Romaine Park Burnie Church Service – 24/04/2022, Ps Nick Booth :- Watch and Pray – Luke 22:39-48.
Luke 22:39 – 46 Watch and Pray
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
Good morning Church, It great to see our visitors here today along with those who are joining us online. Please, if you are online and willing, why not write in the comments section where you are watching from and do let us know how we can help you.
I had promised to finish the short mini-series on signs of the times today, but I had not considered the fact that kid’s church isn’t on in the Holidays. So rather than talk about a topic that might needlessly scare our kids, please forgive for delaying that message for a couple of more weeks.
We are rapidly coming to the end of preaching through Luke’s Gospel. I hope that you have enjoyed what you’ve been learning and that you have been growing to know and love Christ more.
Today’s passage brings us back to just before the crucifixion when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Today, I want to also return to what must be considered one of the most important parts of our Christian Life – Prayer.
Jesus told the Disciples “Watch and Pray” for many of us, our prayer lives might consist of ‘Grace’ at dinner time and a goodnight prayer at bedtime with the kids. I do hope that this is not the case – but can I encourage you, our prayer life is the most important part of our lives. More important than social media, more important than chores, more important than TV. Even more important than food or sleep.
So today I want to look at how we approach life when we face challenges!
- Do life’s challenges block God from our view and stop us from seeking Him?
- Or does temptation make us hit our knees?
- Perhaps our sin prevents us from seeing God and maybe even causes us to hide from God.
Trials can cause us to weaken in our faith or they can cause us to depend upon God. Temptation can ultimately drive us away from God or lead us to triumph and victory in Christ. For all of us, I reckon that we have found times when both aspects have been true.
Unfortunately, for some believers, it can become easier to deny God’s righteous standards than to admit our sin and forsake it. This is highly problematic because the Bible tells us that a previously righteous person, people who once walked with God can actually walk away from God, and they can be lost. If you wonder where I am getting that from – please do check out Ezekiel chapter 18 when you head home.
The book of Hebrews Ch
10 says it like this
39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
And James tells us in the last couple of verses of ch 5
19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Our goal should be to do whatever we can, to pray as hard as we can so that others and ourselves do not wander from the truth.
When we watch and pray – it should be for ourselves and also for others. That kind of prayer is called intercession and I’ll talk a little bit more about it in a little while.
- Jesus had a place where he liked to go to pray. (Probably, quite a few depending upon what part of Israel he was in as he went around ministering.
- His disciples knew the place, they followed him. Not only to the place but to his example. They were learning how to prioritise prayer life. Jesus did. It wasn’t religious prayers, nor rote prayers or formula, but living prayers, relational prayer.
- When Jesus tells us to watch and pray it is because a prayerful life strengthens our spirit man against temptation
- It’s good to pray alone, but biblically, it’s just as important to pray with other believers. Jesus told us not to publicly for attention or recognition. Sometimes we need to pray in secret and we also need to pray with others. Prayers of agreement 2 or 3….
- Disciples in Acts 2 prayed in a prayer meeting of a 120 people.
When persecution came in Acts 4, they held a prayer meeting
When Peter was imprisoned in Acts 12, there was a prayer meeting.
Paul and Barnabas in Act 13
Tonight, we will be having our prayer and worship night. I can’t emphasise our need to pray enough. When we seek God with others – God does amazing things. There is power in agreement in prayer. We’ve been witnessing how God has brought so many new people into our church and many of them are people coming to Christ and others who are coming back to Christ. Our prayers are effective.
When I first came to Romaine – we had a meeting with the Leadership. I spoke with them about our need to address prayer in our church and make it a huge priority. 3 years in, I’m not going to stop. On that day and after discussion and watching some stirring videos on the topic of prayer for revival. I mentioned that I would rather lead a church that prays but does not grow than to lead a growing church that does pray.
Of course – my real preference is to lead a growing church that grows because we pray. Growing in numbers and growing spiritually. Both matter! Praise God – we are seeing the fruit of our prayer, but let’s not stop.
Lets come back to the text – Jesus prayed that the cup and the hour might be taken from him.
- When Jesus praying, He actually prayed a prayer that seems to be contrary to what God had sent Him for, It was in prayer again that Jesus yielded to the Father’s will. It is ok to struggle to know God’s will and it is ok to struggle and to wrestle to do it. But can I encourage you – the pay off is incredible. The reward always outweighs the cost! And it is really about the eternal reward. Not just the temporal.
So, Jesus practiced his own instruction to the disciples on prayer when he said, not my will but yours be done. That line from the Lord’s prayer ‘Your Kingdom Come, your will be done.’
If you are struggling to obey, ask God for the strength to follow because Prayer brings supernatural strength. Angels might even show up and start ministering when we pray.
- Please notice that Prayer doesn’t always change the outcome.
When the going gets tough the tough get praying. Do tough times drive you to your knees or do they make you despair and stray from God?
Here’s what Jesus did!
Jesus prayed more earnestly. More fervently, more passionately.
he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
James tells us in chapter 5 that “the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much!” Passionate, persistent prayer produces results.
- Intercession is costly, sometimes food, many times sleep, and even occasionally blood sweat and tears.
- Jesus prayed kneeling a position of submission. Jesus submitted to the Father, therefore God has highly exalted him. Philippians 2:10-11.
- Why did Jesus bow?
Jesus learned obedience Hebrews
- Why do we bow when we pray? Not all of us can but it is an act of submission and an act of worship. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- Jesus found them sleeping. Anxiety, sorrow, fear stopped them from praying. Tiredness robbed them of time with Jesus and left them defenceless when their greatest test was about to come.
- But Jesus was prayed up because he stayed up.
- Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
One of my favourite quotes is from Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill “A sinning man stops praying, but a praying man stops sinning.”
Its just as true for women. Indeed, the closer that each of us walks with Jesus, the less likely we are to yield to temptations that would hurt God or cause a fracture in our relationship.
- Let me close with this thought. Because of Gethsemane, Jesus could face Calvary. He faced it for you and me. He willingly submitted, he willingly died on the cross so that we might be saved.
Every temptation that Jesus faced was to circumvent the cross. To gain the prize without paying the price. To take the easy way out. Each time, each temptation Jesus faced, he chose the Father’s way. He chose the Father’s will. Watch and Pray so that you do not fall into temptation!
How are you going with the challenges that life brings? Being a Christian does not mean that you don’t and won’t face challenges. There are storms that come the way of both the Christian and the not-yet Christian. I’d sure rather go through the challenges with Jesus than to face them alone. Those challenges might be mental health issues? Anxieties, financial difficulties. Sickness, Relationship issues. They are all real, and I won’t pretend that we have a magic wand to take it away, but I do believe in a God who answers and to who we can always pray.
God cares, and God Answers prayers. God delivers from troubles, from demonic oppositions, from temptations and addictions. For some, their deliverance is immediate, for others it might take the discipline of time seeking God’s face.
For a few others, the ultimate deliverance is found when we cross over from this life into the next. At each point, it is vital to know that it is Jesus who is the one who saves, who heals and who delivers.
You can’t and won’t fix yourself by sheer strength of will power. I’ve met a few people over the years and very many conversations with people about God who say that they didn’t God as a crutch to get the out of trouble. Well, without God – our remedies are only ever temporary. It might last 1 month – 1 year – 1 lifetime but it doesn’t have any impact upon eternity. In that regard, we have absolutely no ability to help ourselves other than to throw ourselves upon the mercy of God.
Prayer for Salvation
I know that I am a sinner and I want to turn from my sins. I need your help and strength to do this. I ask you for Your forgiveness. Lord, I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe that He died for my sins and that You raised Him from the dead.
I want you to come into my life and be my Lord. I surrender to you now. I trust in Jesus as my saviour and follow Him as my Lord from this day forward.
In Jesus name, Amen