Summary: Exposition of 1 Peter 3:8
Text: 1 Peter 3:8
Title: Three Marks of a Healthy Church
Date/Place: LSCC, 11/13/05, AM
A. Opening illustration: contrast the Andrea Yates case (postpartum psychosis) that was granted a new trial this week versus the moment of heroism at the Campbell County HS by three principals.
B. Background to passage: Peter uses a strange word here that means “in summary” of all the previously mentioned relationships, going back to chapter two. Then he gives five adjectives. Explain a “chiasm” and why that is important to this text. Therefore Peter calls to this scattered, stressed, persecuted church, and exhorts them to live their Christian faith with mind, with heart, with action.
C. Main thought: We will see in our text three marks of a healthy, albeit scattered and persecuted, church.
A. It Thinks in Unity
1. First word means to unified in thought, or think the same. Last word in list means to have an attitude of humility that you hold your convictions with. A church thinks the same when they have the same goals. There will be a unity on important points of doctrine, ethics, and morals. Individual Christians think the same thing when they allow the Spirit of God to help them determine their goals and means to achieve these goals: when we have the mind of Christ. It is a great paradox of the Christian faith to know that we have the truth, and yet to hold it with great humility, remembering that it was not our own intellectual prowess that brought us to the point where we are.
2. Rom 12:16, 15:5, 1 Cor 1:10, 2:16, Phil 1:27, 2:5-11,
3. Illustration: draft horses the other day at the fair—no problems as long as both horses pulled in the same direction, but occasionally one would go left or right, membership class—“Where are we going?” goals, marriage is like this—Erika and I were somewhere the other day in the midst of conversation, and something we said must have triggered a thought, and it was scary how close our thoughts were, contrast of two preachers—Bro Freddie/Piper,
4. Do we as a church think the same things? Do we have the same goals and purpose? As a church are we striving to glorify God through making Him known in our town, the surrounding ones, our country, and our world and making disciples in all these places? Is the ministry that you have achieving these goals? Are you willing to part with “your ministry” if it is not striving for or meeting this goal. If we get sidetracked with personal agendas, hurt feelings, and wild goose chases then we will lose valuable time and resources to achieve what God has really called us to do. Do we really want a building? This doesn’t mean that you must affirm all other positions, but that you must not always assume that you are right and someone else is wrong.
B. It Feels in Unity
1. Second word here means to empathize with one another, to bear the same emotions as another. It was used in situations where pain was involved, but here in this circumstance joy and passion would be included. He tells them to have the same passions, emotions, and feelings for certain things as others. Fourth word means tenderhearted or full of emotion. It a word that pictured a well of emotion bursting forth from your gut. Peter was exhorting these believers to love God first, and then other Christians, and not to let the present circumstances cause them to become emotionally obsessed with self.
2. Acts 4:32, Rom 12:15, 1 Cor 12:26,
3. Illustration: skit about the man hiding from the other man who is getting a divorce, interesting to see the different ways that it played out in MS, as our ladies cried at every house, most civic organizations are formed on the basis of common emotional commitment—NRA—filing suit in SF over gun ban.
4. As Christians we should have strong feelings for Christ. This is our unifying characteristic. Do you have strong feelings for Christ? Is He your treasure, your one true love, the light of your life, the lover of your soul? Do you have strong feelings for other Christians? Christians should become emotionally involved with one another. Our tendency is to become self-focused when times are difficult for us, but this is not helpful. Selfishness is never helpful! In fact, to focus more on your own problems will probably make you feel worse. We must minister to others in times of suffering, to display the power, love, and compassion of Christ. In your mind think of another Christian or non-Christian in the past week that you have helped to bear their emotional burden. We cannot let the American isolationism affect the common fellowship in the church of Christ! Pray that God would shatter our selfishness, reveal our lack of love for Christ, and break our hearts for the pain of people and the lostness of our neighbors.