These are some great thoughts
The Enemies in Our Midst that Must Be Resisted
1 Peter 5:8,9; James 4:7
I. Introduction (1Pet 5:8,9; James 4:7)
A. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
B. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
C. The Bible calls our adversary a roaring lion. We are supposed to resist him, AND his attempts at ruining us steadfastly. Believe me, his one great all consuming desire is to destroy the work of God in our lives!
D. He cannot damn us, but he can unplug us, and make us in-effective in this world. Let me say, many times, Satan uses God’s people to do his dirty work. Believe me, the greatest enemy of the local church is right in its membership. Outside persecution causes the church to rally and actually increases the resolve and strength of its members. This is seen many times in the Book of Acts. But a little leaven leaveneth (corrupts) the whole lump and, if not purged, will eventually affect the membership as a whole.
E. Paul warns us of sins that will bite like a serpent if we are not constantly trying to avoid them. Ephesians 4:22-32
1. “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
2. Look at that list of deceitful sins – things we may not be aware that we are doing:
e. An un-giving attitude
f. Unkind words out of our mouths
g. Grieving the Holy Spirit
F. We ought to be careful to avoid these sins. We have the following nine points for us to be careful because they are like snakes in the grass – we may not see them, and will instead allow them to coil around our lives, and devour our homes and our church.
G. So let’s wipe out these snakes before they poison the work of God in our lives.
A. The Snake Of A Critical Attitude (3 John 9-11)
1. “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.”
2. If you have a problem in the church, PLEASE come see me. If you think being critical helps with the situation, you are mistaken. A critical attitude will destroy both the person has it and the person who hears it.
3. If you see a problem, you can come to me with the problem and if you have a workable solution, it is better to go that route than going to someone who cannot do anything about it or does not need to hear the criticism.
4. Killing the snake of a critical attitude must be done or he will bite and poison someone and their walk with God.
B. The Snake Of An Uncontrolled Tongue (James 3:5-8)
1. “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
2. Be careful little tongue what you speak! Words cannot be taken back. A slandering tongue has murdered many a person.
3. Remember the song that we taught our children in Sunday School.
O be careful little tongue what you say!
O be careful little tongue what you say!
For your Father up above
Is looking down in love.
So be careful little tongue what you say!
4. It is better to say nothing than it is say something that you cannot control. God can help us to control our tongues. The sins of the tongue include gossip, criticism, lying, a hasty tongue, slander and many more sins.
5. This is another snake that needs to be killed so he does not infect someone with his venom.
C. The Snake Of A Divided Fellowship.
1. 1 Corinthians 11:18, “For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.”
2. Romans 12:16, “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”
3. 1 Corinthians 1:10, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
4. Philippians 4:2, “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.”
5. A divided house cannot stand and a divided church cannot function properly. We can disagree without being disagreeable. There should be one common goal in the church and that is to honor and glorify our Lord Jesus. There must be one mission for the church and that seeing souls saved. There must be one effort in the church. Unity is a blessed thing. Unity is not to be sacrifice by compromise. God puts a huge premium on unity. Psalm 133
6. “Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.”
7. Let’s make show our unity is what it needs to be so this snake will not sneak it.
D. The Snake Of An Offended Brother.
1. Proverbs 18:19, “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
2. An offended brother is a sinful brother according to Psalm 119:165 and needs to repent. What does that verse say? “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
3. Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”
4. The word offended means to transgress again. Almost everyone has been wronged at one time or another. If you have been wronged, then go to the person who wronged you and talk with them. Tell them in the spirit of meekness that you were offended. Don’t demand an apology. If you do that, you have not gone in the spirit of meekness. If they don’t apology, forgive that person. Let the Lord deal with them.
5. May we always do us best to keep this snake out!
E. The Snake Of An Unforgiving Spirit (Colossians 3:12-13)
1. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
2. Our prayer should be “and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
3. Unforgiving spirit can close the door to personal and corporate revival. Unforgiving spirit can open the door to bitterness that can open the door to a host of physical diseases. Unforgiving spirit can and does hurt you more. I have seen personally what harm and hurt a person with an unforgiving spirit can do to a family. You do yourself more harm than the person that you will not forgive but you don’t know it.
4. If a person will allow an unforgiving spirit to prevail for years, it is a strong possibility that they are so far from God it is not funny or they had never been saved. The Lord does not allow us to continue in sin forever. He will correct us or move us out of the way.
5. I know a church in Wilmington that got in a church fight. It got so bad that they went to court on the situation. The judge shamed them when he said, “I thought you are supposed to be Christians. Aren’t you supposed to get along?”
6. There is an African proverb that says He who forgives ends the quarrel. You know what the best way to get even. It is to forget and forgive the offence.
7. This world needs to see people who know how to get along and forgive like Christ forgave.
8. Forgiveness is a great snake killer.
F. The Snake Of An Apathetic Spirit (Amos 6:1a)
1. “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!”
2. As apathy is lethal to the physical life, so it is to the spiritual life. I have a lady that works with me that is eighty-three years old. She does excellent work. She comes to work almost every time she is scheduled. She is rarely absent or even tardy. I asked her one time why she never retired. She told me that she would get old if she did. She also told me that she had friends who retired, sat in front of the television and vegetated. She told me that they got old because they did not have anything in life to really care about or for anymore.
3. Apathy kills the heart of a church. Apathy kills the joy of the church. Apathy kills the spirit of the church. When we allow apathy to our way of life, we have allowed ourselves to be no better than the church in Laodicea. Revelation 3:16
4. “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
5. Their church songbook must have songs like "I surrender some". "There shall be sprinkles of blessings." "I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus, but I am too busy." "Fill my spoon, Lord." "Take my wife and let me be." "There is a place of quiet rest, right in front of my TV set." We smile and giggle at such things but has the snake of apathy bitten us?
G. The Snake Of A Sinful Membership (1 Corinthians 5:4-7)
1. “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us”
2. Unrepentant sin cannot be tolerated because of its devastating effect upon God’s people (1Cor 12:13, 25-27)
a. We are a body – united by the blood of Christ
b. When one person suffers, we all hurt (Heb 13:3) – that explains why we have sorrowful days with no reason
c. When one rejoices, we rejoice
d. When one sins, it spiritually affects all of us – especially you parents – you affect your kids – porn, bitterness – it kills homes and churches
3. The Old Testament is full of accounts of the congregation of Israel in sinful behaviour. Over and over again, God judged them. A case in point was Achan and the defeat at Ai in Joshua 7
4. When the snake of a sinful membership bites, then it is way past time for repentance. So let’s kill this snake before he bites.
H. The Snake Of An Un-submissive Christian (Hebrews 13:17)
1. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
2. Rebellion against authority is rebellion against God. I have been a member of several churches in which the pastor was a dictator. Such behavior is sinful. I am a servant of the church but God has called be to lead this church. Sometimes I make bad decisions. Without trying to intentionally trying to hurt the church, I have done so. But I will answer for those decisions. If something is not right, ask me about them. I will not bite your head off. But don't tell me that you want to take me to task as I heard one woman told me one day.
3. If you and I reject authority that God has placed us, then we are being rebellious. What does the Bible say on this subject? 1st Samuel 15:23a
4. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”
5. Let's kill the snake of rebellion before he bites someone.
I. The Snake Of A Lack Of Burden For Souls (Psalm 142:4)
1. Psalms 142:4, “I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.”
2. Not much needs to said on this subject. This is one of our greatest weaknesses. But this snake needs to be killed if we expect the church to grow.
A. Do you find one of these snakes lurking around in your life? It is time to mortify/put to death that snake.
1. The Snake Of A Critical Attitude (3 John 9-11)
2. The Snake Of An Uncontrolled Tongue (James 3:5-8)
3. The Snake Of A Divided Fellowship.
4. The Snake Of An Offended Brother.
5. The Snake Of An Unforgiving Spirit (Colossians 3:12-13)
6. The Snake Of An Apathetic Spirit (Amos 6:1a)
7. The Snake Of A Sinful Membership (1 Corinthians 5:4-7)
8. The Snake Of An Un-submissive Christian (Hebrews 13:17)
9. The Snake Of A Lack Of Burden For Souls (Psalm 142:4)
B. If you don’t – if I don’t – then the devil has won, and no revival can come.
C. But if we do squash these serpents, and make room for the Holy Spirit of God to do His work, then believe me, He will!