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Summary: A discussion about "deliver us from evil" from the Lord's Prayer

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Today we are concluding our series entitled: Soul Matters: Shaping life around the Lord’s Prayer.

Matthew 6:9-13

"This, then, is how you should pray:

"'Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.'

As we’ve gone through each line over these past weeks….we’ve recognized that the nature of prayer which Jesus sets forth is not about how we get God to serve our will….but how we bring ourselves into the proper orbit around the will of God.

Now we come to the final petition… perhaps the most dramatic and climatic… “Deliver us from the evil one.”

This final petition declares the real condition of our lives…that our souls exist in a world ruled by a force that is set on their detruction.

When we pray: “Deliver us from the evil one”….we are placing ourselves in sphere of dependence upon God to be delivered and rescued from a force that seeks to destroy us.

Most of human history understood enough about the power of evil to join this prayer….many still do today. But as lives shaped by our modern Western culture... this may sound a bit dramatic.

We might think it’s more appropriate to pray for a little help with our problems.

We may think that we simply have some unfortunate behaviors which need behavior modification… some low self-esteem that needs lifting…but deliverance from evil may sound a little extreme.

Yet it is that recognition of need that defines everything.

Christ came to save us. And in this declaration we are reminded why.

When we pray to God to save us, we are not asking just for some changed self-understanding…although that is something God does bring,….not just some new way of feeling about ourselves…although that is something that may naturally flow from God. We are asking to be rescued from the power of evil….rescued from destruction. The word translated “deliver” carries the drastic meaning of rescuing or snatching.

So the first thing we face in this declaration is that…

1. Evil is real

The Lord’s Prayer recognizes the reality of evil.

There is a force that operates in opposition to God.

It is not inherent to creation. God did not create evil… for ‘evil’ is merely the negation of the ‘good’ that was created. [1] God created good…and that good included freedom…. freedom to rebel.

God created a world to enjoy his glory…his goodness. Evil is that which seeks it’s glory and submission to itself.

God provides order that serves us with peace…evil disorders life and destroys peace.

God is the essence of love… evil is the very essence of hatred…contempt...of disdain…it abhors love.

God created life… evil seeks our death…eternal death.

There is no part of life that is not touched by evil. It has ruined our circumstances, it has marred our character, indeed it has affected the whole of God’s creation. According to Romans 8:22-23

Romans 8:22-23 (NIV)

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Paul speaks of a tension we all feel…a sense that there is a good that had been corrupted. There is something beautiful and sacred…and something that has brought a work of death ad destruction to it.

And this force is personal.

• Evil is personal

If you have grown up reciting this prayer in various settings…you may have noticed that here we read the reference to evil as that “the evil one.”

Some translations simply say “evil.” The general consensus is that this is best translated as the evil one. [2]

Of course it’s not a matter of opposites…it is referring to every way in which evil is at work…but it recognizes that evil has a personal source.

Jesus spoke regularly of a personal adversary…the devil…not just a force…but an entity at work. [3]

John 17:15 (NIV)

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

Matthew 13:38 (NIV)

The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,

The Scriptures give glimpses into the nature of the personal forefront of evil – they speak of one referred to as Satan or the Devil as originally a powerful angelic being… wise and beautiful … named Lucifer. Pride led to a rebellion (described in Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:11-17.) Lucifer became proud because of his wisdom and beauty and he declared, “I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:14). He sought to make himself equal to God and aspired to be worshipped. This is the very lie that he would be depicted in the story of creation as deceiving humankind with…. Telling Eve that they could be like God.

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