Faithlife Sermons

Living for Christ requires Living in Community (Part 2)

Spiritual Habits   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings

God shows us how to live for Him!



How many of you want to live for God and His Glory?
Peter writes to a group of believers who are being persecuted for their faith. These believers are on the fringes of the secular and sinful Roman Culture. These followers of Christ are struggling with suffering because their religion made them different.
Need Element:
A secular psychologist made the following statement: “A sense of belonging to a greater community improves your motivation, health, and happiness. When you see your connection to others, you know that all people struggle and have difficult times. [Thus,] you are not alone.” As a believer, you need the Christian community to live for Christ to your fullest extent. In our time together this morning, I want to show you from how living for Christ requires living in community.
Textual Idea:
Peter urges his readers to live for God by living out their gospel transformation as a Christian community for God’s glory.
Big Idea:
God desires that His Church lives for Him as a community!
How can our church live for God as a community?
Let’s stand and pay honor to God and His Word!


I. We can live for God by praying with earnestness and discipline (vv. 7)

Peter transitions from the goal of transformation—living for God— to the practical manifestations of living for God in the last days (). Peter says: “now, the end of all things is near” (Greek). In the first century, the early church had a firm conviction that Christ’s return was imminent. The word end can be translated as goal or completion. After the resurrection and ascension of Christ, the disciples received a promise: “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” ().
As one writer pointed out, the last days were inaugurated with the “ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Because of this fact, believers are to live for Christ in community in four ways. Peter says: “be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (, KJV). In this verb, we discover two ways that every believer ought to pray. First, the believer must pray with an alert mind (vv. 7b). The phrase be ye. . .sober suggests possessing a serious or an alert mind. Peter encourages his readers to pray with an alert mind. Secondly, believers must pray with a self-controlled mind. The word watch suggests practicing self-control or self-restraint.
It has been said: “the difference between the Christian and the non-Christian is that the former controls his temperament, while the latter is controlled by it.”
Peter reminded his readers to be both “mentally and spiritually alert.” However, it is essential to note that both be ye sober and watch are plural commands that are connected to a plural noun—prayers (προσευχάς). One translation translates this verse: “be earnest and disciplined in your prayers” (, NLT). This provides us with two interesting observations. Since we are living in the last days, you need to be earnest and disciplined in your personal prayer times. However, since we are living in the last days, we need to be sincere and disciplined in our corporate prayers.
Early African converts to Christianity were earnest and regular in private devotions. Each one reportedly had a separate spot in the thicket where he would pour out his heart to God. Over time the paths to these places became well worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. They would kindly remind the negligent one, “Brother, the grass grows on your path.
Why should we pray disciplined and earnest prayers on a personal and corporate level?
Since we are living in the last days, we need to pray disciplined and earnest prayers because we need strength to contend for the faith, share the gospel, and fight the good fight for God’s glory and honor.
In your prayer time, I want to encourage you to pray with an alert mind. You can pray with an alert mind by recognizing the times and redeeming the time. Maybe, you have a lost friend or family member. With the signs of the times appearing all around us, you need to be praying for the salvation of your wayward son, daughter, co-worker, friend, or neighbor. You can also pray with discipline by making prayer a habit. However, I also want to encourage our church to become a praying church. With the imminence of Christ’s return, we need to be praying more, not less.
Paul says: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” ().
God desires that His Church lives for Him as a community by praying with earnestness and discipline. This brings us to our second observation.

II. We can live for God by loving with a forgiving heart (vv. 8)

We notice that Peter urges his readers to embrace an attitude and action of love for one another. First, we see the importance of love within the church. The phrase above all things reminds us of the importance of love within the Christian community.
Paul says: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (, ESV).
Secondly, we notice the expression of love within the church. The word charity refers to a declaration of affection for someone or something. However, he shows us the type of love—intense love. The word fervent carries the idea of constant or earnest. Thirdly, we notice the object of love within the church. The phrase one another an apparent reference to other believers within the local congregation. One of the defining marks of a disciple is a love for other believers (-25). Finally, we notice the reason for love within the local church. Peter says: “because love covers over a multitude of sins” (, NIV). The phrase charity shall cover the multitude of sins is a reference to .
reads: “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”
This phrase could mean several things. I might mean that loving others now will procure forgiveness from God at the end. It could mean that loving others leads a community to holier and more forgiving behaviors. However, it may mean that loving others is the sure sign that they have put away sinful behaviors. Personally, from a contextual standpoint, it seems to suggest that “community that loves one another [can]. . . forgive one another more rapidly when minor issues arise.” Sadly, I find the exact opposite is true about the church. When a minor issue arises, we hold grudges or get angry. We maintain a grudge because somebody forgot our birthday. We get anger because someone said something that hurt our feelings. When you love someone, you are willing to give them!
The most excellent illustration of forgiving others out of love is found in Jesus Christ. We stand forgiven because Christ loved us in our sinful state and wanted us to have a relationship with Him through salvation. If Jesus can forgive you, you can forgive others. Pastor, they do not deserve to be forgiven. You didn’t deserve to be forgiven either. However, God loved you enough to forgive you. Since you have been forgiven, you ought to forgive others.
Why should we forgive one another?
We should forgive one another because Jesus has forgiven us.
Paul says: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (, ESV).
Let me ask you something: do you have constant love for your fellow church member?
You can forgive others because you have been forgiven. The act of forgiving others takes determination, dedication, and devotion to the Savior, the Scriptures, and the saints. When you love Christ, you will love others. When you love others like Christ, you will forgive others like Christ.
God desires that His Church lives for Him as a community by praying and loving others. This brings us to our third observation.

III. We can live for God by showing hospitality without complaining (vv. 9)

As we continue to study this passage, we notice that Peter says: “use hospitality one to another without grudging” (). You could say it this way: “show hospitality to one another without complaining” (Greek). The phrase show hospitality means to display generosity or kindness towards someone by providing lodging or food. The mark of hospitality is an outward manifestation of a genuine disciple of Christ (, , , and ). Within the local church, we ought to be people to show hospitality towards one another. However, Peter adds a modifier to this command—“without complaining.” The word grudging means to complain or murmur. It is easy to show hospitality; it’s hard to do it without complaining about it. Over time, we can become tired of serving those who have worn-out their welcome. When we are tired of helping others, we must suppress the desire to complain about those whom we are serving and the situation surrounding our hospitable service.
A traveling Christian singer penned the following statement: ““I am presently completing the second year of a three-year survey on the hospitality or lack of it in churches. To date, of the 195 churches I have visited, I was spoken to in only one by someone other than an official greeter—and that was to ask me to move my feet.”
Why should we be hospitable to our fellow church members?
We should be hospitable because God has been hospitable to us! He welcomed us into His family, made a sit for us at the table, and prepared a place for us to rest.
I want to encourage you to become hospitable towards others. Invite someone over to your house to eat dinner or watch a movie. If someone needs a place to stay, you can offer them your guest bedroom. During December, we have our Wednesday evening meetings at a different person’s house. An excellent way for you to apply this passage is by hosting a prayer meeting at your home. However, we must do it without complaining about cooking for our guests and cleaning for our guests.
God desires that His Church lives for Him as a community by praying with faithfulness, loving with forgiveness, and showing hospitality. This brings us to our fourth observation.

IV. We can live for God by serving with our gifts (vv. 10-11)

First, we should use our gifts to serve Christ and His Church (vv. 10a). Peter says: “just as each person has received a gift for one another, use it in serving one another” (Greek). The word received carries the idea of obtaining something. At Salvation, God gifted you with unique gifts for his service.
Paul says: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” ().
The word minister suggests serving. We are to use our gifts to serve Christ and His Church. Once again, Peter uses the term one another. As a Christian, you are to use your gifts to benefit your Christian Community.
Pauls says it this way: “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (, ESV).
Secondly, we should be good stewards of our gifts (vv. 10b). We notice that we are to use our gifts “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (Greek). The word steward describes the act of managing over something or someone. God gifted us to serve Him and His Church with His Grace. Paul says: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (, ESV). Since God’s gifts are a manifestation of his grace, we are to be good stewards of the expression of God’s grace by using our Gifts for the benefits of the Church and the Kingdom.
Finally, we should use our gifts for God’s glory (vv. 11). From and , we come to understand that preaching/teaching is a spiritual gift. The word oracles means a divine saying, message, or word. Peter says: "If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God” (, NIV). The pulpit is not a place for personal opinions but a place where God’s word to be communicated to God’s People. When a pastor preaches a biblical message, God is glorified because His Word convicts, confronts, and changes our lives.
God says: “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (, ESV).
From and , we come to understand that serving is a spiritual gift. Once again, the word minister describes the act of serving. Peter says: “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides” (, NIV). The word strength suggests the power or capability do something. When you serve Christ, you can serve in your own power, or you can utilize Christ’s power. We must rely upon His power to be successful in ministry. The purpose of our gifts is clearly described in the final portion of the verse. One translation says: “so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever” (, CSB). The Westminster Confession of Faith reminds us that the chief and highest end of man “is to glorify God and fully to enjoy him forever.”
A young schoolboy was trying out for a part in the school play. His mother knew that he had set his heart on it, though she was afraid he would not be chosen. On the day the parts were awarded, she drove to school to pick him up. The young lad rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. Then he said some words to her that should remain a lesson to us all: “I have been chosen to clap and cheer!” In the same way, God has lovingly chosen each of us for different and special tasks.
Why should we serve God with our Gifts?
We should serve God with our gifts because He deserves glory when we use our gifts.
Paul says: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” ().
Let me ask you an important question: are you serving Christ with your spiritual gifts?
If you have the gift of teaching, you can use your gift for God’s glory by teaching others about God’s word within the context of our church. If you have the gift of serving, you can use your gift for God’s glory by serving within the local church. If you have a serving gift (ministering, giving, showing mercy, and encouraging), you should use your gift for God’s glory. If you have the gift of giving, you can give God glory by giving towards His word. If you have the gift of showing mercy, you can use your gift for God’s glory by extending mercy to others. If you have the gift of encouragement, you can use your gift by calling someone, sending a card or a text, or visiting someone.
God desires that His Church lives for Him as a community by praying with faithfulness, loving with forgiveness, showing hospitality, and serving Christ and His Church with our spiritual gifts.


Living for God means that God’s people pray with faithfulness, love with forgiveness, show hospitality, and serve Christ and His Church with their spiritual gifts.
The Bible teaches us what this looks like: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” ().
God invites us to live for Him. You can live for Him by praying with earnestness and discipline. You can also live for Christ by loving your brothers and sisters in Christ. You can live for the Lord by showing hospitality to others. Finally, you can live for Christ by using your spiritual gifts for Christ.
I want you to encourage you to live for Christ.
Would you make the commitment to pray with an alert mind? Would you make the decision to love your fellow believers? Would you dedicate yourself to showing hospitality? Would you make the commitment to use your gifts for Christ and His church?
Related Media
Related Sermons