PHBC December 5, 12, 1999

Series: First Peter, Sermon #85

PILGRIMS BEWARE: A LION IS ON THE LOOSE


TEXT: 1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

INTRO: Bro. Holladay sent me an article that gave some details about a Methodist preacher being on trial for performing a same-sex marriage for a couple of homosexuals. It also had details about two Baptist churches being kicked out of the Georgia state Baptist convention. Why were they disfellowshipped? According to the report both tolerate homosexuality and same-sex partners, and have openly homosexual deacons. Reports also say that one of the churches has an assistant pastor who is homosexual. The pastor of one of the churches said that from 30% to 40% of his members were homosexual. Leaders in the churches took the position that homosexuality is dictated by genetics.

After receiving this information, I added the information to the introduction to this mornings message. It perfectly illustrates the need for this warning that Satan is walking about seeking whom he may devour. He will devour any whom he can. He goes after the individual Christian. He goes after the Lordís churches.

Satan is succeeding in many areas. A few years ago such heresy as these churches are guilty of would not have been tolerated in the churches. The Roman Catholic has long been plagued with homosexual priests. Now, even some Southern Baptist churches are receiving them into their membership.

I am speaking to you this morning on the subject, Pilgrims Beware, A Lion is on the Loose.

I. WHO IS THIS ROARING LION?

A. He is the prince of devils. Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

B. John Brown wrote: There exists a numerous race of unembodied intelligent beings, occupying a higher place than man in the general scale of existence, who have lost the moral integrity in which they were created, and who, though under the control of the supreme providence, are constantly engaged in an attempt, by a variety of methods, and particularly by influencing in a malignant manner the minds of men, to uphold and extend the empire of evil in the universe of God."

C. The book of I Peter which we are studying is addressed to Christians and it is they who are admonished to beware of Satan.

1. They are the elect according to the foreordination of God. 1 Peter 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

2. They are folks who have been begotten to a living hope. 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

3. The are folks who have an inheritance reserved in heaven for them. 1 Peter 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

4. These are the ones who are kept by the power of God through faith. 1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

5. They are folks who have been effectually called to salvation. 1 Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

6. These are folks who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:18-20 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.

7. There are other things that could be listed to show that this book of I Peter is addressed to children of God and it is they who are warned to beware of this evil being who is constantly stalking us as a lion stalks his prey. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

D. Satan is the great accuser of the brethren. Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

E. Paul speaks of this Satanic stalking and calls on Christians to arm themselves against his attacks. Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

F. Another name for Satan is Belial which means he is a lowdown and mean opponent and adversary. 2 Corinthians 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

G. He desires to put every one of Godís children in his sifter. Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

II. HOW MUST THE CHRISTIAN CONDUCT HIMSELF IN THE LIGHT OF THIS WARNING?

A. We are to be sober. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

1. This means we must be serious about this warning.

2. This means we must be grave in this conflict.

3. This means we must not be intoxicated with the things and pleasures of this world.

4. In all things and at all times we must be sober, exercising great self-control and self-discipline.

B. We must be vigilant. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

1. The literal meaning of the word is to keep awake, do not fall asleep.

2. We must be constantly awake and aware of the evil intents of Satan to do anything he can to devour us.

3. We must be ever watchful for he can slip up on us through the most innocent of means and at the most unexpected times.

4. We must have a correct estimate of the value of the unseen and eternal things of God and of those temporal things of this world. 2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

C. We must be steadfast in the faith. 1 Peter 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

1. We need to remember that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

2. We must remember the importance of the word of God, especially the gospel of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.

3. We must not be led away with the error of the wicked, false teachers that are spreading their leaven of false doctrine throughout Christianity. 2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

4. We must be like Job when he was under Satanic siege. Job 23:11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

5. We must be as steadfast as were the three Hebrews who were about to be thrown into an extremely hot furnace. Daniel 3:17-18 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

6. We must never get weary of well doing for there will be reaping for those who do not faint. Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

7. We must run with patience this Christian race. Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

8. We must gird up the loins of our minds with truth. 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

a. Satan loves to oppress the minds of Godís people.

b. John Brown warned of this fact.

c. He will play tricks on your mind.

9. We will need the whole armor of God if we are to withstand the onslaught of our wicked adversary. Ephesians 6:11-18 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

III. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE METHODS AND MEANS USED BY SATAN IN DEVOURING THOSE WHOM HE DOES DEVOUR

A. Satan devours through deception.

1. He deceives through false Christís and Messiahís. Matthew 24:3-5 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

2. He deceives through false teachers preaching false messages. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-7 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

3. Many of these deceivers proclaim the name of Christ and preach and work in his name. Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

4. Many of these deceivers transform themselves as apostles of Christ as their master has done. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

5. He deceives through men who corrupt the word of God in their interpretations. 2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

6. He deceives through men who handle the word of God deceitfully. 2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every manís conscience in the sight of God.

7. He deceives men by causing them to trust in some ordinance rather than Christ. Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

a. These folks subvert souls with their false teaching. Acts 15:24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment.

b. They pervert Scripture to draw away souls after their false teaching. Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

c. They use good words and fair speeches to deceive. Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

d. Any gospel that includes Christ plus something is a perversion of the true gospel and many are bewitched into believing it. Galatians 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

(1) One Campbellite preacher wrote to some of his brethren the following words. In opposing the error of "salvation BEFORE baptism," we so emphasize baptism FOR the forgiveness of sins that some have come to think that churches of Christ believe in salvation by baptism ONLY, even without faith or repentance. We hold a meeting and report that we had so many baptisms. Perhaps some are trying to misunderstand. I don't know. But the word gets around that we think it is the baptism itself which saves, not the faith in the sacrifice of Christ which gives baptism its power to save.

(2) When I first read this statement I was so amazed at what he was writing that I overlooked this last words of the paragraph. "the sacrifice of Christ which gives baptism its power to save."

(3) This Campbellite further wrote, We preach a five point plan of salvation, faith, repentance, confession of faith, and baptism for forgiveness of sins and entry into the family of God, and living a life of obedience to Him. But we sometimes are so intent on getting people to "obey the gospel" -- (just be baptized) -- that we slight the importance of BELIEVING in Christ and of living a life of obedience to Him.

(4) Notice again something that one is apt to over look. To which of these five points of their plan of salvation did he attach the forgiveness of sins. To baptism, of course. Note his words, and baptism for forgiveness of sins. He has proved the very thing he is attempting to refute.

(a) He teaches that it is baptism which has the power to save. baptism its power to save."

(b) He teaches that it is baptism that has the power to forgive sins. and baptism for forgiveness of sins.

8. He deceives through new doctrine cunningly crafted so as to lead folks to believe it. Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.

B. Satan devours through his preachers and churches by making shipwreck of the faith of some. 1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.

C. Satan devours when these false teachers drown those who follow them in destruction and perdition. 1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

D. Satan devours through turning men away from the truth. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

E. Satan devours by causing us to justify and rationalize our failures and sins and thereby blame others for them.

IV. WHAT IS OUR SOURCE OF ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE FACE OF THIS DANGER FROM SATAN AND HIS COHORTS?

A. We can be encouraged that regardless of his power, we are held firmly in the hands of one who is greater. John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one.

B. We can be encouraged that Jesus is mightier than he and can safely keep what has been committed to his care. 2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

C. We can be encouraged that we are only experiencing what other children of God are experiencing. 1 Peter 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

D. We can be encouraged in the wonderful fact that God has called us to eternal glory and there is nothing Satan can do to ever sidetrack that Divine purpose. 1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

1. He is the God of all grace who will perfect what he has begun in us. Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

2. Our future glory is based entirely on grace from the God of all grace so there is nothing we can do or fail to do as children of God that will change Godís purpose of grace.

3. We shall be to the praise of his glorious grace and Satan cannot keep that from happening. Ephesians 1:4-6 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

4. God will not allow Satan to rob him of that glory which he has purposed for his Son and himself.

CONC: This is serious business. This danger from Satan is not imaginary; it is real. It is not for a day nor a week but for our entire Christian life on this earth. If we are not sober and vigilant, we are vulnerable to the ferocious, wicked attacks of the lion of hell.

I think often of the words of Jude. Jude 3-4 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. It would be wonderful if I could always come to this pulpit with a message of cheer, a message concerning the common salvation with which God has graciously blessed us. But, concern for you and for others with whom you may have influence necessitates my sounding the trumpet of warning from time to time.

Let us just remember the words of our text. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

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