PUBLIC ENEMY #1
(1 PETER 5:8-9)
1. Charles Arthur Floyd, better known as “Pretty Boy Floyd” robbed numerous banks in the Midwest and allegedly killed 10 people, 5 in what was called the Kansas City Massacre in 1933. The FBI branded pretty Boy Floyd as public enemy #1. The FBI killed him in 1934.
2. Miss Parker was 24 when she died. Mr. Barrow was 25. We know them as the notorious “Bonnie and Clyde.” For two years, they held up gas stations, restaurants and banks in the Southwest. They killed 12 people, mostly police officers. Because of his ruthless nature, Clyde Barrow earned the title public enemy #1 of the Southwest. In May of 1934, law enforcement officials killed them.
3. John Dillinger, attracted national attention for a series of crimes committed in the Midwest over 13 months in 1933 & ’34. His gang included “Baby Faced Nelson” and “Pretty Boy” Floyd. They robbed a dozen banks and held up 3 police stations to free fellow gang members. In July of 1933, the FBI identified John Dillinger as public enemy #1. On July 22, 1934, federal agents shot and killed Dillinger as he exited a movie theater.
4. The FBI has always reserved the title public enemy #1 for the most dangerous and notorious criminals.
5. Yet I’m here to tell you they are next to nothing compared to the real public enemy #1.
a. You won’t find his name on a list. His picture will never appear on a wanted poster. He will never be the case study for “America’s Most Wanted.”
b. He is ruthless. Dangerous. Without a conscience. Vicious.
c. His name-Lucifer, Satan, the Devil, Prince of the Power of the Air, robber of souls, destroyer of eternities, devastator of families…He is public enemy #1.
TONIGHT, I WANT TO ACQUAINT YOU WITH PUBLIC ENEMY #1…BY SHARING WITH YOU THREE THINGS WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HIM.
I. FIRST, HE IS OUR ENEMY.
1. The Devil is our enemy. Our foe. Our adversary. He is not a friend.
2. There’s a word in the verse I want you to see, and you may even want to underline it.
3. You see the Devil is not just an enemy, he is…”Your Enemy.”
An insane gunman is Australia became the enemy for a large crowd of people. He killed 34 people. A terrible incident. Yet, for us, it’s headlines. It’s tragic, but he is so far away he cannot harm us. He is an enemy no doubt, but he is not our enemy.
This is not the case with the Devil. He is your enemy…and he is out to get you and me.
4. If Satan went after Jesus Christ, don’t you think he is coming after you and me?
5. Satan is our enemy, and we had better not take him lightly.
II. SECOND, HE IS A SNEAKY ENEMY.
1. The Bible says he…”prowls around.”
2. There is just something sneaky about a prowler. That’s exactly what Satan is-sneaky.
Back when I knew no better, I used to observe Halloween. One night, I drove over to my brother’s apartment, walked up to his door, got down on my knees, put a sheet over my head and pretended to be a trick or treater.
When he opened the door, I said in a high voice, “trick or treat.” He said, “Oh, what a scary ghost. After filling my basket with candy, I jumped to my feet and lunged at him. It scared him to death.
That night, I was certainly a sneaky person.
3. Satan is also very sneaky. He intervenes in situations without us knowing he is there.
4. In what areas of your life does Satan subtle attack you the most? Whatever it is, you can be sure that he is there trying influencing the situation.
III. THIRD, HE IS A DEFEATABLE ENEMY.
1. Every person labeled as public enemy #1 was a loser. Every one of them was gunned down or spent their lives in prison. They did some damage. They were dangerous. But they were ultimately defeated.
2. Satan will do some damage. He is dangerous. However, he will ultimately be defeated by the victorious Jesus, and can be defeated in our lives as well.
3. How can we defeat Satan?
a. First, to defeat Satan, we must be alert (1 Pet. 4:8).
Joe Lewis was the heavyweight-boxing champion of the world. He fought 71 times professionally; he lost only once. During the decade and a half, he held his title. He defended it 25 times.
Bill Stern, the voice of American sports on radio, decided toward the end of the Brown Bomber’s career that he would interview him and find out the technique or the secret that Lewis employed in fighting his opponents and how he could win over people who were at times much larger than he.
His answer was very simple: “I study my opponent, I plan my fight very carefully. The results are always the same. 1) I’m never surprised and 2) I stay on the offensive.”
That’s pretty good counsel for dealing with the Devil. Satan wins many of his attacks and victories because he surprises us. We need to be alert.
b. Second, to defeat Satan, we must be self-controlled (1 Pet. 4:8).
(1) This means that we need to be able to say “NO” to Satan’s temptations.
(2) What can help us to say “NO”?
(a) Prayer (Mt. 6:13; Eph. 6:10; 2 Thess. 3:3).
(b) Predetermine to say “No” instead of “maybe” (Gen. 39:9).
c. Third, to defeat Satan, we must fight him to the end.
Malcolm Collins, a missionary in Africa shared what he told the children to do in case they encountered a hungry lion. The first thing to remember is that you should never try to flee. That would mean certain death. The lion can run much faster than we can. Next, you should try to look very brave and stare right back into the Lion’s eyes. If you are successful, he will back down and run away. However, if that does not work, you should be prepared for the lion to attack you. Have your spear ready so that when he leaps upon you, he will land on the spear and be killed.
(1) This is not only good advice should we encounter a hungry lion, but it is good counsel as we face the roaring lion called the Devil.
(2) When we encounter his attacks, we shouldn’t run. We should resist. The Greek word for resist means “to stand against.”
(3) We must make a pledge to fight the Devil to the end.
An elderly preacher is reported to have prayed the following prayer each day: “O Lord, give me a backbone as big as a saw log and ribs like the large timbers under the church floor. Put iron shoes on my feet and galvanized breeches on my body. Give me a rhinoceros hide for skin, and hang up a wagonload of determination in the gable-end of my soul. Help me to sign the contract to fight the Devil as long as I’ve got a tooth—and then gum him until I die.”
(4) You are not the only one fighting Satan. We are all fighting Satan together. We must fight hand in hand. We need not fight each other, instead we need to fight Satan together.
1. Public Enemy #1 is out to devour you, your family, your children, your grandchildren, your spouse, your parents, your preacher, your teachers, the youth, the young marrieds, the seniors, the single parents, the employed, unemployed, and retired.
2. We can defeat our enemy if we stay alert, self-controlled, and be willing to fight until the end.
3. It’s possible Satan has found a toehold in your life. You may be feeling as if you have been losing ground, hurting, defeated, and wondering how could God really even love you after what’s been happening.
4. You’re not alone. And you can again be victorious, as you allow Jesus to again be the Lord of your life.
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