Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Warning, Admonition, and Promise

8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
10After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. (1 Peter 5:8-10)

A Warning, Admonition and Promise.

I. Warning: It pays for us to be constantly reminded that the very thing we fight against is the very thing our enemy wants us to forget.  It's like this; the devil, our enemy, would like us to forget that he's our enemy.  He'd like us to look at each other as enemies; divide and conquer, it's the oldest trick in the book.  Have we fallen for it?  Here's what I mean; our battles are won and lost in the spiritual realm.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12)

2. Admonition (or Ammunition): This leads us simply to our admonishment...our response.  It's simple RESIST HIM!!!  How?  First, we are to remain firm in our faith.  This really has a double-meaning; first to be firm as a believer, using our weapons (namely, The Armor of God) but also, to pray in faith believing God has and will deliver us.  Second, we are reminded that we're not alone.  There are Christians all over the world fighting this same battle and we can be encouraged by the Saints that have gone before us and those that will come after us, as well as those who are right now fighting with us.  Yes, God has defeated satan, but he has some power to deceive us (see John 12:31, 2 Cor 4:4, and Eph 2:2).  He is an enemy to take seriously...which leads us to

3. Promise.  I love the way verse 10 starts; "after you have suffered a little while..."  Now first I have to put this in context.  I have suffered very little for the name of Jesus.  I have never been beaten, imprisoned, or even threatened because I am a Christian.  Still, the point is this; after you have suffered, God Himself will what?  Look at these words and what they mean...

Perfect: to render, i.e. to fit, sound, complete, to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair
to complete

Confirm: to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix; to strengthen, make firm; to render constant, confirm, one's mind

Strengthen: to make strong, strengthen of one's soul

Establish: to lay the foundation, to found; to make stable, establish

Wow!  That's quite a list of things that will be done.  Who's going to do that in me?  God Himself.  Not an angel, not another person, not a pastor or leader or mother or father, but GOD HIMSELF.  It's almost like that job is too important for Got to trust it to anyone else.

That is what gives us the strength to endure whatever suffering He asks us to.  What a promise.

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