“Deliver Us From The Evil One”

"Deliver Us from the Evil One"

"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"


CHAPTER 9 – OUTLINE

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Deliver Us from the Evil One"

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (Matthew 6:13)

INTRODUCTION:

The Christian commits not only the past with its sins to God; the Christian commits not only the present with its temporal needs to God; but the Christian also commits the future with its threats and temptations to God.

PROPOSITION:

It is important for us to realize what the nature and purpose of temptation is, and it is very important for us to know how we can have victory over temptation.

I. Purpose of Temptation.

II. Victory over Temptation

A. Satan's Attack

1. Self-preservation is an inherent instinct in man but it can be misused.

2. The desire for social approval is natural but it can be misused.

3. The desire for success is natural but it can be misused.

4. The desire for sexual fulfillment is wholesome but it can be misused.

B. Man's Reinforcement

1. Vigilance is important because of the subtle forms which temptation takes.

2. A voidance is important because of the possibility of sinful conformity.

3. Trust is important for God alone has the power to deliver one from Satan's snares.

CONCLUSION:

God permits us to be tested (tempted) in order that our characters may be refined, and in order that our loyalty to Him might be demonstrated. Temptation is not meant to make us weaker but is meant to make us stronger.

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CHAPTER 9

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Deliver Us from the Evil One".

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (Matthew 6:13)

INTRODUCTION:

The Christian commits not only the past with its sins to God; the Christian commits not only the present with its temporal needs to God; but the Christian also commits the future with its threats and temptations to God. Jesus taught us to pray for deliverance from the snares of the Evil One. Man by himself is unable to overcome the power of Satan and is unable to discern the subtle tactics of Satan. Therefore, man must pray for the help of God. "When we ask for help for future temptation, that request immediately directs our thoughts to God the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Strengthener, the Illuminator, the Guide and the Guardian of our way." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 199)

PROPOSITION:

The subject of temptation is very relevant to every man simply because each person experiences temptation. It is important for us to realize what the nature and purpose of temptation is, and it is very important for us to know how we can have victory over temptation. Therefore first we will briefly discuss the purpose of temptation and secondly we will discuss in more detail the victory over temptation.

I. Purpose of Temptation

Barclay very well clarifies the meaning and purpose of temptation. "In its New Testament usage to tempt a person is not so much to seek to seduce him into sin, as it is to test his strength and his loyalty and his ability for service. Now here is a great and uplifting truth. What we call temptation is not meant to make us sin; it is meant to enable us to conquer sin. It is not meant to make us bad, it is meant to make us good. It is not meant to weaken us, it is meant to make us emerge stronger and finer and purer from the ordeal. Temptation is not the penalty of being a man, temptation is the glory of being a man. It is the test which comes to a man whom God wishes to use." (Barclay's Matthew; pgs. 225, 56)

Sometimes it is only in the crucible of life's difficult experiences that man can be purified. Oftentimes it is only after man has been triumphant in life's challenging tests that he can meet life with maturity and strength. Life's tests are for the purpose of purifying character.

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When thro' fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, 
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply; 
The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design 
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

To pass one test successfully is to increase one's strength for the next test. The person who has been successful in life's test, is the man whom God can use greatly in His service. Says one, "If metal is to be used in a great engineering project, it is tested at stresses and strains far beyond those which it is ever likely to have to bear. So a man has to be tested before God can use him greatly in his service." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 226)

As has been noted, what we call temptation is not meant to make us weak, but it is meant to make us strong. Tests are for the purpose of purifying and strengthening character in order that one may be better equipped as a servant of God.

For instance, sorrow is not meant to make us bitter, but it is meant to make us sympathetic and understanding. A difficult life experience is not meant to defeat us, but it is meant to make us courageous. When life's tests force us to choose, we are given an opportunity to choose the pathway which leads to greatness and nobility. Life's tests give us an opportunity to choose good instead of evil, truth instead of falsehood, bravery instead of cowardice, generosity instead of selfishness.

When a school child is given an arithmetic test, he is given the opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge. The test is not given to him to cause him to fail; it is given to him to demonstrate to him that he is allowed to progress to more advanced math and more difficult tests. God permits us to be tested in order to demonstrate our loyalty to Him and to better prepare us for greater service for him." (Athlete is tested. Hurdles on life's pathway are NOT meant to trip us, but to strengthen us.)

II. Victory over Temptation

In our discussion of victory over temptation, it is important for us to realize the method of Satan's attack, and it is important for us to realize the Christian reinforcements against temptation.

A. Satan's Attack

The petition should not be translated, 'Deliver us from evil,' but it should be translated, 'Deliver us from the Evil One.' (Evil is not an abstract entity, but

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evil is a personified power. The Bible speaks of evil in terms of a spiritual person who is in opposition against God and man.)

The Bible speaks of Satan – man's adversary. The Bible pictures Satan as the Prince of the Power of the Air and he is said to be the leader of a demonic kingdom which is constantly plotting evil against man. Satan is also called the Devil (Matthew 4:1) which means the slanderer par excellence. Satan is called the Tempter (Matthew 4:3) who seeks the ruin of mankind. In John 8:44, Satan is called a murderer and liar. Satan is described as the roaring lion in 1 Peter 5:8, and He is called the Wicked One in 1 John 2:13. In Revelations 20:2, he is called the old serpent – reminiscent of Satan's first appearance to man. He is the robber, stealing the seed of God's Word out of the Heart of Man (Luke 8:12). He is called 'the accuser of the brethren' (Revelations 12:10).

The power of Satan in the World is not illusionary but very real. While Luther was in his room in the Castle of the Wartburg in Germany one day, he felt the power of Satan so greatly that he threw his ink-pot at the devil. Robert Louis Stevenson was convinced that Satan was a personal, active power of evil. He said one time: "You know the Caledonian Railway Station in Edinburgh? One cold, east windy morning, I met Satan there." Is is said of Jesus that he "suffered being tempted." (Hebrews 2:18) On several occasions Jesus personally encountered Satan.

Perhaps one of the clearest evidences to the reality of Satan's evil and powerful activity, is man's denial of God's existence. Such a statement only confirms that the Devil is alive and actively deceiving the hearts of men.

If Satan is alive (and the evidence is overwhelming that he is), then we must try our best to understand the subtle tactics in his attack on man. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. We dare not be ignorant of his devices. Said Paul, "We are not ignorant of his devices." (2 Corinthians 2:ll b)

In understanding the method of Satan's attack on man, the most essential truth For us to understand is this: Sin is a perversion of natural, legitimate desires. That is to say that Satan attacks man through the channel of his natural and legitimate desires. Satan seeks to twist and to pervert that which is wholesome and natural. To see this truth let us look at specific examples.

1. Self-preservation is an inherent instinct in man but it can be misused.

Without such an instinct, man would fail to see danger when it is present, or would be unable to escape danger when he is aware of it. However, there are times when the instinct of self-preservation should become subject to a greater instinct – the instinct to help another in danger or to

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sacrifice life's blood for a noble principle. There are times that it is better to die than to live. It is then that one of life's hardest tests comes – to die is to be a victor in the test but to live is to be a failure in the test. (Example: To be loyal to Christ and die rather than to reject Christ and live is to be victor).

Because of his sense of duty, Nehemiah suppressed his instinct for self- preservation in the face of danger. When it was suggested that he quit his work and shut himself in the Temple until a certain danger was past, Nehemiah said, "Should such a man as I flee? And who is there that, being such as I am, would go into the temple to save his life. I will not go in." (Nehemiah 6:11) Dawson Trotman, the founder of the Navigators, sought to rescue a drowning person in Schroon Lake, N.Y. and lost his own life as a result. Heroic soldiers have given their lives intentionally to save many of their fellow soldiers. The instinct to save others is greater than the instinct of self-preservation. There may be a time when we are called upon to say 'No' to the temptation to save our own life.

2. The desire for social approval is natural but it can be misused.

A sense of worthiness is developed through social approval and is necessary to maintain mental health. Many social-rejects are in state hospitals. It is most natural to want to be a part of a group. It is most natural to have the social urge but this urge can become abnormal and it is then sinful. Such an obsession for social approval can lead to a sacrifice of one's witness, a compromise in one's standards, and even a surrender of one's integrity. "Once President Garfield was urged to take a profitable, but dishonorable, course of action. It was said, 'No one will ever know.' His answer was, 'President Garfield will know – and I've got to sleep with him.'" (Barclay's Matthew; p. 232) One may be tempted to conform to social pressures, but he should always remember that it is better to be at peace with one's self than to be at peace with one's social peers.

3. The desire for success is natural but it can be misused.

God wants us to be creative in our work and diligent in our labors. God does not want us to be listless and lazy, but He wants us to be ambitious and industrious. However, to desire success and advancement at any cost is a temptation which one must not succumb to. An obsessive desire for success can cause a disregard for other people, a sacrifice of personal integrity, and the adoption of secular and materialistic standards. To make money the goal of life is a great evil. "For the love of money is the first step toward all kinds of sin. Some people have even turned away from

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God because of their love for it, and as a result have pierced themselves with many sorrows." (1 Timothy 6:10; Living Bible) To be overly ambitious can lead to great evil. "When he was a boy in school Napoleon wrote an essay on the dangers of ambition. Yet his own ambition wrecked his life." (God's Psychiatry; p. 121)

I was too ambitious in my deed, 
And thought to distance all men in success, 
Till God came on me, marked the place, and said, 
"Ill-doer, henceforth keep within this line, 
Attempting less than others" - and I stand, 
And work among Christ's little ones, content.

(Ibid; 123)

4. The desire for sexual fulfillment is wholesome but it can be misused.

Sex is a gift of God which was intended to be the creative expression of man within the context of the permanent human relationship of marriage.

Failure to control the powerful sexual instinct results in quick marriages and quick divorces. This failure also manifests itself in pre-marital sexual relationships which issue forth in broken hearts, minds, and bodies. Man can change love into lust, the beautiful into the ugly, and the sacred into the profane. Satan wants man to play with sex, but it is not a play thing.

There are other natural desires which can be misused. The legitimate desire for food can be misused and gluttony results. The natural desire for ease and pleasure must be guarded lest one misuse time, develop laziness, or spend money needlessly on entertainment. The inquisitive urge is normal but it too can be misused and then the horrible sin of gossiping and tale-bearing results.

We should not be ignorant of the devices of Satan. Satan seeks to ruin men by perverting natural and legitimate desires.

B. Man's Reinforcement.

Three reinforcements against temptation are Vigilance, A voidance, and Trust. Let us look at each of them.

1. Vigilance is important because of the subtle forms which temptation takes.

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"Be self-controlled and vigilant always, for your enemy the devil is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey." (1 Peter 5:8)

One must be vigilant lest Satan attack him at his weakest point. A chain is no stronger than its weakest link; no Christian is stronger than at his weakest point. Satan attack's one at his weakest point. One must guard against bitterness during times of unexplained sorrow. One must guard against skepticism if he finds it hard to accept the unique and miraculous. One must guard against intolerance if he is strong-willed and opinionated. One must guard against compromise if he is a person who is easily led. One must guard against egotism and pride if he is an unusually gifted person. If one is a very affectionate type of person, he must guard against undue intimacy in relationships. If one finds discipline hard to exercise, then he must guard against the misuse of time. One who has a vivid imagination must guard against wandering thoughts. If one is inclined to look on the dark side of life, then he must especially guard against pessimistic attitudes. If one is unusually ambitious, he must guard against the wrong desire for power. If one is a natural leader he must guard against the temptation to be domineering.

It is important to realize that Satan not only attacks one at his weakest point, but oftentimes attacks one at his strongest point. "We must always remember that again and again we are tempted through our gifts. The person who is gifted with charm will be tempted to use that charm 'to get away with anything'. The person who is gifted with the power of words will be tempted to use his command of words to produce glib excuses to justify his own conduct. The person with a vivid and sensitive imagination will undergo agonies of temptation that a mere stolid person will never experience. The person with great gifts of mind will be tempted to use these gifts for himself and not for others, to become the master and not the servant of men. It is the grim fact of temptation that it is just where we are strongest that we must be forever on the watch." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 59)

Peter was known for his courage and forwardness, and yet Peter's greatest strength failed him in the most critical hour of testing, and the result was denial of his Master. Over-confidence has been the downfall of many. There are too many on record who thought gross immorality could never be a problem to them, and yet when they were off their guard, the fell grievously into sin. The Christian must always be alert lest he be caught in the snare of the enemy. "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:12)

2. Avoidance is important because of the possibility of sinful conformity.

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Billy Graham gives some helpful suggestions: (A void wrong companies – "Come away from among them and stay away; touch not their evil things." (2 Corinthians 6:17; Living Bible); (b) Avoid the second look at evil things – You can't help the first look, but don't take the second; (c) Discipline your conversation; (d) Be careful how you dress; (e) Choose carefully the shows and T.V. programs you watch; (f) Choose carefully what you read; (g) Be careful how you use your leisure time; (h) Never engage in heavy petting; (i) Spend a great deal of time studying and memorizing the Scriptures; (j) Have Christ in your heart.

3. Trust is important for God alone has the power to deliver one from Satan's snares.

Why can God deliver us from the Evil One? "Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory forever." The one to whom we pray is a King who is holy and all-powerful. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13) "I can do all things in him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13; R.S.V.) "Now to the One who can keep you from falling and set you in the presence of His glory, jubilant and above reproach, to the only God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, might and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all time, now, and for evermore. Amen. (Jude 1:24, Jude 1:25) "The Lord is faithful, and He will Strengthen and Protect you from the evil one." (2 Thessalonians 3:3) "Greater is He that is in You than he (Satan) that is in the World." "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one." (John 17:15)

He is able to deliver thee, 
Tho' by sin oppressed 
Go to him for rest; 
"Our God is able to deliver thee."

"We know (absolutely) that anyone born of God does not (deliberately and knowingly) practice committing sin, but the one who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him – Christ's divine presence within him preserves him against the evil – and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him or touch (him)." (1 John 5:18; Amplified Version)

"For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

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Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:15-16)

CONCLUSION:

The word 'temptation' should best be translated 'test'. God permits us to be tested in order that our character may be refined, and in order that our loyalty to Him might be demonstrated. Temptation is not meant to make us weaker; it is meant to make us stronger.

Satan attempts to work through natural desires to cause us to fall. Vigilance, A voidance, and Trust are all reinforcements against temptations.

"What amazing confidence did our Lord have in us! C. F. Andrews reminds us of an old legend that tells us that when Jesus returned to heaven He was asked by an angel: 'What have you left behind to carry out the work?' Jesus answered: 'A little band of men and women who love me.' 'But what if they fail when the trial comes? Will all you have done be defeated?' 'Yes,' said Jesus, 'if they fail, all I have done will be defeated.' 'Is there nothing more?' 'No,' said Jesus, 'there is nothing more.' 'What then?' Jesus quietly replied, 'They will not fail.'" (God's Psychiatry; pgs. 125, 126)

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NOTES

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