Living Behind Enemy Lines: Lessons in Spiritual Warfare for Resident Aliens (1 Peter 5.8-14)



John Cook opened the sermon with a childhood story highlighting the significance of “home field advantage”. He related that illustration with the present circumstances in which Christians now find themselves – we’re living as citizens of another kingdom (the Kingdom of God) yet our enemy, Satan, still retains a degree of power in this age. John also warned that we don’t want to fall into two extreme camps; the first is one of ignorance and avoidance of spiritual matters, the second is one of unhealthy interest and obsession of the enemy and his “schemes”. We want to be somewhere in the middle, aware there is a battle but dependent on Jesus’ power to rescue and deliver. So therefore, lesson #1 is “be on the alert”. We can become distracted and unaware of the battle raging around us (1 Peter 5.8). John said there are three things that can distract us. First, we are distracted by the mundane (Matthew 6.25, 31-33). Second, we are distracted by spiritual lethargy (Proverbs 6.9-11, 15). Finally, we are distracted by over-stimulation (Psalm 27.4-6a). Lesson #2 is “resist the devil” as he seeks to devour you (1 Peter 5.8-9). The verb for devour means “swallow whole”, which makes one think of a drastic and aggressive encounter. While we don’t want to live in fear we need to understand that there is a battle for our minds, for our appetites, and for our emotions. John’s 3rd lesson in spiritual warfare is that “God will make you immovable” because God, not the devil, is all-powerful (1 Peter 5.10-11). God may do it after you have suffered a little while but he always works by grace – only by grace. In the Epilogue, John refers to 3 passages about our longing and hope for God’s redemption; 1 Peter 5.13, Psalm 137.1-4, Psalm 126.1-3.

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