For Lord’s Day, July 12, 2015
Tomorrow evening we will conclude the Westminster Larger Catechism with the conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer (Q&A 196). For a change, I won’t be sharing any quotes from Thomas Watson’s commentary on it during the evening sermon. But I’d like to give you some more nuggets mined from what he wrote regarding the sixth petition that are very powerful and encouraging considering we’ll learn that the conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer guarantees that God will answer us in the affirmative as we seek to better understand what we are asking to be delivered out of.
In his book (two copies available in our church library) Watson instructs us that when we pray, “Deliver us from evil”, we ask in a “special sense” with a threefold notion: deliver us from the evil of our heart, from the evil of Satan, and from the evil of the world.
Deliver us from the evil of our heart:
- “The devil could not hurt us, if our own hearts did not give consent. All that he can do is to lay the bait, but it is our fault to swallow it.”
- “ … it was Augustine’s prayer, …Lord, deliver me from myself.”
- Quoting Bernard: “Everyone is Satan to himself.”
- “The heart of a man is the Trojan horse, out of which comes a whole army of lusts.”
Deliver us from the evil of Satan:
- “While we are praying, hearing, and meditating, we are of his company, though uncertain how we came by it.”
- “If when blasphemous thoughts are injected, you tremble at them, and are in a cold sweat, they are not yours, Satan shall answer for them …”
- So the Devil doesn’t make you do anything. But often, he does suggest things to you that can get you down thinking they are your own original thoughts. This reality is helpful to realize so we can better resist the ancient tempter.
- Besides what was shared about Satan influencing David last week, Acts 5:3 is another example of his planting thoughts: … Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
Deliver us from the evil of the world:
- This is the main means of the Wicked One’s whispering in our ears.
- “It is as hard to live in the world and not be defiled, as to go much in the sun and not be tanned. The opinions of the world are defiling … The examples of the world are defiling. Examples have great force to draw us to evil.” Ex. 23:2; Ps 106:35.
- “The pleasures of the world, like opium, cast men into the sleep of security.”
- “It is an evil world as it is a discouraging world. It casts scorn and reproach upon those who live virtuously.”
- “It is an evil world as it is a maligning world. It hates the people of God.” Jn. 15:19. “The mark that is shot at is piety. Ps 38:20. The world pretends to hate the godly for something else, but the ground of the quarrel is holiness.”
- “We may lawfully pray against the plots of the wicked, that they may prove abortive, that, though they have a design upon us, they may not have their desire upon us.” Ps. 141:9.
A few other thoughts worth passing on (remembering that temptations from Satan are enticements to sin with and for him):
- “Leaving sin is not enough, unless we embrace righteousness … As it is in the body, it is not enough that the disease be stopped, but it must grow in health; so in the soul, it is not enough that acts of sin be forborne, which is stopping a disease, but it must be healthy, and grow in holiness.”
- “See what the Scripture compares [sin] to … the vomit of dogs (2 Pet ii 22) … a menstruous cloth (Isa xxx 22) … the plague (1 Kings viii 38) and a gangrene (2 Tim ii 17).”
- “The Hebrew word for sin signifies rebellion.”
- “Sin … makes a man like a beast. Psa xlix 20. … When a man commits sin, he is the devil’s lackey and runs on his errand.”
- “Sin breaks the peace of the soul.”
- “Sin has shame for its companion, and death for its wages.”
- “Sin is the spirit of witchcraft; it is the devil’s excrement …”
Thus, beloved, as you pray the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer (and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil) with the encouragement of its conclusion:
- … exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8)
- For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. (Titus 2:11-15)
So let it be, so it shall be, so it is! (Amen!).