Fighting the Wrong Battle (John #62)

Text: John 18:10-11

Fighting the wrong battle stems from you misinterpreting the threat.  Peter thought the threat was coming from the angry mob, but that wasn’t the threat.  Police and military conduct training where you enter a building and threats and non threats must be identified very quickly.

Fighting the wrong battle obviously means he’s willing to fight.  It’s not a problem with zeal.  It’s not that he doesn’t have good intentions.  He does.

Confusion (vs 10)

  • You use the wrong weapon
    • Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it,
      • Peter isn’t going to fight this battle with steel.  Man’s machinery does not win in a spiritual battle.
      • In a spiritual crisis he used the material instead of the spiritual.
    • It’s a worldly philosophy based on ignored truth.
      • Throw money at it and that will eliminate the problems.
      • Surround yourself with stuff and that will insulate you from danger.
    • This also goes the other way when we spiritualize something God has said go do with your own two hands.
      • Sometimes the answer is to get a job.
      • Sometimes the answer is to prepare for the end.  But a lazy Christian would say, God will provide.
  • You misinterpret victory
    • And smote the high priest’s servant
    • Peter goes after the guy at the top thinking if he can kill him he can save Jesus and disperse the mob.
    • Let’s just say Peter was able to kill the whole mob like Rambo.  Was that success?  No.  The Lord had to go to the cross.
    • Victory was submission.  Yielding brought victory.
    • We walk by faith and not by sight.  The just shall live by faith.
      • Big crowd is often interpreted as success.  Now, I’d rather see more people listening to preaching than less.  But a crowd is not success if Jesus Christ isn’t in it.
      • Landing a big high paying job, but it takes you out of church.
      • How about the widow and her two mites?  The Lord stopped everything to point out that was spiritual victory.
    • Probably the biggest misinterpretation of victory in a Christian’s life is that in this life it is a one time thing.
  • You hurt people
    • And cut off his right ear.
    • Peter thinks he can successfully defend the Lord by use of force aimed at an enemy.
    • Reminds me of Paul’s insight to the Ephesians, we wrestle not against flesh and blood.

Correction (vs 11)

  • In an effort to do good, you’re working against God’s will.  Which means you’re out of the will of God.
  • Humbling thought that everything you just did was counterproductive to the work of God.  And Peter had just thrown his life in front of the Lord Jesus Christ as his friend.
  • Put up your sword and get out the sword of the spirit.
    • The Lord Jesus Christ told Peter multiple times that he was headed to the cross.  Peter knew that because Peter scolded him one time for saying it, to which the Lord rebuked Satan inside of Peter.
    • The Lord couldn’t have made it any clearer even on that night that he would be arrested and tried and crucified.  Yet, Peter chose to ignore the words of God.
    • Matthew 26:31-35, 39-41


  • Malchus – the obvious victim.  Sin creates victims.
  • Peter
    • wounded spirit, his feelings were hurt
    • He is out of the ministry by morning.  Matthew 26:74-75 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.


  • Now the real needful instruction is to identify why Peter got involved in the wrong battle.
  • Failed to listen to the words of God – Matthew 26:31-34 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
  • Failed to pray – Matthew 26:40-46 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
  • When the secret things aren’t done, then there will be an overemphasis on the public things.
  • 1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.