Sermon Title: Deliverance

Sermon Title: Deliverance

Deliverance (7.10.16) 1

Sermon Title: Deliverance

First Reading Hebrews 4:14-16

14Therefore, since we have a great high priestwho has ascended into heaven,[f]Jesus the Son of God,let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.15For we do not have a high priestwho is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.16Let us then approachGod’s throne of grace with confidence,so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Second reading Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew 6:13

(4:1-11) Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a]by the devil.2After fasting forty days and forty nights,he was hungry.3The temptercame to him and said, “If you are the Son of God,tell these stones to become bread.”

4Jesus answered,“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”

5Then the devil took him to the holy cityand had him stand on the highest point of the temple.6“If you are the Son of God,”he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]”

7Jesus answered him,“It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”

8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.9“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10Jesus said to him,“Away from me, Satan!For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]”

11Then the devil left him,and angels came and attended him.

(6:13) 13And lead us not into temptation,[a]
but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’

  1. Who remembers the late 80's and early 90's TV series Saved By The Bell?
  2. A lot about this show is defiantly dated. The hair styles, the clothing, and particularly cell phones the size of a brick! One thing that is not dated, however, is Zach Morris's ability to say "time out" when a situation got tough. For those unfamiliar with the program, Zach was the main character. He was the coolest guy in school, so I couldn't relate to him very well, but I could relate to his decisions getting him into hot water with the principal, his friends, and his girlfriend. When the negative consequences were coming down on him he would say 'time out' and everyone, but him, would freeze. During that time, he would have a short monologue with the camera and he would try to figure out a way to deliver himself from the sticky situation. As the episode went on, however, he realizes that he cannot resolve the situation without facing it head on, admitting he screwed up, and asking for forgiveness.
  3. The reason this is timeless is because we have all, from time to time, wanted to do that, right?! The consequences of our bad decisions are falling down on us and we just want to say 'time out' and figure a way out of it. This morning we are continuing our series on the Lord's prayer by considering our Lord teaching us to pray by saying "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." If we were honest, many of us want to be delivered from the consequences of evil more than evil itself, thus the popularity of Zach Morris and his unique ability. Here Jesus reveals to us a different, much deeper, form of deliverance.
  4. In Christ we have a path of deliverance that not only leads us away from our enemy who seeks to destroy us but toward a life of holiness and wholeness. For the rest of our time we are going to consider the path of deliverance. First, we will consider where this path begins. Second, we will consider where the path goes. We will finish by getting a vision of where deliverance will ultimately lead us.
  5. Where does the path of deliverance through Christ begin?
  6. When we find ourselves in those moments where we need delivered it is very easy to point the finger at everyone but ourselves. It is for this reason that Jesus begins deliverance by reminding us to ask to not be lead into temptation! Normally, when we are tempted, we ask how close to the line of sin can I come without being burned? How much can I dwell on lustful thought before it becomes the sin of lust? How long can I 'vent' about something before it becomes the sin of gossip and un-forgiveness? How long can I flirt with sin before it becomes sin?Pastor Francis Chan touches on this when observing that lukewarm Christians "do not want to be saved from sin, they only want to be saved from the consequences of sin." Here Jesus drives us right to the heart of the matter as He leads us to pray to avoid even being tempted into evil. That, of course, raises further questions. First, what is temptation? Second, how can we be lead away from it and what are we being lead toward?
  7. What is temptation? It is being enticed, drawn, or having a desire to do something, in this context, to sin. Being tempted is not sinning. Our great enemy will tempt us to sin and then he'll whip right around and condemn us for being tempted! Remember, Jesus was tempted, as Hebrews tells us, in every way! In Matthew 4 we find Jesus being tempted to satisfy His physical hunger before His hunger for God. Second, we see Him being tempted with pride. "If you're such a big deal" the devil basically says, "prove it!" Finally, Jesus is tempted with power when Satan tells Jesus that all the kingdoms of the world will be His if Jesus would just bow to Satan! Hunger, pride, and power are such universal temptations that we are going to do an entire sermon series on Jesus' temptations later this summer. But for now let's highlight the difference between temptation to sin and sin itself.
  8. I once heard a person say that difference between sin and temptation is this, you cannot help it if a bird poops in your hair, you can help it if the bird builds a nest in it! Pretty graphic, but also pretty memorable amen!? Being tempted to sin is having a thought, or desire that tears us away from who God created us to be. Sinning is dwelling and acting on it. When we put our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior He will not deliver us from all temptation. This makes since because we are called to minister to a broken and sinful world.
  9. In the midst of being in that world we will be tempted. But He will deliver us from giving into the temptation. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, puts it this way, once we trust in Christ, "Sin remains (at least the temptation of it) but it will no longer reign!" The way for temptation to no longer reign in our lives is to not focus on it. Instead, it is to focus on Christ who was tempted in every way, yet He did not sin! Too often, when dealing with temptation we focus on what we are being tempted to do instead of focusing on Christ. In focusing on Christ, the Holy Spirit will work within us so we resist temptation just as Christ did!
  10. As we focus on Christ He will lead us to serve and minister to and with a hurting, lost, broken, and yes sinful world. It is because of this that often the path of deliverance goes straight through evil.
  11. Martin Luther, the author of "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," said that everywhere God builds a church the devil builds a chapel! If we are doing our jobs as followers of Christ we will put ourselves on the enemies most wanted list! The path to deliverance begins within our hearts in our decision to follow Him instead of temptation, but it leads us to battle, not battle with guns, bombs, and grenades, but battle none the less. As we encroach on the enemies territory, as we charge in to the kingdom of darkness with Christ's light, we need to expect resistance. Resistance we need delivered from.
  12. When we pray to our Father in Heaven to 'deliver us from evil' we are admitting at least two things. First, we live in a world filled with evil, a world where sometimes it seems like there are no good options. From tragedies around the world, to innocent people getting shot in our own county, to neighbors and coworkers victims or perpetrators of evil surrounds us. Malcolm Muggeridge rightfully said that “The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.”
  13. Praying, "deliver us from evil" is not resisting but accepting that within us and in the world there is real, devastating, evil. The second thing praying to be delivered from evil does is turn us to God for deliverance. We are admitting that we can't deliver ourselves from our own sin, and we have no idea how to confront evil, we are not the ones who bring about deliverance! Instead, it is Christ through us! My new favorite song is Run Devil Run by David Crowder, if you have not heard it, look it up on YouTube, it is amazing. The reality that Christ is the great deliverer is a huge theme of this song. The Chorus goes like this "I got something to make the devil be run, I got something to make the devil be gone, Run devil, run devil, run devil run." In the middle of the song, we find out what we have to make the devil run, "I got the King of kings and the Lord of hosts, I got angel armies and the Holy Ghost, I got Spirit filled and baptized by fire, I got a valley of bones that came aliveI got a cross, a hill,and an empty graveI got a trumpet sound and one sweet name, I got my Jesus and the devil gotta run." Trust in Jesus, at His name the devil will run and we will be delivered!
  14. But why be delivered? Why, in Christ, resist temptation? Why, ask to be delivered from evil? Why not just say time out, and want to be delivered from the consequences of evil? Where is this path of deliverance going to take us? After all, sin can be fun, right? Am I allowed to say that in church?
  15. If sin was not sweet going down,we would not be tempted by it. However, all pleasures are a gift from God. The enemy tempts us to peruse the pleasure instead of the giver of it. He does this because as we chase after a good thing he can make it a god thing. He knows the sweet taste of sin going down will turn bitter as we chase after pleasure and not the source! We will be imprisoned by the search for pleasure, needing deliverance.
  16. C.S Lewis wrote a book called the 'Screwtape Letters." These are fictions letters from a demon, Uncle Wormwood,to his nephew, Screwtape. In these letters, Uncle Wormwood gives advice to his nephew in how to tempt and trick his patient, a human, to win his soul for the devil. So as I read this quote, remember in it the enemy is God because they are demons. Uncle Screwtape writes, "Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden.”
  17. Why turn to Christ to resist temptation? Why ask to be delivered from evil? Because we were made for and in the image of, not pleasure, but the One from whom all blessings and pleasure flow! Resisting temptation, crying out for deliverance leads to whatwe sang. "When through fiery trials our pathways shall lie, His grace all sufficient shall be our supply. The flame shall not hurt us, He only designs our dross to consume, and gold to refine!"
  18. I never fully understood this until I heard a story of a Sunday School class who was reading the book of Malachi.They got to the passage that says God's messenger is “as a smelter and purifier of silver” before the refiners fire. One of the women of the group volunteered to go to a silver smith and watch the process first hand. She asked him, “How do you purify the silver?” Sitting in front of the furans he replied, “I take the unpurified silver and I put it in the center of the fire where it is burning the hottest so the dross or impurities are burnt out." She asked him, “Is it important that you watch the silver the whole time it is being refined?" He responded by saying, “Oh yes, if it is left in a moment too long the silver is ruined." After pausing the woman commented “It must be difficult to know exactly when to take it out." Smiling the silver smith said, “No I only have to wait until I can see my reflection in it."
  19. Let us pray: Loving Father, lead us not into temptation and allow your Son to deliver us from evil so we may, by the power of the Holy Spirit, more perfectly reflect Your image! Amen!
  20. Receive this blessing and benediction: Let us go forth being led not into temptation but Christ's arms. Where He delivers us from evil so His kingdom can come to us and through us!