Let us pray: Dear Savior, every day we either see or hear about some awful disaster or accident. They are terrible to behold. But, such death and carnage often pales in comparison to the evil that a single human being can inflict upon another. Lord, deliver us from the clutches of human violence, human greed, human hatred, and human-inflicted pain. Keep us from hatching such evil and violence within our own hearts. And make us all into the loving, kind, and considerate people that You originally created us to be. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE PRINCE OF LASTING PEACE!
TEXT: Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
Only a complete fool would deny the existence of evil. And yet, when you ask: “Where does evil come from?” only the Christian actually has an answer. The unbeliever accepts the fact that evil exists, but mocks the reality of Satan. There are weak-kneed Christians as well who will say they don’t believe in the devil or hell, but they do accept that “bad people” do “bad things.” But, why do bad people do bad things? Our lesson tells us why.—The devil, a personal being, a fallen angel who has great power, Satan, sows evil into people’s hearts and unfortunately, more often than not, that evil takes root. In the Lord’s Prayer we recite this petition: “Deliver us from evil.” Some understand that to mean deliver us from some generic, nonspecific “bad” force. But in actuality, Christ really said:
DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE….
Satan is real. And his chief goal is to “sow weeds among the wheat” as Christ says in our text. When does the devil do this dastardly deed? “While everyone is sleeping.” There are a couple of important points to note in this lesson. #1 is: when the immature wheat plants and immature weed plants sprout, both look exactly the same. The technical term Jesus uses for “weed” or “tare” as the old King James version has it, was a weed that appeared identical to wheat when immature. But later on, when it became firmly entrenched, its obnoxious character is revealed. #2 is that God’s ultimate enemy does this sowing in secret.—”When everyone is sleeping.” That’s almost always the case with evil. It works under the cover of darkness, or when people are lulled into complacency. Put these two factors together and it’s impossible to eradicate. You must simply wait until evil grows up a bit to actually see it and do something about it.—Just as Jesus foretells in His reference to the harvest on judgment day.
So, let’s put these concepts into more modern terms. Example One: I recall a story from my youth. Two rival towns were meeting for a homecoming football game. Early in the week before it occurred, some away team supporters snuck onto the field in the dead of night. They carefully etched the initials of that rival team into the turf with a potent fertilizer. A few days later, when the game was played, that fertilizer had done its work and burned the grass to the chagrin of the hometown team! Yes, evil was done in darkness and it only became apparent later on.
Example two is something everyone is familiar with: computer viruses. Hackers don’t advertise their labors. They work in “darkness” or behind-the-scenes to covertly infect hapless internet travelers. And once you get a virus, it’s too late to do anything other than hope not too many files are lost. Complete virus protection such as anti-virus software, must be installed before the fact. That’s because it’s always on duty. It never sleeps. But even it can be defeated by a new virus that springs up literally by-the-minute!
Example three: you get sucked into sin. It starts out innocently. Maybe it’s buying some lottery tickets. Maybe it’s an extra drink after work with the crowd. Maybe it’s dabbling with pornography. Maybe you’re just jealous over another’s marriage and their obvious blessings. But slowly you start to hang out with people who feed that particular sin. Then it begins to grow. You appear exactly the same as before. You still go to church and say that God is important in your life. But slowly that sin begins to be more important. And finally it takes over and bears its evil fruit of: a gambling addiction, an alcohol addiction, a sex addiction, a jealousy/hatred addiction, or any other addiction. The result? Shattered lives, broken heart, lost souls. Yes, your lost soul! Lord, deliver us from the evil one!
Christ tells us that someday, at the end of time, He will send His angels to do two things. First, they will pull out these evil weeds of Satan and toss them into the fires of hell to be eternally destroyed—that’s the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” reference. And second, the angels will gather together the good seed, the wheat plants that bring forth Godly fruit, into the heavenly storehouse. “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
The question is: Where do you want to end up? If the answer is heaven, then you need to get busy right now! Inoculate yourself from Satan by recognizing the evil seeds he has sown in your own heart and repent of them now! Get help with your sins. Confess them and receive the power of God’s forgiveness—His anti-virus software upgrade! Jesus died on the cross for each and every evil thought, desire, word and work you’ve ever done. Embrace His death for what it is: the death of your particular sin! And then embrace His resurrection, too. He arose to a new life. Through faith that same new life can be yours. You have God’s power at your disposal. You receive it every Sunday at church, every time you read and contemplate His Word of truth. If you’re busy thinking about God’s blessings it’s a lot harder for Satan to sow evil within you. If you hand out with fellow believers, it’s a lot harder for him to drag you down. If you live in God’s light, not being ashamed of what you do or say, then the devil will be deprived of the darkness needed to do his nasty work.
This whole issue of: Deliver us from the evil one, is really another example of the Proverbs passage which says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” None of us can fight evil alone. Our brains and willpower just aren’t that strong. But when God is with us, we can resist and eventually come out as winners. Christ has already proved that truth. So, listen to Him and learn. Yes, he who has ears, let him hear…..Amen