by J. Gerald Harris

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A Prayer for Deliverance (5 of 5)
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
Matthew 6:9-13

This prayer implies that there is someone or something from which we need deliverance. And as we look at our text, allow me to point out that a proper translation of Matthew 6:13 is not "deliver us from evil," but "deliver us from the evil one."

The Bible does not think of evil as an abstract principle or force, but as an active personal power in opposition to God. In Ephesians, chapter 6, the apostle Paul writes, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." And in I Peter 5:8 we find this warning: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."

And so this "evil one," this adversary, this sinister creature from whom we need deliverance is none other than the devil himself. And that is the first point of the message for this evening.

Behind all the dangers in our life, and behind all the dark menaces that overshadow it, there is this dark, mysterious, spell-binding figure at work. Behind the temptations stands the tempter. Behind the lie stands the liar. Behind all the death and bloodshed stands the "murderer from the beginning."

The development of the idea of Satan in the Bible is of the greatest interest. In Hebrew the word "satan" simply means an "adversary." This word can describe a man. A man who opposes you is your adversary. And, in a sense, a man's adversary is his satan.

In I Samuel 29:4 the Philistines are afraid that David may turn out to be their satan. In I Kings 5:4 Solomon declares that God has given him such peace and prosperity that there is no satan left to oppose him. In II Samuel 19:22 David regards Abishai as his satan. In all these cases ...

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