Summary: This sermon is about "the enemy", or the adversary of our faith, who is out there seeking prey to devour, and that the enemy is not us!
(1) "A reporter was interviewing an old man on his 100th birthday. "What are you most proud of?" he asked. "Well, " said the man, "I don’t have an enemy in the world." "What a beautiful thought! How inspirational!" said the reporter. "Yep," added the centenarian, "outlived every last one of them."
Maybe we cannot outlive our enemies; though it might be fun to try; or it would be nice to think we live in a perfect world where we would have no enemies. No Saddam’s, or Hitler’s, or neighbors that have disputed property boundries; or people who have for some reason chosen to be our enemies. But the world isn’t perfect, and likely, even as hard as we try we may have enemies. Especially an enemy who is out there to oppose our faith.
(2) "In an article in In "Context" magazine, Mary Marty retells a parable from the "Eye of the Needle" newsletter: A holy man was engaged in his morning meditation under a tree whose roots stretched out over the riverbank. During his meditation he noticed that the river was rising, and a scorpion caught in the roots was about to drown. He crawled out on the roots and reached down to free the scorpion, but every time he did so, the scorpion struck back at him. An observer came along and said to the holy man, "Don’t you know that’s a scorpion, and it’s in the nature of a scorpion to want to sting?" To which the holy man replied, ’That may well be, but it is my nature to save, and must I change my nature because the scorpion does not change its nature?"
It is the nature of the scorpion; the nature of the enemy to "sting". The world lies under its sway; it roams about like a roaring lion seeking to devour; lieing in wait; setting a snare to trap and sting its prey. It is the nature of "evil", of that which opposes good; the nature of the enemy that is out there, the devil, to sting. To lure it into the trap of sin, and sting its victim! It will even sting people who are trying to be holy. No, I should correct that. It would especially like to sting those who are trying to be holy. In fact there is a saying "If you’re not meeting the devil on the road, then you’re probably going the same direction". It is because we are trying to walk in faith with God, in the steps of our Savior Jesus Christ that satan becomes the enemy. And he seeks to oppose the offspring of the Woman, offspring of the Son of God.
I want to be clear: And so I make this point, "The enemy is out there!" The adversary the devil, prowling around, looking for someone to devour. According to our text today, to resist the wiles of the devil, we are to put on the full armor of God. In 1 Peter we are given some further instruction:
a) Be humble (vs 6)
b) discipline ourselves (vs 8);
c) keep alert (vs 8);
d) resist him (vs 9);
e) remain "steadfast in faith" (vs 9);
f) because all our brothers and sisters in the world undergo the same kind of suffering
The enemy is out there, but like a soldier prepared for battle, we are to remain alert and do all we can to resist him. In the Star Trek Episode where they encounter the "Borg" a computerized race that devours life-form in its path the Borg proclaim that "Resistance is futile". In other words "give up". Satan - the enemy - would have us believe the same lie. But not so, "resistance of the enmy is not futile" it is our means of facing the enemy standing firm on our faith in Jesus Christ. Stand firm on the solid rock of Jesus Christ! ("On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand") The enemy is out there, but the war was already won at the Cross!
The second point I would like to make is that "The enemy is out there, but the enemy is not us!"
(3) Russell Brownsworth tells that Lord Nelson of England was about to enter an important battle. He heard that two of his officers were at odds with each other. He called them in and said, Gentlemen, give me your hands. The two captains put their hands in the Commander’s hands, and he squeezed them with a tight grip. Men, he said, Remember the ENEMY is OUT THERE!..."
Out There! But the enemy is not us; yet many Church people fight among themselves as enemies; Many Christians; neighbors; friends; husbands and wives fight against themselves as if they were the enemy. Paul points out in Ephesians that the enemy is not "flesh and blood" it is not you and me, but the real enemy is the Spiritual forces of this world.