Occasion: Sunday Worship 21st September 2014
Introduction: Think about the difficulties of being a Christian in the 1st century compared to today.
- Roman occupation
- Moral decadence
- Abusive dictators
- Shame driven societies
- Jewish animosity
Text: 1 Peter 3:8-12
Purpose: Peter concludes his section on practical Christian living, by explaining how Christians should relate to others.
Proposition: God commands you to love all people without exception.
Interrogative: How can we do this?
Truth 1: Love the brethren: Christians should love one another with fervent brotherly love: 3:8
As you look around this room, you see many different people who have professed faith in Christ, and been joined to this body. We are all very different: different backgrounds, interests, cultures, and occupations. When you speak about your brother, what do you say about him? When you think about him what is in your mind? When you relate to him, is it in sincerity, honesty, and Christian love? There are no exceptions! We are to love with fervent brotherly love, every member of the body of Christ, no matter our differences?
1 John 4:7-21 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar…He who loves God must love his brother also.
John 13:35 All will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
What does brotherly love look like in practical daily living?
- Like-mindedness: Unified, around our common faith and purpose
- Compassion: A sympathetic attitude toward one another.
- Brotherly love: See yourselves as members of the same family
- Tenderheartedness: Feeling affection for them, to the point that it physically moves you favorably toward them.
- Humility: Treat them as better than yourself and show a measure of reverence and honor.
Paul: Prayed fervently for them, asked about them, rebuked them, comforted them, wept with them, wept for them, labored with them, gave himself for their sakes, refused to be a burden to them, and gave them the whole counsel of God.
Truth 2: Love your enemies: Christians should demonstrate trust in the Lord by loving their enemies: 3:9
Not someone you dislike or have trouble getting along with. We are talking about someone who genuinely hates you and desires to harm or ruin you. How are you responding to your enemies? How do you speak about people who have attacked your reputation or threatened you? How are you responding to those who have taken advantage or done painful things to you? What about people who are lying about you, stolen from you, used you to advance their own purposes, or betrayed you?
Those who love their enemies are more like God, demonstrating that they are truly His children, than those who demand justice, though justice will eventually come in God’s time
Consider God’s gracious actions toward the world:
- Common Grace: Matthew 5:44-45 Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
- Saving Grace: 1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us. Romans 5:10 When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.
- Peter confronts our natural response by saying, do not do the following:
- Not returning evil: Not doing things that will cause harm
- Not railing/reviling: Not using critical or abusive language
- Peter presents Christ’s ethic from the Sermon on the Mount: But rather…
- Bless them: Speak favorably about them, pray for their wellbeing, and treat them with kindness.
Christ: Took on human flesh, lived in poverty, was rejected, went to the cross stripped, bloodied, beaten, and mocked, yet prayed for His accusers, showed love to the disciples who would deny Him, said: not my will but yours be done, do not lay this charge to their account, and ministered to Judas for 3 years while knowing he was a hypocrite and a traitor.
Truth 3: Walk in Christian virtue: Christians should strive to walk in holiness, because it is for their own good: 3:9-12
Psalm 34:11-16 Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil.
Do you want a long life filled with good, or do you want God against you? Four commands:
- Do not speak evil: Do not use abusive, threatening, or insulting language. Do not spread gossip, speak crude language, or make a mock of evil. Matthew 5:22 Whoever says to his brother, Raca! shall be in danger of the council…whoever says, You fool! shall be in danger of hell fire.
- Speak the truth: Do not tell lies (deliberate statements to mislead to cover evil actions or attitudes); present a false testimony against someone (especially to get revenge); flatter (false statements to take advantage of someone or conceal hatred), or make commitments you have no intention of keeping. Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD. Matthew 5:37 Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No.
- Turn away from evil: Opportunities to get revenge, harm, steal from, or take advantage for evil purposes. Matthew 5:39 Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also…Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
- Do good by laboring to live in peace with others: You cannot resolve every conflict, but as a Christian, you should always initiate resolving conflicts, and be willing to sacrifice your perceived rights to keep peace. Romans 12:18-21 As much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men…do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
David: Twice refused to kill Saul when he had the opportunity and was encouraged to do it by his men. Later, he showed mercy to the Jonathan’s crippled son, Mephibosheth, when most Kings would have killed all the royalty to secure their throne.
Joseph: Showed affectionate brotherly love to his brothers when he could have imprisoned or executed them, not even demanding an apology.
Conclusion: God commands you to love all people, without exception. Are you doing His will? May God give us the grace to repent of our sins where necessary, and humbly love all people for His sake and to His glory!