Faithlife Sermons

#10 Loving Life

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(A Chosen People – Series in I Peter)

Westgate Chapel 12/31/00                                     I Peter 3:8-12

PROPOSITION:  The follower of Jesus who would love life and enjoy good days must live in his/her calling of being in harmony with the family of God.

I. introduction

-     (READ excerpt from “We Really Do Need Each Other” on group hike).

-     WHAT the author, Reuben Welch, has captured in this story is not just sentimentality…..warm fuzzies for the “touchy feely” ones amongst us.

-     THIS story captures life in God!

-     NOTICE I didn’t say, “life in the church.”

-     LIFE in the church is simply the overflow of your life in God, and mine.

-     AND life in God is life in community…..a community of faith in Jesus.

-     PAUL establishes this truth in I Corinthians 12:27, where he writes,

      “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

-     WE are joined together organically by the life of Christ within each one of us….and your life of discipleship is inseparably connected to each one in this building who is in Christ.

-     AND the real test of your discipleship and mine….

*     Is not how much Bible we can quote.

*     Or if people are healed when we pray for them.

*     Or what spiritual gifts you have.

*     Or how loud you praise or pray.

*     Or how long you have been a Christian.

-     THE real test of your discipleship and mine is how much we love one another.

-     IN I John 2:10, the apostle writes,

      “Whoever loves his brother lives in the light…”

-     THIS is the message of our passage in I Peter 3:8-12 this morning.

-     IT is the Word of the Lord for Westgate Chapel for 2001.

-     YOU ask, “Where is Westgate Chapel going in the new year?”

-     THE apostle Peter is about to tell us.

-     AND in the first four words of verse 8 he explains how wide the scope of the passage is. He says,

      “Finally, all of you…”

-     WHY does he say “all of you?”

-     WELL, back in chapter 2 he addresses the relationship of Christians’ relationship to their government (one of submission), and to their employers, and in chapter 3, to their spouses.

-     BUT now, in I  Peter 3:8, the apostle turns his attention to everyone in every church of Jesus… all of you….and our relationships within each local fellowship of believers.


-     AND from verses 8-12 Peter lists the qualities of our community life in God…qualities that apply to “all of us!”

-     IT is a daunting list indeed.

-     IN verse 9, Peter says that this is the life to which “you were called.”

-     IN other words, this kind of community life is the reason you were originally drawn by God out of darkness and were saved.

-     YOU were called out of sin, not just to be saved from hell and gain heaven in the future. You were called to be in a quality of relationship with God AND a quality of relationship with God’s people….which is our testimony to the world.

-     SO what Peter is about to describe is not an option, it is your calling and mine.

-     LET’S look at these qualities of the God-life briefly, starting in verse 8.


1.   LIVE in harmony with one another.

-     THE literal meaning of the Greek is “minding the same things.”

-     OR “think the same thoughts with one another.”

-     THIS is not a calling to be mindless clones….or the puppets of some local church or leadership.

-     IT is actually in recognition and celebration of the great diversity in the Body of Christ that the Holy Spirit issues a call for harmony…..or same thinking!

-     WITH such a great variety of gifts, abilities, personalities, and ethnicities in the Body of Christ, we need to make sure we hold fast to our common ground….or the tendency will be for competition and division.

-     WHAT is this “same thinking with one another” that produces harmony in the church of Jesus?

-     IT is a determination, when thinking of each other, to focus on the fundamental truths we hold in common.

*     That God’s love each one of us, without any hint of partiality.

*     That God’s grace alone has provided salvation to each one of us, not any intrinsic goodness…salvation is a free undeserved gift.

*     That we all are a chosen people. And that we didn’t choose Him. He chose us.

*     That the great debt for your sin is canceled and you have been adopted, with me, into God’s family.

*     That the gifts and abilities that we have are from God. They are not our own. We didn’t earn them nor do we deserve them. Therefore we cannot take credit for them.

*     That even the measure of faith we have received is determined from above, so none of us can take any credit for that either.....and that even then a mustard seed worth can move mountains.

*     That without Christ none of us can do anything of eternal significance… why elevate anyone as if they are responsible for what God has done through them?

*     That HE who began a good work will be faithful to complete it. HE will be faithful in you and me. That is the only way you and I will make it to the finish line.

*     That HE must increase and we must decrease.

*     That we who serve God have the privilege of being called servants.

-     THESE are the kinds of things that unify us! This is the kind of “same thinking” that will bind us together.

-     WHEN this is our “thinking” about ourselves and each puts us in a frame of mind that God can use to produce harmony in His church in spite of all of our differences.

-     THAT is the essence of harmony. It is not any one note sticking out.

-     WHEREVER God finds believers who are willing to take the lower position in their attitudes instead of all being the lead, that is where He can produce harmony.

-     CAN you imagine what it would be like around here if we thought the same about each other?

-     IT would revolutionize the church of Jesus.

-     LIVE in harmony with one another…..possible only by the indwelling Holy Spirit’s revelation about what Word says we are.

-     IT is what we have been called to.


2.   BE sympathetic.

-     THIS means simply to be sensitive to each other’s feelings.

-     THE meaning comes from the Greek word which literally means to “suffer together.”

-     IN Romans 12:15 Paul describes this same attribute of community life,

      “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

-     THIS is not just feeling sorry for someone.

-     IT is based on recognition that you now share a common life with your brother or sister in Christ.

-     WHAT hurts them, hurts you. What blesses them, blesses you because we are connected. We are one Body.

-     SO be sympathetic… requires first that you get outside of your preoccupation with what you are experiencing and feeling in life.

-     AND second it requires that you find out what the person next to you is feeling.

-     AND lastly, it requires that you enter into their experience by sharing in what they are feeling.

-     BE sympathetic….possible only because of the new heart that God has given you.

-     IT is what we have been called to.


3.   LOVE as brothers.

-     LOVE is a verb, not a feeling about the members of Christ’s Body.

-     AND the reason behind this calling to love is that we are now family.

-     WE have the same Father, and Jesus Christ, our brother.

-     PAUL says, in Romans 8:15 that it is by the Holy Spirit that we have been adopted into God’s family and all can cry “Abba Father!”

-     SO, love as brothers….possible because you are part of the family of God.

-     IT is what we have been called to.


4.   BE compassionate.

-     MEANS to be quick to feel and show affection for someone.

-     AND it is possible through our union with Christ. In Philippians 2:1 Paul says,

      “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion…”

-     SO, be compassionate…possible because you are united with Christ.

-     IT is what we have been called to.


5.   BE…humble.

-     THIS is the simple recognition that without Christ all we have and are is worth nothing…so He must increase and I must decrease.

-     IT is the opposite of a preoccupation with positions and titles and status and privilege.

-     IT is what Paul speaks of in I Corinthians 10:24 when he writes,

      “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

-     IT is what we have been called to.


6.   REPAY evil or insults, with blessing (verse 9).

-     THIS is a paraphrase of verse 9.

-     ONE of the most significant message that Dean Sherman has ever preached here was on his last visit with us….and concerned how seriously God takes verbal curses and/or blessings.

-     AND I obviously cannot re-preach that whole message, except to say that blessing our enemies is the only way to break the evil that they intend for us.

-     JESUS said,

      “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, (28) bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28)

-     THE motivation is the mercy we have received from God through His Son.

-     IT is what we have been called to.


7.   KEEP your tongue from evil and deceitful speech. (verse 10).

-     THIS is a paraphrase of verse 10.

-     THE literal Greek verb is “make to cease.” Stop it!

-     MALICIOUS talk destroys the reputation of another and they are never present to provide the other half of the story….or defend themselves.

-     ALL through the epistles we are told to do those things that build each other up in the most holy faith.

-     ANY malicious talk tears down a brother or sister that Jesus died to save….so stop it. It is a filthy habit we get ourselves into.

-     AS is any dishonest communication.

-     EPHESIANS 4:5 says,

      “…speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”

-     IT is what we have been called to.


8.   TURN from evil (verse 11).

-     THE epistles have plenty of references to our need to flee from sin….and sometimes it requires a radical turning away to demonstrate that the power of that sin has been broken in your life.

-     GOD’S power in you and me is greater than the pull of sin.

-     YOU are fully able to put that stuff behind you.

-     IT is the devil’s lie that you are still in bondage.

-     IT is what we have been called to.


9.   DO good.

-     GOOD is something to be DONE!

-     IT is what we have been called to.


10. SEEK peace and chase after it.

-     DON’T wish for or hope for peace, look for it and chase after it in case it escapes you.

-     IT is what we have been called to.


-     I KNOW this is a lot to digest at one sitting, but all of this is the calling of the righteous.

-     THIS is what we were called out of darkness to live out.

-     THIS is life in God, fleshed out in our relationships at Westgate Chapel…..proof that He is indeed Lord of our lives.




-     WE do not earn our salvation by any of the actions identified by Peter in this passage.

-     OUR motivation to live like Jesus is that we have been saved by Jesus…..our love for Him is at the heart of any act of obedience.

-     BUT….this passage is clear that there are rewards for those who commit themselves to live out the calling….and they are huge!

-     LOOK at verse 9.

-     LIVING out the call of God like I have just described to you…


1.   PUTS you in line for God’s blessing (verse 9).

-     PETER writes,

      “…to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”


2.   CAUSES you to love life and see good days (verse 10).

-     WHEN you are….living in harmony with God’s people, being sympathetic, compassionate, humble, repaying evil with blessing….you are loving life and seeing good days!!!!

-     THINK about what life is like….divided from others, selfish, getting even….We have all been there and can testify that at that moment you are hating life.


3.   THE eyes of the Lord will be on you (verse12).

-     LOOK at this!

-     WHEN you live in the calling, you attract God’s attention.

-     HE watches over you!


4.   THE ears of the Lord will be attentive to your prayers.

-     AND there is more!

-     HIS ears are attentive to your prayers.

-     IN case you think I am making this up….

      “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer…” (I Peter 3:11)

-     PEOPLE….there are blessings that fall on those who value what God values….Christ’s Body, the connected individuals that make up Jesus’ church.

-     PUT yourself in the way of the blessing!

-     YOU want to be blessed of God?

*     Live in harmony with God’s people, including your wife!

-     YOU want to be loving life and seeing good days?

*     Stop gossiping or speaking dishonestly.

-     YOU want the eyes of the Lord watching over you?

*     Turn from evil and do good.

-     YOU want God’s ears attentive to your prayers?

*     Love one another as brother and sister.

IV. conclusion

-     WHY is all of this important?

-     FIRST, it is the way God is and we are family with Him now!

-     SECOND, it is the reason He called you out of darkness into His marvelous light… live with one another the way Peter describes the church of Jesus in these verses.

-     THIRD, it puts you and me in the way of God’s blessing.

-     AND fourth, the last part of verse 12 says,

      “…the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

-     THE tense of the Greek for the verb, “do evil,” is the present continuous, which means an habitual repetition.  In this context is a lifestyle of gossip, of causing division, of arrogance, of selfishness, or of indifference to others.

-     AND there is no indication in the text that this warning is now suddenly for the people outside the church….when the whole passage is directed at believers in the church of Jesus.

-     SO, how about it Westgate Chapel? This is what we are called to in 2001!









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