Outline: On recognising the enemy and resisting him. Need of living by God's Word, avoiding evil, confessing sin and walking in obedience. Materialism a danger. Trials and suffering allowed to strengthen us.
|Theme:||Spiritual Growth; Materialism; Temptation; Separation from sin; Love of God; Cleanse, purify; Satan (the devil)|
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Brothers, let's talk about what happens after we have begun to follow Christ. For a time it appears that everything is going well. We are very happy, and it seems as if nothing bad will happen any more. But after a time we realize that we have a strong enemy. It is Satan. He is God's enemy, and he is our enemy.
Satan is always trying to cause us to do evil. He tries to deceive us and make us do wrong. He is called the "deceiver" in God's Word. He is also called "the accuser of the brethren."
Sometimes we want to do bad things-the things we did before we followed Jesus. Then Satan tells us, "Your old ways are not bad. Do what you want to do." Then we must remember that Jesus has changed us and given us new ways. We must not listen to Satan. Satan lies to us. We must not believe him. We must not follow our bad thoughts. When we remember the name of Jesus and what He can do, then we can be strong to say no to Satan.
God's Word says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." God will help us if we resist the devil, and we will become stronger against Satan each time we refuse to listen to him.
Those who want to follow Jesus will try to avoid all evil. If we are living badly and doing things that displease God, we cannot say that we love God. But if we tell Him we are wrong, He will forgive us and cleanse us. When we truly want God, we obey what He says.
There are some who hear God's Word, but they soon forget what they heard. Instead of thinking about what God wants, they think only of what they want. They are always thinking about how to obtain more land, more cattle, more money, more things. They think so much about these things they do not remember what God says. There is coming a day when God will destroy this world and everything in it. But the people who truly love God and obey Him will go to heaven to live in great happiness with God forever.
Brothers, I have been telling you some of the things you must remember. Do not be surprised when temptations come, and when hard things trouble you. Always remember that God wants His children to grow, and so He allows us to be tested. When a child starts to walk it is not easy. When we first follow God it is not easy either. But soon we become stronger by doing what God commands. God has made a promise to all who believe Him. He has promised that He will never allow any temptation or trouble to be too strong for us. He has also promised He will never leave us. He will always be with us and help us. We can ask Him for help at any time. Remember that He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die in order to save us. Therefore, we can be certain that He will help us.
Paraphrase: Be thoughtful, be on guard because your enemy the devil roams (prowls) about like a wild animal (lion) hunting for someone to devour, and you must be ready to resist him (with the strength God gives you).
REFS: I Pet. 5:8 Rev. l2:l0 I Pet. 5:8