Service for July 26, 2020 — Deliver Us from Evil. For the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory Are Yours Now and Forever. Amen.
But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 3For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. 4Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. 5Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—7everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Psalm for Today: Psalm 65 on page 89 in Christian Worship
Praise awaits you, O God,
you call forth songs of joy.
You care for the land and water it;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain.
You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
The grasslands of the desert overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Second Lesson (Sermon Text):
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
You see it happen from time to time at the end of an era. Maybe it is at the death of a famous person or maybe it is at the end of a presidency. Hopefully, it will soon take place in discussing the coronavirus. What I’m talking about is this: You will see a group of people sitting around a table for panel discussion on television. They will be talking about how something important has come to an end. As they have their discussion, someone will inevitably asked the question, “Well, in the end, what is the most important thing to remember about all of this?” Well, today we have reached the end of the Lord’s prayer. I don’t mean that we have reached the end of our use of the Lord’s prayer. I mean that we have reached the end of our look at the Lord’s prayer during the series of Sunday sermons. As we get to the end of the Lord’s prayer, we ask ourselves the same question That the panel asks. We ask, in the end, what do we want to remember about the Lord’s prayer. What we want to remember is summed up very well in the last of the petitions and in the doxology that we have attached to the Lord’s prayer.
In the End, What Do We Want to Remember about the Lord’s Prayer?
I. God really delivers
II. So he deserves all the glory
In looking at the end of the Lord’s prayer, it is fitting that we look at the very end of the Bible. Our text comes from the last book of the Bible, in fact, almost from the very last chapter. Throughout the Book of Revelation, we see a series of visions that describes in symbolic language the history of the New Testament church. Throughout all these visions, we see the struggle that always exists. The forces of government and false religion keep trying to put the church down. However, Jesus always gives victory to his church. The Word of God goes on despite man’s attempt to stop it or polluted. This text is taken from the very last vision of the Book of Revelation. Nearly all of the symbolic language is gone. What we have before us is a vision of what will take place at the end of all time.
We see a vision of God’s judgment as all the nations are gathered before the white throne of God. God condemns for all of eternity those who oppose the church. He starts with those who took an active role in persecuting and polluting the church. And then all of those who were deceived and led astray also received their judgment. It is an awesome and earthshattering sight. Then, in this chapter, we see heaven open up and God established his eternal Kingdom. Remember, throughout the rest of the Book of Revelation, God had been describing all of the evils that we face as members of his church in very vivid picture language. Now, in words that are absolutely clear, he shows that he is the God who delivers us from all Evil. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Those are words that I often use in Christian funerals. They indicate that God will finally deliver us from every evil of body and soul that have afflicted us all throughout our lives.
Of course, we don’t have to wait until the end of the world for God to hear and answer this prayer. We know that our God will listen to our plea as we get to the end of the Lord’s prayer and he will deliver us from evil. I should note, at this point, that some wonder whether this should be better translated as, “Deliver us from evil,” or, “Deliver us from the Evil One.” In the end, it doesn’t really make any difference. It is because of the Evil One that we are afflicted by evil to body and soul. What can we expect if our God in This life in answer to this prayer that we give to him at the end of the Lord’s prayer? We can expect that he is going to answer this prayer in one of a number of different ways. Sometimes, many times in fact, he will deliver us from evil by making sure that evil stays away from us and never gets to our door. Other times, he will let us experience evil and then he will remove that evil. At other times, he will give us the strength to endure what we have to endure in this life. I think that is, maybe, the one way in which he delivers us from evil that we appreciate the least. It is, though, something that is a heaven sent gift. The most amazing way in which he delivers from evil is when he fulfills his promise that he makes the evil that happens to us in our lives workout for our good and according to his purpose. In these ways, God is constantly delivering us from evil.
That brings us to the end of the end. We are brought to the words that we use to conclude the Lord’s prayer. These are words that are not in the original text of either one of the versions of the Lord’s prayer that we find in the New Testament, in Matthew and in Luke. However, they seem to be a very early addition to the prayer that was added as the church began to pray it on a regular basis. Some think that it comes from a prayer that Solomon made at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem. Some think it may have been simply a common form of ending a Jewish prayer that early New Testament believers adopted as their own practice when praying the Lord’s prayer. In the end, it doesn’t matter. These words are a very fitting end to the Lord’s prayer because they’re one of the thoughts that we are left with at the end of holy scripture.
We see a depiction of God’s glory in these words from our text: Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. In these words, we see all of the power that God has. As he did at the beginning of time, he uses his almighty power to create a new heavens in a new earth. You might wonder why it specifically mentions that there is no sea. Some think this may be another way of indicating that God, in the end, will deliver us from all evil. That is because many of the people who were alive at the time that these words were written saw the sea as a violent and unknown thing that brought many people down into its depths, never to return.
We also see the picture of the holy city, the new Jerusalem, being brought down and placed in this new heaven and new earth. What is this supposed to indicate. Throughout all of prophetic scripture, this is a picture of the people of God. It is a picture of how God fulfilled all the promises that he made in the temple at Jerusalem. It was at the temple that the sacrifices took place. All of those sacrifices were pictures of the work of the coming savior. This vision in the Book of Revelation Means that gods work of redemption has been absolutely completed. Every sin of all time has been atoned for through the suffering and death of our savior Jesus Christ. And now, God’s dwelling is with man. There is nothing that separates a holy God from his creation anymore. There is no taint of sin that is left anymore. We can look at the face of God and not be afraid.
Because God has completely finished his work of salvation, he receives all the glory that he is do. That, really, is what we are doing at the end of the Lord’s prayer when we conclude with these words, “For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.” We are saying, that when our God delivers us from all earthly trouble and we stand before him in his heavenly glory, we will give him all of the credit for creating us, planning out our Salvation, and bringing us into his Kingdom. These are words that we join with the Lord’s prayer here on earth to remind us that all of this is God’s doing.
We conclude this prayer, as we conclude almost all of our prayers, with the word Amen. Amen is a word that is used many times in the pages of holy scripture. Jesus used it many times to point to the truth of what he was saying. There are many examples of him saying, in the original language, “Amen, Amen I say to you…” The Bible, in fact, ends with this word. This is a word that indicates an emphatic statement of truth. Why do we conclude our prayer with these words? We do so because we are indicating that we believe that God will keep his promise to hear an answer this and every other prayer that we direct toward him. It is a word, though often used in our worship and prayer life, that we should not take lightly. It is a word that rings out in faith. God’s entire work for us is a big Amen. His promise to hear an answer our prayers is a big Amen. And so we say, in the end, Amen to everything that we have prayed and everything that God has promised. Amen.