balance.
Now its time to look at the temptations. Any time you look at any of the things that may be tempting objectively, you see that they aren’t even desireable things, and do not deliever that which they promise. The chief thing in temptation, is deception. And while deception may seem desireable, once you call it a lie, and remember that Satan is the father of lies, it becomes much easier to just say no. Jesus question, "What would it profit a man if he gain the whole world in excange for his soul?" is a good place to begin. Many people have given up their soul to the devil, but the devil has yet to give any one of them the world. If the devil were a salesman, would you trust him? If you found out there were NO satisfied customers, would you still want to go that direction? And that’s precisely the point of temptation, misdirect people, point them in the wrong direction, don’t let them examine history, the promise or the claims.
The devil doesn’t want you to examine the history, the promise, or the claim; but God makes his whole case depend on exactly that. God has been faithful throughout history. God has kepts his promise throughout history. God’s claims, have been proven in the lives of countless people - God has only satisifed customers -- why would you choose anything else?
Why? Well there are 3 reasons why people are tempted. Each of them begins with doubt. They
doubt that God will provide. They doubt that God will protect. They that God will glorify you. These are the same temptations Jesus underwent in our lesson.
Do you doubt -that God will provide?
‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Do you doubt -that God will protect?
‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test
Do you doubt -that God will glorify you?
‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’
For God has given us a free and complete salvation, God has forgiven us for all our sins, and God has promised us not only the resurection of the dead, but a lasting glory in a perfect place. All this is ours in Jesus Christ , and this great treasure is the only thing worth clinging to. Thank God, for Jesus.