Summary: Every believer has three enemies - the world system, the flesh, and the Devil. If we don't wake-up, heed and act on Biblical warnings, we will not only be spent but also taken down. God's truth is the best protection against Satan's lies.
Opening illustration: As we moved to our new home in the Middle-East after the government transferred Maureena and me to a previous location in the mountains, we never expected the place to be hiding scorpions which would show up regularly in our bathrooms and poisonous snakes that would appear in our yard and door step.
The snakes were deceptive and would easily get away without even a scratch but we killed a number of scorpions in our home regularly. Every time we went into the bathroom or a cooler area of the home, we would always have to be alert to these predators. If we were slack, they would get us before we would and the result could be fatal/disastrous.
The Word of God tells us to be alert to the presence of our spiritual enemy, the devil. “Be sober, be vigilant,” 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us, “because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” As we move through each day, we must neither pretend that Satan doesn’t exist, nor should we become paralyzed by fear of his presence. Knowing his destructive potential, we must depend on God’s power to “resist him, steadfast in the faith” (v.9).
Let us turn to 1 Peter 5 in God’s Word and learn how to be careful and alert! That’s a wake-up call we need every morning.
Introduction: Every believer has three enemies - the world system, the flesh, and the Devil. The first has been described as "the external foe" or the spirit of the age; the second has been designated as "the internal foe"; and the third enemy, the Devil, also known as Satan or Lucifer is "the infernal foe". Peter's focus in these verses is on our conflict with the Devil. Vance Havner (1901-1986) writes, "The Adversary is not in the first two chapters of the Bible, nor is he in the last two." You will find him all over the place.
In a vivid image Peter warns the church of deadly danger. Our image of a roaring lion may come from visits to the zoo, or from the zoom lens of a television nature series. Some who received Peter's letter would have a stronger horror. They had seen human blood dripping from the chops of lions in the gory spectacle of a Roman Amphitheatre. The recipients of this letter had already experienced the attacks of the slanderer, and now they would meet "the lion" in their fiery trial. Peter calls Satan the enemy or adversary. No one knew this better than our first century brother, Ignatius, who died a martyr in the Roman Coliseum. The psalmist often pictures his foes as lions, lying in ambush and waiting to pounce, or roaring in their pride. Peter is not speaking of the threat of martyrdom in an Amphitheatre, however.
How to respond to the wake-up call?
1. Attentive to the WARNINGS - Exhortation (v. 8)
There is something very suggestive in the figures employed by the Bible to describe the approaches of the powers of evil and night. The devil has a fairly extensive wardrobe, but his common and more familiar guises are of three types—a serpent, an angel of light, and a roaring lion. It is in one or other of these three shapes that the forces of sin most frequently assail us. They come in the guise of the serpent. They beguile our senses. They pervert our judgment. They enchant our imaginations. The love of money becomes a fascination. It holds a man as under a wizard’s spell. Gambling becomes a bewitchment, a kind of spiritual bondage, in which the poor soul, in mesmerized inclinations, is slowly drawn towards its own destruction. The devil approaches as a serpent, and like fixed and stupefied birds we are in peril of dropping into his devouring jaws. He comes also in the guise of an angel of light. He tells us that we do not think highly enough of God. He loves us too much to be pained by our small neglects. In fact, we best show our confidence in God by disregarding these neglects. Such is the devil as an angel of light. And the devil also comes as a roaring lion. The subtlety of the serpent is laid aside; he discards the sheen of the angel of light; he appears as sheer brutal force, an antagonist of terrific and naked violence, bearing down his victims under the heavy paws of relentless persecution. “When the apostle wrote this letter, the lion was about; Nero was at work; the Christians were being hunted unto death, in the vain attempt at stamping out their faith and devotion to the Man of Nazareth, their Savior and their Lord. He comes as a serpent, as an angel of light, as a roaring lion. He came to the Master as a serpent when he offered Him worldly power. He came as an angel of light when he sought to deepen and enrich His trust. He came to Him as a roaring lion in the blows and blasphemies of the bloodthirsty multitude. This antagonism we have got to meet. How can we meet it in the hope of certain triumph? Let us turn to the apostle’s counsel.