Summary: Satan wants to destroy your faith through suffering, but stand firm in your faith because God is more powerful than Satan and will keep your soul safe.
For a weekly sermon by email: email@example.com
My blog: http://pastorjonathan.blogspot.com/
Our website: www.fhfbc.org
WHO IS THE DEVIL?
Two first graders were walking home from Sunday School where the lesson had been on the devil. One of the boys asked, “Do you really believe all that stuff about the devil?” “Well,” replied the other boy, “I think it’s like Santa Claus—it’s either your father or your mother.”
• Many people picture the devil as red, with horns and a pitchfork.
• Many people believe the devil is not real. They believe he is only a symbol of evil.
• The Greek word for “devil” (diabolos) means “adversary” or “opponent.”
• Originally, Satan was an angel of God, but through his own pride, he became corrupt.
• He is God’s enemy and constantly tries to hinder His work. But he is limited by God’s power and can do only what he is permitted to do (Job 1:6-2:8).
• Two extremes: (1) seeing Satan’s presence in every struggle of life (like flat tires, long red lights, and bad prices at the grocery store) or (2) thinking he has no effect on our lives.
SATAN IS LIKE TWO ANIMALS:
1. He is like a SNAKE.
This description emphasizes the CRAFTINESS of Satan. He wants to DECEIVE us.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’” (Genesis 3:1).
“The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9; cf. 20:2).
“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
2. He is like a LION.
This description emphasizes the POWER of Satan. He wants to DESTROY us.
“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (v. 8).
“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:16-18).
a. The roaring of the lion pictures the SUFFERING of believers.
“Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (v. 9).
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
b. The devouring of the lion pictures ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION.
To “devour” means more that merely scratching, mauling, or wounding. It means chewing and swallowing.
Satan is prowling around like a lion trying to destroy the faith of those who claim to be Christ’s followers. “The LORD said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the LORD, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it’” (Job 1:7).
THE BIG IDEA: Satan wants to destroy your faith through suffering, but STAND FIRM in your faith because God is more powerful than Satan and will keep your soul safe.
WHO CAUSES SUFFERING . . . SATAN OR GOD?
Suffering comes from both Satan and God (but for entirely different reasons):
1. Satan’s purpose for suffering is DESTRUCTIVE PAIN.
2. God’s purpose for suffering is CONSTRUCTIVE PURIFICATION.
“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be fore those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:16-17).
• Job (Job 1:12, 21; 2:7, 10)
• Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7)
CAN CHRISTIANS BE “DEVOURED”?
If there was no danger, why would Peter write (to professing Christians), “Be self-controlled [sober, clear-minded] and alert” (v. 8)?
The Greek word of “alert” in military contexts refers to a solider on watch. Alertness is the opposite of mental and spiritual lethargy.
Earlier in chapter 5, Peter describes Christians as a flock of sheep and pastors (elders) as shepherds. (Christ is the “Chief Shepherd.”) When a lion is on the prowl, neither the shepherd nor the sheep sleep, but both are alert and watchful.