"THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BEING A CHRISTIAN" Guarded By The Power Of God INTRODUCTION 1. Reviewing what we have seen thus far in this series, a Christian... a. Is "a person reborn", living in newness of life b. Now "belongs to the Lord", God's special child sojourning in this world as a pilgrim c. Is "living by faith", trusting in the Lord and desiring to be a trustworthy servant d. Is "consecrated to God", set apart by the Spirit to pursue holiness 2. This does not mean being a Christian is easy... a. The world in which we sojourn does not encourage godly living b. There are powerful forces that are bent on our spiritual destruction -- Of course, this is true whether we are Christians or not 3. But the significance of being a Christian includes help that others do not have... a. From our Father in heaven, who is concerned for the child that now belongs to Him b. His own special protection, available to those who remain faithful to Him 4. Peter writes of this protection in 1 Pe 1:5 ... a. He refers to how we are "kept by the power of God through faith..." b. He employs a military term meaning "to mount guard as a sentinel; figuratively, to hem in, protect" (Strongs) -- Therefore we can rightly say that a Christian is "Guarded By The Power Of God"! [To appreciate the need for such protection, the nature of it, and how we may ensure it in our lives will be the subject of our study. We begin by noting...] I. SATAN'S GOAL: OUR DESTRUCTION A. OUR ADVERSARY... 1. Satan is like a roaring lion - 1 Pe 5:8 a. On the prowl b. Seeking whom he may devour 2. He often appears as an angel of light - 2 Co 11:14 a. Working through his ministers - 2 Co 11:15 b. Misleading through false doctrines - 1 Ti 4:1-3 B. THE CHRISTIAN'S NEED TO BEWARE... 1. Some say there is no need to be concerned a. E.g., "once saved, always saved" b. E.g., "the impossibility of apostasy" -- But this would make all the warnings in the Bible pointless 2. The Bible warns about the danger of becoming hardened - He 3: 12-14 a. Hardened by "the deceitfulness of sin" b. Who better equipped to harden us than he "who deceives the whole world"? - Re 12:9 [Because the danger is real, the need to "resist him" (1 Pe 5:9 ) who seeks our destruction is very real! But we are not alone in our resistance; "the God of all grace" (1 Pe 5:10 ) stands ready to assist us. This leads to our next point...] II. GOD'S PROVISION: OUR SAFEKEEPING A. GOD IS OUR HELPER... 1. He provides Jesus Christ: a. As our Mediator - 1 Ti 2:5 b. As our Advocate - 1 Jn 2:1 ,2 c. As our merciful and faithful High Priest - He 2:17-18 d. Whose blood cleanses us from our sins - 1 Jn 1:7-10 2. He provides other blessings designed to keep us safe: a. Our public assemblies and mutual edification - He 10:24-25 b. Our daily mutual edification - He 3:12-13 c. The Scriptures - 2 Ti 3:16-17 d. Prayer - Ph 4:6-7 3. He therefore provides a way of escape: a. In some cases, to avoid temptation altogether - Mt 6:13 ; 26:41 b. In other cases, to bear up and overcome the temptation - 1 Co 10:13 B. GOD IS OUR VICTORY... 1. Our confidence comes from God's power, not our own - Ph 4:13 2. He provides power that is greater than Satan - Ep 3:16 ,20; 1 Jn 2:13-14 ; 4:4 [Yes, it is God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ (1 Co 15:57 )! By His grace we are "Guarded By The Power Of God". But that such grace might not be received in vain (cf. 2 Co 6:1 ), we need to remember...] III. OUR RESPONSIBILITY: REMAIN FAITHFUL A. THE CHRISTIAN'S SECURITY... 1. The Bible teaches the security of the believer a. No one can snatch a believer out of the hand of God - Jn 10:28-29 b. Nothing can separate a believer from the love of Christ - Ro 8:35-39 -- But note carefully: these promises are for one who is a believer! 2. The Bible also teaches a believer may become an unbeliever - He 3:12 a. A believer can develop "an evil heart of unbeliever" b. In so doing, such a person "departs from the living God" -- When a believer becomes an unbeliever, the promises of security for the believer are no longer applicable! 3. This explains the many warnings in the Scriptures to remain faithful - e.g., Re 2:10 B. THE CHRISTIAN'S RESPONSIBILITY... 1. Take to heart the many admonitions in Scripture: a. To take heed - 1 Co 10:12 b. Gird up the loins of your mind - 1 Pe 1:13 c. Discipline yourself - 1 Co 9:27 d. Root yourself in Christ and His love - Ep 3:17 ; Co 2:7 e. Put on the armor of God, that you might stand - Ep 6:10-18 f. Be strong in the grace of the Lord - 2 Ti 2:1 g. Stand fast in the faith - 1 Co 16:13 h. Resist the devil - Ja 4:7 ; 1 Pe 5:8-9 2. Take advantage of activities conducive to remaining faithful: a. Daily prayer b. Daily Bible study c. Frequent association with fellow Christians d. Attendance at the congregational assemblies e. Development of personal usefulness to the Lord f. Involvement in the work of the Lord g. Acceptance of correction, and repentance as necessary CONCLUSION 1. Yes, the significance of being a Christian is that one is "Guarded By The Power Of God"... a. In the spiritual warfare that we face, we can stand strong "in the power of His might" - Ep 6:10-13 b. In resisting the devil, God will "perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle" us - 1 Pe 5:9-10 2. But never lose sight of the importance of our faith... a. Our resistance must be "steadfast in the faith" - 1 Pe 5:9 b. We are "kept by the power of God THROUGH FAITH" - 1 Pe 1:5 If we seek to enjoy being "Guarded By The Power Of God", then let us not forget the admonition of our glorified Lord: "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Re 2:10 ) Are you remaining faithful to the Lord?