Main Scripture Text
- NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew 6:9-13
- [Matthew 6:9-13] Blessed be the reading of God’s Word
- And beloved, the Word of God that we will discuss this afternoon is summarized to us in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 52, Question 127. Let us read it in page 63
- CATECHISM: Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 52, Q. 127
Good afternoon po! Today is the last Sunday of the year, and so we are already on the last Lord’s Day portion of our Heidelberg Catechism. Hindi po natin madi-discuss yung lahat ng questions in Lord’s Day 52. Next year siguro. Sa ngayon, mag-fo-focus lang tayo dun sa mismong petition, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Now, if you would recall, two Lord’s Days ago, we discussed the previous petition: “Forgive our sins.” At ang kasunod nun, “Lord, lead us not to temptation, but deliver us.”
Kaya kung titignan natin yung structure and order ng Lord’s Prayer, it is clear that we don’t only pray for forgiveness, na mawala at malinis yung “guilt” gawa ng ating mga kasalanan. We also ask God for strength and complete deliverance from temptation and sin.
RELATE: Kapag may mga kilala ako na taong nakagawa ng kasalanan, or may lalapit sakin to confess, ito rin yung tina-try kong i-discern sa taong yun. “Is this person grieving over the effects of his sins or the sin itself?
EXAMPLE: I remember sa previous work ko in research writing, may online survey for married people, (1) “If you will have an affair, and your spouse will learn about it—will you do it?” Definitely, people responded no!… But (2) “If you can have an affair, and your spouse will not learn about it or will not be angry at all—will you do it?” Sadly, many said yes.
So it is one thing to hate the consequences of sin; it is another to hate the sin itself. It is one thing to say, “Lord, patawarin mo ako sa nagawa kong kasalanan. Na-tukso kasi ako eh…” But another thing to say, “Lord, ilayo niyo po ako sa tukso, at ‘wag Niyo po ako hayaang mahulog sa tukso.”
You see, God is concerned not only for our justification but also for our sanctification. And he is not only concerned with our continuous forgiveness of sins, but also our continuous growth in righteousness.
Ang plano ng Diyos para sa ating kaligtasan ay hindi lang sa tayo ay mapatawad at maging matuwid sa Kanyang harapan, kundi tayo rin ay magkaroon ng aktwal na kabanalan, lumago sa pag-sunod sa Kanya, at maging ganap na kawangis ni Cristo sa huli.
That is why this prayer is part of the prayer of believers.
Now, this is the last item in the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” And here, we will see (1) the reality of our spiritual battle as believers, and then we’ll discuss (2) how to pray this prayer as believers engaged in this battle.
SERMON POINT 1: Our Spiritual Battle as Believers
The first part of the prayer says, “Lead us not into temptation…” And we may ask, “Does God even lead us into temptation?”
In James 1:13, it clearly says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.’
But when we read from other portions of Scripture, God also “tempted” Abraham, Joseph, Job, David, and even the Israelites in the wilderness. Pero yung English translations natin, ang ginamit na word ay “test” rather than “tempt”—para clear na agad yung distinction. Meanwhile, it is also clear that Satan tempts believers.
But the big difference is this: Temptation or testing from God is a trial of our faith or to manifest our faith, while temptation from the devil is an enticement to sin contrary to faith. Yung pagsubok na galing sa Diyos ay para po maipakita sa atin at sa iba yung pananampalataya na meron po tayo at para magbigay kaluwalhatian sa Diyos.. Samantalang yung tukso na galing sa diyablo ay pagtutukso satin na gumawa mismo ng kasalanan laban sa Diyos. Yun ang gusto ni Satan, to lead us to sin and destroy us.
Pwedeng isipin, “Eh, di ba sovereign si Lord? So kung hahayaan Niya si Satanas na tuksuhin tayo, eh di galing din kay Lord yung temptation.”
Hindi po. The best example is the story of Job. God indeed permitted temptations to come upon Job. But God himself did not entice Job to sin. Satan did. And at the end of all those temptations, the result was the confirmation of Job’s faith—which is ultimately God’s work in Job.
Bagama’t nagpapadala ang Diyos ng mga pagsubok sa buhay nating mga mananampalataya o kaya’y hinahayaan niya na tuksuhin tayo mismo ni Satanas, ang pinaka layunin ng Diyos ay hindi para sirain tayo kundi para mas ipakita sa atin yung kundisyon ng ating pananampalataya at para palakasin at pagtibayin ito.
So the petition, “Lead us not into temptation,” is like saying, “Lord, if possible, do not lead us to temptation. Do not bring it upon us. Do not permit it.”
But the reality is: We will never be free from temptation in this life. Aside from trials that God could bring to us to test us and prove our faith, we are also tempted by our sinful flesh. Nandun pa rin yung mga kahinaan ng ating mga laman.
Going back to James 1, verses 14-15 reads: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
That is the root of our temptation to sin: Our sinful nature. The sinful and depraved heart is naturally inclined to entertain temptation and commit sin. Kaya kinakailangan ng “regenerating work,” yung pagbabago ng Banal na Espiritu sa’tin. Pero kahit tayo’y binigyan na ng bagong puso at buhay ng Espiritu, nandun pa rin yung mga kahinaan natin hangga’t hindi pa tayo “glorified.” Meron nang pagbabago at paglago sa kabanalan, pero nandun pa rin yung struggles ng ating sinful nature. (Paul explains it more in Romans 7).
And more than that, we are never free from temptation because of this fallen world. Habang nandito tayo sa makasalanang mundo na ‘to—laging may tukso sa paligid natin. The world offers sin right before our eyes.
EXAMPLE: Naaalala ko lalo na dati kapag nag-e-MRT, pag-dadaan na ng Guadalupe, I really have to close my eyes. Bakit? Eh pagkadami-dami at pagkalaki-laki ng mga tarpaulin dun at LCD screen, na puro naka-display mga sexy na babae, pang mayaman na items, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life!” Ngayon lang, pag dumadaan kami sa EDSA nang naka-motor, hindi ako syempre pwede pumikit. But I have to fight it!
That’s the system of the world. Shamelessly, it flaunts sin, lust, and vanity right before your eyes. At your very fingertips.
And who’s the mastermind? Who’s the one enticing men and women towards worldliness? Satan himself. In the sovereignty of God, he allowed Satan to have certain influence on this world, bilang judgment na rin sa mga makasalanang tao.
But as we mentioned earlier, sino pinaka-target ni Satan? The believers.
Kaya nga yung second part nung petition is, “Deliver us from evil.”
Iniisip ng marami (even some Bible translations before) na yung “evil” na tinutukoy dito eh yung mga masasamang pangyayari sa buhay: Kamatayan, aksidente, krimen, sakuna, etc. But these things happen to Christians.Even Christians become victims of murder, theft, rape, etc.
Kung titingnan kahit sa original language, the prayer is “deliver us from the evil one.” It means, “Deliver us from the Evil one, and all the evil things that will come from him.” (E.g., temptation to sin, to doubt God, feel hopeless in your sins, etc.)
And why ask that God protect us and deliver us from Satan’s attacks?
1 Peter 5:8 — “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” You’ve seen a lion hunt a prey?
Though he is no longer as powerful and influential as before because of Christ’s finished work, Satan is still at work. Seeking to tempt believers, seeking to destroy churches. And as Jesus told Peter in Luke 22:31, ang madalas na target ni Satanas ay yung mga leaders ng church. Lalo na yung mga pastor. Once the pastor is depressed and gives up, once the pastor commits immorality, one the pastor falls into heresy—the whole church is affected and may scatter, and Satan rejoices.
Brothers and sisters, we have a serious enemy!
That’s the reality of our lives as Christians: We are in a constant spiritual battle against our sinful flesh, the sinful world, and the devil himself. Ang daming iba’t-ibang temptations, from within and without, and from all directions and in all circumstances. As the catechism says, “They never stop attacking us.”
EXAMPLE na lang: Hihingi ka kay Lord ng wisdom and strength para maging excellent ka sa work. Binigay ni Lord, marami kang na-achieve. Ang daming naka-recognize sa’yo. Anong magiging temptation? PRIDE… Sige Lord, wag na lang pala, okay na ako sa ordinary gifts. Eh, matatanggal ka daw sa work mo kasi limited yung skills and knowledge mo. Magugutom na pamilya mo. Anong temptation? COMPLAINT, DEPRESSION.
In whatever stage and status of life, yumaman ka man o maging mahirap, nasa Pilipinas ka man o wala, nasa Reformed church ka man o hindi—you will always face temptations.
And this is the reason why Christ teaches us to pray! Because of all these temptations, we must pray for God’s mercy and deliverance so that we will endure them.
And so praying, “Lead us not to temptation, but deliver us from evil,” is like saying, “Lord, if possible, let me not be tempted. But if it is your will that I be tempted, for the sake of proving my faith, help me to stand. Help me resist the devil. Help me overcome it. Help me be faithful until the end.”
Now, how exactly do we pray this prayer?
SERMON POINT 2: Our Prayer as Believers Engaged in Battle
Definitely, Christ is not telling us to just mention these words over and over again, “Lord, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil,” and that’s it! No. Christ gives us a model of prayer, and this is the basis of our actual prayers.
So what is involved in this prayer? How do we actually pray this prayer? Let me give three practical suggestions:
1. This petition involves praying for humility
We will not pray if we think we can stand on our own. Ang tanging paraan po na tayo’y makakatayo laban sa kasalanan ay sa pamamagitan ng kalakasan ng Diyos, at hindi po natin hihingiin yun sa Diyos at hindi natin matatanggap yun—kung sa tingin natin, hindi naman natin kailangan.
That’s why as our Catechism says, praying this petition is acknowledging our weakness. One reason—and even the most common reason—why we fall into sin is pride. Kapag tingin natin matured na tayo, hindi na tayo masyadong careful. Kahit deep inside, your conscience is warning you—“Okay lang, kaya ko ‘to.” Kapag marami na tayong alam, tingin natin hindi na natin kailangan laging mag-basa ng Bible, o mag-pray, o pumunta ng church, o maki-pag-fellowship. And soon, when temptations come, you’re caught off guard.
So friends, always pray for humility, like saying, “Lord, I am weak. I cannot stand on my own. Keep reminding me of your Word, always convict me of sin, always correct me when I’m wrong. Keep me humble and dependent on you. Keep me watchful, always asking for your grace.”
2. This petition involves praying for hatred of sin and love for Christ
In this prayer, we ask God, “Lord, draw me away from any temptation to sin.” And the question is: Paano ba ginagawa ni Lord yun?
To be drawn away from something requires that you be drawn towards something else, especially something better (Illustration: When choosing what to eat or buy. You fix your eyes on something you like, unless something offers you something )
Likewise, to deliver us from Satan and the enticement of sin, God gives us knowledge & love for Christ. LET’S READ JOHN 17:17. And here’s the reality, friends: The reason we entertain temptation and fall in sin is that we get blind to the ugliness of sin and the loveliness of Christ
EXAMPLE: For married men, when you are tempted to admire and lust over other women, you don’t simply ask God to help you not to look at other women. You pray that God will help you see and wonder again at the beauty of your wife! Kasi madalas, yun talaga ang issue. Kasi noon, when you were courting each other, when you were newly married, wala kang paki-alam sa iba eh. Every night you’re happy to see her lying beside you. Every morning, you’ll smile at each other. But things suddenly become familiar and just ordinary. And you stop appreciating and learning more about your spouse.
And the same thing happens to us believers. Yung song nga ni Gary V, “Dati rati…” Nung unang dinig mo nung true gospel, you are so amazed of God’s truth of salvation. You are so moved in tears of joy, you can’t stop singing on bed, you don’t care about the time just reading the Bible and going to church, and YOU COULD EASILY OBEY GOD, SAY NO TO SIN, AND OVERCOME ANY TRIALS…
But time comes when we grow cold. The gospel is still being preached in church, but you’re no longer excited for it! Mas masaya pang gumala! Perhaps you know more about Systematic Theology and the Reformed Faith, and you can defend it against Atheists, but you’re no longer reading and enjoying the very words of God in Scripture. Yung mag-basa ng Bible for even just 10 minutes—hirap na hirap ka pa?! Pero pag Facebook, Twitter, TikTok—babad na babad ka buong araw. Sasabihin mo pagod ka na, pero pag games or Korean Drama, okay lang mapuyat!? What’s wrong with us Christians today?!
No wonder many of us are greatly influenced by the world. Our thoughts and imaginations are lustful, and our views more worldly, and our relationships more selfish and self-centered. And we find it hard to resist and overcome our struggles and addictions.
I’ll tell you what is wrong when these things happen to us. We lose sight of the beauty and the love of Christ.
- Christ, the eternal Son of God—full of glory and power and majesty—became flesh like you and me
- “Not counting equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself… humbling himself to the point of death on the cross”—suffered and died on our behalf
- And he didn’t just died, but rose again and is now seated in heaven, fulfilling everything we need for our salvation—forgiveness, peace, eternal life! And he gives them to us FOR FREE!
How could we turn our back on Christ for a fleeting & destructive sin!
Brothers & sisters, the devil, the world, and the sinful pleasures of our fleshly desire nothing but our destruction. Sin is deceitful, sin is nothing but corruption and death. “The wages of sin is death!… But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:23).
So praying, “Lord, help me stand against temptation,” is praying, “Lord, let me see the ugliness of sin and treasure Christ more and more. Tulungan mo ako na mas mahalin si Cristo kaysa ang kasalanan. So that when temptations come, I know to whom I belong.”
When we see the beauty of Christ, we will hate sin and resist temptation. And we would rather enjoy our fellowship with him by his Word and Spirit, than live in darkness.
3. This petition means we pray with assurance and hope
Friends, although we cannot stand on our own, we can stand when we find our strength and confidence in the Lord. God encourages us to pray to him, not only because we are weak, but because he himself is all-sufficient and faithful.
God may bring and permit temptations in our lives, but hear God’s Word from 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
One reason we fail to resist and give in to temptation is we forget this. Hindi natin kagad naiisip, “God has provided a way of escape here!”… Gaano man kahirap, gaano man kalaki yung temptation—God is faithful. Dahil nagtagumpay na si Cristo, dahil ang Banal na Espiritu ang Siyang kumikilos sa atin—we can endure it! That is our strength & motivation to resist. Because of Christ’s faithful work, and because of God’s faithfulness, we CAN stand firm and fight as soldiers of Christ. Hindi man perfect, but we can grow.
So kapag tayo’y natutukso ng kasalanan, let us pray, “Lord, I know you are faithful. I know you already provided a way of escape, show me the way. I know you are with me, help me endure this. O God, let me not lose heart! Let me win this fight!”
As believers, may times pa rin po na tayo’y mahuhulog sa kasalanan dahil sa ating mga kahinaan. In fact, maraming beses din na hindi natin naipapag-pag-pray ‘to. But God never fails to give us hope. How?
Basahin po natin sa John 17:15. Jesus Christ himself prayed:
“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.”
At ipinag-pray niya po ito hindi lang para sa disciples noon. Look at verse 20:
“I do not ask for these only [these disciples with me], but also for those who will believe in me through their word…”
And friends, that includes you and me. Despite our unfaithfulness in praying this prayer—Christ already prayed for us. Indeed, he continues to intercede for us now in the heavens. And he gave us the assurance that for those who belong to Christ, nothing will snatch them out of his hands.
So with all these encouragement and assurance, let us keep praying and longing for humility, for hatred against sin, for love of Christ, and for strength to keep standing even when we fall and to keep going forward in this race.
At bilang pangwakas, mga magulang ko’t kapatid, kahit sa pagtatapos po ng taong 2022, ang tanging dahilan po na tayo’y narito pa rin at nagpapatuloy at magpapatuloy—sa kabila ng lahat ng mga pagsubok at tukso ng kaaway—ay walang iba kundi ang tapat na pagpapanatili ng ating Diyos. At ito po ang ating maging encouragement para magpatuloy na mas labanan ang kasalanan at mas mamuhay ng may kabanalan—bilang ating pasasalamat at para sa kaluwalhatian ng ating Panginoon. Amen.
Reuel Dawal is the Minister of the Word and Sacraments at ZCRC. He was an intern prior to being ordained and installed as the church's new pastor. He is currently finishing his Biblical and Theological Studies at the Miami International Seminary (MINTS) online. He and his wife Yeng are married since 2017 and lives in Imus, Cavite.