This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is about Getting Connected to God in prayer based on Matthew 6:9-13.
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Today we are going to be wrapping our Get Connected series. We have been talking about the Lord’s prayer as a model for prayer. So far you should have memorized
Matthew 6:9-12 (NIV)
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Today, we will be looking at Matthew 6:13:
Matthew 6:13 (NIV)
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
Today we are going to talk about avoiding temptation, which is really about living by trying to do the next right thing. Temptation presents us with an opportunity to do the wrong thing, and we are trying to do the next right thing, so what do we do? Fortunately, God has a plan in place to help us when we are living by trying to do the next right thing.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
When you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it (do the next right thing)! Let’s break that down into three points.
1. When you are tempted
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
But when you are tempted,
Let’s change this part of the verse a little. Instead of when you are tempted, which happens to all of us, think of it like this (When are you tempted?)
You need to look at the pattern in your life that causes you to not do the next right thing. Ask yourself things like When am I most tempted? What am I doing? Where am I? Who am I with? What is it that is most tempting to me? How do I feel right before I’m tempted? Once you get a handle on your pattern of vulnerability, you will be more able to see more clearly that
2. He will provide a way out
When you are feeling tempted, you need to pray. I taught you my anxious prayer a few weeks ago. Remember it? Oh God, Oh God, Oh God. Let me teach you a prayer for when you are feeling tempted. Ready? HELP! Do you know that Jesus is sympathetic to what you are going through?
Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV)
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
3. You can stand up under it
The trigger for temptation might come from the outside, but the temptation is actually inside you.
James 1:14-15 (NIV)
14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
So you’ve got to guard your heart. Be careful what you allow in.
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
When you are feeling tempted, the most important thing to do, is pray, and then change your focus. Some times we think that the way to avoid temptation is our will power, I am not going to do it, but the reality is, resistance is usually futile. In the Bible we are not told to resist temptation, we are told to resist the devil, which is a different issue. The secret to overcoming temptation is not resisting, it is a change in focus.
Change the direction of your thoughts. Shift your attention. If you are watching TV and something comes on you don’t like, you don’t sit there and say, I’m not watching, I’m not watching, you change the channel. That’s how you handle temptation. Don’t just say, “I’m not going to do it”, change your focus.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
Speaking of Philippians 4:8, it is one verse of a great passage of scripture found in Philippians 4:4-8 and these will be the verses we will memorize together next as we start a new series next week called “Give Thanks”.