Summary: Peter, like Jesus, John, and Paul commands us to love others deeply.


1 Peter 4:8

READ 1 Peter 4:8

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”


Jacob and Esau are two brothers that we meet in Genesis 25. Even from their birth, it was said that these two brothers would not get along. In fact, Genesis 25:23 says, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger." The two boys grew up in a home with favoritism and poor parenting skills. Jacob stole a birth right and blessing from Esau and caused great hurt in his family. Genesis 27:41 tells us, “Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob." Esau was hurt and bitter to the point that he had plans to kill his brother. Jacob ran away. He stayed away from his family for years and eventually had a family of his own.

The day came when Jacob traveled back home and he had to deal with his brother. Jacob found out his brother was coming to meet him with 400 men. Jacob sent gifts ahead of his arrival for the purpose that Esau’s heart might be softened. He instructed each group to be humble, respectful, and to offer the gifts to Esau. Goats were given in humbleness. Rams were given with respect. Camels were given to soften hearts. Bulls and donkeys were all given to apologize.

Genesis 33:3-11 says, “He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. 4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. 5 Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. "Who are these with you?" he asked. Jacob answered, "They are the children God has graciously given your servant." 6 Then the maidservants and their children approached and bowed down. 7 Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel, and they too bowed down. 8 Esau asked, "What do you mean by all these droves I met?" "To find favor in your eyes, my lord," he said. 9 But Esau said, "I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself." 10 "No, please!" said Jacob. "If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably. 11 Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need." And because Jacob insisted, Esau accepted it.”

READ 1 Peter 4:8

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”


There is another story in Genesis 50 which surrounds brothers and deep hurt. Jacob is #11 of the 12 sons of Jacob (also called Israel). He was sold into slavery by his brothers because of jealousy. He became a slave. He was falsely accused of a crime and ended up in prison. He was forgotten. God ended up blessing him and he was in a position to help the nation he was living in and his family through severe drought and famine. His family comes and he is able to provide them a place to live, food, and wealth. Joseph’s father dies and his brothers are worried that their sin of selling him into slavery would come back to haunt them.

Genesis 50:14-21 says, “After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all the others who had gone with him to bury his father. 15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?" 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, "Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 'This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.' Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father." When their message came to him, Joseph wept. 18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said. 19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”

READ 1 Peter 4:8

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”


King Saul was the man who assumed the position of king of Israel at the anointing of the Prophet Samuel. Saul was a man who led well for awhile, but then began to turn his back on God. God shared with him that his reign would end and the kingdom would be given to another. This did not sit well with Saul. A young man named David is anointed to be king after Saul. Saul, in his jealousy and rage, seeks to kill David. He throws spears at David. He sends men to hurt him. He chases him with soldiers to kill him. 1 Samuel 24 records for us one event amongst many as Saul is trying to kill David.

1 Samuel 24:2-6 says, “So Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats. 3 He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. 4 The men said, "This is the day the LORD spoke of when he said to you, 'I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.'" Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6 He said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD's anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD."

David allows Saul to move away from the cave and then calls out after him. David shows him the corner of his robe and lays out that he is not after Saul’s life in any way. David showed mercy and tells Saul he is not guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. What do you think Saul’s reaction was? What did the man seeking to kill him do when he recognized his voice and heard his words?

1 Samuel 24: 17-19 says, “And [Saul] wept aloud. 17 "You are more righteous than I," he said. "You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me of the good you did to me; the LORD delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today.”

READ 1 Peter 4:8

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”


Jesus Christ met many people during His ministry. He met people who were royalty. He met religious leaders. He met drunks. He met the physically ill. He met the spiritually ill. Jesus once even met a woman who was brought to him who had been caught in the act of adultery. The woman is brought before Jesus to trap Him with the situation. If He said to stone the woman, He could be turned into the Roman authorities for illegally leveling out a judgment. If He said not to stone the woman, the religious leaders would say He did not hold up the Law of Moses.

John 8:6-11 says, “But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11 "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

READ 1 Peter 4:8

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”


Jesus tells a parable in Luke 15 which says much about our verse today. Luke 15:11-24 says, “Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. 13 "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20 So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.”

READ 1 Peter 4:8

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

We have heard stories today about…

… brothers who have a broken relationship and forgiveness is needed

… a family that endured trials and grudges were a real possibility

… a contentious relationship where one party was enraged at another

… a subordinate having extreme problems with a boss

… a woman who made very poor moral choices has a broken marriage

… a woman who made very poor moral choices has a broken relationship with God

… a son rejects his family and misuses the blessings he was given

… a son rejects the teachings of his father and lives the way he wants

Each one of these small stories are not fictional stories, but events and trials that happened to real people. Perhaps as you were listening to them, you also thought of situations in your life that are similar. Perhaps there is a dear friendship that has inexplicably become strained and difficult.

Perhaps your family situation is less than desirable and there are grudges digging in.

Perhaps you have a work situation that causes you great stress and anxiety.

So let’s briefly look deeper into the verse that I have been reading to you all morning.

READ 1 Peter 4:8

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”


The Apostle Peter summarizes much of what he has been saying and puts the following phrase at the top of the list of characteristics that should define believers in Jesus Christ. Love is the umbrella command which covers all the other laws, commands, and attitudes that we should have. As believers, our defining attitude should be love. As believers, our defining characteristic should be love.

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

John 15:17 “This is my command: Love each other.”

Romans 13:10 “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

James 2:8 “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.”

1 John 3:11 “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”


I found it interesting in this verse that Peter does not just say, “love each other.” Peter not only tells us to have “agape” love for each other, which in the Bible is that love that is flavored with an unconditional quality, but he tells us to do so “deeply.”

Deeply meaning love on purpose.

Deeply meaning love constantly.

Deeply meaning in an unfailing manner.

Deeply meaning with all the effort and zeal you can muster.

Deeply meaning you ask God to help you love in this way.

The kind of deep love we are to have for the people around us is the kind of love that is unexpected, undeserved, and constant. You and I need to understand that the kind of love Peter is talking about here and the kind that Jesus Christ commands us to have and the kind of love all the other Apostles talk about is love that the other person absolutely does not deserve. They haven’t earned it. They haven’t asked for it. But we love anyway. This kind of love can be commanded because “agape” love is not a feeling, it is a choice we make to act and be love.


Peter when thinking about love remembers Proverbs 10:12 which says, “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.” Proverbs does not teach us that love covers over or atones for sin. Proverbs, and by extension the Apostle Peter, does tell us that love does not stir up sin and actually buries it under layers of love.

Love fuels our will to forgive which silences problems.

Love is our motivation to live in peace when stress has occurred.

Love is our motivation to give grace because we know God has first given grace to us.

Love covers over small offenses and large ones that we might live together in peace.

READ 1 Peter 4:8

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”


* Take out your phone and text someone you have been having such a hard time with and tell them “I am choosing to love you no matter what.” Do it now. I’ll wait.

* Write the name of a person on your sermon notes that you have found it difficult to love. In a minute, I want you to pray that God would give you “agape” continual love for them in speech and in actions.

* Other?

* Other?