November 19, 2017 – The Reality of the Dark Side

Speaker: Don Dyck

Study Series: The Jesus School of Prayer

Study #9: The Reality of the Dark Side

Scripture: (all Scripture links go to BibleGateway.com)

audio

Link to Podcast

Opening Thoughts

  • When you read the headlines in the news these days you cannot help but come to the conclusion that there is something desperately wrong in our world
    • How do you account for the existence of evil in our world?
      • How do you respond to evil……
        • in its general existence in other places in the world?
        • …in our own nation?
        • …in our community?
        • …when you experience it personally?

 Various ways of responding to evil:

  • Do you have a “no fault” response? It just is, or perhaps for you evil as a separate category does not really exist – it’s just a more extreme version of “bad.”
  • Do you project responsibility for its existence, and therefore the responsibility to do something about it, onto others – society or certain cultures, levels of government, national and international corporations, political leaders, individuals?
  • Do you take guilt onto yourself – i.e., you are at fault – the cause – for what you have experienced at the hands of others?
  • *Note:   All of these responses, or reactions, can take place not only on a personal level but also on a national, a provincial, and a community level.

Learning to pray the Jesus way

  • presents us not so much with words to be repeated or even a model to be followed but an orientation toward God and a shift from our natural self-centered lives
    • Begins with a focus on God and our relationship with him
    • Much like worship – or perhaps better yet, as a part of our worship – prayer centers around God’s purposes in our world
      • …that his name would be honored
      • …that his kingdom would be established
      • …that his will would be done
    • Places our needs and our requests within this perspective
      • …for our daily subsistence needs
      • …for the freedom of forgiveness
      • …for the power to resist temptation…for deliverance from evil

Clarifying the meaning of two key words

  • “Deliver”
    • to rescue, to liberate or free; to help out of distress; can include a sense of protecting or guarding; has a similar meaning but in a narrower sense of “to save”
    • in all uses of the word in the NT God is the one who delivers and people are the ones being delivered
    • can be focused on a future time, referring to our ultimate deliverance when Jesus returns and God sets everything right in this world
  • “Evil”
    • that which is bad or harmful resulting in trouble and suffering
    • the result of a will which has turned away from God
    • that which is contrary to God
    • more than the absence of good it’s the result of the exclusion of God in our lives and living according to his purpose as his image bearers on the earth

Actively praying, “Deliver us from evil”  → Confronting the reality of the dark side

Three key aspects:

1) “Deliver us from the evil one

  • a possible and common translation of the words of Jesus
    • refers to a “sub-personal” or “quasi-personal” being (N.T. Wright) also called the devil or the satan (not a name but more of a title or description – “the accuser”)
  • important to recognize the reality of the evil one while avoiding two extremes – two equal errors in which many people fall:
    • attributing more power to the evil one and to attribute a direct responsibility to it/him for every problem and suffering in our lives and in the world
    • to dismiss the existence of the evil one
  • two contrasting descriptions in the Bible:
  • as we pray we are called on to take our stand (Ephesians 6:10-20) and resist the devil, not flee (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9)

2) “Deliver us from the evil around us

  • we live in a broken world the suffers from the consequences of the brokenness of others as well as ours (Romans 1:18-32; 8:22)
  • engaging in the brokenness of our world
    • the picture of Jeremiah among the ruins of Jerusalem (Lamentations)
    • Jesus coming into our world and identifying with us in our brokenness and suffering
    • the story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
  • the challenge for us is to “watch our step” – Ephesians 5:15-21

3) “Deliver us from the evil within us

  • Paul’s description of our inner struggle – Romans 7:14-25
  • our “heart problem” – Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:20-22
  • the evil that lurks in our hearts
    • refusal to submit to God and instead engage in some subtle and not-so-subtle forms of idolatry
    • worshipping or putting first in our lives something or someone other than God, conferring power over us to the object worshipped
  • key to our deliverance from the evil within us is confession, repentance and forgiveness – Psalm 139:23-24; 51:10-12
  • setting our hearts and minds on God and his purposes – Romans 8:1-11; Colossians 3:1-14

Conclusion and application

  • Praying “Deliver us from evil” is to engage in
    • Forgiveness
      • Receiving God’s forgiveness
      • Forgiving ourselves
      • Forgiving others
    • Reconciliation
      • Moving beyond forgiveness to restoration
      • Restorative justice
    • Establishing the kingdom of God
      • Imagining and working toward a world without evil

Questions for Personal Follow-Up and Group Discussion

1) Connecting with Your Story

  • What has been your experience of evil in your life and how have your responded / reacted to it?
  • What makes you angry?
  • What are you angry about right now?
  • Who has done something which you feel is unjust and unfair?
  • How do you come to terms with it?

2) Quick Review

  • Looking back over your notes from this week’s study, was there a particular point, verse or comment that caught your attention, challenged you, or raised further questions?

3) Digging Deeper

  • a. How would you define “evil”?
    • What in your way of thinking makes something or someone “evil”?
  • b. Read over your Study Notes on the section, “Deliver us from the evil one.”
    • What has been your understanding of “the evil one” and how, if at all, has this study changed your understanding?
    • What are the schemes of the evil one and what does it mean in practical terms to be “delivered” from them?
  • c. Consider the life and ministry of Jesus.
    • Read the parable of the good Samaritan as found in Luke 10:25-37.
      • What does it mean to follow him in a broken world?
      • How can we engage in the brokenness of our world and be “delivered” from it?
  • d. Read Ephesians 5:15-21 and if time permits look back at the context going back to Ephesians 5:1.
    • What can we learn in practical terms about what it means to live in a time when “the days are evil”?
    • What does this look like in your life?
  • e. What does it mean to you to be delivered from “the evil within us”?

4) Taking It Home

  • Imagine a world without evil. That is what God’s original and ultimate intention and purpose is for our world.
  • Looking over the points made in the conclusion and application of this study, determine and commit to two or three practical ways you can be part of God’s “rescue operation” in our world.
  • Develop a plan to put them in practice.

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