· Our subject today is still Christian resistance, but
· An interesting event happened to me this morning, the Holy Spirit caused me to stop and read back over 1 Peter and especially chapter 5.
· Let’s look at it together
1 Peter 5:1-14 (ESV)
1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
· Keeping in mind the command to shepherd the flock of God
· Being reminded of the tenderness in that statement; ‘the flock of God’
· In the context of this chapter we are told about the activity of the devil
· Verse 9 starts off resist him, firm in the faith
· As a commentary to this last Sunday we looked at Ephesians 6:10-24
· I ended last week with these words “Lord willing I would like to examine this armor of God more closely”
· As I said, the Holy Spirit caused me to just stop and actually I read this letter of 1 Peter but the very verse we are looking at caused me to stop; listen; 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
· He is not just your adversary, he is also my adversary the devil and he is busy, very busy
· Turn back to Ephesians chapter 6 verses 10-20
Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
· Now I must admit before you today that my plans were to tear into this armor of God.
· I wanted to dissect it, examine it in detail, and bring that before you.
· Shepherd the flock of God that is among you.
· Shepherd the flock of God that is among you.
· Shepherd the flock of God that is among you.
· Exegete the fellowship, is a fancy way of saying that.
· The question before you is ‘how do you resist the devil, firm in your faith
· And the answer is; be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
· Well how do I do that?
· Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
· The people that Paul and Peter are writing their letters to are just ordinary people like you and I
· They use things that they are familiar with to help explain spiritual concepts
· I fall into the trap of wanting to over analyze it and that is not a good thing in this environment.
· If I was making a presentation to a group of theologians find,
· If I was speaking at Covenant Seminary find,
· But here, as your pastor, I am told to shepherd the flock of God that is among you, talking specifically about the New Hope Fellowship.
· Brothers and sisters, here is where the blessing comes in;
· With our new schedule, the opportunity is presented to ask the questions that may be answered immediately or require more study and research
· For example and as an illustration, this passage in Ephesians that I just read, here are two sources that I have used;
· One is a rather large volume called “The Christian In Complete Armor” by William Gurnall first published around 1662 in three volumes, my copy contains close to 1200 pages.
· It is said that it took Gurnal over 11 years to complete this work
· Another more modern work is the two volume set by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, part of a volume set of the entire book of Ephesians.
· These two volume just deals with Ephesians 6:10-20
· The command that Paul gives is to put on the whole armor of God, he illustrates this with six items and first let me say that the armor used in his day had more than six items
· He gives these six as an illustration of the whole armor of God
· Belt, Breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, and sword
· Hear what they represent; truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, Word of God
· Simply put saving and sanctifying grace
· What is Paul saying that helps us to resist the devil, firm in your faith and how would this work any where
· Here it is to resist the devil here in St. Louis or in a remote part of the world
· Tighten up on the truth (having fastened on the belt of truth),
· Know in your heart that God declares you justified and thus righteous (having put on the breastplate of righteousness),
· Stand firm, with your feet anchored in the gospel of peace that since you have been justified, you have peace with God and that’s not just good news, that’s great news (and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace,
· Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him (In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one)
· As it use to be said you must know that you know that at least I am saved, you must know that! If all else fails I know I’m saved! (take the helmet of salvation)
· Stay in the Word Psalm 1:1-2 (ESV)1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. (and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God)
· This is what Peter is saying in this letter to the elect exiles of the dispersion.
· This is what this word of God is saying to you today New Hope!
· You who are the elect of God
· Even with suffering all around rejoice because you have been born again
· Be holy in all your conduct
· Because you are lively stones, you will not be put to shame
· 1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV)
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
· So how do you resist him, firm in the faith?
· Be reminded this first Sunday of the New Year that Jesus Christ is still proclaiming, just like he did to Paul; “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
· The question of application that I have for you is can you now say with Paul; “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
· Be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might!
· I want you to hear this after all is said and done, remember this good news and stand on it!
· The very next verse gives us new hope Hew Hope
1 Peter 5:10-11 (ESV)
10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
· It’s easy to over analyze, over examine, over criticize, over complaint, on the positive and the negative
· If you suffered all of your physical life and you know that you know that you are saved, that’s all you can stand on and you will not be moved or pushed away from that!
· Know that you’re just suffering for a little while!
· 2009 may be worst for some than 2008, but you have on the whole armor of God, know that you’re just suffering for a little while!
· Why? and Peter say this so well, this is shouting stuff brothers and sisters
· The God of all grace; saving grace, sufficient grace, sanctifying grace
· He is the one who called you to His eternal glory in Christ
· Brothers and Sisters, He Himself, will restore, He will confirm, He will strengthen, and He will establish you
· To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen
· You must say Amen to that because this is what God has in store for you, an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.
· If it is the Lord’s will on next Sunday we will conclude this letter of 1 Peter, it has been a wonderful ride and journey
· To Him be all glory, in Jesus’ name.
· Let us pray!