Today I presented a message in Chapel at Mid-Atlantic Christian University. I try my best to share anything I write and present in front of people with others with the idea that you will be preaching and teaching in front of people. What you see below is a manuscript version of todays message. Please use anything below that you feel would be helpful. I’m sorry that it is so long I tried to just link to the word document but it would not let me. Don’t worry about giving me credit.
Here is the link to the intro video I used
Message me for the file of the Lion Attack Video that I used.
A Lousy Hunter
I feel like I should confess something here before we get started. I was raised in Paw Paw West Virginia. It seems like being raised in WV means that you are expected to do certain things. One of those activities is hunting. Now I have to say I am not much of a hunter. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against it, in fact I have a lot of respect for people who are good at it, but I am not that person. There is not much about it that appeals to me. I am for lack of a better phrase a very lousy hunter. Not as bad as the guy that we saw in the video though.
Transition Statement- The Bible actually has a good bit to say about hunting, and I am sure there are some really great hunters in this room here tonight, but scripture says that there is one hunter that out shines us all In fact scripture tells us that this person lives to hunt.
1 Peter 5:8
I want us to pause here for just a few minutes this morning and really get the full impact of what this verse is saying, because my fear is that we do not really let a lot of what we read in the scriptures sink in. We hear this type of thing a lot.
To really understand what Peter is saying here we have to understand who he is writing to. Chapter 1:1. So whom is he writing to? Persecuted people! We have here a look at the result of the persecution that began with the death of Stephen and scattered the Church through out the entire known world. So right off the bat this is going to be a hard book for us to relate to, because let’s be honest, we don’t have a lot of experience with persecution do we? Our idea of persecution is if our hot pocket takes longer then 45 seconds to cook in the microwave. We have to keep always in the back of our mind as we are reading this book that it is written to a very specific group of people, with a very specific intention (this is not new to you guys). So does that mean it cannot have any application to us? Absolutely not, in fact if we remember whom it’s written to I believe it can become even more alive to us.
Peter takes an entire letter and dedicates it to these persecuted exiles and he says things like, “ God is our hope in light of your persecution,” “You need to be holy in light of this persecution,” “Jesus Christ suffered too,” “Even though you are being persecuted this is how you need to treat the authorities in your life, even if they are not being fair.”
Peter gets through all of this and then at the very end of the book we get this one verse that seems to tie all of it together. Because I have to think that during all of this persecution God’s people have to be asking why?! Why is this happening to us?! Peter gives the answer, “It’s because you’re being hunted.”
Do you guys understand that? Do you understand that if at some point in your life if you made the decision to come out of the Kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of light of Jesus Christ that you are being hunted? Not only are being hunted, but according to scripture you are being hunted by the most cunning and ferocious hunters that there is. The scripture actually compares him to a Lion. His name is Satan and he wants to murder you.
Satan Wants to Murder You
Sometimes I don’t think we really understand what Satan really wants to do to us. The reason I say that is, because I know that some of us in here don’t need to be hunted. We don’t need to be hunted because we offer ourselves to the lion, we hang out with the lion, we take the bait of his traps. We don’t make the lion hunt us we walk right up to him and say here I am! The problem is we all think we are Lion Tamers! We think we have it all under control and Peter is screaming at us STOP!!! THE LION WANTS TO MURDER YOU! I tried to think of a good way to get this across and I came across this video the other day that I think sums it up pretty well.
Lion Attack Video
The thing that always gets me about videos like this is that the people who are interviews afterwards are always so surprised that the lion tried to eat everyone. I always watch that and think, “IT’S A LION THAT’S WHAT IT DOES!!” Likewise guys scripture tells us that Satan is a ferocious killer and for some reason we all think we can leash him, carry him around with us, tame him and then we get so surprised when he attacks us! We would never say it like that, but we sure do live that way. “I have no idea how my life got to where it is.” God help us guys we don’t need to be physically persecuted in this country we do a good enough job at persecuting ourselves, and then we shake our fist at God for the consequences. We do the things that we know will hurt us, we hang with the people we know are no good to hang out with, we basically do everything that is opposed to God and then wonder why we get hurt. Satan has done a great job at convincing us that we can tame him IT’S A LIE!
We have cartoonized, and sissified Satan. We have put him in red suits with pitch forks, we have created cute little T-shirts that say things like, “Satan is Stupid.” He’s not stupid, scripture tells us he is crafty and lethal. I need you all to understand this guys, SATAN WANTS TO MURDER YOU! We are uncomfortable with that so we try to lighten it a little. He doesn’t want to trip you up, or make you stumble, skin up your knees and elbows or get you dirty, HE WANTS TO MURDER YOU! It is his whole purpose, his soul desire is to destroy you, and not only you, but he wants to murder your mom and your dad, your brothers and your sisters, your best friend, your boy friend, your girl friend, and everyone you know! For what ever reason we don’t seem to get this, because if we did we would not be trying to tame the lion, we would be fleeing from him!
Transition Statement- So we are being hunted; what do we do? Look at the first part of verse five again. Have students repeat with you louder and louder.
Christ focused self-control
We live in a world that hates the idea of self-control. In this small letter Peter challenges his readers three times to be self controlled. What is self control? I would suggest that it is being wise about the way you live your life. Asking the right question, “Is this the wise thing for me to do?”
The constant motto that is always being thrown at us is, “If it feels good and does not hurt anyone then go for it!” We need to realize though that as Christ followers we are called to a higher standard of living. It’s not because God does not want us to have fun or to enjoy our lives. He does not call us to think before we act because he is some kind of strict rules obsessed parent!
If you do not hear anything else today I need you to hear this. We need to do a better job at teaching and preaching that God want’s the best life for us. Not the easiest life or the funnest life or the richest life, but the best life! For too long we have allow the perversion of the health and wealth gospel steal away from us the ability to teach that God wants’ the best things for us. Maybe we don’t teach it because we don’t believe it? He created it all, don’t you think he knows how it should work?!
-We need to stop being careless about how we live our lives. The more we do it the easier it is for Satan to hunt, but we can’t do it alone.
– Self control only comes from focusing on Christ 1:13
Growing up I had the mindset that if I just tried harder I would some how be able to resist temptation. The only problem with that is, that it seemed like the more I tried the less effective I was. I would struggle with this and I would struggle with that, and I would go to this camp or that conference and IW old hear really inspiring messages about how if I just tried harder and loved Jesus more that I would be able to beat my sin and I would be a better Christian. I was never ever really able to quite get there though. I eventually figured out why (Romans 7:15-8:5). Self-control does not mean trying harder in means relying more fully on the one whose power is the only power that destroy the one who wants to destroy us.
You will never be able to run fast enough, pray hard enough, or read enough scripture to escape the hunter. Until we learn to focus on Jesus Christ we will always fail. It does not come from focusing on the latest steps to spiritual growth, it does not come from focusing on the latest and greatest book, it does not come from focusing on that person that you think is so spiritual! It comes simply from focusing on the wonderful work that was done of that awful cross by our Lord and Savior. Untill we understand that we wil always fail SELF CONTROL ONLY COMES BY FOCUSING ON CHRIST! We can’t focus on Christ when were hanging out with the Lion.