March 8, 2023
Standing Firm in the Face of Spiritual Adversity – Luke 22:31-34
Pastor Eric’s sermon was titled “Standing Firm in the Face of Spiritual Adversity” and was based on Luke 22. He talked about how there is an enemy who is against us, and as much as God has a good plan for our lives, the enemy has a plan to kill, steal, and destroy. He emphasized the importance of being alert and aware of the enemy’s schemes. Pastor Eric also highlighted Jesus’ warning to Peter about Satan’s desire to sift him and the other disciples and how Jesus had prayed for Peter’s faith not to fail. He explained the significance of Jesus repeating Peter’s name twice and how it was used to emphasize, show affection, and bring correction.
Read Luke 22:31-34
Jesus said, repeating Peter’s name twice. This repetition holds great significance, as it was commonly used in Jesus’ time for emphasis, affection, or correction. In Luke 10, Jesus repeats Martha‘s name twice to emphasize the importance of his message to her, and in Matthew 23:37, he repeats Jerusalem’s name to express his sorrow over the city. By repeating Peter’s name, Jesus wanted to emphasize the importance of what he was about to share with him, to show him affection despite his future denial, and possibly to bring correction if necessary. Most scholars believe that this repetition was a way for Jesus to highlight the seriousness of the warning he was about to give Peter, and that his message was one that we should all take seriously.
Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.
In the passage, Jesus starts by addressing Simon twice before revealing that Satan has requested to sift all of them like wheat. This mention of the adversary is significant, as the devil’s name in Greek means “the adversary.” However, many people today dismiss the existence of the devil as a mere superstition or myth created to explain the existence of evil. Despite this, surveys and polls show that a significant portion of the population still believes in the devil or a devil-like figure, albeit not as much as they believe in God.
For Christians who follow the Bible, the existence of Satan is not in question. The Bible portrays Satan as a fallen angel who rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven along with other angels who followed him. He is the enemy of God and humanity, seeking to kill, steal, and destroy. He uses craftiness to tempt people into sin and opposes the work of God in the world. Therefore, for those who believe in the Bible and follow Jesus, the reality of Satan’s existence is something that must be taken seriously.
Jesus’ statement to Simon Peter that Satan had asked to sift them all like wheat means that there is an unseen spiritual world in which the devil tries to oppose God’s work and mission. It is important to understand that the devil is a limited being and needs permission before he can act against the children of God. This reassures believers that they have spiritual authority over the enemy and all his power. However, those who do not belong to Jesus and have not surrendered their lives to Him are vulnerable to the devil’s influence. The devil can only act within the limits set by God, and believers should not be intimidated or afraid of him but instead stand firm on their faith in God’s protection and authority. In Luke 22 and in the book of Job, it is clear that permission is required for actions to be taken.
Separating wheat or sifting, involves vigorously shaking it to remove the chaff or shells of grains and seeds. Similarly, Satan seeks to test the faith of disciples and exploit any weaknesses or flaws he can find. Satan’s ultimate goal seems to be proving that at least some disciples will fail under severe testing.
Another lesson we learn is that the devil is after our faith. Satan wants to erode our faith and shake us to find weaknesses to exploit. He may use deception, doubt, despair, and division to weaken our faith. The end goal is to make us lose our faith and become vulnerable to harm. The shield of faith protects us from the fiery arrows of the enemy, such as doubt, fear, temptation, and deception. Without faith, our connection with God is compromised, and we may struggle in prayer, believing our sins are forgiven and doubting our salvation. We must pray, put on the full armor of God, and be alert to the devil’s schemes. Trials and spiritual attacks may happen, but we must trust in God and resist the devil.
Watch the sermon here: