Deliver Us From Evil

 

Text:  Luke 24:44-49

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father…

Please pray with me…

Originally in our series on the catechism’s teaching of the Ten Commandments we were going to split up “Lead us not into temptation” and “But deliver us from evil” but due to my trip and in an attempt to remain on schedule we have combined the two, so instead of my normal 20 minute sermon, this morning you get a 40 minute one… Relax, I’m just kidding.

No, the reason I decided to combine these two lessons is because they really belong together. In this petition we’re really asking for the same thing because temptation always comes before evil. We don’t just decide to rob a business on the spot. No one, all of a sudden, finds themselves cheating on their spouse. No, in order to get to that place of sin, temptation had to take you, no matter how light you might think the temptation was.

It hasn’t been too long ago that I spoke on this subject, so we’re going to look at it from Martin Luther’s point of view. First, he assures us that the Lord certainly doesn’t lead us into temptation, though, at times, He might not lead us away from it. Sometimes the best lessons are learned when we have fallen into sin because of our own bad choices.

To understand sin, sometimes we have to experience it. Our choice then is to learn from it or not. The experience can either help us to avoid sin or help us choose to succumb to it. In all cases, Christ wants to be your strength and your help in times of trouble. He wants us all to learn to rely on Him when our trials come upon us.

Every day we are attacked by the devil, the world and our own sinful nature. Every day we must be prepared to fight the battle for our soul. When we ask the Lord not to lead us into temptation, we’re asking Him to guard us from these things that lie in wait for us to trip us up.

Luther points out that Scripture really has two meanings for the word temptation. The first, as we have pointed out is the testing of our faith. Through our trials we can find the strength we need for the faith God requires.  James 1:2-3 points this out saying, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

Again, in every trial you have choices to make. Will you let it build you up or will you let it destroy you? Will you call on God for your strength, or will you depend on the world to save you? Will you learn from your mistakes, or will you fall deeper into them? The choice is always yours. God is not your puppet master. He wishes you to learn from all your experiences good and bad.

The second meaning of the word for temptation in the Scriptures is the one we usually define it as, the attempt of our spiritual enemies to lure us away from God and His ways.  Mark warns us in chapter 14 of his Gospel, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The devil is always in a battle for your soul. He will constantly try to mislead you into false beliefs, despair and other great sins, as Luther says. He doesn’t care about how vulnerable you are or how much pain it causes you, he will do all he can to win your soul. That’s why God paved the way for our salvation with the blood of His only son. He knew the only way to overcome the ultimate evil is to have the power of the ultimate good with you. That is what belief in Jesus Christ affords you. That is what dependence on the one true God does for you. That is why forgiveness and absolution are so very important. Because only God can answer the call of the Savior. Only faith in Christ can give you the strength you need to overcome the world. Only by His grace given us through faith can we hope to resist and overcome the temptations we face every day.    1 Corinthians 10:12-13: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 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. 

God knows that temptations to sin will always be there for us. The devil is relentless. But God will never leave you or forsake you in your times of temptation. He has given you the whole armor of God to protect you.  From Ephesians 6:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 

 

When it comes to sin and the temptations that come with it, our one true deliverer will always be Christ Jesus. This leads us into the next petition, “But deliver us from evil.”

Luther says this means that when we pray this section of the prayer the Lord Himself taught us, we are to “pray, in summary, that our Father in heaven would rescue us from every evil of the body and soul, possessions and reputation, and finally, when our last hour comes, give us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven.”

This section of the prayer is really a summary of everything that has led up to it. Jesus is saying that it really comes down to deliverance. Will you allow Christ to be your Savior, or will you continue to place your hopes in things of your own making? Will you allow your Father in heaven to rescue you or will you be content to see how many times you have to come up for air before you finally drown in waters of your own creation?

I strongly urge you to choose Christ. From Psalm 121, “The Lord will keep you from evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” And from 2 Thessalonians 3, “The Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” And even here you have a choice. You can trust His Word or you can ignore it. The choice is up to you.

But, should you choose the ultimate good, your rescue from sin and death is assured.

Luther says, “In a world ruined by sin, the Lord keeps us from harm and helps us endure the troubles that He allows to come into our lives.”

I see life as like a series of lessons. Long ago, Adam and Eve wanted knowledge in the attempt to be more like God, really, to become their own gods. They wanted that power, so, by virtue of that one fateful day, we are being taught the difference between good and evil. Be careful what you ask for.

Each day we see the effects of evil and how it plays in our lives. Every day is a battle because of the choices we are forced to make given the knowledge that God allowed us to learn. As a result, we live each day learning the lessons the hard way, through trial and error.

But through these times our Lord continues to deliver us, even from our most grievous sins. Through it all God has provided us with the tools to overcome our failed attempts to rely on the world. As Acts 14:22 says, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

In this prayer God has outlined how our relationship of trust with Him should go. We are to trust Him to provide for our daily needs and we are to lean on His promised deliverance through confession and forgiveness. Finally, He is saying that he will instill in us a faith that will serve us all the way to heaven.

 

How much love does our God have for you? A love beyond measure. That is why He could not let us face temptation alone. That is why he sent us His Son to deliver us from the grasp of Satan. That is why He gave us His Word to guide us and His Holy Spirit to work through that Word the glorious gift of faith. That is why He promised to never leave you or forsake you even in your darkest times. Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning or crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,”

So, as we live in those former days, we have hope in the end of our sorrows. In the meantime, temptation and the sin that follows us will plague us and the devil will look for any and every opportunity to prey on our weaknesses.

Yet, through faith in Christ he will fail. As faulty as we are, we have strength beyond measure to overcome the devil because we bear through faith the power of the ultimate good. Though temptation may come, I plead with you to find your strength to overcome them in Christ your Savior. Let Him lead you to glory.

Heavenly Father, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Help us to learn the lessons you have for us and prevent us from learning the lessons the world has to give. Shield us from the arrows of ultimate evil and prevent us from falling into the depths of sin. In you we trust. Amen.

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