Summary: The church has a responsibility to be on the alert. These seven principles will assist in preparing and fulfilling the task ahead.
Text: 1 Peter 5:8
Introduction: Message Bible: "Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping." The situation of the Church today places our world in a strategically-challenged position. I believe too many in the Church, in fact too many churches, are in this "napping" position today. What that means is they simply aren’t prepared, aren’t being watchful, for Satan’s onslaught. Because of this, we leave ourselves and others vulnerable to Satanic attack. On the battlefield, sentries are posted around the camp. Their job is to stay awake and alert - to protect the others from an invasion. If that sentry fails by napping, the entire squadron could be lost. Church, we have a tremendous responsibility to fellow believers, as well as non-believers to stay alert, to stay vigilant, to stay watchful in order to overcome and remain victorious in the ensuing battle.
I believe part of this "napping" condition I’m talking about is due to the fact that we are convinced that we are on the defense. We are convinced that we can’t control the plays; we simply must be ready for whatever the play may be and then do the best we can to slow it down or stop it. The church spends much of its time formulating defensive strategies in preparation for the oncoming battle. We need to develop the attitude that we don’t really care what the devil intends to do because the Great Commission has handed us the ball and has placed us on the offense. If we will learn to carry the ball effectively, it won’t matter what kind of plans Satan attempts to develop because we remain in control.
John G. Lake said: "The real Christian is a royal fighter. He is the one who loves to enter into the contest with his whole soul and take the situation captive for the Lord Jesus Christ." I am a royal fighter. I intend to go into the battle head-on and win. Because of this superior position we’ve been placed in through Jesus Christ, we can be Satan’s worst nightmare right now.
Consider this, if you will: Satan allows his strategies to become known so that we will react or respond accordingly. This gives him the upper hand and places him in a position of control. Remember: any time you are not in control, he is. We must come to realize that we are an overcoming body of people that has been blood-bought, Spirit-filled and divinely commissioned in order that all He has spoken can be brought to pass. Any time we find ourselves planning and strategizing according to Satan’s planning, we are clothing ourselves in the wrong mentality.
I said all that to say this: Spiritual warfare is unavoidable! Simply ignoring the subject will not make it go away; it simply places you in a position to be defeated. Therefore I want to take a few moments and look at some biblical secrets of war in order to prepare us to be victorious.
Biblical Secret of War number 1.
1. God Knows What You Can Handle
- Ex 13:17 - "When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them along the road to the land of the Philistines, even though it was nearby; for God said, The people will change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war."
A. God knew what the people were able to deal with.
B. God knows what you and I are able to handle.
1. He will not allow us be taken into a battle which would cause us to turn and run.
2. He only leads us where we are prepared to go.
Application: Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that we will not turn and abandon the battle placed before us, but it does mean that we are abandoning a battle which with God’s help and guidance, we could have won. God will not allow us to be taken further than we are spiritually mature enough to handle. God knows what you can handle. Trust in Him.
Biblical Secret of War number 2.
2. God Is Not Intimidated By Satan’s Antics
- Ps 23:5 - "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies."
A. Satan’s tricks and tactics in no way intimidate God.
1. God remembers the day He created Satan as Lucifer.
2. God remembers the day Jesus defeated Satan on the cross.
3. God looks forward to the day when Satan’s ultimate defeat comes.
B.God understands that our intimacy with Him in front of Satan frightens Satan.
1. Direct intimacy with God strengthens us.
2. Direct intimacy with God encourages us.
Application: The key to overcoming, to winning the conflict, is to remain in close intimacy with God. God is the ultimate winner along with those who remain bound to Him. God is never intimidated by any of Satan’s little antics or threats.