We Have An Enemy - Part 1

Bible Book: 1 Peter  5 : 8
Subject: Devil; Satan; Enemy of Christian; Christian Warfare

1 Peter 5:8

In a vivid image Peter warns the church of deadly danger. Our image of a roaring lion may come from visits to the zoo, or from the zoom lens of a television nature series. Some who received Peter's letter would have a stronger horror. They had seen human blood dripping from the chops of lions in the gory spectacle of a Roman amphitheatre. The recipients of this letter had already experienced the attacks of the slanderer, and now they would meet "the lion" in their fiery trial. Peter calls Satan the enemy or adversary. No one knew this better than our first century brother, Ignatius, who died a martyr in the Roman Coliseum. "Let me be given to the wild beasts, for through them I can attain  unto God. I am god's wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread. Come fire and cross and grappling with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, hacking of limbs, crushing of my whole body, come cruel tortures of the devil to assail me. Only be it mine to attain  unto Jesus Christ." The psalmist often pictures his foes as lions, lying in ambush and waiting to pounce, or roaring in their pride. Peter is not speaking of the threat of martyrdom in an Amphitheatre, however.

The danger he sees does not come simply from suspicious neighbors or hostile authorities. Lurking behind the authorities and powers that dominate pagan life there moves a more fearful destroyer, the figure of Satan. The language of v.8 suggests full awareness of the person and work of Satan.

In 2 Corinthians 2:11 Paul said he was "not ignorant of his devices." Two mistakes can be made in regard to the devil. First, some become enchanted with the study of demonology. Preoccupation with the demonic is potentially harmful.

Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things."

Word of Caution: There is much evil in the world which is not directly from Satan or demons but simply sin remaining in our hearts or in the lives of unbelievers around us. Remember, there is the "world, the flesh, and the devil."

Secondly, worse is the attitude that demonology is basically mythology, unworthy of serious consideration.

Again, v.8 specifies an awareness of the wiles of Satan as he makes calculated approaches to believers. Today's message will serve as a revelation of the enemy and next week will be a message on resisting the enemy.

I. Exhortation

A. Calls For Soberness

"Be sober" - be free from every form of mental and spiritual drunkenness; well-balanced; third warning, 1:13 and 4:7. Speaks of our ability to look at reality with a clear mind. It means serious, disciplined, self-control at all times; spiritual alertness.

B. Calls For Watchfulness

"Be vigilant" - always on guard; alert. Peter was well aware of this word, its meaning, and its importance. Used in Matt. 26:41. Matthew 26:41, "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Peter was inspired to speak from personal experience. "Be alert, the Christian Highway can be a dangerous road."

Illustrate: Traveling to Panama City, just before Dothan on 431, there is a dangerous stretch of highway; crosses all along the road - I counted about 27 of them. Watchfulness in contrast to spiritual drowsinessess in which one sees and responds to situations no differently than unbelievers, and God's perspective on each event is seldom, if ever, considered.

II. Admonition

A. Your Adversary

Translates an opponent in a lawsuit. When this term is applied to Satan, the picture of the heavenly courtroom is brought into focus. According to Rev. 12:10, Satan continually accuses the brethren before the Lord in heaven.

B. The Devil

Peter refers to your adversary as the devil; slanderer. A personal spiritual being who is in active rebellion against God. He is a false accuser. He sows discord, accuses God to man, man to God, and man to man. As he appears in the courtrooms of heaven, he is undoubtedly not presenting the facts truthfully.

Good News: The believer has an attorney in heaven who defends him. 1 John 2:1, "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

The implication in 1 Peter 5:8 is that Christians are giving Satan ammunition with which to accuse us before the Father. He is always looking for opportunities to overwhelm the believer with temptation, persecution, and discouragement. He will do what he can to drag the Christian out of fellowship with Christ and out of Christian service. As he accuses believers before God's throne, he is attempting to convince God to abandon them.

C. A Roaring Lion

"walks about" - he is on the prowl. Compound Greek work; around - to walk (Per i pa tet ic); itinerant; philosophers who walked as they talked. Roaring Lion: - Four times we know they roar. Amos 3:4, "Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing?"

1. Dominance

When he senses another lion coming into his territory. (Rev. 5:5 Lion of tribe of Judah)

2. Deliverance

When he is wrestling over a kill. Lion kills and hyenas are fighting over it. Believers should not give them up without a fight. Yes, you can win!

3. Devouring

When they are in the presence of one that is challenging them. (We are not allowing you to devour)

4. Deceit

When it mates it roars and bites the neck of the female. Violent act; this is what happens when you climb into bed with the enemy.