Lord’s Prayer August 5-6, 2023
“An Evil Voice Silenced” Matthew 6:13
Rev. John R. Larson Ascension Lutheran Church Littleton, Colorado
Today I conclude the summer sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer. Today I preach about the petition, “Deliver us from the evil one”, and the conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer, “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.” I begin with the conclusion.
Last weekend I was scheduled to sing the Lord’s Prayer at Ascension – and it wasn’t even a funeral!! But my voice was a goner last weekend and I didn’t want to have you endure my raspy, horrid voice during that prayer. So we spoke it. But I love how the Lord’s Prayer is written to be sung. It starts out quiet and then builds in volume and intensity as the song goes on. When you get to the conclusion, “For Thine is the kingdom and the power…” the organ and the singer are to be at the level of “forte” – strong, loud, maybe a little bombastic. And then the singing of the Lord’s Prayer ends with a quieter “Amen”. When I sing that conclusion it gets to me every time.
Just think of all that we have prayed in the Lord’s Prayer. We have asked for some of the greatest things that we could ever ask – that God’s name is held by us to be the name above every name, we have asked that God’s rule would come to everyone and for everything – “Thy Kingdom come” – we have asked that God’s gracious will for our salvation and life would come. Then we asked for His forgiveness to allow us to live at peace in our mind and souls and that we would have the same way of forgiveness to others. We have asked that God would meet our daily needs and daily worries by giving us good health, good leaders, good weather and what we need every day. The strength to lead a life that is wise and holy and strong is our plea when we ask God not to lead us into temptation and to deliver us from the evil one. Each of the seven prayers is a prayer of their own.
Those are great things. Those are things that are important to our life and the lives of many others everyday. How is it even possible that we can ask such things? How could it be possible that such things would be granted? It happens when we know that God has this. He can forgive a guilty heart and allows us to be people who will not hold grudges or live in bitterness with others. He gives us a will that can trust Him even when we can’t see what lies ahead. Why? “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever and ever.” Amen!! (Which is the word of surety – the word for YES!!) When Albert Hay Malotte wrote the familiar tune for the Lord’s Prayer, I believe he was telling us with certainty – our Heavenly Father has all of this and all of us in His great hand.
St. Paul says the same thing in these words, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Have you ever been to a Roman Catholic Mass or funeral and the Lord’s Prayer was spoken? Did you find yourself embarrassed when you kept on speaking the conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer only to find out that the rest of the congregation had stopped praying and had already spoken the “Amen!”? (You can always spot a Lutheran at a Catholic service!!) Why does the Roman Catholic Church pray the prayer differently than us? The conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer, that we pray, is not part of the original text. Any translation in the last 400 years (since the King James Version) does not include it. The words come from a setting of King David’s prayer in I Chronicles. “Praise be to you, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.” (I Chronicles 29:10-13)
The conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer is clear – we trust in a faithful God who has all of this, whatever “this” may be – the darkest sin, the deepest grief, the most impossible situation, securely in His hands. Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. He has this.
And He has him. Him. The deceiver. The liar. The one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. So Jesus commanded God’s children to pray, “Deliver us from the evil one.” We pray not just for deliverance from things that are bad, imperfect or vicious. We pray not just about evil in general, but evil that is particular. Evil that has a face to it. Deliver us from the evil one. Satan. The devil.
Thielicke writes, “Behind the temptations stands the tempter, behind the lie stands the liar, behind all the dead and bloodshed stands the ‘murderer from the beginning.’” (Our Heavenly Father, Page 132)
In Matthew 12 Jesus is accused of casting out demons by Beelzebub, the one known as the prince of demons. His opponents were saying that Jesus must be the devil himself. Jesus addresses this with this unique phrase, “How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.” (Matthew 12:29)
Jesus was talking about the work that that He had come to do – binding up the devil. He came to the devil’s house and bound him. In the epistle of St. John it says, “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” (I John 3:8)
What do you see when Jesus is tempted by the devil in the wilderness for 40 days and He doesn’t bend to any of his lies and wicked temptations – not even an inch? He was binding the strong man. When Jesus asks for His Father’s will to be done by this upcoming death, when He commends His very soul to the Father on Good Friday, when He rises in power and glory on Easter Sunday, He was robbing the house of the devil. He was destroying the devil’s work. He was answering our prayer when we speak with all our emotion and even some frustration, “Deliver us from the evil one!!”
Jesus has him. The strong man is captured. Jesus, with a word of, “It is finished”, has robbed the devil’s house. We need to know that Jesus is victorious and He is. “Lord, deliver us from the evil one.” And He has. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
The seventh petition, “Deliver us from the evil one”, and the conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer, “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen” tell us two things. God has this and God has him. “This” – He has all things in His hands. He rules over all things. He is present everywhere, at every time, in any situation. “This!!” And him. The evil one. The one who joys in our failure and guilt and damnation. Jesus destroyed the work of the devil.
But this isn’t a sermon to try to answer some theological question about the seventh petition and the conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer. This message has to have some practical application.
So – here it is. God has “this”. God has “him”. God has us!! In a recent article that Matthew Harrison, the President of our church body wrote, he asked the question “What is a Lutheran?” He writes, “One pastor I know is fond of telling his parishioners that there are no Lutheran insomniacs, as least when it comes to eternal life. No Lutheran should stay awake at night worrying about their salvation. If justification is God’s work alone (which it is), and if He works through tangible means (which He does), then a Christian can remind themselves that they are baptized by God and go happily to sleep. The point of being Lutheran is comfort, not pride. God intends His people to have full and complete confidence that they are His because of His perfect work. This is justification. This is why I am a Lutheran.” (Reporter, August 2023, Page 5)
The perfect prayer. The Lord’s Prayer. Pray it often. Pray it slowly. Pray it with faith. Amen!!