Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sermon 5/20/07-- Faith's Call to the Spiritual Battle-- 1 Peter 5:6-11

Faith’s Call to the Spiritual Battle

One of the more disturbing movies I remember growing up was the 1960 version of The Time Machine—where the peaceful, fruit munching Eloi were harvested by the underground Morlocks for food. The one group—the Eloi—were willing to put up with the occasional raids and kidnapping of their fellows because they had no other concerns—their food was provided, their survival ensured.

How could someone live so content, that they did nothing to protect themselves from a dangerous hunter? If you knew that a pride of lions was hanging around outside for church to be out, would you do anything different? If you knew that you there was a good chance for you to be taken down between the door and your car, would you try to change your odds or would you be content with the thought that hopefully, they’ll just get someone else.

We are more like the Eloi than we realize. We casually go about our daily lives as if there is not threat to our lives or our souls. But there is one, and our enemy is one that those of us in this room rarely see face to face—he is so well camouflaged and hidden that we could walk right by it and never see it.

Know Your Enemy—1 Peter 5:8

The Nature of Our Enemy

Ø Enemy—you adversary in a lawsuit—the one that wants to find you guilty, the one who wants to see you punished, the one that takes joy in your defeat.

Ø Lion—not something tame, not something harmless, but something that is dangerous and menacing.

Ø Prowling—searching & hunting—not a passive, lie in wait and hope you foolishly stumble into it’s mouth—but one that ambushes, one that seeks out it’s prey, one that is hunting with the intent to kill—stalking, observing, finding weaknesses and weaker targets.

Leaders, many times you are given special attention—your weaknesses are examined so that this adversary can exploit them and accuse you. And what’s worse—this is not an ethical enemy that targets only combatants. There is no distinction in Satan’s mind—to get to you, he will target those closest to you that will have weaknesses of their own.

There is only one letter difference between the words “Pray” and “Prey”—they phonetically sound the same, but they have remarkably different meanings. However, in this context, they are linked by the fact that if you are one who does not Pray, you will easily become Prey.

Ø Roaring—when a lion is trying to make a show of himself, he makes a lot of noise—there are times when Satan likes to draw attention to himself—when he’s trying to impress some gullible person to follow him. Similarly, lions likes to scare and unnerve from a distance. A roaring lion is announcing ownership—this is my territory. I’m not sure it is still believed to be such among lions, but the belief used to be that the roaring was also a way of gathering the troops for a hunting party. At these moments, announcing ownership—scaring off rivals, making others nervous and gathering the pride for a hunt—noise is good—but during the hunt itself, there is very little noise—you very rarely hear a hungry lion announce her presence when she’s just about to pounce on you.

Ø Devouring—desiring to steal, kill and destroy—there is nothing for those who turn away from God. Satan has nothing to get from you than to nourish his own appetites—he will never share any perks with those who follow him. there is no truth to the phrase “Better to rule in hell than serve in heaven”?

Ø It is said by Satan in Milton’s classic “Paradise Lost” but I’ve heard people parrot that statement as if it would apply to them.

Ø If you accept the premise that Satan is in charge of Hell—which he is not, God is—He’s the one who Created it for Satan and His angels, and He’s the one who will put Satan there—but if you believe that Satan is in charge, then you must realize that Satan will never share his toys with the likes of you, because you are the toys.

Notice who’s not on this list. Not people, not places that your enemy is, not listed as the world, as unbelievers, criminals, your neighbors, your parents, your siblings, the police, the government—all of these may at times act and behave like your enemy, but ultimately your enemy is Satan. He despises you and the God you serve.

Facing Your Enemy—5:6, 9

Remember this is coming on the heels of talking about and to leaders. As shepherds and leaders, we must remember that our sheep have many enemies and predators. It is part of our role to protect and recognize those threats.

Ø Humility—under God’s Hand—

o place yourself under His protection and leadership—

o accept Him as your commanding officer—the one who will lead you into battle—

o one definition implies that you should--to assign a lower rank or place to yourself—

o place yourself under God’s command and He will lift you up—he will promote you in due time.

Ø Casting Anxieties--to separate into parts, cut into pieces--to divide into parties, i.e. be split into factions—Casting means to deliberately throw something at your object, your target—you are throwing it and you don’t want it back. This is not a game of catch—you throw and you expect God to keep them—but not just keep them, but do something about them.

Ø Self-Controlled & Alert—just as Satan is active, we are not to be inactive and passive, just letting our enemy control the battle—we are to be self-controlled(disciplined)& Alert.

o Guard on Guard Duty—is not allowed to fall asleep at their post.

o Alertness & Awareness--to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one—to awaken from sleep

Victory over the Enemy—6b,

Resistance—James tells us that we must resist the devil and he will flee

Standing Firm--to set one's self against, to withstand, resist, oppose—firm--strong, firm, immovable, solid, hard, rigid

Not Alone

God will restore, God will make strong firm and steadfast.

Luke 10:17-20

Ephesians 6:10—18—God supplies the Armor

God Supplies the Spirit

God Supplies the Wounds

You may have an enemy looking to devour you, but you have a Savior looking to defend you.

You may have a lion chasing after you, but you have the Lion of Judah to rescue you

You may have all kinds of fiery arrows shot in your direction, but you have a Defender who provides all the armor you need.

WE have the Victory of the enemy.

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