Summary: Spiritual Warfare
Living Your Christian Life in a War Zone
I Peter 2:11,12
Dave Neighbors (a doctor in our church) was working in the emergency room last week when a man came running in and jumped on Dave’s back. The man started shouting, “One, two, three, four…” The security men pulled the guy off and started dragging him away and the man shouted to Dave, “I thought you said I could count on you?”
“Erma Bombeck’s Rule of Medicine: Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died”
The issue is credibility.
The passage is really vs. 11-20 because vs. 13-20 elaborate on what vs. 11,12 talk about. The key is vs. 15 -- Our lives must be lives that silence critics. How to get a hearing in a lost society. How can we gain enough respect so that people will listen to us?
Ruth Graham (Billy Graham’s wife) said, “Real saints are people who make it easy to believe in Jesus.”
Credibility. There should be nothing in our lives, public or private, that would give anyone a reason to attack Jesus or the Gospel. These two verses deal with exactly that—private piety and public piety.
Private Piety vs. 11
Internal, personal piety is prerequisite to public piety. The Pharisees had outward piety. Matthew 23:25-27 talk about how they looked on the outside, but were inwardly corrupt. We all know people like this—other people! We all know people who are different on Sunday than they are the rest of the week. We all know OTHER PEOPLE who are hypocrites!!!! Peter says, private piety is first it is primary; it is paramount. If you don’t have private piety, your public piety will be fake—it will be acting and shallow.
Notice that it says we need to abstain from fleshly lusts BECAUSE there is a war to fight. It is a war against the sinful, fleshly lusts that come with living in this body on this earth. This is not limited to lusting for sexual things. Fleshly lusts are what Galatians 5:19 talks about (and that includes sexual immorality…and then goes further). Cf. I Peter 4:2
The reality of sin remains with us until we die. There is a continual struggle in all of us between good and evil. We all live in the reality of Romans 7 every day. Peter says that these fleshly desires wage war against the soul. If you are a Christian, you are living in a war zone.
God says, “You body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Don’t sin. Live holy lives. I’m holy and my children
should be holy.”
Your body says, “But I like sin. Sin makes me feel good. Sin helps me get my way. How am I supposed
to get ahead? How am I supposed to be popular?”
My spiritual life says, “I shouldn’t sin. Those things are not going to help me be a stronger Christian.”
But your sin nature says, “It’s not that bad. You can sin just a little and it won’t matter. Compromise
isn’t wrong. How are you supposed to be a witness if you don’t run around with those people.
Go ahead. You can always ask for forgiveness later…you deserve better than this. You deserve
to be happy.
That’s the war that goes on in our lives.
Have you ever seen the pictures of our service people serving in Iraq and seen them wear their bullet-proof vests and helmets and realize that it is 100degrees outside and they have to wear those things? It’s because they realized that they were in the middle of a battle zone. At any time, the enemy at any time could launch mortar rounds from four or five miles away, any time of the day or night. The only way to be safe was to constantly be ready for an attack. I have heard it said that in the beginning of our presence in Iraq, the rules of engagement were, “Don’t shoot unless someone is shooting at you.” The Marines could see the insurgents come right up in their jeeps and trucks to the fence outside the Marine base, armed with machine guns and grenades. But the Marines couldn’t shoot unless the insurgents shot first. But after a few weeks, the rules were changed: If anyone or anything comes near the fence for any reason, shoot it! Once our Marines changed their rules, the insurgents didn’t come near the fence anymore. That’s how life is in a war zone. You can’t take any chances.
People, we are at war and the real battle is not on the outside; it’s on the inside. Paul deals with this issue in Romans 6:1-2 where he said, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”