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You pray that you will be snatched from the clutching clench of the evil one so you will not be overwhelmed and done into nothingness. In the process of spiritual formation, you realize how aggressive and determined Satan is to destroy you. He oftern uses strategies of disbelief and despair to try to make you hopeless and discourage your faith in God.
Deliver Us From the Evil One
I. Deliver us from the evil one
A. Satan described as a lion (1 Peter 5:8-11)
B. Analogy of mountain climbing
C. Satan's strategy to use disbelief and despair
D. Pray in faith and take one step at a time
E. Be strong in the Lord (Eph 6:10)
II. Summary of the Lord's Prayer
Course: Basics of Spiritual Growth
Lesson 6: Deliver Us From The Evil One
Well, you have persevered through The Lord’s Prayer; so, we ask The Lord really to put it in our hearts as a true model prayer.
I. Deliver Us From the Evil One.
What is the last petition? It is “but deliver us from evil.” Actually, if you look at what the word actually says, it is “but deliver us from the evil one.” “Deliver us from the evil one.” It is the last petition. Let’s just say, an immense difference exists between being pulled away from evil influence, and actually being snatched out of the crushing clutch of the evil one. We want both, of course. We want both. But the latter one is by far the most serious issue. “Deliver us from the evil one.”
Deliver us, what do I mean? The great reformed theologian, Carl Barth, alerts us to the intensity of this request. He said: “We are in the jaws of death.” Listen, to live as an unrepentant sinner, you are in the jaws of death. The evil one is a real thing, a real power, a real creation, a fallen angel. We are in the jaws of death. We complain of it. “We suffer from it” Barth wrote. But we cannot break loose. We can’t pay the debt. When we fell, with Adam and Eve, that allowed Satan to stamp his image on us. That means, we became his. So, Barth is bringing up a pretty serious issue here. Barth explains that the Greek word means, not only “deliver us” but “snatch us from these jaws, break these things.” Help us, Lord. Help us.
The danger is always present of being overwhelmed and done into nothingness by the one and only enemy of our lives, really, the one and only enemy of our lives, the evil one.
A. Satan described as a lion (1 Peter 5:8-11)
Peter described him how? In 1 Peter 5:7. We have used lion in a positive way, the Lion of Judah; but now, Peter uses it in a very negative way, a roaring lion, prowling around, what? Looking for someone to devour, chomp his teeth down on. But Peter also made the assurance that if we hold steadfast during times of suffering, that the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will what? He will restore, support, strengthen and establish you. It is all in 1 Peter 5:10. It is a sweet, sweet passage. We need continual vigilance as well as the imparted assurance from Jesus that God’s Kingdom has overcome the evil one. The Lord Jesus Himself has pried the jaws of death open. The jail of death was broken. The evil one’s clench is broken.
B. Analogy of mountain climbing.
When I look back over all of the 14,00 ft. mountains that I have tried to climb in my life, these are The Rocky Mountains in Colorado, I can think back and look at b stunning times of being able to get on top of the peak. Actually, I think there were more times of when I did not make it up on top of the peak of those 14,000 ft. peaks. There were times when I didn’t have enough outerwear. I’ve been up literally in the middle of the summer and have been caught up in a full-blown blizzard, driving snow. I have been caught in hail. Even if it rains on your way up there, if you don’t have really complete, total rain gear on, hypothermia is a real issue, real fast. I’ve been blown off the mountain with gale force winds. I’ve gone up without enough water. You name it, I’ve done it. None of those 14ers have been easy, at least for me, to climb. None of them, not one.
Several times, particularly in my older years, I have battled physical exhaustion while climbing the side of one of those beautiful, magnificent Colorado peaks. There is nothing more frustrating than being really close. You can almost feel it. You feel like you can almost touch it. But you don’t see how you can possibly put one foot in front of another.
Satan seeks to take advantage of us, putting that kind of thought in our lives. How can we put one foot in front of another? How can we possibly go through this? He wants to grab us with his crushing jaws. He does it particularly when we come to the end of ourselves, when we get into any kind of a crisis situation. Or, he does it when we get full of ourselves and get bloated up, thinking, man, I did that, yes. It is called vain glory. Whether pride and arrogance gets us, or whether weakness and tribulation gets us. He does not care whether he gets us from the right or the left. Satan is just trying to get us, one way or the other. We can be like an athlete that the New Testament talks about, you just dissipate yourself with the loss of moral temperance after winning a battle, become prideful, puffed up; as if our competence rests alone on our self-effort and discipline. No, that is not the way of Christ here.
C. Satan’s strategy to use disbelief and despair.
More often, I think the evil one comes when we are at the end of our own natural resources. At such times, whether you are on the side of a mountain or you are at a loved one’s side, a sick bed, or you are in the thick of an overwhelming crisis. You look about and you conclude, wow, there is nothing more that can be done. How can I face this? How can I move forward with this? It is precisely at this point that Satan draws his fiercest whip and throws darts of disbelief in our lives. He insists, what? That our situation is perfectly hopeless. There is nothing that can be done. Everything is lost, everything is lost. Then, what does he do? He injects doubt, disappointment, anger, fear. You get mad at others, you get mad at yourself, you doubt, even get mad at God and God is big enough for you to get mad at and it’s okay. Wow.
The evil one injects these in places where faith, hope and love are meant to live, nothing else. So, it is on the side of the mountain that we do battle with our ancient foe. It is on the side of the mountain, when you are naturally out of breath, you are a little dizzy from the altitude unless you live up really high. You are out of breath. That is where we are asking the Lord to set us free from wrongly assessing that the only resources in the universe are those that we can see or touch or manipulate at this point.
What do we find from this? Heaven is close, it is intersecting in ways we can’t even imagine. The Lord Jesus is with us. He is giving us faith to trust that he will see us through; that all shall be well, that all shall be well in the goodness, in the ultimate goodness of his care; that he will give us hope.
One time, when I was climbing, not a 14er, but a mountain that is 13,800 ft. called Pyramid Peak in southwestern Colorado, I had my son with me. This is a very steep ascent. About maybe 600, 700ft below the summit I found myself in an exhausted plight and the worst thing that can possibly happen at that point, I got vertigo and the whole world is spinning. Not only that, but my son, who was in middle school then, said “Dad, let’s get off this thing.” He just wanted to go home. He wanted to get down. I just bowed my head, I said, “Jesus, if I go home now, I’m going to demonstrate for this boy that every time the going gets tough, you turn around and go home.” I said, “Lord, my head is spinning, I’m out of breath, I’d love to go back; but I ask you to give me strength to keep going for his sake, for the boy’s sake.”
D. Pray in faith and take one step at a time.
What do you do in times like that? Here is what you do. You ask the Lord Jesus for help. You get up, you stand up and you put one foot in front of the other and you keep asking for help.
Inevitably, what happens in these situations – it might be that day, it might be two weeks later, it might be ten years later – at some point you are going to stand on a peak if you keep going. When you get up on these peaks, you get a panoramic view that you just don’t get on the side of the peak. You see magnificence and beauty; and suddenly the graces of God just lift your spirits and you give gratitude that he helped you to make it. You are so thankful that all is well.
E. Be strong in the Lord (Eph. 6:10)
“Be strong in the Lord,” Paul commanded (Eph. 6:10). This is fighting imagery here. This is fighting language. Be strong in the Lord. What? “In the strength of his power.” Not your strength or my strength that is going to win the battle. It is not your beauty or your smartness or your assets, all that you own. None of that is going to win the battle for you. No. In the strength of his power. We don’t pull ourselves up with our own boot straps. We walk in the strength of who God is.
Thomas a Kempis said: “My son, says our Lord, do not be broken by impatience with the labor you have taken for my sake.” A lot of pastors need to hear that. But, a lot of lay people need to hear this as well. Take the courage to keep on going. Don’t be impatient with the labor you have taken for my sake, or suffer tribulation to cast you into despair. In other words, don’t let the evil one throw you into despair. Be comforted and strengthened in every happening by what? By my promises and my commands. Put it all back to the Lord. Keep it grounded in the Word. Keep it grounded in who he is.
So, we press on toward the high calling in Christ Jesus, our Lord. We press on and what happens is, then the food of angels, hope, blessed Biblical hope, firm assurance, firm assurance, firm confidence in the reality of God. Why? Romans 8: “What can separate us from the love of God?” Nothing. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Then it ends. The prayer ends right there. That’s it. We add on from The Old Testament, “Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever.” Which is a wonderful Old Testament passage. But Jesus ended the prayer here. It abruptly ends. We are delivered from the death grip of the evil one. We are set on the path of worship and prayer and service. We can sing the beautiful doxology that the church put on. For thine is the kingdom, thine is the power and thine is the glory forever and ever. We can move into worship in full confidence of our Lord and confidence in our Lord because he has enabled us to follow him faithfully in all things.
God bless you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as you step into the reality, not just to praying words. That will kill you. That is a dead religion. But of allowing Jesus Himself to teach you how he wants you to pray. Working through this prayer and the prayers of Paul, the other prayers in the Word, the prayers of the Psalms.
II. Summary of the Lord’s Prayer.
Here it is. Father of us, who is near at hand in heaven, make your Name known and help us honor you. Bring your kingdom in its fullness and enable us to do your will on earth, even as it is done completely in heaven. Thank you, Lord, thank you, Father. You are a good dad to us. Thank you for providing for every need this day and thank you for providing tomorrow. And forgive us of the absolute impossible debt that we owe you because of our sinfulness, even as we forgive those in debt to us. We forgive them, Lord. Father, help us to not fall prey to our sinful desires and take us out of the death grip of the evil one. Amen.
May it be so and may you walk in the fragrance of Christ our Lord. Amen.
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