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January 29, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Eric Newton continues the series entitled “Our Ancient Foe,” from I Peter 5:6-11.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927. The evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent little preaching from the University chapel platform today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series entitled our ancient foe, which is a study of Satan. The reality of his presence and how Christians can be victorious against him. Today's message will be preached by seminary professor Dr. Eric Newton, the title of the sermon is the battlefield of the mind from first Peter five and Dr. Steve Pettit will introduce him well. We are honored this morning to have Dr. Eric Newton, our Dean of students to come and speak on our continuing theme of our ancient foe and the message is going to bring today is actually dealing with the real battlefield of the Christian life and that is the battlefield of our mind and so Dr. Newton you come today's date October 12 is actually a very significant one in ancient history in 539 BC the Nino neo-Babylonian empire. The Chaldeans fell to the Medes and Persians and their famous king Cyrus Daniel five records the events of that fateful night when Belshazzar is depicted on the screen, son of Navan -itis held a drunken feast.
Even using vessels from Solomon's Temple in an alcoholic orgy to their pantheon of gods.
But as Daniel ominously records a hand from God, wrote Babylon's doom on the wall, meaning God outnumbered the kingdom and finished it technical thou art weighed in the balance is not found wanting. Peres by kingdom was divided and given to the Medes and Persians, and history confirms that the conquerors essentially entered Babylon without a fight.
That night it was a time of war, but the Chaldeans weren't sober enough to do anything about it and were several weeks already in our series on our ancient foe in the coming weeks or speakers will impact important themes from the New Testament central passage on spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6 seems like Satan's schemes and the weapons of warfare and how to use those before we get into those subjects who really need to gather in the war room as it were. This morning, and assess our outlook we need to remind ourselves we have a super natural adversary. He's real.
He's as real as this pulpit that I'm pounding their spiritual forces of wickedness in high places. Our Christian lives are the theater of the greatest battle of the ages has this realization sunk in. Is it changing the way we live. You and I live in a time of war. So we must prepare our minds for battle and to do that.
I like to ask you to turn with me this morning. The first Peter chapter 5, first Peter chapter 5 when you read Peter's first epistle. It's clear that the original audience was facing pressure.
The term suffering occurs over and over and you and I tend to think of suffering in terms of physical persecution and that was probably the case to some extent but more generally, these were spiritual pilgrims in an antagonistic culture they were being tried with fire. They were labeled evildoers, they were called to follow the example of our Savior in suffering. They were falsely accused. They were maligned because they didn't fall in line with the drunken revelry of their society.
They were enduring a fiery trial may not have been outright persecution, but it certainly was societal pressure that challenge their faith.
These were not wargames. This was the real stuff I cannot speak for all of us and what I'm about to say but like many of you I'm a Christian who was an American citizen and we had a pretty easy, perhaps one of the reasons we in America haven't thought a lot about spiritual warfare is because we haven't faced a lot of explicit pressure that's been changing right so I think the message of first Peter has never been timelier for us than it is today. Would you read along with me starting in verse six of first Peter five he writes humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that God may exalt you in due time.
Casting all your care upon him for he cares for you, be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion walk in about, seeking whom he may devour whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who have called you on his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. We see in verses six and seven, which is in our focus as much this morning that casting RNs Exide is on the Lord is one way to humble ourselves.
Another way is to recognize that we have an adversary and that we are at war. In other words, to have anything other than a wartime mindset is arrogance.
So what would it look like to have minds prepared for battle with three components of this battle mindset. First of all, in verse eight we have to be alert. We have to be alert thereto commands related commands here.
Be sober and be vigilant. This is the third time that Peter has admonished his readers to be sober in this book the first time is first Peter 113 which says wherefore gird up the loins of your mind. I think you've heard this analogy before we don't relate to it too well today, but the man at these long flowing skirt like relatives and they had to pull them all up and get them fastened under a belt of that freedom of movement and with which to fight that integral of selfies in those days for good reason. They they prepared themselves for battle.
You and I have to take all of these loose thoughts and we have to gather them up and we have to fix them together and we have to prepare our minds for battle goes on to say be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you in the revelation of Jesus Christ. Be sober. I don't think he's here talking primarily about alcoholic beverages. Literally he's using this as a metaphor. He's saying you know what you're living in an antagonistic culture and it's like this culture is is is surveying up one beverage after another in our tendency is just to take that and down it in the say yeah give me one more. It it probably won't hurt anything. We drink the naturalistic beverage of our age.
The world tells us that were crazy for believing an old book, the Bible, the world says were missing out on sensual pleasure. The world says that our problems are primarily economic world says. Worse, if we don't fall in line with the the liberated sexual thinking of our age and many times without even realizing it were drinking in this thinking were becoming inebriated by so it's like Peter from the Holy Spirit is taking a pail of ice cold spiritual water and flailing about us and he say wake up. Be sober you're at war says, be vigilant, like a century is posted at the gate. Other soldiers can sleep at night the century cannot be watchful, be aware first Thessalonians 5638 say let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober. Same two verbs, for they that sleep sleep in the night and they that be drunken are drunken in the night, but let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. The defendant preached on this on Monday if our identity is above that our lifestyle has to conform with that identity. There's a connection between it along to the day in our sobriety and are wearing the armor of God so why is this vigilance so necessary, why do we need to be sober will because we have an enemy.
We have an adversary the devil, this word adversary has the idea of the super natural opponent. He's completely against us. Ephesians 612 says we don't wrestle against flesh and blood.
We get irritated with one another, but we aren't the enemy.
Even the worst of those around us is not the enemy truly we wrestle against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
We have a supernatural opponent and he is a slanderous accuser, the devil is a slanderer he's an accuser.
There is this beautiful picture in Zechariah 3 of Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord any standing there with dirty clothes and the and the devil Satan, the accuser says look at this guy's sin and the angel of the Lord removes that filthy clothing and robes him in righteousness. Notice the difference between our Savior.
Verse seven the one who cares for us and our adversary, the one who accuses us. He's described as a roaring lion on the prowl to devour.
He's a roaring lion.
I've never been to Africa. Some of you have some of you can identify with this photo. I was talking to a colleague. Just last week and she was telling me on a mission trip one time to the Serengeti. A few of the mission team members were with her in a jeep and they came across an old lion, who was in a ditch. You obviously was not part of the pride anymore. All right he was washed up and suddenly he saw them and he let out this bloodcurdling roar and there were girls in the Jeep and started crying. I'm sure it was not fun. It sounds funny to us, or I'm sure was not funny to them. The roar of the devil in first Peter is the adversity of this evil world.
It may come in the form of actual suffering again, but it may also be fleshly lust like chapter 2 verse 11 talks about or the ignorance of foolish people. Chapter 2 for verse 15 or crooked Masters to 18 or unbelievers who malign you and make fun of you and ostracize you because you won't join them in the parties and passions and idolatries of this world. The stakes are as high as they can possibly be. He prowls around, seeking whom he may devour this word devour is very graphic and has the idea of drinking down of swallowing.
It's the word used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament in Jonah 2 for the great fish swallowing Joan a whole. If you know anything about lions you know they don't leave leftovers. It's the highest of stakes. He prowls around ready to pick off professing believers who are caving in to pressure. He's out to destroy your faith like Job's, there are some among us today and you are struggling and the devil has his sights on you and your faith. And he wants to pick you up, and he wants to devour you truly this is real spiritual warfare. So don't wait for the handwriting on the wall. Don't be inebriated with the thinking of Rh don't keep drinking in the intoxicating mindset of the world is antagonistic to God be alert be sober. We have admissions representatives with us this week. My first experience working at a summer camp was in junior high and we worked at this camp in northern Indiana called Camp Pottawatomie. We were the Pottawatomie pot wash crew that week and a bunch of 13-year-old boys.
Pastor Josh Krog of Morningside was also part of that he worked about 12 hours a day and then we had down time in the evening and the guy who was our overseer thought to be a great idea to tell stories about vampire bats because we had bats around some of our cabins may be more than one of us left with the sheets overhead that week and some of you some of you are very aware that you're in spiritual warfare and perhaps this series is awakened you to that and and and you're living your life right now cowering in a corner you got the sheets up over your head.
You're very alert, but that's all that it is you're not sure what to do and that's why the passage goes on with notice what Peter says next verse nine not only be alert be active, be active in your faith, he says, resist that word as the idea of standing against of opposing to someone's face. It's the word used in Galatians 2 when Paul opposed Peter to his face in Antioch because Peter's actions were conforming to the gospel. It's the word in Ephesians 613 for taking up the whole armor of God in order to stand to withstand. It's the word in James seven that says, resist the devil and he will flee from you. It's the flipside of submitting to God, the Bible tells us to flee temptation like Joseph but we do not flee the devil. The Bible does not tell us to flee him. It tells us to resist him to oppose him to his face.
We turn our back and cower worse were exposed.
It's like we have armor on the front we have the breastplate of righteousness, but we turn our back.
There's nothing to cover it, or if you want to think in a sports analogy, we have our own name on the back of the jersey and we have our team name on the front of the jersey were weak individually but were in Christ together to turn your back as the song we sang just a few minutes ago, says he roars and he does but he cannot harm one of the books that I most enjoy reading to my kids is actually BJ you press publication attorney fourth book called moms he meets a lion and in this book. It's the story of an African boy who was taught what to do when he encountered if he ever encountered a lion and one night on his way back from an air and he took too much time it became dark, and indeed he heard and eventually saw a lion in here was the advice that he followed that night. If you ever come face-to-face with the Simba. His parents would say look him straight in the eyes your eyes into his. Don't move, don't breathe in whatever you do don't run.
We need that advice this morning. What ever you do don't run and we do this together. The command to resist is a plural command. Yes, he was speaking to lots of people so you could just say, well, lots of people needed to hear.
Of course she would use the plural, but I think there's even more to it. We do this together. We are not individual warriors.
We are an army yes were personally responsible for our own spiritual faith or also called to fight for and with one another. Are you helping the people around you be steadfast in the faith. How do we resist.
Well, it says we resist steadfast in the faith. This is the word in acts 374. The man who was lifted up.
He was healed by the apostles and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength supernaturally when you resist the devil, God gives you supernatural strength by faith. How does that work well.
First, we remember that were part of a brotherhood. Verse nine goes on to say, knowing at the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. This may seem like an odd encouragement.
It's kind of like you just failed that that certain tests that everyone's struggling with in your professor says hey don't worry 85% of the class failed on a curve of 85% of the class failed and you say, well, well, fantastic. We can commiserate, but that doesn't really encourage me doesn't help me.
But there's much more going on here than simply saying hey you're suffering yes so is everyone else because the theme of the dominant themes of this book is that Jesus Christ suffered on his way to glory and we are in him. So God has this plan. He's preparing us for glory. And he's bringing us through the sufferings of Christ in order to get us there. So take heart, you're not alone.
It's the divine strategy for obtaining glory. It was the career path of Christ himself. We also need to rehearse the words of grace. Look at verse 12. I have written briefly, Peter says, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God, where in he stand we need to preach the truth to ourselves. A lot of times, all we listen to is what our own heart is saying or what the Internet is saying or what social commentary is saying or what our friends back home are saying and were not bring ourselves back to the truth. We have to preach the truth to ourselves. Stop listening to yourself. Start talking to yourself in a spiritual way because the devil may roar like Goliath.
We have an answer and it's not just David is great as he was.
We had David's greater son on our side. Thirdly, we we need to stay awake through prayer is a very interesting phrase in first Peter 47 the end of all things is at hand, be therefore sober same word that we been talking about and watch the sunset prayer.
Prayer is difficult for us. Prayer is is one of the times during the day when we have a tendency to fall asleep right but God says prayer is a crucial way for us to stay alert and be strong in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and part of the problem I think is that we often pray in such shallow terms we often pray for piddly little stuff, and God does care about that stuff but he cares about your faith, he cares about the faith of your friends he cares about the advance of the gospel across the globe is that we were praying for. We have to be alert. We have to be active in our faith but but our mindset is still not complete a lot of alert active armies in the history of the world have been utterly annihilated so finally become the verses 10 through 11 we see that we must be assured.
Be assured, it says the God of all grace, have confidence have a victorious mindset, not because you are you are not because you're feeling good or not because your circumstances are easy right now, but because the God of all grace is your captain. He's all gracious. He says in verse 10, the suffering, the pressure is temporal. It is for a while but it's not forever, and the one who has called you is this God of grace.
You may be struggling in a variety of ways.
Today, most all of us are, and you may be questioning how God is acting in this scenario, but you can be assured on the basis of his very own word that whatever the situation, God is bringing grace into the equation. It's all grace. That's who he is.
His grace is not a desperate last-second heave into the end zone that may work, but usually doesn't. He orchestrated our salvation in eternity past and he's working in out even through the difficulties of present life and it's so glorious. He says the outcome is secure. Look at the end of verse 10 after you suffered a while, he will make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. He will do this. It's certain Peter does not say that you will be establish if you make enough money or earn the right degree or know the right people or make a few mistakes or take a few risks. There are no qualifications outside of Christ. If you're in Christ, if you're God's child. If he has called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus you will suffer some on earth you will face pressure, but you will win because the captain of your salvation has already won. God is all gracious be established in your faith because God will establish you.
Do you believe that. Finally, we can be assured. Verse 11 because God is not only all gracious. He's all-powerful, it says to him be glory and dominion forever and ever, that were dominion has the idea of power. All power we have course aren't giving God dominion as if he doesn't already have it were ascribing to him as the Bible doesn't so many places the power and authority that he has always had if you look back at chapter 3 verse 22. He has power over angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him the very powers we been talking about these Lord we can.
We must have a victorious battle mindset because we have a God who is all gracious and all-powerful, my friends, we are at war. So prepare your mind for battle.
Be alert to Satan's attack be active in your faith. Be assured of the victory as you follow the captain of your salvation because the lion that prowls around in this passage isn't the greatest lion there is your captain is the line of the tribe of Judah, and he's one and you will to. As you trust in him (oh God, we can talk about this we can hope for this Lord help us to believe what you said. Oh God, please help us to see your victory worked out in our lives as we trust you. This is your war and we are on your side. We pray in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Eric Newton, which is part of the study series about Satan entitled our ancient foe. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. Thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. Please come visit our beautiful campus in Greenville, South Carolina, and see how God is working in the lives of our students. For more information about Bob Jones University, visit www.bg.edu or call 800-252-6363 if you appreciate this program and benefit from the faithful preaching and teaching of God's word would you consider sending us a special financial gift. You can easily do that to the website. The Daily Platform.com. Join us again next week as we continue the series are ancient foe here on The Daily Platform