1. Be sober (verse 8).
2. Be alert (verse 8).
3. Resist him (verse 9).

Regarding Satan and demonic world, C. S. Lewis said it well, "There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devil. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive unhealthy interest in them." [1] In other words, when dealing with the demonic world, you have danger on either side of how much attention you give to the issue. If you choose to ignore the reality of the devil and demons in this world, you run into danger of being unprepared to stand against their schemes. On the other hand, if you are overly concerned about the demonic activity in the world, you run the danger of neglecting the very things that will help you in your right against the devil's attacks upon your life.

In our exposition of 1 Peter, we have gone four and a half chapters hearing nothing about the devil and his activity in the world. We have heard much of the difficulties of life. We have heard about trials (1:6), fleshly lusts (1:14; 2:11; 4:2-3), sin (1:18; 2:1), unbelief (2:8), slander (2:12; 3:16), evil (2:15-16; 3:12), suffering (2:19-21; 3:14, 17; 4:1, 13, 15, 19), testing (4:12), and reviling (4:14). And yet, in all of this, Peter has been silent as to the role of the devil in these things. Until midway through the last chapter.

In chapter 5, verses 8 and 9, we see Peter addressing the work of Satan in our lives and how it is that we ought to overcome his attacks. Appropriately, my message this morning is entitled, "Overcoming Satan."

Before we begin to consider these verses, I want for you again to see how profitable it is for us to walk through books of the Bible together as a church. If our pattern as a church would be to preach topically, then, we might easily neglect the role of the devil in our lives. Or, we might place too much emphasis upon Satan and his works in our lives. As Peter devotes only two of His 105 verses to the work of Satan, we can stand confident that we are approaching God's balance in devoting one message out of forty in the book of 1 Peter to the work of Satan.

In these two verses, Peter will give us three commands to help us overcome the onslaughts of Satan. See if you can identify them as you read them.

1 Peter 5:8-9
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by our brethren who are in the world.

The first two commands come in verse 8, "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert." They come rapid fire at the first for emphasis. It is as if Peter is seeking to jolt us into the danger: "Be alert! Be aware! There's danger out there! There's a lion who is seeking to destroy you." Before we take a look at the lion, let's look at each of these two commands.

1. Be sober (verse 8).

The opposite of being sober is being drunk. But, Peter isn't here advocating that we simply ought to stay away from alcoholic beverages. No, Peter is using the imagery here to describe an alertness to the danger. The drunken driver gets in trouble, because he is not alert enough to react to the cars and pedestrians that he encounters along the route. The drunken man gets in trouble, because he is not alert enough to measure the effect of his words. But, Peter's exhortation to us is that we not be drunk pertaining to the dangers of sin and Satan that are all around us. Rather, be in control of your mind and know what's taking place, so that you are able to react.

On several occasions, Peter has already used this word to describe our behavior. Each time, his getting at the same thing. In the first chapter of this book, he wrote, "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" (1 Peter 1:13). Peter's idea is that we ought to have a clear understanding of the hope that we have in Christ, which isn't muddled by unclear thinking. We need to understand that we come to Him as sinners, whom God purchased for Himself upon the cross. Taking the punishment that our sin deserves. Giving us a heaven that we don't deserve.

Peter also used the word in chapter 4, verse 7, "The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer." Again, the idea is much the same. In light of the coming of the end, think clearly now! Don't be out of control in your thinking. Rather, be in control and pray for those matters that concern your spirit. And the same thought comes here in our text. Don't be drunk in your thinking. Know that there are dangers and temptations all around you. Know that there's a dangerous lion in the square, looking to devour your.

Peter's second exhortation comes right after this one.

2. Be alert (verse 8).

You might well translate this, "Be watchful, be vigilant, be awake!" The idea here is that you ought not to be sleepy in your thinking. The one who's asleep is unaware of the dangers around him.

Do you remember what took place in the garden of Gethsemane? Jesus knew that there was great danger! Trouble was in the air! Jesus told his disciples, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me" (Matt. 26:38). And you know that the disciples did. Rather than watching with Christ, they were sleeping. They were unaware of the dangers around them. They were unaware that when Jesus was praying a mob of people were assembling with swords and clubs to arrest Jesus. They were unaware that on that night, Jesus would "suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed" only to raise up on the third day (Matt. 16:21). And so, they slept.

When Jesus went to pray, He repeatedly warned the disciples, "keep watch with Me," using the same word that Peter uses in our text, gregorew(gregoreo). Our English word, "gregarious" comes from this word. A gregarious person is a highly social, outgoing person.

In recent days, our family has captured a praying mantis. This particular praying mantis was very active in its cage. It didn't merely sit there like other praying mantises that we have caught in the past. It was always moving about, trying to escape it's new home. So, we named him, "Greg."

This is what Peter's exhortation to us is. He is telling us to "Be alert!" "Beware of the dangers that are all around you." Do not be sleepy.

There is something about knowing the danger that helps you to be alert! I think that things may have been different in the garden of Gethsemane if Jesus had told his disciples of the extent of the danger. "My soul is deeply grieved, right now, guys. You certainly don't realize this, but there is a mob of people assembling together with clubs and spears. They are coming after Me. They want to capture Me. They want to accuse Me falsely. They want to kill Me! I don't think that there is anything that we can do to deter them at this time. Remain here and keep watch with Me." Had Jesus said this, I believe that they would have stayed awake. They probably would have urged Jesus to flee. When Jesus refused, they may well have forced Him to go their way. But, since the whole purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to be crucified upon the cross (for our sins), He didn't want to thwart the plan of God. And so, He was cryptic at this moment. When you know the danger, it has a way of keeping you alert.

As most of you know, this past weekend, Yvonne and I spent it in Minneapolis at the Desiring God National Conference. At one point during a lunch break, we hooked up with a friend of ours who is living in Minneapolis, who happened to attend the conference as well. Being a native of Minneapolis, he was able to recommend an out-of-the way place for us to eat. And so, we walked from the convention center to a place to eat. As we were walking, he began to say, nonchalantly, "We are walking through one of the more dangerous neighborhoods in Minneapolis. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a drug deal take place. But, it's pretty safe in the day time."

Now, what do you think his comment do for my alertness? I noticed how I was holding my bag a bit tighter. I noticed how I was watching and observing other people carefully. When we ever passed people on the street, I was very aware of what was going on. What made the difference? A realization of the danger in our situation!

This is what Peter does here at the end of verse 8. He uses a graphic illustration to demonstrate the danger. He writes, "Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

Throughout the Scriptures, Satan is described in various ways, using various different images. He appears as a serpent in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1; 2 Cor. 11:3). In the Revelation, he is described as a dragon (Rev. 12:16-17). In 2 Corinthians, he is described as masquerading as "an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). Each of these images denotes a subtle difference in the way that Satan works. As a serpent, he is crafty and seductive. As a dragon, he is ugly and destructive. As an angel of light, he is deceptive and deceitful. But, here in 1 Peter, Satan is described as being a lion, which is powerful and to be feared. He's coming for destruction.

Which of you would like to meet a lion in the open square? (Prov. 22:13; 26:13) Much less, a roaring lion, who is hungry and territorial and making his power known. [2] But such is the imagery that Peter uses of Satan. He is like a hungry lion, waiting to eat you for dinner! Just as Jonah was "swallowed" by a "great fish" (Jon. 1:17), so also does the devil want to swallow you up and eat you for dinner.

For us, the danger of a lion isn't much that we really relate to. If any of us has seen a lion, it's only in pictures, or wildlife videos. If we have gone to the zoo, any lion that we have seen has been caged up, safely separated from us by a large moat or by bars of iron and thick Plexiglas. How many of you have seen a lion walking down the road?

But, for those to whom Peter wrote, lions were a greater reality of danger in their time. In the days of the Bible, lions were known to prowl around Israel. Samson encountered a lion when he was on his way down to Timnah (1 Sam. 14:5). David encountered a lion when he was out shepherding the sheep (1 Sam. 17:34). And an old, unnamed prophet was killed by a lion just outside of Bethel (1 Kings 13:24), near Jerusalem.

But, the greatest danger to the scattered believers to whom Peter was writing, wasn't the lion in the street. Rather it was the lion in the den. In the days of Peter, persecutions against Christians was heating up. In a few short years, many, many Christians would be thrown to the lions with great regularity in the Roman Coliseum. Just as Daniel was thrown into the lion's den, so also would many Christians face the mouths of hungry lions (Dan. 6).

One of the earliest testimonies we have of this is of a man named Ignatius of Antioch. In 107 AD, the emperor Trajan came to power in Antioch, while there, he "threatened with persecution all who refused to sacrifice to the gods. Ignatius was tried for this offense, and proudly confessed himself a 'bearer of God' because, as he said, he had Christ within his breast. Trajan condemned him to be thrown to the lion at Rome" [3]So, he was taken in chains over land and sea from Antioch to Selucia to Smyrna to Rome. Where he was thrown to the lions on December 20, 107 AD. Philip Schaff writes, "Ignatius was thrown into the amphitheatre immediately the wild beasts fell upon him, and soon (nothing) remained of his body but a few bones." [4] Though this is speculation, I would suspect, that Ignatius thought long and hard about Peter's words about resisting the lion during his trip to Rome.

So, when Peter speaks to these scattered believers about the devil being like a roaring lion, fearful thoughts entered into their minds, much more than they enter our thoughts. For them, there was a possibility of being thrown to the lions for their faith in Christ. But, they knew, like we do, that Peter's language here was only figurative. The devil doesn't really roar. The devil doesn't really bear his ugly teeth. But, he does roam the earth looking for someone to devour.

One of the greatest illustrations in the Bible of this text is the story of Job. The book describing his story starts off with a discussion of Job, mentioning his children, his riches, and his devotion to God. But, soon, the focus turns upon conversation that the LORD had with Satan. When Satan came into the LORD's presence, the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it" (Job 1:7).

Satan's schemes back then were just like Satan's schemes in Peter's day and just like Satan's schemes in our day. Like a lion, he was roaming the earth, looking for dinner! On that instance, he had come back empty. And so, the LORD gave him someone to devour. He said to Satan "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil" (Job 1:8).

Now, it's not like Satan was unaware of the prospect of attacking Job. But, until this point, the LORD had prohibited Satan from doing so. Satan answer the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing? 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. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face." In other words, "Lord, you know that I know about Job. What do you mean, 'Have you considered my servant Job?' ? LORD, you know that I'm not able to touch him. You have placed this hedge around him. But, you let me after him, and I guarantee you that he will curse you to Your face!"

Amazingly, the LORD gave permission to attack Job. You may know the story well. In one day, Job lost all ten of his children when they were killed by the Sabeans who attacked them in the oldest brother's home (Job 1:14-15) Job lost all of his 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys (Job 1:3, 13-19). Though all of this happened, Job continued to bless the name of the LORD. He said, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away, blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21). After Satan requested permission to strike Job with sickness, Job still held fast his integrity (Job 2:9), though in great pain.

Job is a great example of the theme of 1 Peter. The afflictions that came upon Job were unmerited. He was the most righteous man in the land in his day. He treated his servants with respect (Job. 31:13). He cared for the poor (Job 31:16). He cared for the widows and orphans (Job 31:16-17). He gave his clothing to those in need (Job. 31:19). Though he was very rich, he put no confidence in his riches (Job. 31:24-25).

His suffering was exactly like Peter described -- it was undeserved. Consider the following verses from 1 Peter in which he points out that they were suffering unjustly.

"For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly" (1 Peter 2:19). Job was indeed suffering unjustly.

"Even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed" (1 Peter 3:14). It was, in fact, Job's righteousness that incited the LORD to instigate a persecution against him through the hands of Satan.

"For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong" (1 Peter 3:17). Job was doing what was right, and was suffering because he was the model citizen that God wanted to put on display for Satan.

And as Job remained true to his faith, there was glory after his suffering. God received great glory as Job continued to acknowledge the greatness of the LORD. God restored glory to Job, double of what he had before.

What a perfect illustration of our text!

Satan was roaming the earth, looking for someone to devour. He tried to devour Job. But, God was faithful to prohibit Satan from ultimately destroying Job. Peter is telling us to be like Job. The suffering that we endure as believers in Christ may well be Satanic. We don't know how much of what we suffer comes from the hand of Satan. But, Peter mentions Satan's dealings here at the end of the book to at least give us the thought that our sufferings are really a part of a greater, cosmic struggle. (Job didn't ever know that his troubles came about by the devil.)

And it may just be that as we stand firm in our faith, (knowing that for a little while we are experiencing suffering, but soon, we will experience the joy of our inheritance) God is teaching Satan and his demons a lesson with our lives: Our love to Christ is greater than our love for this world!

See, there will be a day when your suffering will give great glory to God, even by those who are slandering you now. Look back at chapter 2, verse 12, "Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation." They are slandering you now. They think that your faith is worthless and useless. But, oh, there will be a day in which they will glorify God because your faith in Christ proved true.

So, please understand, there may well be something more going on in your suffering than your own little world. God may be letting Satan and his little demon followers at you, so as to ultimately glorify Himself.

Peter is a good person to teach us of these things, because Peter, himself, knew, first-hand, of Satanic attacks upon his life. There was a time when he and the disciples were in Caesarea Philippi. When Jesus ask them, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matt. 16:15). Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matt. 16:16). Jesus said, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 16:17).

A few moments later, Jesus began relating to the disciples how they were headed up to Jerusalem and that he would "suffer many things from en elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day" (Matt. 16:21). Peter did not like this plan. And so, he took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You" (Matt. 16:22). Jesus turned to Peter, saying, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's" (Matt. 16:23).

Think about what took place! At one moment in time, Peter had been on the receiving end direct, divine revelation. It was revealed to him that Jesus was the Messiah, who had come to save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). And a few moments later, Peter, himself, became the very voice of Satan. Even in the highest privilege that you have--being used of God to be His voice!--Satan is lurking! Perhaps this is why Peter flows from a discussion about pride and humility into the work of the devil. Verses 5 and 6 and 7 are all about how we need to be humble! Peter knows by experience that a bit of spiritual pride might easily open the door for Satan to devour you.

This is well illustrated in the story that Chaucer tells in his Canterbury Tales. He tells of a certain rooster, named Chanticleer. He was a beautiful rooster whose "comb was redder than fine coral and turreted like a castle wall. His bill was black and shone like jet, And his legs and toes were like azure His nails were whiter than the lily, And his feathers were like burnished gold." Chanticleer had a crow which was unequalled in all the land. "His voice was merrier than the merry organ that plays in church." His pride was equal to his beauty and talent.

One day, Chanticleer happened to notice a fox lying low in the herbs. Just as he was about to flee, the fox said, "My dear sir, alas, where are you going? Are you afraid of me, your father's friend? The reason I cam was only to listen to you sing. For truly, you have as merry a voice as any angel in heaven. My lord your father--God bless his soul-- and also your courteous mother did me the great honor of visiting my house. Except for you I have never heard anyone who could sing as your father did in the morning. In order to make his voice stronger, he would close both his eyes. And he would stand on his tiptoes and stretch forth his long slender neck. Now sing, sir, for holy charity; Let's see whether you can sing as well as your father."

The proud Chanticleer was certainly up to the challenge. So, he beat his wings, "stood high on his toes and stretched his neck, closed his eyes and crowed loudly. "As once the fox jumped up, grabbed Chanticleer by the throat, and carried him toward the woods." [5]

A proud heart is an easy target for Satan to attack! When a pride of lions attacks a herd of wildebeests, they often search out the weakest member to attack. So also will Satan look for easy pray to devour. He's looking for those who are arrogant in their achievements, who delight in their religious deeds, who take pleasure in their performances, who are satisfied in their sanctification, or who rejoice in their own righteousness. If this is you, Satan may well come and devour you.

But, the humble, who are willing to confess their sins to one another, who consider others as more important than themselves, who take the low road of selfless service, and who think properly of themselves, will receive God's grace. "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." One way that God opposes the proud is by letting Satan loose to go after them. So, don't be proud, so that you don't become a target. Solomon said, "Pride goes before destruction" (Prov. 16:18). It may just be that the destruction comes at the mouth of a roaring Satan, who took down an easy target.

And so, you ask, "How do I battle the roaring lion?" This comes in my third point, ...

3. Resist him (verse 9).

I trust that you can see this point in verse 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."

Peter's counsel here isn't that you should "go on the hunt, seeking out the devil to defeat him." Nor is Peter's counsel here that you should "rebuke the devil." Rather, Peter tells us that we should stand the defensive posture and hold our ground. Literally, Peter is telling us to "stand against" the devil. Put your feet in the sand and say, "Devil, I'm not moving!"

This word translated here, "resist him" is a military term, describing the holding of a position, as it were, shoulder to shoulder. You might think about the riot police. They stand there, shoulder to shoulder with their helmets on, their face shields down, their shields lined up together. Nobody is going to get past them, because they are standing their ground. This is what Peter is saying. He says, "Stand firm" in your faith.

It is interesting to note that Peter's counsel is much the same as Paul's. He tells us (in Ephesians 6:11) to "put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." In other words, we need to be equipped with our defensive weapons, so that Satan's attacks upon us will not be able to penetrate our armor. He says, ...

Ephesians 6:13-17
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The armor of God that will stand against the schemes of the devil consists of truth and righteousness and the gospel of peace and faith and salvation and the word of God. All of these have to do with our faith. We believe the truth. We believe that we are righteous in Christ. We believe through the gospel that we have peace with God. Our salvation comes through faith in the word of God. This is how Peter summarizes our fight against the devil.

Peter boils down our strategy against the devil to this:

a. Stand firm in your faith.

"Resist him, firm in your faith." Don't deny your faith. Don't fear the suffering that will come as a result of your faith. Keep believing the promises of God.

I believe that there is a reason why Peter would boil it all down to this. It has to do with his own experience. When Peter was under attack by Satan, Jesus said that he would pray for his faith. Jesus said, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan had demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail" (Luke 22:32).

In other words, "Peter, Satan has been roaming around, seeking someone to devour. He has you in his scope. But, as he can do nothing apart from God's hand, he had asked permission to sift you like wheat. Peter, I know that your only defense against his attacks is that you continue to believe and trust in Me. So, I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail."

The way that Jesus prayed for Peter was instructive for Peter. He knew where the battleground was. It is in the realm of faith. And in all that we have looked at in 1 Peter as regards your suffering, the antidote has always been faith. Earlier in the book, Peter describes the great inheritance that awaits us in heaven someday in the future because of our faith in Christ (1:3-4). And then, in verse 5, we read about us, "who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

Though the devil roams around like a roaring lion, he is still under the sovereign hand of God. He never laid a hand upon Job until permission was granted. To sift Peter, he first needed permission. And, to touch you, the devil needs divine permission. This ought to give us great comfort. As Edmund Clowney said, "Roaring Satan is a tethered lion." [6]

Perhaps you remember the scene in Pilgrim's Progress, when Pilgrim was approaching the porter's lodge. Along the path, he saw two lions. "(The lions were chained, but he saw not the chains)," Bunyan explains. Upon seeing the lions, he was afraid. But the porter at the lodge happened to see Christian hesitate, as if he wouldn't come into the lodge. So, he called out to him, "Is thy strength so small? (Mark 13:34-37). Fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for discovery of those that have none. Keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall come unto thee." And so, Christian walked on, "trembling for fear of the lions, but taking good heed to the directions of the porter; he heard them roar, but they did him no harm." [7]

"Roaring Satan is a tethered lion." And God will protect us from him. But, God protects us, (if you will notice carefully in verse 5), "through faith." This is what Peter is saying, "Resist the devil through faith." In other words, "Continue to walk the straight path.You might hear the roaring of the lion. But, a straight walk and God's mighty hand will protect you, as you humbly walk with him (5:6). And then, in verses 6-7, we read, ...

1 Peter 1:6-7
In this [heavenly inheritance] you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Trials are what gives the evidence of the truth of your faith in your crucified Lord. The idea comes again in verses 8 and 9, "And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls."

Things are difficult for you now, but your faith in your unseen Savior will hold you. "Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right" (1 Peter 4:19). In the midst of your trial. Give yourself to the Lord. Entrust yourself to Him. Put your faith in Him to carry you through your trials.

Do you want to overcome Satan's attacks? Stand firm in your faith. Peter gives a second way in which we are to resist the devil.

b. Know that others are suffering as well.

Look at the second half of verse 9, "knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world." With these words, Peter is saying, "The suffering that you are enduring isn't any different than what many are experiencing and have experienced." And this ought to give you great comfort. You aren't alone in your suffering. Suffering is a natural part of Christianity.

Our leader suffered upon a cross for our sins. We have been called to follow this example. "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). Many have walked upon the Calvary road of suffering. You can look to them for your encouragement. Many will walk the Calvary road of suffering. You are not alone in your suffering.

Though in our day in our country, it is rare for any to suffer they claim "God in their breast," we do suffer in many ways. There is comfort in knowing that others are experiencing the same thing.

Are you facing financial difficulties? Many others are facing (or have faced) financial difficulties. Are you facing marriage problems? Many others are facing (or have faced) marriage problems. Are you being treated unfairly at your work for your faith? Many others are (or have been treated) unfairly for their faith. Is there someone in your family who is suffering from a deadly disease? Many others have (or have had) family members who are dying. Have you lost a child at a young age? Many others have lost children at a young age. Are you without a job right now? Many others are (or have been) without a job. Are one of our children going astray? Many others have (or have had) children who have gone astray. Are you without any savings for your final years? Many others have lived out their days with little or no savings. Do you have water problems in your basement? Many others have water problems in their basement. Is your spouse unbelieving? Many others have (or have had) unbelieving spouses. Did your spouse desert you? Many others have gone through being deserted by a loved one. Are you feeling overwhelmed with the busyness of your life? Many others are feeling (or have felt) the same thing.

I don't care what problems and difficulties you may be facing in life, many others are experiencing the same thing right now. And as Satan is using those things in an attempt to hurt and harm and cause doubt, there are many who are resisting the devil, firm in their faith. This ought to strengthen you in your battle against the devil.

Last week at the Desiring God National Conference, Yvonne and I were particularly touched by a message preached by Mark Driscoll. In particular, his last point was very helpful for us. His point was simply this: "Pray for Pastors." [8]As he shared how to pray for pastors and their wives and their family, he demonstrated that he had an insight into the peculiar struggles that a pastor faces. Yvonne and I were touched enough by his point that we were in tears over some struggles that we have faced and are currently facing at church. See, it's helpful to know that others have gone through what you are going through.

At the conference, I bought a book, which I plan to read out loud to my children. It's entitled, "Jesus Freaks." It contains about a hundred short stories of those who have either been martyred for their faith or suffered greatly for their faith. These are the sorts of people that Peter was writing to. He was writing to people who were suffering greatly for their faith.

I want to read this book to my children so that they have a realistic expectation of what it means to believe in and follow Jesus. It means a hard road. But, many have followed it before. See, I want to prepare them for the suffering that awaits them. I want to prepare them for Satan's attacks which come upon them someday, that they might, "Resist him, firm in [their] faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by [their] brethren who are in the world."

I want my children to stand firm in the faith. So, what is the faith that he used to stand firm in? It's the Gospel. It's the good news that Christ died for our sins. We come to God as sinners. God treats us as saints. When we face the attacks of the devil, we face them as sinners, desperately in need of God's help. We believe that God will help us. He has helped us in the past removing our sin problem through Christ. He will help us in the future, guarding us against the devil.


This sermon was delivered to Rock Valley Bible Church on October 5, 2008 by Steve Brandon.
For more information see www.rvbc.cc.

[1] C. S. Lewis, Preface to the Screwtape Letters.

[2] See http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Publications/ZooGoer/1997/3/lionsroar.cfm.

[3] Philip Schaff. History of the Christian Church, Volume 12, page 48.

[4] Ibid.

[5] All of these quotes from the story of Chanticleer were taken from a simplified children's book.

[6] Edmund Clowney, 1 Peter, p. 215.

[7] John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress.

[8] Mark Driscoll, "How Sharp the Edge? Christ, Controversy, and Cutting Words," September 27, 2008. You can listen and watch all of the conference messages here: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/ConferenceMessages/ByConference/41/.