Summary: Peter gives us some simple commands to help us to love life and see good days.
A. What do you think of when I say “The Good Life?”
1. Did you know that "The Good Life" is a state slogan for the state of Nebraska?
2. “The Good Life” is a philosophical phrase for the life that one would like to live.
3. You might be surprised to know that the phrase is originally associated with Aristotle.
4. There have been songs and movies and Television Shows by that title.
5. I notice that Chuck Colson has a book by that title published in 2005.
B. What really is “The Good Life”?
1. For some it conjures up a life of ease…fishing, swinging, playing golf, or reading a book.
2. For others it conjures up a life of expense…luxury yachts…Caribbean beaches…mountain top chalets…hot tubs and spas and servants.
3. For still others it conjures up images of extreme living…bungee jumping, snowboarding out of helicopters, or wild parties.
C. The Declaration of Independence contains the well-known phrase “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” which its author Thomas Jefferson listed as among the “unalienable rights” God gave to people.
1. For many people in today’s postmodern society, pursuit of that Jeffersonian ideal means primarily chasing after objects of self-gratification such as money, houses, cars, vacations, the best seats at sporting and entertainment events, and health and fitness.
2. Sometimes this pursuit includes the baser aspects of hedonistic living, such as promiscuous sex, frequent alcohol consumption, and the unfettered use of so-called recreational drugs (like marijuana, crack cocaine, and ecstasy).
3. The sad reality is that such things are merely a temporary rush that falls far short of the genuine good life that really satisfies.
D. One of the most notorious 20th century personifications of the hedonistic life was the famed novelist Ernest Hemingway.
1. He’s the author of noted literary works like A Farewell to Arms, and The Old Man and the Sea.
2. He had little regard for the teachings of the Bible or traditional systems of morality.
3. He pursued the “good life” with a vengeance.
4. His literary talent brought him fame and finances enough to allow him to seek pleasure all over the world.
5. However, none of it gave Hemingway any lasting and genuine satisfaction.
6. His life tragically ended with suicide in 1961.
E. Even the pages of Scripture contain examples of individuals who pursued the “good life” in all the wrong places.
1. The best worst example may be Solomon the 3rd king of Israel.
2. He had it all: power, wealth, fame, and over a thousand beautiful women.
3. At one point he wrote, “So I hated life; for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.” (Eccl. 2:17)
4. Solomon came to realize that the good life was not found in great accomplishments or much education; it was not found in pleasure or material possessions.
5. Rather, he concluded his book with these words: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” (Eccl. 12:13)
F. So as we return to 1 Peter, we see Peter addressing this subject in the middle of this letter.
1. We see that Peter recognized that believers are not exempt from serious and varied difficulties that can potentially rob them of life and joy.
2. But still, in spite of the struggles and suffering, Peter shares how a believer can live and love the good life.
3. Let’s spend some time looking at these five verses in order to learn something about how to love life and see good days even in the midst of present and challenging difficulties.
I. Treat Others Rightly
A. Peter began this section: 8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1. Did you notice that Peter began with the word “finally”?
2. This “finally” doesn’t signal the end of the letter, but the conclusion of the current section.
3. Peter began this section of the letter back in chapter two, and he has been addressing a Christian’s conduct in an ungodly and hostile world.
4. After addressing relationships with civil authorities, workplace relationships, and relationships in the home, now Peter addresses how to generally treat others in a right way.
B. As Peter listed these things that enhance our relationships, he began with the command to be like-minded.
1. The word literally means “same think.”
2. In order to live in harmony with others, we must begin with a common commitment to God’s truth that leads to a unity in thought.