Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Vision (7.31.14): Pray that ye enter not into temptation

Note:  Here is part of the exposition of Luke 22:40 from Sunday morning’s sermon.

And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation (Luke 22:40).

Luke here records, as do Matthew and Mark, that Jesus exhorted his disciples on this occasion to pray that they fall not into temptation (v. 40b; cf. Matt 26:41; Mark 14:38, each adding a statement from Jesus that to the effect that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak).

This reminds us of the petition in the Lord’s prayer:  “And lead us not into temptation” (Matt 6:13; Luke 11:4).

No doubt, Jesus has in mind here the trial that the disciples are about to undergo when he will be arrested, and they will all desert him.  He had told them that Satan has asked permission to sift them as wheat (see v. 31).  Now he is telling them to pray that they do not succumb to temptation and, in particular, to the temptation of apostasy.  What had he prayed for Peter?  That his faith would not fail (v. 32).

If Jesus made this command of the original disciples would he not make it of us?  Have you ever considered that Jesus wants us to pray that we not succumb to the temptation to apostatize, to turn our backs on the faith, to be like Judas who betrayed him; to be like Demas who forsook Paul “having loved this present world” (2 Tim 4:10; contrast Col 4;14; Philemon 1:24 where he is counted among the saints); or to be like Hymenaeus and Alexander who “made shipwreck” by putting away the faith (see 1 Tim 1:19-20)?

I once knew a young man who was a professing Christian and who had even worked in the “media ministry” of a progressive, “relevant,” contemporary church in his hometown.  He had begun attending the church where I was minister and then suddenly dropped out of sight.  I inquired to express concern and discovered that, after encountering the writings of Ayn Rand, he had decided he was no longer a Christian.

Consider the words of the apostle John as he described those who had deserted the faith in his day:

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Have you ever considered that God may use our payers for our perseverance in the faith as part of the divinely appointed means for keeping us in the faith?  This is why Jesus tells his followers to pray that they enter not into temptation.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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