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Author:Rev. Hans Kalkman
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 Canadian Reformed Church - CanRC
Title:And Lead Us Not Into Temptation.
Text:LD 52 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Also read John 15.

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Hans Kalkman, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Sometimes, when we see some people suffer from a lot of hardship and difficulties in their lives, we say, "Life is a battle". And that's true, life is for most people a battle. Well, if this is true for all people in general, then it is even more true for us; the children of God. For us this life here is indeed a very real and serious battle. It is a battle, because we live in the midst of a world that hates us. It hates us, because we actually do not belong to it. We are in this world, but not of this world. We are, according to Hebr.11, strangers and pilgrims, seeking a better, a heavenly country.

All petitions are of course, but especially this one, is a petition of "children," to their heavenly Father. This petition is not necessarily the petition of every church go-er. No, there are an awful lot of church go-ers that feel actually very much at home here in this world. They have totally forgotten, that the Lord said to His Church, "In the world you will have tribulation." and "They have hated me, they will also hate you." You see our Lord was well aware that the children of His Father have a battle on their hands every day of our life. And this why the Lord taught us our petition of this afternoon, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." I will preach, therefore, the word of God to you, as it is summarized in Lord's day 52 of the Heidelberg Catechism, under the theme,

"God's Children Cry to their Father from the Midst of the Battle."
We will see that their cry is,

  1. A Cry for Help against their Enemies.
  2. A Cry of a Certain and a Glorious Victory.

1. A Cry for Help against their Enemies.

Now we have of course real strong and dangerous enemies, but according to our catechism, they are not our biggest problem. Our biggest problem is not in the first place the strength of our enemies, but to our weakness. "In ourselves we are so weak that we cannot stand even for a moment." Now this is really humbling, is it not?

But it is true, brothers and sisters; we are "so weak." Especially when we think that we are strong. Look at Peter, he thought that he was strong, and he said to the Lord, "Lord I am ready to go with you, both to prison and death," but he was defeated already three times before the rooster crowed.

The apostle Paul did not say, "when I am strong, then I am mighty", but "when I am weak, than I am mighty." So by ourselves, in our own strength (or lack thereof actually), we are no match at all, for our enemies. The Lord knew that, and therefore he taught us to pray, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." No, it says not "but deliver us from evil" as we some times hear it and as it is sometimes also wrongly translated, but "from the evil one". Meaning, of course, Satan; he is the "Evil one."

Now notice that the Lord speaks of the evil one, and that the catechism comes up with three sworn enemies, Satan, the world, and our own flesh? This seems to be some what strange is it not? Now it is not so that the catechism here lists some enemies, which the Lord must have forgotten. No, the catechism lets us see what Satan, who is the prince of the kingdom of darkness; the prince of evil, uses to attack the people of the Lord. The catechism gives us a peak behind the scenes, to let us see who hides behind the camouflage of the world and our own flesh.

So our battle is against three enemies, but behind the last two, lurks Satan, who is the great general of all our enemies. Now let us take a closer look at each one of our enemies. The first one the catechism mentions is, of course Satan himself. Satan; he is the oldest enemy. He is our enemy already since the time that God decided to create us in His own image. He is the most relentless enemy of man there ever was, and there ever will be. This is so, because we are created in the image of God, and that makes Satan our most deadly enemy. He will not rest before he has, as many people, as many image bearers of God, as he can get with him in hell.

Now, we need to know that Satan is not like God, omnipresent, (that is everywhere present at the same time, all the time, remember kids?). No, Satan is just as we are a creature, and he is limited. That does nevertheless not mean that Satan is not mighty and powerful. No, he is one of the mightiest creatures the Lord ever created, and Satan also, has many angels; many helpers. We read in the Bible that the Lord drove out many demons. No wonder, then, that the apostle Paul warns us in Eph. 6:12 that we, "don't wrestle with flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places."

Satan's weapons are violence and deceit. The Lord Jesus calls him in John 8:44, "The murderer from the beginning," and "the father of the lie." We only have to read our Bibles, and take a look at our church history to see how true this is. If Satan could not destroy the church with persecution, for example, if the stoning of Stephan, the killing of James, did not destroy the church, then he would try it with deceit, then he tried to corrupt the church from the inside as we for example see it with Ananias and Saphirah.

It is a good question to ask, what did more damage, the violence, the persecution of the Church by the Romans, and the Jews, or the deceit, the false teachers, who came to teach the gentile believers that they needed to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses in order to be a good Christian.

It is in our time the same, there are countries where Satan has unleashed terrible persecutions against the church, but the Church grows, it seems, in spite of it. And then there are also countries like ours, where he uses deceit. He uses church leaders to cast doubt upon the truth of the Scriptures; upon the power of God to create the world in six real days, to cast suspicion upon the deity of Christ. He also uses church members for whom church is actually a chore and for whom anything that has to do with church is to much already to raise a generation that does not know or recognize the Lord.

Satan; you never see him, but he is always there. He does not appear as a scary satyr with a tail, and split hooves. No he appears as an angel of light, as a friend, yes sometimes he even comes to us, through our loved ones or friends. That is why the Lord had to say to Peter "Go behind me Satan."

Satan is mean; he lures the Lord's people into sin and than he turns around, and accuses them before the Lord. We see that in the book of Job, and in Rev 12:10 he is called, "the accuser of the brethren." He is smart; he always finds the weak spots of people. He whispers the excuses in our ears to stay home from church, and he finds better things for us to do, than going to Bible study on an weekday evening. Satan hates you, because in his eyes you look to much like God. You cannot befriend him as some people like to think, when they worship him and pierce and tattoo their bodies, then he laughs and lures them even closer toward hell.

Now Satan may be our main enemy, but he is not the only one, there is also the world and our own flesh. Now when we speak of "The World," we do not mean the world as the creation of God, of which we read in John 3:16, that God loved it so, that he gave his only begotten Son. That world is not our enemy. No, it is the evil world, of which Satan is the ruler; that is our enemy. You see, God had appointed Adam to have dominion over the world. But Adam chose to disobey God, and fell into sin, and by doing this he sold out to Satan, and so Satan got a hold on this world.

The relation, which Satan has, with this world, becomes clear if we read what the apostle John writes in I John 5:19, "that the whole world lies in the wicked one." You see, just as Christ lives in us the believers, and in His Church, and we live in Him, so Satan lives in the world, and the world lies in him. So we could say that the world is the physical manifestation, the visible part of the evil one, of Satan. Now John also says in this letter, in I John 4:4, "You are of God little children, and have overcome them," Satan and the world that is, "because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." See now? This is why the world is our enemy and hates us; God's Children, so much. We are a danger and a threat to it.

Yes it is true, in our country the world has a very friendly face, and makes itself look very attractive. Our world soothes us, it invites us to relax, "Don't worry we don't hate you, we are tolerant. No, you reformed people are just fine. Just feel at home, try to fit in as much as you can, and that is all we ask. As long as you accept our interpretation of "The separation of church and state," as long as you keep your gospel and your principles for yourselves, your are fine. Just relax we are not out to get you."

And so it is that the church has never lost so many members, and young people, as in this time, and that whole church denominations have become completely neutralized, and all this in the shortest time of all of church history.

The world makes our young people believe that it is safe to marry with unbelievers, or name Christians. They say that they love you and that they will try to go to church some more too, but most of the time, they are the voice of the world; our sworn enemy. Yes this world loves you, makes you popular even, you as long as you listen.

I cringe when I think about the much too many young people, who are deceived with the world's enticing speech, and seduced by her flattering lips, and so they go as an ox goes to the slaughter, and they do not know that her joy is the way to hell. Our enemy, the world, it is always working to neutralize and compromise the us, the Church of our Lord. I wish I had more time to warn you for all its dangers, but we have one more enemy to consider, "Our own flesh."

This may well be our most dangerous enemy. You see, with our own flesh Satan, and the World, have a collaborator, a traitor; within our gates. This enemy sometimes opens the door for the rest of the enemies to come in. How does it do this? Our own flesh, one also could say, "our old self," sometimes becomes envious upon the "Fun, the prosperity of the world" and than it tries to have as much of it as it feels that is good.

So we try to fight the battle, but our guard is down already. Some times our own flesh has a overdoses of pride, and then we feel more, and better than our fellow Christian, and then we are so close to a great fall. Some times the old self attacks us with egoism of selfishness, and then we don't love our neighbor as ourselves anymore, and we offend our fellow Christians with the freedoms we think to have. I do not want to go into a lot of detail, as long as we remember that with our own flesh, with our old self we have a traitor in our own heart who constantly betrays us to our enemies; Satan and the world.

These are our three sworn enemies, we are by ourselves to weak to hold our own even for a moment, and they will never cease to attack us. So it is very obvious that we need help. Well that is why the Lord taught us to pray this petition. FOR THERE IS HELP! You see, the catechism does not want to scare you this afternoon, and make you feel hopeless, and I don't want to do that either. Yes if you are totally arrogant, and try to fight these enemies by yourselves, then you better be scared, because you will loose there is no doubt about it; you are too weak. Every one of you who believe that you can fight these enemies in your own strength, please be very scared, because you will become just as them, and with them you will, as the book of Revelation tells us, be thrown into the in the lake of fire.

For us; God's children, however, there is help. Brothers and sisters, if anywhere, then it is here, that we, the children of God really act like children. We pray "Deliver us from the evil one, deliver us from our sworn enemies, and in this way we turn to our Father, and we grab His hand, "Father, help us!" "Father, uphold us and make us strong; grant us Your Holy Spirit." And our Father, Who loves us and is the source of all good, O, would he not help? Yes we are asking for a lot, we are asking for the Holy Spirit and His power, we are asking for divine strength, . . . but He is our Father ! ! !

And our Lord said once, "If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" See, brothers and sisters that is why we don't have to fear our enemies. It is not a "maybe!" It is not so, that there is a chance that you may receive the Holy Spirit. No it is sure ! How much more will your heavenly Father give you the Holy Spirit, upon praying this petition, which the Lord teaches us to pray this afternoon!

We may go to our Father in heaven, and with this petition, "And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one," we may put our hand in His Fatherly hand, "Our Father who art in heaven, we are by ourselves are so weak; to weak to hold our own for even a moment, but by you is strength Father , you are the source of all good. So uphold us then, and make us strong, by the power of Your Holy Spirit." And our Father, He will uphold, and He will make us strong. Martin Luther, in the midst of all the attacks from the evil one with all his forces, knew this from experience, hear him sing full of triumph,

"Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
were not the right man on our side, the man of God's own choosing. ..
The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him,
his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him. . . .
That Word above all earthly powers,- no thanks to them,- abided,
The Spirit and the gifts are ours, through Him who with us sided.

our Lord Jesus Christ, we will not need to fear. Through him who took upon Himself our battle. Through Him,who, for us, held his own under temptation far beyond we would ever be able to endure. Through him,who taught us to pray this petition, and with it put our hand in the hand of His and our, Father. Through him who encourages us, "Yes in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome this world." and "Indeed Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail." Through Him who also prayed for us, O hear him pray, "Father I do not pray that you should take them out of this world, but that you should keep them from the evil one." Through Him the Holy Spirit and the gifts to remain standing are ours!

O brothers and sisters you cannot lose! ! ! Not when you stay at your Father's hand, and grab a hold of it, O cling then to Him; "Our Father who art in heaven, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." For then is here is the answer of your Father, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not over flow you. . . . .For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel , your Savior."

We cry for help from the midst of the battle, but it is not a cry of despair. It is the cry of a child, knowing that Father is right there. His everlasting arms are ever around us, He carries us as upon eagle's wings. Yes, sometimes, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;" O yes at times "We are perplexed, but not in despair; We may even be persecuted, but not ever forsaken, It is possible that we will be struck down, but not destroyed." "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one," It is a cry for help, but it is also as we will see, briefly in our second point,

2. A cry of a certain and a glorious victory.

"For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever." This is the doxology, the praise, which concludes the prayer. The praise, which belongs to our Father who is the great hearer of prayer. But, it is also at the same time a cry of victory from God's children. Because our Father wins, always, He wins every battle, and He will also win our battle.

"For Yours is the kingdom!" No, it is not Satan's kingdom, and it is also not the kingdom of the powers of this world; it's not the kingdom of communism, not the kingdom of capitalism, not the kingdom of Muslim terrorism and not the kingdom of worldly peace either. "Yours is the Kingdom Father, and therefore, we have the victory. We have the almighty God as King, and that King is at the same time is our Father, therefore, we do not fear.

And Yours, Father, is also the power. It does not matter how powerful our enemies are, You, our Father, is the source of all power in heaven and on earth, nothing is impossible for You. The world is capable of making very powerful weapons, and can destroy much. The world powers may mean that they will reign forever. Our enemies may laugh at those weak and small children of God, who by themselves cannot stand for one moment.

But they are blind and dumb, because they have in all the centuries of history not learned, that when God's children are weak, then they are mighty, because then they come in the power of Him who sits in heaven, Who laughs at all His and our enemies in Holy Irony. He laughs at those who feel themselves so strong, but will perish, when His wrath is kindled only a little. Yours is the kingdom Father and the power, and therefore we do not fear.

Yours is, Father, also the glory, Yes Father, this world is a broken world, it is nothing but misery. In this world everything goes wrong, everybody and everything dies, and that is because of our sin, we have no glory, only sin. But, Father, yours is the glory, for by you there is no sin. By You, there is no pain, no sickness. By You is only glory! Father, the kingdom, the power, and the glory, they are Yours forever, and therefore our battle is won, our victory secure.

O brothers and sisters, we do we have such a glorious future. Soon we may see it, and share in that great glory, forever. "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious Name forever ! And let the whole earth be filled with His Glory, Amen Amen."

"Amen," that is the last word of our prayer. It means as our catechism says, "It is true and certain. For God has much more certainly heard my prayer, than I feel in my heart that I desire this from Him." That is what we confess, when we say "Amen." There is no doubt about it, God hears my prayer. Our prayer, as we are taught it by our Savior will surely be heard. For His is the kingdom the power and the glory.

In Revelations 5 we read that same doxology again, there it is spoken in heaven, "Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever!" and then the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders say, "Amen!" All the angels in heaven say "Amen" too. That is in heaven, because they have seen the outcome, of the battle of God's Children. It is all glory, all victory forever, and they say, "Amen, this is sure to be."

And we, brothers and sisters in the Lord, we say it too. We say it, weeping maybe, because the battle is fears, and in it is so much pain and grief. Maybe we only whisper it, because it is, in the midst of the battle so hard to see it, but we say it, with all our souls, "Our Father, Yours is the kingdom, and the power and the Glory forever. "THIS IS SURE TO BE" Amen.

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Hans Kalkman, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2005, Rev. Hans Kalkman

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