STUDY 11: THE THIRD CONCERN IN PRAYER - PART FIVE: HOW WE ARE DELIVERED FROM THE EVIL ONE - 1

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2009

 

In this study we will begin to look at God’s provision of deliverance – his way out that enables us to stand the testings/temptations (pressures and pushings) of the evil one.

 

A. WE ARE DELIVERED FROM THE EVIL ONE BY OUR CALLING

Our faith-relationship with Jesus Christ protects and delivers us from the evil one and his pressures. It also provides us with both an assurance and a motivation to persevere. Much more could be said about our calling than what is listed below.

[1] Our calling as disciples (followers, students) of Jesus Christ:

The Christian has a high calling: to follow Jesus Christ, that is, to live as Jesus lived. It is to this that we committed ourselves when we responded to his ‘follow me’. This calling is his gift. It is not ours because we have deserved or merited or earned it. Write out these verses, and think deeply about their meaning.

1 Corinthians 1:26

Ephesians 2:10

Ephesians 4:1

2 Timothy 1:8-9

Hebrews 3:1,2

1 Peter 2:9

1 Peter 2:20-21

[2] Our calling as children of our heavenly Father:

Christian believers are identified in the Scripture as ‘children of God’ or ‘sons of God’ (John 1:12; Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:6-7; Ephesians 1:4). Again, this calling means protection, deliverance, assurance and motivation:

Matt 5:44,45,48

Romans 9:26

1 John 3:1-3

[3] Our calling to the sure hope of salvation/eternal life with God, according to his will and purpose:

Romans 8:28-30

Romans 9:24

Ephesians 1:18

Philippians 3:14

Hebrews 3:1

1 Peter 1:13-15

The great assurance that comes along with our calling is expressed by Jesus in John 10:

‘He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. … I am the gate for the sheep … whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture … I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. … I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice … My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.’ [Selected from John 10:3-30].

While it is God’s acceptance of us as his children that puts us in the firing line of the evil one’s determined and destructive hatred of God and all that God loves, [see Genesis 1:31, 3:3; Job 1:8-11; 2:3-5; Matthew 3:17; 4:1-11], it is this divine acceptance, this divine calling, that is our ultimate protection. God has called us and made us his own; he will not let us go.

 

B. THE INTERCESSION OF JESUS, OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST

The Scripture teaches us that Jesus Christ is in the presence of God the Father as our Mediator and Advocate [see 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:24 ,25; 1 John 2:1]. This does not mean that he is constantly, repeatedly, verbally, begging the Father to forgive us, or to help us, or to deliver us, but that he is our permanent Advocate … that his presence there is on our behalf that, in a way that parallels his substitutionary death for our sins, he is in the presence of God for us, so that God the Father, the Judge of all the earth, never again relates to us as isolated individuals who must stand in his presence on our own two feet, but relates to us always, only and ever in and through Christ our Mediator, our Advocate.

[1] Luke 22:31-32: ‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’

This obviously happened before Christ’s death … while he was still physically present on earth. When we put it together with our knowledge of Peter’s repeated denial of Christ it teaches us some very important truths: [1] that Satan had already sought permission to try to prove Peter’s faith non-genuine; [2] that the fear-generated, on-the-spot denials were superficial denials; [3] that deep within him Peter’s faith was real (as evidenced by his bitter tears and subsequent life), even though the verbal evidence at the point of stress indicated the opposite. Jesus knew that Peter would give in at this point of pressure from Satan, but he also knew that Peter’s faith was genuine, and would therefore survive the glitch. [The case of Judas provides an example of non-genuine faith.]

[2] John 17: ‘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. … My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. … I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message … Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.’ (17:11,15, 20, 24).

Here Jesus indicates that our protection is in the name of the Lord … a name shared by the Father and the Son, the name that gives us the right of access into God’s presence, and which protects us from all the accusations of the evil one.

[3] Romans 8:34: ‘Who is it that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than hat, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.’

In Romans 8:31-39 Paul gives strong teaching that nothing can cut us off from God’s love. The basis of this affirmation is the fact that all the charges, condemnations and accusations which anyone can level against us – whether they come from our own consciences, God’s laws, the Accuser (the evil one), or the suffering we experience which makes people wonder if there is some hidden sin God is punishing us for – none of these can stand, none of them can ever again separate us from God. Why? Because God gave his Son to die for all of these, because God has justified us through that death, because not only did Jesus die for our sins, but he also rose again, validating for all time the acceptability and effectiveness of that substitutionary death, because he is, right now, our permanent go-between, Mediator, Advocate, in the presence of God. No accusation that Satan brings against us can undo the permanently effective work of Jesus Christ.

[4] Colossians 3:1,3: ‘… you have been raised with Christ … you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.’

This is a powerful verse, expressing the absolute safety and security and protection that the genuine believer has: we are safe from God’s judgement, safe from sin’s penalty and condemnation, safe from being separated from God. As safe as Jesus is. This is the incredible protection we have in Christ. No accusation from Satan, even if those accusations are valid, can touch us. We are hidden, with Christ, in God. Right now. At this very moment.

[5] Hebrews 4:14-16: ‘Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.’

Hebrews 10:19-22: ‘Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain … and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith …’

These two passages assure us that through Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, who has entered the very presence of God on our behalf, as our representative, we have the right of permanent, uninhibited, present access into the presence of God. We are even encouraged and commanded to enter God’s presence with confidence (some translations read boldly). The separating barrier that sin formed between us and God has been ripped away (note the tearing of the temple curtain at the moment of Christ’s death) – sin has been disempowered, Satan’s accusations have been disempowered, the enslaving, condemning authority of God’s law has been disempowered. Our sin can never again sever us from God or ban us from his presence, because Jesus Christ was once severed and banned from God as our substitute [Matthew 27:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21 ], and now stands in God’s presence as our representative.

When we pray ‘lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’ we have this assurance: that Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God as our great High Priest. His presence there is a constant intercession on our behalf – protecting us, delivering us, from the malicious attempts of the evil one to sever us from God.

Write a prayer of thanksgiving for your calling as God’s child, for your powerful Advocate and Representative, Jesus Christ, and for the deliverance you have in him from all the accusations of the evil one.