Remain on Alert, Resist Your Enemy (1 Pet 5:8-9)

Sunday, June 5th, 2011
Sermon Series: 1 Peter

Download Sermon Outline

Sermon Manuscript …

Remain on Alert, Resist the Enemy

Resisting and be resolved in spiritual battle–1 Peter 5:8-9

I once was involved in a drug bust.  Out on a ride along with a police officer friend, that night we caught up with the undercover drug van filled with five undercover cops, who were the city’s main anti-drug task force in a dirty plumber’s van.  They asked my friend to participate in their upcoming take down, and because they needed two extra men, they asked me, when given the signal, to block the north side of the back alley, in order to cut off all potential escape routes of the drug dealers, who were holed up in this seedy-looking house.

My friend taught me how to unlock the shotgun, if I needed it–then taught me how to turn on the lights.  And at the signal, I drove the car out of the parking lot, made a U-turn, drove into the alley and blocked it with the car.  I was a little slow, but no one escaped.  This team of pros rounded up all the dealers, caught them with a bunch of weed, and the raid was a great success.  These guys were large distributers, but not the ones who were bringing it in.

Very quickly, listening to the conversations, you could tell that the anti-drug officers were after bigger fish, the guys behind the dealers, the ones who were higher up on the food chain.  The officers spent the rest of the evening working these guys over, to see if they could get a lead on the bigger drug dealers, because they were the ones driving it, motivating it and pushing it.

And Christian, this is the mentality you must have when facing persecution and suffering.  Never forget, there is someone driving it, pushing it, like a drug war–getting his underlings, whether Roman leaders or soldiers, or politicians, to do their dirty business.  There is an enemy leader higher up who is driving evil.  Peter wants his readers to remember they’re in a war, the enemy is real, and that this enemy is behind much of the evil that is attacking them so that they will remain alert and resist Him.

Open your Bibles to 1 Peter 5:8 to 9 and follow along in your outline.  God reminds us in these verses that you are a soldier, you are on duty, you must remain alert, and you must resist an evil enemy.  Look at what Peter says in verses 8 to 9.  “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

What do these two verses mean?  God tells you never to forget you are in a war—He describes your enemy, how you can resist him, remembering he is motivating your persecution and using this fallen world to attack God’s people, who are your fellow soldiers everywhere on this sinful planet.

There is a lot of confusion about spiritual warfare with believers.  Some teachers make you think that Satan is as powerful as God, instead of a fallen angel who is currently in rebellion against His all-powerful, sovereign Creator.  Others teach if you follow a formula, say certain prayers, order the enemy in a certain way that Satan must obey you.  But Peter instructs us in a totally different manner.

In verses 1 to 5, Peter just commanded the elders, future leaders and the entire congregation of each of the churches to saturate themselves with humility toward one another.  Then Peter commands every believer to humble themselves or be humbled under the mighty hand of God, and not to give into the pride of worry, but to cast all our anxieties on the God who cares for us in verses 6 to 7.  Only with the foundation of humility firmly laid does Peter build upon it with the battle plan against the enemy.

Every passage in the New Testament training Christians on spiritual warfare is saturated in humility.  The Holy Spirit is trying to make it very clear that it is not your power but God’s, not your formulas but God’s Word, not your strength but God’s strength, not your wisdom but God’s will that wins the battle.  For the Christian, all spiritual battle must begin with a humble heart.  For the solid church, all spiritual warfare must begin with humble biblical dependence.

But what are you supposed to do?  Verses 8 and 9 contain three key commands for Christians–circle them . . . two in verse 8, be sober and be on the alert, and one in verse 9, resist him

1 Be sober

2 Be alert

3 Resist

With these commands, Peter tells us what the battle is like.

#1  Staying alert, knowing you are in a real war

Look at verse 8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.”  Not long ago, I was walking down a very dangerous path in a tough neighborhood, and I was on high alert.  I knew that danger was lurking around the corner, and I needed to be aware of my surroundings, seeing things accurately and paying attention.

Have any of you been in a place like that?  Have any of you ever been on a road like that–can I see your hands?  Do you realize every single hand should have come up in this room?  You are in that dangerous place right now!  You live on a fallen planet, saturated with sin.  It’s an evil place called earth.  Here is where you face a vicious enemy who wants to destroy you, and would love to hurt you in the most painful way possible.

You’ve seen what terrorists do to people–that is nothing compared to what your enemy wants to do to you who love Christ.  You live on that planet right now–this is not your home, you are on your way to your home.  But right now you’re on enemy turf, in a dangerous alley, with a wicked enemy who wants to kill you.

So Peter begins with two commands–the first is to be sober.  You all as a church and each of you as a Christian be of sober spirit.  If Peter were speaking of something physical, then sober would be about exercising self-control and not getting drunk.  But Peter is talking about spiritual soberness, character soberness, and that means to not allow yourself to forget you’re in a war.  You’re living on enemy turf–this planet is not safe, and you live among the children of the devil.

Do not allow your mind to buy into this type of thinking.  I deserve to be comfortable, to be blessed and without pain.  I don’t deserve trials, suffering, attacks or persecution.  I am a nice guy, no one is against me.  Life should be good.  No, Peter commands you to be sober, to be self-controlled in your thinking, to be biblical in your mindset, to not be drunk with materialism, comfort, what you deserve, or constant pleasure.

Peter has already made being sober a major focus of his letter to these churches.  Do you remember 1 Peter 1:13?  “Prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  And 1 Peter 4:7, “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.”

Soberness means you embrace the reality that Disneyland is a fantasy, it is artificial, it is an escape–it is not this world.  To be sober means you never forget you are a soldier, you are on duty and this is war.  Like 1 Thessalonians 5:6, “So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.”

So Peter adds a second command in verse 8 for the church and every individual Christian, “Be on the alert.”  Be watchful, be wide awake, keep your eyes open, don’t fall asleep, don’t get drowsy, don’t get lulled into thinking there is no danger.  It means to get up, arise, be mindful, gear up and keep watch.  I don’t care where you live–you’re not in a safe neighborhood.  You are walking through a minefield and you need to pay attention.

Be on the alert, like Paul said to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:31, “be on the alert.”  And how Paul wrapped up his warfare instruction in his letter to the Ephesians in 6:18, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”  The entire New Testament calls believers to remain alert–to be watchful.

Are you an alert believer?  Are you the kind of Christian who prays during every conversation, asks the Lord for wisdom with every new situation, asks the Lord for strength in daily duties and watches all that goes on around him and the world with a biblical lens, seeking to discern what God is doing?  That’s alert.  Or do you only think of such things on Sunday, and rarely think about the Lord throughout the week?  Are you alert or asleep?  What kind of guard are you–the guard who watches over the family picnic, or the guard who is on watch over his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan?  There is a difference.

Christians need to be on the alert for the obvious and subtle schemes of the enemy.  The enemy is actively trying to get you, and get us to disregard God’s Word, doubt His love, gossip, slander, hate, not forgive, buy into some weird theology, not pursue His priorities, ignore God’s means of grace and so much more.  So be sober, and remain alert–why?  Because this is war.  Part of the reason you don’t remain sober and alert is you aren’t . . .

#2  Understanding your enemy

The remainder of verse 8 is a description of your enemy.  It’s a portrayal of the enemy so you know who you are dealing with.  Peter wants you to know he is no common opponent–read verse 8.  “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Look carefully at what Peter says–with each word and phrase, Peter is painting a frightening picture of a terribly evil enemy who desires to utterly destroy you.  “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

First  What is the enemy’s name?

Peter describes Satan as your adversary, which properly means an opponent in a lawsuit as well as any kind of enemy who is seriously and aggressively hostile.  Satan is the adversary of God, the holy angels, Israel–and he is the vicious relentless enemy of all God’s people.  But just to make certain you don’t think you’re too insignificant for his demons to mess with you, Peter adds a scary term in verse 8–he calls Satan your adversary.  Satan is the personal enemy of Faith Bible Church, and Satan and his minions are also your personal enemy, each one of you in this room.

Peter adds another noun to describe our enemy–Peter calls him the devil.  This term refers to the enemy being a slanderer and accuser who opposes all believers before God, just like Revelation 12:10 says, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.”  As our adversary, Satan functions like a hateful, hostile, aggressive, accusing lawyer for the opposition.  There seems to be a lot of similarity between Satan and lawyers—hmmmm.

Satan is a malicious enemy who slanders and attacks in any way he can.  Three times Jesus calls him the ruler of this world, which shows the formidable platform from which he launches his assaults.  He uses this world and the people of this world as his primary instruments to attack believers.  And those being persecuted during the time of 1 Peter and you today need to remember who is driving those attacks.

Second  Where did the enemy come from?

God did not create Satan–that is technically correct.  God created a sinless, powerful and beautiful angel, possibly the head angel, who faced a test just like sinless Adam and Eve.  And like them, this head angel chose evil–pride welled up within him, and he sinned.  In doing so, he became Satan, the evil one.

It tells us in Isaiah 14:12 to 14, “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! 13 But you said in your heart, [underline the five “I wills”] I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’”

But how did it happen?  Ezekiel tells us in chapter 28:12ff.  Speaking to one who is behind the evil actions of the King of Tyre, Ezekiel the prophet says, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: … 14 you were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you. 16 By the abundance of your trade [he wants to sell his rebellion] you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.’”

Who did the enemy sell his rebellion to first?  First to the holy angels and second to Adam/Eve and the human race in Genesis 3.  And both races bought in–at least a third of the angels did.  Revelation 12 describes how Satan hates God, Israel, the Church and Christians, but verses 3 to 4 describe what percentage of angels joined Satan in rebellion and became demons, the army of the enemy.  “Behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.  And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.”

Thirty-three percent of the holy angels chose to sin, became fallen angels or demons, beings who live forever, cannot die and therefore cannot be saved.  Because they don’t die, perfect God could not die in their place, pay the wages of sin, which is death, on their behalf.  If they can’t die, then a perfect Savior can’t die in their place.  (This is why God put an angel to guard the tree of life, so that people could die and be redeemed.)  So once angels fell, they remain eternally fallen and bound for hell.

Third  What is Satan doing to the churches Peter writes?

See verse 8, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion.”  The enemy has two overall strategies–now there are many more approaches that fall under each of these, but Peter highlights two major approaches . . . sneaky or strong, subtle or direct.  Peter says the devil prowls–that’s sneaky and subtle.  Also the devil is a roaring lion–that’s strength, direct.  Peter is making it clear there are times the enemy is very difficult to spot–he is prowling.  And other times the enemy is very obvious to spot–he is a roaring lion.

Prowling means to walk around.  God is describing the restless energy of the devil in his search for victims.  The enemy is looking for an opportunity.  Typically lions attack the sick, weak or young.  They go after the stragglers, the independents and isolated.  Your enemy prowls about in stealth, hoping you will forget he even exists, so you will stop being alert to his presence and stop being aware he is stalking your every step, waiting for a strategic moment to catch you off-guard, relaxed and unaware, like those YouTube videos of the African watering holes when crocs attack.

Like a prowler breaking into a home, Satan wants to work in the shadows.  The enemy is often subtle, and does not want to call attention to himself–he loves being ignored by Christians and written off by liberals as some childhood fairy tale.  And the enemy hates having the flashlight of God’s Word exposing who he really is, and what he is really up to.

Yet in verse 8, Satan is also a roaring lion, meaning he is powerful and ravenously hungry, intent on capturing his prey.  Roaring is describing his fierce and determined activity.  Roaring is also how lions communicate to other lions in the pride.  The enemy communicates to his troops.  Satan will use his army of demons, this fallen world and his army of lost people, the children of the devil, to accomplish his goal of destroying you.

Now don’t miss this–the enemy, like a lion, will use whatever approach he thinks will best result in a kill.  He doesn’t care if he gets you with the subtle temptation of pride and worry Peter just described in verses 6 to 7, the prowling lion–or if he gets you with direct persecution where you are jailed, tortured and killed, the roaring lion.  It doesn’t matter to him, as long as he gets the kill.

But be aware, this context would lead me to believe that the enemy is most sneaky and subtle when you are comfortable and have little need, like living in California.  And it would seem the enemy is most direct and obvious when there is open persecution of Christians, allowing the enemy to spread fear, threaten and paralyze–a roar.  Understand, a lion roars for many reasons, mainly to communicate, but also to frighten its intended victim, even paralyze or momentarily immobilize its prey.  The roar of a lion can be heard more than five miles away, and zookeepers will tell you that close proximity to a lions roar can cause you to pass out.

To the Christians under persecution to whom Peter writes, they faced both subtle and direct attacks.  They were battling with pride because of the constant worry of potential persecution which Peter just addressed in verses 6 and 7–the prowling lion.  And they battled with direct outward persecution of arrest, jail, torture and death–the roaring lion.  Yet with either approach, they were battling their enemy.

But remember, they were not battling against Satan personally.  Satan is not sovereign–he is not all-knowing, all-powerful and not omnipresent.  So if they are battling, they are battling his army of demons and his world of lost people.  Who are Satan’s people?  Anyone who is not saved.  What is Satan’s turf?  You’re on it right now–this world, southern California.  So Satan is mainly sneaky when things are comfortable, and he is mainly bold when things are hostile against Christians.  But what is his goal?

Fourth  What is the enemy’s goal with churches and Christians?

Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Satan wants to kill you–he is not primarily interested in making your life hard, or causing you to struggle, or discourage you.  Those are all okay, but that is not what he is really looking to do.  What he wants is to kill you, eat you alive, and rip you to shreds.  Causing you to suffer is good, but killing you is better.

Satan wants you dead–he wants you off this planet where you make a difference for Christ.  And if he can’t kill you, then he wants to ruin you as a Christian.  Peter says your enemy is seeking someone to devour.  That literally means to eat up, to gulp down, emphasizing the final objective of the evil one is not to wound but to destroy.  He does not want to harass you or injure you—his true desire is to kill you physically or destroy your faith spiritually.  And he will use this world and his demons to ruin you or his human agents to intimidate and kill you.  And if Satan is not allowed to take your life from you, then he will take everything else he can in order to destroy you, crush you, ruin you and mar your witness.

You remember Job 1:9 to 12, “Satan answered the Lord, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.11 But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.’ 12 Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.’ So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord.”  And you know what happened.

I am certain Peter never forgot the words of Christ prior to the cross, when Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22:31, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.”  Satan wants to get you, test you, run you through the ringer.  And remember, Jesus already told us what is on Satan’s heart.  John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

The enemy is a murderer–he wants to kill you, to destroy you.  And he will tell you any lie just so he can ruin you.  Believers will play with him and mess around with his stuff, but Satan never plays with you or messes around–he wants you dead.  So how do I fight such an enemy?

#3  Knowing how to fight your enemy

Christ gave the apostles his authority and power to deal with the enemy, but what about the rest of us now who are not apostles?  Peter gives us his answer in verse 9, “But resist him, firm in your faith.”  Contrary to what some teach, Scripture nowhere commands believers to attack the devil or demons with prayers or formulas, or to bind the devil.  Those who engage in the useless effort to speak to Satan, who is not omnipresent anyway, or to command him or dismiss him or other demons, are confused and wrong about their powers as Christians.

Since believers are not apostles of Christ, they do not have authority over demons.  In fact, according to Revelation 12, only Christ Himself, by dispatching a powerful and holy angel, can bind Satan.  Plus, Jude warns us that only false teachers are those who attempt to command demons.  Jude 8 and 9, “In the same way these men . . . reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. 9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil . . . did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’”  Even Michael the great angel does not rebuke the enemy.

No, the New Testament calls believers to a different approach when dealing with demons.  Even in the earliest New Testament letter, the apostle James commands a similar approach to 1 Peter–James 4:7, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  So how do we resist the devil?  I believe God gives us three keys.

First  Respect–to defeat the enemy, we must first respect him

Peter has been telling us to respect the enemy by calling him your adversary.  The devil prowls about seeking to eat you.  Don’t fear him or revere him, but respect his power and his hate.  Respect him like the reformers did, like Martin Luther did in all his writings and songs, like A Mighty Fortress.  Listen to this:

For still our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, for God hath willed, His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

Respect the enemy like an electrician respects the power of electricity, or like a smokejumper respects the power of a forest fire–the power to maim or kill.  Now in verse 9 Peter gives us two more keys to fight the enemy.

Second  Resist “But resist him.”

Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest says, “Resist means to withstand, to be firm against someone else’s onset or onslaught, it does not mean to strive against that one.”  He writes, “The Christian would do well to remember he cannot fight the devil.  The devil was originally the most powerful and wise angel God created.  He still retains much of that power and wisdom as a glance at history will easily show.  While the Christian cannot take the offensive against Satan, yet he can stand his ground in the face of his attacks.  Cowardice never wins against Satan, only courage.”

So far verses 8 to 9 have taught you to be wide awake and levelheaded, realize just how powerful and hateful your enemy is.  Now in verse 9 God tells you to resist his attacks.  Christian and church, you are to offer strong resistance–you must never cower before the enemy.  That will invite certain defeat.

The verb “resist” demands you act.  It is a verb made up of two words put together–against and to stand.  So resist is a military metaphor commanding you to hold your ground–no retreat.  Yes, we are to flee youthful lusts, run from those internal strong desires, but never from the devil.  How do we resist?  The same way Jesus did in Matthew 4.  The same way Jesus did when he battled the devil in the wilderness.  Three times Jesus was tempted by the devil, and three times Jesus answered with the exact verse dealing with the temptation.  And each verse, get this, was from the book of Deuteronomy.  Matthew 4:3 and 4, “And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’4 But Jesus answered and said, [three times/each time] ‘It is written’.”

In Ephesians 6, we are to be dependent upon the strength of God, we are to put on His divine resources/his armor, and we are to stand firm–and that includes using (verse 17) “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  And the Word of God here is not the written word of God, but the word RAMA, meaning the spoken word of God.  It is the correct passage spoken, relied upon, at the right moment.

Listen Christian, you are not going to resist, nor win against the devil unless you know the passages of the Word of God that speak to the attacks and temptations you face.  When you are tempted to steal, and you want to quote a verse, “Jesus wept,” is not going to cut it.  When you are tempted to doubt his care, quoting, “Judas hung himself,” is not going to help.  With great frustration and sorrow as a pastor, people will tell me their struggles, and I ask, “What verses have you memorized about that specific issue?” and more times than not they don’t know even one.  No wonder you are defeated.

To resist the enemy, you must know the Word of God, not know about it, not swipe the air with your Bible like a sword, not go to a church that teaches the Bible.  You must know the Bible and the passages that speak to the specific attack in order to resist.  That along with dependent prayer and the assistance of your fellow soldiers in the church, God’s army, can make victory possible against the enemy’s army.  So respect, resist and God reinforces this approach with one final key.

Third  Resolved—“But resist him, firm in your faith.”

Firm means to be resolved or steadfast–be solid, like a rock.  Against the enemy, you as a Christian and all of you as a church are to be unyielding like a house-size boulder.  Don’t bend, don’t give an inch, don’t falter, don’t compromise, don’t move–be firm.  The word “firm” is used to describe solid food versus baby food.  It actually means to be rigid, obstinate, tight, hard, stiff or strong.  We are to be soft toward each other with love and grace, but we are to be hard and rigid when it comes to our enemy.  As you all line up in battle and the enemy charges, you are to hold your ground, be resolved, even when it appears you are going to be killed.  Be resolved.

But be firm in what?  Be resolved in your faith.  The word faith is used in the New Testament subjectively, describing your confidence in God and dependence upon Him.  But it is also equally used to describe the objective truth we Christians stand upon, the Word of God that we depend upon–the body of faith, the truth.  Every good commentary I have confirms the faith Peter is describing here is the objective faith, the Gospel truth, the Word of God, sound doctrine.

God says resist Satan by taking your stand on the truth of the Word of God.  Like Christ, answer every attack with the appropriate passage.  Like the sword of the Spirit “which is” the spoken Word of God, you’re to quote the correct passage addressing the attack against you and be unmovable–I stand here on the truth.  You say . . .

“No, I will not give into my feelings of fear because 1 Peter 5:7 says, ‘My God cares for me.’”

“No, I will not isolate myself because God tells me to “go into the world and make disciples” in Matthew 28:19-20.

No, I will not be critical because God tells me to “honor all people” in 1 Peter 2:17.

No, I will not complain because God tells me to “do all things without grumbling and disputing” in Philippians 2:14.

No, I will not remain angry, because God commands me not to “let the sun go down on my anger,” because if I do I give the enemy an opening to do me harm, as Paul said in Ephesians 4:27, “do not give the devil an opportunity.”

But don’t be afraid–even through our strength is insufficient to successfully fend off the enemy, God’s strength is totally sufficient.  In fact our God’s power is so great, even a little of His power is enough to defeat the enemy.  John the apostle reminded the church of Philadelphia, who were battling what John calls the synagogue of Satan, that even a little power is enough in Revelation 3:8, “I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”

When we rely on His power, we can resist and stand firm, like Ephesians 6:10 says, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”  Literally be strengthened in the Lord, depend on him.  You say, “Chris, this is scary–I feel so alone and vulnerable.”  You are not, you should not be–which is why Peter wraps up verse 9 with a charge for each of us and all of us to be . . .

#4  Embracing your fellow soldiers

Knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.  Never forget, that spiritual warfare is not a solo sport.  It’s not a one-on-one tennis match, but a baseball contest between teams.  It’s not a mono y mono wrestling match, but a football rivalry.  It’s not a solo sniper hidden in the brush against an enemy squad–it is an army together on the field of battle facing another army.

All the verbs in Ephesians 6 on spiritual warfare are plural, and all the commands to us in 1 Peter 5:8 to 9 are plural.  Spiritual warfare is a battle we fight together against a common enemy.  Satan has an army of demons and people, and God has an army of angels and people, and guess who has already won the war? (Jesus Christ)

Peter reminds us at the end of verse 9 that we are all in this battle together as God’s children.  These temptations, attacks, persecutions, arrests, trials, even deaths are not unique to you, “knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”  One of the great lies believers buy into is to think nothing this painful has happened to anyone else.  Yet one of the truths God labors to tell you is that this trial is not unique to you.  These same fiery trials are happening to other believers who are in this world right now, and those who have lived in the past.  We are all in this battle together—this is normal.  You are not alone.  Stick together and encourage each other.  Stand firm as a body, as believers, as soldiers in Christ’s army.  Depend on Christ and depend on each other.  Lock arms and give no ground, and take your stand upon the Word of God together so that no matter what happens, you will be victorious.  So what does Peter tell you to do?

1  Never forget you are in a battle against a hateful enemy

Don’t get comfortable, stay on duty and keep your eyes open.

2  Remain alert for different types of attacks

Your enemy is both sneaky like an angel of light, and also direct, coming straight at you like a roaring lion.

3  Learn the Word of God concerning the battles you face

If you leave here today and do not find, then memorize the verses that address your current struggles, you are a fool.  To not learn the Word addressing the current battles you are in is the same as being a soldier who goes out to face his enemy but has no ammunition, no helmet and no vest–you’re a sitting duck.

4  Tie into God’s army, His Church

You were not meant to live on this hostile planet, on enemy turf against an evil army set on destroying you, alone, or merely with your select friends or family.  You were meant to be connected to, relationally tied into and serving in a healthy local church–get tied in.

5  Depend on God’s resources and not your own

You can’t face the enemy in your own strength.  Some of you have no strength at all to resist Satan.  The reason is you are not Satan’s enemy–you are his child.  Until you turn from your sin in repentance and turn to Christ in faith, trusting Christ alone to forgive you and make you new, transforming you from a child of Satan to a child of God, you will never please God now, nor make it to heaven later.  You must turn to Christ today, trust in His sacrifice on the cross for your sins, surrender all that you are for all that He is.  Let’s pray.


Topic: .

ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
Tough Stuff
Membership @ FBC
1 Peter
FBC iTunes podcast