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   Keep Watching and Praying    
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
   Matthew 26:39-41


Matthew 26:39-41
[39] And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." [40] And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? [41] "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Yesterday was Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving Day. Did you have a wonderful holiday?
I believe you had a great time in the Lord with your family members and relatives.
And now, on this last day of the holidays, you came to the church of God to keep the Sunday holy with your family members, and I believe you are overflowing with happiness even more.
It is all by the grace of the Lord that we can enjoy such peace and happiness.
While He was on this earth, Jesus took upon himself all the burdens of the mankind such as poverty, sickness, and infirmities.
He even gave His life on the cross to redeem us from sin which is the cause of all unhappiness.
By the grace of the Lord who lived only for the souls, we came to enjoy true peace and true hope of the kingdom of Heaven.
Therefore, any believer in the Lord should be able to enjoy the true peace.
But is there anyone who is going through life without experiencing the true peace of the Lord completely?
Have you encountered problems during these short holidays?
Whether big or small, did you face any kind of test or trial?
If so, you should check the current state of your faith to find the cause and solve the problem.
Today in particular, I hope that you will focus on the aspects of prayer through this message.
Our Lord has already provided all the conditions necessary so that we can enjoy true peace.
But for us not to face any test or trial and to enjoy true peace of the Lord we must pray.
In Ezekiel 36:37, God promised the recovery of the nation of Israel saying, 'Thus says the LORD God, "This also I will let the house of Israel ask Me to do for them:"
This is the justice. The same principle applies for you to receive the blessings that are prepared in this Year of Blessing 2009.
God has proclaimed that He will be giving us blessings this year, but you cannot receive without asking.
Soon we will have a 2-term continuous special Daniel prayer meeting.
Through this message, I hope you may realize why you have to pray and pray with your heart.
I hope you will be able to enjoy true peace all the time.
Moreover, before this year of blessing for 2009 passes by, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will give glory to God with testimonies of your blessings.


Brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus taught us to always be alert and pray by personally giving the examples of prayer.
And today's passage says, "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation"
He said this while he was praying at Gethsemane just before He took the cross.
He prayed so earnestly that He even put His face on the ground.
But, His disciples who went with Him, fell asleep.
Seeing them, Jesus spoke to His disciple Peter.
"So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Of course the crucifixion of Jesus is within the spiritual Providence to save all mankind.
But for those disciples who still had little faith, it could have been a difficult test to overcome.
Jesus told them to keep watching and praying having concern about this.
This word is not just given to the disciples at the time, but to all the believers in the Lord.
Those believers who are following in the way of the cross are having spiritual battles with the enemy devil and Satan daily.
They can prevent entering into temptation and win victory in the spiritual battle only when they keep watching and praying.
It is easy to enter into temptation without praying.
But it doesn't mean you should pray with the fear that you may enter into temptation.
Some people say God gave them tests.
Under no conditions are such tests of temptation given by God.
James 1:13-15 says, "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. [14] But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. [15] Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death."
As written, temptation is caused by man himself.
God said in Jeremiah 29:11-12, 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. [12] 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
God the Father does not want any of His children to face any disaster, but only wants them to live in peace and hope.
But then, why is it easy to enter into temptation if you do not pray?
First of all, if you don't pray, you cannot be guided by the Holy Spirit.
It means you are tempted by your own desires and you can't be guided by the desire of the Holy Spirit.
For example, there are some people who face difficulties conducting businesses.
In most of these cases, they followed their own self-interests rather than receiving the guidance of the Holy Spirit through prayers.
They may cause difficulties to themselves by signing some improper contracts or expanding the business beyond their capabilities.
But you will be prosperous if you do everything by the guidance of the Holy Spirit through prayers.
In John 16:13 Jesus said, "when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come."
As written, the Holy Spirit leads believers to live by the truth which is the word of God.
If you live by the word of God which is the truth, you won't give any opportunity for temptation to come.
There won't be any chance for the enemy devil Satan to accuse you.
Even if temptation comes because of your mistakes or external reasons, the Holy Spirit lets you know in advance that the temptations are coming, so that you can be prepared. He gives you a way out.
Some people say that they faced difficulties even though they lived by the word of God.
But if they really did, could it be true?
They may think that they practiced the word of the truth, but if they maintain their own righteousness and frameworks, they cannot really discern truth from untruth 100%.
Simply put, self-righteousness is to consider yourself right. And when that righteousness is hardened, it is your mental framework.
Each individual has his own unique conscience, his own way of thinking, and personal value system. So, each one has different righteousness because what they think is right and proper is different.
Even though people listen to the same message, they understand it in different ways. Sometimes they understand it in a way that opposes the will of God.
The apostle Paul had a lot of knowledge and strong self-righteousness.
But from the time he accepted the Lord, he thoroughly experienced that most of his righteousness was not right according to the will of God. His confession follows.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,"
Therefore, in order to understand the will of God correctly in every matter, we have to receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit correctly by being on alert and praying.
At the same time, we have to break our self-righteousness and frameworks by fervently praying.
Especially, as you attend church for a considerable period of time and gain increasing knowledge of the word of God, you may make new frameworks within the truth.
Some things are not clearly evident as untruth, but it is not complete truth at the same time. It is called a 'framework of the truth'.
You can find this and break it only through fervent prayer.
Brothers and sisters, why is it easy to enter into temptation if you do not pray?
The second reason is that it is difficult to follow the desire of the Holy Spirit if you do not pray.
Most of you church members here, having heard so many messages, know the truth very well. You sometimes receive the inspiration of the Spirit also.
But even though you know the truth and receive the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you do not always follow it.
People can follow the desire of the Holy Spirit and do the will of God only when they have spiritual strength.
For example, consider believers who have been attending church for a long time who suddenly stop coming to church.
Other believers might have thought that they had good faith because they kept Sunday holy and gave tithes. But then they get a surprise.
In many of these cases, such people didn't pray at all, or they had stopped praying a long time ago.
As they faced some difficulties in family or workplaces while not praying, they got discouraged.
They know that they have to rejoice and give thanks, but they cannot do it because they don't have spiritual strength.
They do not rely on God with faith, but they seek worldly methods.
Also, if you do not keep watching and praying all the time, you cannot drive away temptations.
Just like the past, you begin to follow the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of this life and take the fleshly things. You follow your old habits again.
The desire to follow the flesh, your old habits, and the fleshly attributes are not easy to cast away by your own will power.
You can control your heart only by the grace and strength of God from above and by the help of the Holy Spirit.
You will pull out even the deepest root of sin from the heart and become new creatures capable of becoming true sons and daughters of God.
You can receive this kind of grace, strength, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and follow the desires of the Holy Spirit when you keep watching and praying.
Brothers and sisters, evil spirits, the rulers of the air, always provoke the untruth in our heart through our thoughts. They incite us to act on the untruth.
They try to make us leave God.
1 Peter 5:8-9 says, "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. [9] But resist him, firm in your faith,"
Those who are full of the Holy Spirit by always praying can drive away temptations.
Those who do not pray will have hearts that can be pitched and tossed.
Suppose a person is trying to pull out a tree. He will first go to the tree and shake it.
If the tree has very deep root and does not shake at all, he will soon give up.
But if the tree is shaken, he will shake the tree even harder thinking that he can eventually pull it out.
It's the same with the enemy devil and Satan. If you are not shaken at all by temptations, they will go away. But if you do not stand firm, they will constantly test you.
They will give you doubt so you will not believe in God. They will make you follow your laziness so you won't be diligent in faith.
They will make you turn to the world and commit sins.
To keep from falling into the temptations of the enemy devil and Satan and drive them away, you must keep watching and praying.
But some people say that they know they have to pray, but it is too difficult for them to pray because they are so tired after working hard all day.
In an effort to justify their lack of praying some people say that Jesus also said, "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak," and that human beings are meant to be weak.
But it is a misunderstanding of the word of God. In today's passage reading, before He took the cross, Jesus prayed until the sweat became drops of blood.
At that time, Peter, James, and John, who had gone with Him to pray, fell asleep.
Seeing them, Jesus said with pity, 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak'.
Here, saying 'flesh is weak' does not mean their physical body was weak.
Peter, James, and John were fishermen and they were strong men. They were very young, too.
They didn't have a problem fishing all night, and it wouldn't have been a problem for them to pray all night, too.
Jesus even asked them to keep watching and praying with Him, but, they still fell asleep.
It's not because their bodies were weak that they fell asleep. It was because they couldn't overcome the desires of the flesh.
Here, 'flesh' does not mean the physical human body. It means the body combined with sinful natures.
The body combined with sinful natures tries to follow flesh, and this attribute is the 'desire of the flesh'.
The disciples wanted to pray in heart, but their desire of the flesh wanting to sleep and rest was stronger. Finally, they couldn't overcome drowsiness.
When you have real fun, your tiredness will not matter so much.
Likewise, the decisive factor in overcoming tiredness is not the physical condition that you are tired but whether you can control your desire of the flesh that wants to take a rest rather than the desire to pray.
The reason why Peter and the disciples could not overcome the desire of the flesh was because it was before they had received the Holy Spirit.
After they received the Holy Spirit, they completely changed to become brave and bold apostles.
Peter was loved by Jesus very much as the first of the twelve.
Nevertheless, before he received the Holy Spirit, when Jesus was arrested, Peter felt his life was also threatened and denied Jesus three times.
But after he received the Holy Spirit, he did not submit under any threats to his life and while preaching the gospel he manifested many signs.
At the time of his martyrdom, he volunteered to be crucified upside down.
So, if you think you cannot pray because you are weak or you are tired, I would like you to think about it once again.
Jesus showed us the power of faith making the impossible possible, by dying on the cross and resurrecting.
When we believe in this Lord, we can also make the impossible possible. Jesus also redeemed us from weakness.
As He returned to Heaven, He sent us the Helper, the Holy Spirit.
If we truly believe in this fact, how can we not pray? The important thing is our willingness.
Even though our body may be weak, if we just have the willingness to pray, we will ask for health and pray.
If we pray with heart-felt love for God, the church, the shepherd, and the brothers in faith, we can overcome tiredness any time.
The Holy Spirit will help us if we try just a little bit more. We will not feel drowsy or tired when we are filled with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
It is because when we are filled with the Spirit by praying fervently our bodies will feel light and refreshed with the clear inspiration and fullness of joy.
It is a rule of the spiritual realm that things are done as we say. If believers say they cannot pray because their flesh is weak, they cannot but stay weak all the time just like the words from their lips.
God will feel great pity if we do not utilize the authority of being the children of the almighty God who can do anything.
Therefore, since we are living in the era of the Holy Spirit we should not enter into temptations because we do not pray feeling our flesh is weak.
We have to always keep watching and praying, receive the help of the Holy Spirit, cast away our old habits, and cast away the evil from our hearts.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, if we set a fish outside water it will finally die because it cannot breathe.
It's the same with our spirit. Our spirits that are born again as children of God will again die if we do not pray.
It's because prayer is the breathing for our spirits.
Our spirits that had been dead due to sin was brought back to life at the moment we accepted the Lord.
In order for us not to lose the life of the spirit again by participating in sins, we have to be supplied with the spiritual power.
We always have to live in the inspiration and communion of the Holy Spirit by keeping watching and praying all the time.
If we always keep watching and praying, we will not enter into temptation and also our soul will prosper.
It does not take so much time to accomplish spirit and whole spirit.
You enter into temptations and the process of sanctification is slowed down because you stop praying.
All things go well with you and you will be healthy when your soul prospers. God will also keep you all the time.
But the reason why you and I always keep watching and praying is not just to receive blessings and protection of God.
You and I continuously pray to fulfill our duty to awaken so many souls around the world so that they too can welcome the coming Lord.
Jesus had so much power and wisdom and He lack nothing, but He also prayed before God even just before He took the cross.
I hope you will also always keep watching and praying to overcome the world and do your God given duties.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will surely go into New Jerusalem and have blissful conversations with the Father God and the Lord face to face.