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WE HAVE AN ENEMY (6 of 8)
1 Peter 5:8
September 15, 2002
INTRODUCTION: 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.
"Let me be given to the wild beasts, for through them
I can attain unto God. I am god's wheat, and I am
ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found
pure bread. Come fire and cross and grapplings with
wild beasts, wrenching of bones, hacking of limbs,
crushing of my whole body, come cruel tortures of the
devil to assail me. Only be it mine to attain unto
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. The danger he
sees does not come simply from suspicious neighbors or
hostile authorities. Lurking behind the authorities
and powers that dominate pagan life there moves a more
fearful destroyer, the figure of Satan.
The language of v.8 suggests full awareness of the
person and work of Satan. In II Cor. 2:11 Paul said
he was "not ignorant of his devices."
Two mistakes can be made in regard to the devil.
First, some become enchanted with the study of
demonology. Preoccupation with the demonic is
Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things
are true, whatever things are noble, ...
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