Thursday, March 24, 2016

M Thursday

M Thursday
24 March 2016
“Lead us not into temptation”
Matthew 6:13

καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶςεἰς πειρασμόν

And do not bring us into temptation

Friends in Christ, I urge you all to lift up your hearts to God and pray with me as Christ our Lord has taught us and freely promised to hear us. Lead us not into temptation, O Lord, but help us by Your Spirit to subdue our flesh, to turn from the world and its ways, and to overcome the devil with all his wiles, Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.[1]

Keep your promise and be true to Yourself, Father, by not doing anything that would cause us to sin. Do not abandon us in temptation, and do not let any temptation beyond our strength befall us, but send us Your Spirit to defend us in every temptation. I pray this for myself and all Your children.

On this holy night, when we remember that the Savior endured temptation for us we are brought into remembrance that He Himself allowed Himself to suffer. He prayed in the garden “Father, not My will, but Thine be done” and then allowed Himself and permitted Himself to be crucified.
Tonight, we look at the sixth petition, “and lead us not into temptation” Luther in his small Catechism reminds us: “God indeed tempts no one…” Well, if that is the case, what then do we ask in the sixth petition?

              I.      We ask that the Father would guard and keep us, so that the temptation to evil may not come upon us.
Paul writing in 2 Thessalonians 3 reminds us, “But the Lord is faithful, and will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” (v.3) Here Paul places the faithfulness of God in sharp contrast with the lack of faith in people.  “No temptation has sized you except what is common to man…”
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10, “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 under it.” (v.13) 

Temptation in itself is not sin. Jesus Himself was tempted. Yielding to temptation is sin. Through God’s battling for us we are able to resist temptation to sin and stand up under it.

           II.      God also promises to strengthen and preserve us when He permits temptation to come.
                Why, pray tell, would the Father allow His children to be tempted? You might ask.  The Father allows temptation so that in the end we may overcome and obtain the victory.  Paul reminds us to be clothed with Christ’s protection.  In Ephesians 6:13 he writes, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (v.13)

                Withstanding temptation is the end result.  God by these words assures us that he will give us the means by which we can withstand temptation. Those means are His Word and the Sacraments, which are connected to God’s Word and promises.

                To help guard and keep us the Savior has given us His Supper. This meal is an everlasting testament in which the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation is given to us.

                Jesus, knowing all that was about to happen to Him took the time to offer for us His Supper. This meal is offered to you and to me that we may withstand temptation, that we may overcome, that we may gain the victory.

Lord, I believe what You have said,
Help me when doubts assail me;
Remember that I am but dust
And let my faith not fail me.
This Supper in this vale of tears
Refreshes me and stills my fears
And is my priceless treasure.[2]

[1] Lutheran Service Book, Divine Service, Setting Five © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[2] Lord Jesus Christ, You Have Prepared stanza 6, Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
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