Summary: how are we to love and serve one another in church?
The first letter of the Apostle Peter basically tells Christians to live a godly lives in spite of troubles and sufferings in the world. The letter is God’s Word and it tells us why and how to live godly lives. Please open your Bibles to 1 Peter Chapter 4…..
Let us pray together our commitment to God’s Word before reading our text…….
We will focus on v8-11but read along with me 1 Peter 4:1-11……….
As we noted last week from v1-7, God calls Christians to live a certain way; Christians are to live against the flow of the pattern of this world.
Now in general, v8-11 states how Christians are to live with one another and the expected results from that way of life.
Basically, Christians are called to love one another; and we can love because God loves us first (1 John 4:19).
How do we know God loves us??
1. There is the basic gift of life! A life to enjoy! But again, let us remind ourselves that God wants us to enjoy life but we must be real, not live a life of fantasy. There’s a meaningful life with God and there’s a life of fantasy when we leave God out. God did nopt have to create people but He did because of love!
2. God gave us “grace” through Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 4:1.
Grace is undeserved favor; God Jesus Christ who is righteous suffered and died to provide for forgiveness of sins; with a gift, the unrighteous can be righteous in the sight of God through Jesus Christ; And the righteous will live forever with God = Christians are given eternal life in heaven! This is love!
3. We can note from v11, God gives us His Word and Strength for serving.
In other words, God gives instructions and empowers the Christian!
Let us all quietly pause for a moment and meditate on these truths about God’s love for us…
God loves us so we can love. How do we love?
The original Greek word for love here of course is agape. Agape love is to be always thinking of the betterment of the other; and so, we do things for one another to help each other not for self gains.
Agape love should always be our motive for doing things for one another...
In v9-11 we can note how this love is manifested.
v9…. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. What does it mean to be hospitable?
Merriam’s Dictionary actually gives us good defintions; hospitality means:
a. given to generous and cordial reception of guests
b. promising or suggesting generous and cordial welcome
c. offering a pleasant or sustaining environment
This is of course one of the reasons why we do our Fellowship lunches; an opportunity to be hospitable. But of course we also need to go beyond our lunches; to truly help, care, and provide for one another beyond these church walls. How often are we thinking of the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ?
Not only in hospitality, but
v10-11: tells us to serve one another in the church family with the “gifts” the Holy Spirit provides. Because Jesus Christ is building His church, every Christian is given a spiritual gift to serve others for Christ’s Church. There are various gifts for the needs of the church. A few gifts are noted here in 1 Peter 4; we can note more in other Scriptures; I encourage you to study those gifts and pray which gift(s) you have.
But let us be careful in our wanting and doing; as Christians we are still battling against our sinful natures; watch out for ego and pride as we use our gifts and minister. It is so easy to praise people instead of God when people do things for us. As indicated in v11, as we love and serve one another we must depend on Jesus Christ and give the glory to Jesus Christ.
The result of our love and service to one another is thanksgiving and praise to Jesus Christ!
Let us close by noting the major applications for our lives.
Many of you know Philippians 4:13….
Turn briefly to that verse with me and start with v12…..
You see, again, we must be careful in pulling verses out of context. What is the apostle Paul talking about before v13??
The Apostle Paul learned to be content in life, therefore he could say that he could do all things through… whom??
You see, the Apostle Paul focused on the love of God through Jesus Christ. And so, in relation to our passage today, the first thing we need to apply to our lives is,
1. Know and always keep in mind God’s love through Christ.
Yes, symbols like a cross or other objects can be reminders for us of the love of God; but why don’t we just do what God tells us to do; Always put on the Full Armor of God! Do you know it? Are you putting it on daily?