From the Evil

Deliver Us

Lead Us Not

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temptation we’re talking about the last part of the lord’s prayer today which is of course lead me not into temptation um yeah so I’ve been on staff here for about four months four and a half months and I’ve had this mission since I got hired to figure something out I’ve been investigating something and I want to know do british people do the accent when no one else is around and I haven’t yet figured it out yet but I’m gonna figure it out if they do or not alex told me that I’d be preaching on the lord’s prayer my first thought was okay that’s um not that exciting uh only because everybody already knows the lord’s prayer like what else could you pull out of it everybody’s super familiar with it we already know all about it and so I assumed like yeah he’s gonna give me the your kingdom come part because I have a tattoo of that right over my heart right here sure enough he didn’t he gave me the um at least not to temptation but deliver us from evil part and my my theory is that he gave that to me because he’s like this guy has so many tattoos he knows all about giving in to temptation and like skirting evil and like you know so so I have that part so we’ll see how it goes um yeah so I’m really excited to explore it because of course as I got into the lord’s prayer I started seeing so many things I had not seen before and found out that despite the fact that it’s short and really simple there’s so much that we can pull out of it that I even as a seminary student hadn’t seen before uh for instance there’s temporal movement throughout it and what I mean by that is it talks about like give us this day our daily bread so in other words that’s in the present we’re in the present moment when we talk about daily bread and forgive us which refers to things that we’ve done in the past so forgive me for everything that happened in the past and the end which we’re going to look at today is about what lead us in other words where we’re going in the future so we have the present the past and the future all covered in this prayer another thing I discovered as I thought through it more is what are the first two words of this prayer it’s our father and where is he he’s up in heaven so it starts with God up in heaven and then there’s movement from his kingdom his plan our lives our provision and then it moves to the last two words which is evil one so there’s movement from God up in heaven everything in between and then temptation and evil and ending with the evil one at the end and and as I thought through it more I was thinking like about these last two lines lead us not to temptation but deliver us from evil and I was thinking these are incredibly bleak like if I was if I was writing the bible which which whatever if I was writing the bible I’d probably have a more optimistic ending like hey let’s look toward the future and let’s have like hope and God give us strength and give me joy and happiness but he doesn’t he ends it with a warning and this is something Jesus does in many of his teachings this kind of starts off optimistically and ends with a serious warning and that’s exactly what this is it’s a serious warning and he doesn’t say hey here’s your hope here’s your it’s a serious warning lead us not into temptation and so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about temptation and evil and these are themes that we see all throughout the bible especially the idea of not even going near temptation so in in proverbs 5 through 7 we have the analogy of the adulterous woman of course it doesn’t just have to be a woman it could be any temptation adulterous man a daughter’s woman and in proverbs it says don’t even go down the street that she lives on because if you go down the street where she lives you’re gonna go by her house and then she’s going to come out of her house and she’s going to say hey my husband isn’t home why don’t you come in so you avoid this by not even putting yourself in the street where she lives or we look at the very first temptation in the entire bible which is adam and eve these people that lived in a garden a beautiful garden they had everything and God gave them one very simple instruction dhoni from the fruit and when I was growing up and I’m sure a lot of us had this similar mentality when you read that story it’s like gee those idiots they ate from the fruit they ate from the one tree they weren’t supposed to I wouldn’t have done that they screwed us all over but

the problem is the story of adam and eve isn’t just a story about two people in a garden in the middle east somewhere the story of adam and eve is a story about you and about me and about us it’s a story about all of us every time that we know that there’s something that we’re not supposed to do and we do it anyway or a story of something we know we are supposed to do and we don’t do it because how many of us have ever done that so in other words we’re all the idiots who disobey God who give into temptation and for them all it took was two simple questions did God really say that will you really die and we get this all the time every single time we’re tempted it comes as this very subtle very alluring thing that draws us in and we’re like oh this God probably didn’t really mean that what is death anyway geez you know we don’t know but a couple years ago I was working out in the gym and I was talking to this high schooler and and I was a youth pastor at a different church back then and this high schooler he’s talked to me about his girlfriend and he goes yeah she’s she’s like kind of a christian she’s like a new christian but I’m a really strong christian but I think it’ll be okay I think she’s like growing and and I’m really strong and in my head I’m just thinking the whole time like that must be nice to be a strong christian I don’t know what that’s like because the the problem with that mentality is that there’s no such thing as a strong christian or a weak christian there’s no such thing there’s no like hierarchy of like oh he’s really strong oh look at him or you’re like oh look at all those weak christians down there I’m glad I’m not like them like there were people like that in the bible and Jesus did not treat them very kindly the ground at the foot of the cross is level if you’re a christian then you’re a christian and that means that you’re weak and that means that you’re vulnerable and as I was studying the lord’s prayer I realized that weakness and vulnerability is the heart of this prayer from the very first words is we address God as our father so that means we’re putting ourselves in the position of children and if you’re a young child do you provide your own bread your own food no you’re entirely dependent on your parents to give it to you your parents correct you they forgive you when you mess up you’re not living according to your own plans when you’re like three four five years old you’re living according to the will of your parents and lastly we depend on our parents to lead us not into a dangerous place not into temptation and things that will mess up their lives but we trust the parents to lead the child into safe places in ways that won’t give them temptation and give them bad habits and destroy their own lives because that’s essentially what we’re talking about when we talk about evil and temptation is destruction of human life a lot of people have taken issue with the phrasing of this though lead us not to temptation well does God lead us into temptation in other places in the new testament it specifically says God does not tempt us with evil so what does it mean when it says God like don’t lead me into evil in fact they took it so seriously that pope francis just three years ago changed the official catholic translation from lead us not into temptation pause

there it is not to temptation he changed the official catholic translation to do not let us fall into temptation and his the reason that he gave for this was it is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation I am the one who falls it’s not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen a father doesn’t do that a father helps you to get up immediately it’s satan who leads us into temptation that’s his department other translators uh actually alter the wording a little bit so it says lead me over temptation because I’m sure that all of us can relate that if we go through temptation we inevitably end up under temptation we end up being crushed by the weight of it because how many of us have been in that position where it’s like oh there’s a couple bucks right there nobody would miss that and you feel this crushing weight like oh I’m home alone right now I could open up the computer nobody would ever know and it’s not an easy thing it’s not a simple thing to be tempted in church we often talk about it like it’s kind of this oh oh you get tempted oh just pray to the lord but now it’s like a crushing weight so that’s why these translators sometimes instead translate it lead us over temptation so we get to the other side without ending up crushed by our own sin some of you if you’re more philosophically minded might also be thinking then okay then where did evil come from in the first place this is known as a theodicy it’s it’s one of the oldest questions of evil and that’s if God is all good and everything exists in God and he created everything and there’s no darkness in him then he made satan and satan is the one who tempts us therefore did God then ultimately tempt us did God make evil is God the one who does put evil in our lives where did evil come from and I think that asking this question kind of misses the point other people might phrase it like uh well evil is everything that God is not like wherever there’s evil God isn’t there and it’s like okay but we also say that God’s omnipresent that God is everywhere so how can you possibly have a place where there is no God there bishop berkeley in the 1700s said everything exists in the constant thinking mind of God in other words if he were to stop thinking about it would stop existing so how can you have something exist outside the presence of God

again this misses the point I think the better question is not does evil exist why does evil exist where did it come from I think the better question is actually what do we do now what do we do in response to this evil what do we do since we live in a world where we have the holocaust and we have the rwandan genocides and we have uh famine in many parts of africa right now and even our own hometown we live in littleton colorado where we had columbine where we have teenagers shooting teenagers we don’t need to be convinced that evil exists a better question is not where did it come from a better question is how do we respond what do we do in light of this world where there is such darkness

when I was growing up on cape cod we had this tradition I don’t know if a lot of other people have this tradition uh but maybe okay we’ll find out when you’re in a car and you’re driving along and you come to some train tracks what do you do when you go over the train tracks

okay okay you grew up on cape cod too or is this like a universal thing last in the last service somebody said hold your breath and I was like that’s that’s tunnels not um so so to this day I’m 30 and a half years old and to this day whenever I go over train tracks in my car I always go like you know or if there’s other people in the car I’m like lift up your feet or if it’s if I’m like on a date and I’m driving with a girl in the car I’ll just suddenly be like so she’s not like what’s wrong with this guy but if you ask us and like whenever I tell people like lift up your feet they always do it and then afterward they say why do we do that and I always say it’s because if you don’t lift up your feet when you go over the train tracks inevitably your toes will go through the floorboards of the car get stuck in the train tracks and the train will come and run you over

that’s cape cod logic for you so here’s the thing I don’t know anybody who has gotten their toes stuck in the train tracks because they didn’t lift their feet up and when I lift my feet up I don’t actually believe that that I’ll get stuck in the train will run me over right I don’t actually believe that but I do it simply because it’s a habit simply because it’s kind of like a rote memorization thing and I wonder if when we pray the lord’s prayer we kind of like actually believe the first several parts of it we actually believe that there’s God up in heaven who we’re addressing we believe we want to see his kingdom come to earth we want to make that happen and we want his will to happen and not our own and we believe that we want food to eat we want God to provide for us and we believe that we have messed up and we have wronged people and people have wronged us and we need to forgive them but we get to the last part and we don’t actually really believe it’s going to happen we say it because we’re supposed to it’s more of a rote memorization thing than a I actually believe evil will come upon me if I don’t say this last part of the prayer it’s like we’re lifting up our feet going over train tracks and I think a better mentality we should have when we come to this last part of the prayer God deliver me from evil looks more like this this is how badly we should want to get out of the clutches of evil um if you if you google easter bunny kids crying like I do all the time then um there’s like hundreds of these pictures I was amazed by how many there are I was also amazed that somebody at some point thought hey this easter bunny is a good idea let’s let’s put kids on his lap kids will love this like what if we had that face as we’re as we’re praying God deliver me from evil get me off the lap of this evil bunny

that one’s just reaching for it

that’s the worst one we’re gonna talk about serial killers in a minute and I think this was uh

but seriously what if we had that mentality when we thought about evil if we said God deliver me and the fact that we don’t pray that part of the prayer intensely means that we are in the minority of human history because all throughout human history you’ve had totalitarian regimes you’ve had witch doctors putting voodoo spells on you you’ve had neighboring tribes which could invade you at any moment and decimate you and all your family and we live in a relatively comfortable society where we get to say deliver me from evil and don’t really give it a second thought don’t really give it the the weight that it really deserves but here I think when we think about nazis and and external evils I think here’s where the two clauses of this prayer converge because every single one of us has the capacity for incredible evil inside of us and the scary thing is um if you if you listen to jordan peterson he’s a he’s a philosopher psychologist thinker he would always start off his lectures when he taught at harvard every single semester he would start off by saying um if every if every one of you in this classroom was in germany in the 1930s you would be a nazi and everybody says no no I wouldn’t and it’s because inside of our own minds we have this image of ourselves because we watched so many world war two movies and nazi movies and quentin tarantino movies and and we have this mentality that no I’d be schindler that would be me I’d be the one delivering everybody out of you know the clutches of the holocaust I wouldn’t be the one going along with it I wouldn’t be complicit in this incredible evil but the problem with that mentality is that 90 of the people in germany were either nazis nazi sympathizers or did nothing to stop them

so when we pray this prayer deliver me from evil it’s more along the lines of like like the frog boiling in the pot slowly and slowly and slowly and then you can only look backwards afterward and realize what was actually happening and all along you were just going along with it so when we pray this it’s God deliver me from evil even if it doesn’t seem that evil to me right now so we’re gonna do a little experiment right now there’s three candidates and they’re all running for office and we in this room get to decide which one we elect to uh kind of run our church sorry alex um candidate number one is partially paralyzed from polio he has hypertension he’s anemic and suffers from an array of serious illnesses he lies if it suits his purpose and consults astrologists on his politics he cheats on his wife chain smokes and drinks too many martinis that’s our first candidate uh people said of candid number one he’s a functioning alcoholic can number two is overweight he’s already lost three elections he suffers from depression has had two heart attacks he’s impossible to work with and smokes cigars non-stop and every night when he goes to bed he drinks incredible amounts of champagne cod I still don’t know how to say that word

you guys paying attention to who knew how to say that port whiskey and adds two sleeping pills before dozing off candidate number three is a highly decorated war hero he treats women with respect he loves animals and art he never smokes and only has a beer on rare occasions so question who’s voting for candidate number one in here

oh wow he got it dang okay if you were not going to vote for candid number one you discarded franklin d roosevelt candidate number two who’s voting for canada okay you guys stop you already no stop you’re cheating you guys figured out my trick if you like candy number two you just elected winston churchill who likes candidate number three geez okay you guys were in the first service that doesn’t count if you like canada number three you just elected adolf hitler so you can see how evil doesn’t always appear as evil on the surface sometimes when we pray God deliver me from evil it’s evil that I don’t even know about because it doesn’t look that evil to me in 1945 in a separate part of the world there was a man named alexander solzhenitsyn and he lived in the soviet union and in 1945 he sent a letter to one of his friends in which he critiqued joseph stalin somehow this letter got intercepted by the soviet union and he was sentenced to eight years in the gulag and if you don’t know what the gulag is it’s a labor camp where you’re subject to like some of the worst conditions on planet earth that human beings could do to one another so he’s working in this terrible terrible labor camp for eight years he survives and he comes out and spends the next decade writing his like world-changing book called the gulag archipelago and a clip from that book is right here it’s one of the most famous lines probably in the whole 1900s he says if only we’re all so simple and remember this is coming from a man who suffered some of the worst like violence worse conditions put on him by other human beings possible and this is what he concluded if only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and that were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being and who was willing to destroy a piece of his own heart the line dividing good and evil cuts down the heart of every human being in other words it’s not like there’s bad people out there and then there’s good people in here because the problem with all these lists is we always say like oh yeah there’s evil in the world there’s genocides in africa there’s boko haram there’s isis there’s the holocaust there’s the gulags and even more close to home maybe we think oh those democrats they do a b and c or maybe you think oh those conservatives they do x y and z I can’t believe that they’re so evil how could they possibly hold on to those beliefs because they’re bad but the problem with these lists is it’s always them it’s always the other people who are evil it’s always them out there doing the bad things and I would never do that and the problem is we have just as much evil in our hearts we have the capacity for evil that they do 90 percent of germany was not just evil murderers they went along with it they were complicit they were apathetic um in 1971 there were these things called the stanford prison experiments held at stanford university if you’re not familiar with these what they did is they took two random groups of students who volunteered to be part of the study and they divide the group of students in half these are not prisoners they’re not criminals they’re just regular students at stanford and they said this half of the students you’re going to be prison guards and this half of the students you’re going to be prisoners and we’re just going to put you in this facility and see what happens average students not crazy bad people within six days they had to shut down the experiment because within six days about half of the prison guards had become sadistic psychopaths and they were just being violent and aggressive and doing humiliating torturous things to the other random half of the students who were playing the part of prisoners but you know what each one of us is thinking right now that wouldn’t be me I wouldn’t be that but the line dividing good and evil cuts down the center of each and every one of our hearts even charles manson when he was in prison later in his life he realized people were fascinated by him this horrific murderer the serial killer he realized like people are making movies about me and writing books about me they’re fascinated by me and he had this quote to say he said look straight at me and you see yourself

maybe he lived out some of the things that deep inside our hearts we wish we were capable of doing because the same evil is inside of us as is in him so when we pray this prayer lead me not into temptation don’t even let me go down the street where temptation lives because I might be capable of becoming evil so maybe we could add the word deliver me from becoming the evil one keep me from becoming the one that people are scared of the one who does evil acts because remember it doesn’t happen all at once it happens when we go down the street and then we go down the driveway and we go up to the house where temptation lives and before we know it we are doing evil things we’ve all been tempted we’ve all given into temptation and are we going to keep letting it off the hook having a little place in our lives where we’re walking in step with the spirit over here but over here we’re just having a little bit of sin and it’s okay and we’re letting evil have a little place in our lives are we going to keep doing that

the verb for deliver deliver me from evil is like an aggressive or a violent word you could also say snatch me from evil it’s like we’re on an icy hill and we’re sliding down and the only way we can stop is if God snatches us up and pulls us to safety because we can’t do it on our own so will we be like those kids on the easter bunny’s laps saying God please deliver me from evil snatch me get me off of here because I can’t stand to be in here I’m going to destroy myself I’m going to destroy everybody around me I’m going to destroy God’s creation I’m going to be destructive because I can’t escape evil myself evil isn’t just what’s out there evil is also what’s in here I had this uh this teacher when I was in high school at a christian high school and one day in class he stopped teaching and he started preaching and if you’ve gone to christian school you may have had teachers like that where he’s teaching us about the book of acts and at some point he kind of went off script and he just started to say you guys don’t take sin seriously enough sin is going to destroy your life he grabbed one of the desks like this he starts banging it and he’s like you do not realize the power of sin if you let it just get a foothold in your life and then it takes a little more and a little more and you guys are not taking it seriously enough and then he literally threw the desk across the room and we were all like okay all takes in seriously and

I don’t know how many of us actually did but I’ll always remember that image of him taking sin so seriously but the thing about being a christian is this it’s not just that we try really hard not to sin it’s not just that we follow all the rules we have this checklist and and then we’re good and then we won’t slip into evil because that’s how the pharisees thought that you delivered yourself from evil the pharisees thought that if you do x y and z then you’ll be good if you follow these rules God will deliver you but the whole lord’s prayer is from this position of weakness of begging God deliver me from myself deliver me from evil provide for me forgive me but God I know that I’m not strong enough to deliver myself so don’t let me do those bad things because I want to and that’s why Jesus has come Jesus has defeated that evil once and for all we trust in him we trust that when we cry out to him he can deliver us that he does hear us and we pray that prayer now before we get into some temptation we say don’t let me go down that street but we also cry out to him when we are tempted in first corinthians it says he has not let us be tempted beyond what is common to man but when we are tempted he will provide us a way through it so that we do have that escape so that we don’t destroy ourselves so that we don’t destroy other people it’s not in our own strength that we escape evil and temptation it’s only by calling on God calling on Jesus Jesus who suffered in our place Jesus who suffered in order to destroy sin and death and evil once and for all so we call out to him he delivers us from evil he delivers us from ourselves so let me pray for us south Jesus I thank you that you have come that you are victorious Jesus we’re not the ones who are victorious we’re not the ones who are strong we’re weak and we really need your strength so Jesus come and deliver us save us from ourselves save us from external evils Jesus don’t let us go near temptation lord keep us far from it Jesus we rely on you we depend on you and we love you it’s in your name we pray all these things amen would you stand with me as we respond