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Summary: Why are we commanded to love one another fervently as brothers and sisters in Christ?

I Peter 1:22-25 “Spirit-filled Love”

Intro—Last week, as we were looking at the book of First Peter, we saw that Peter calls on us, because of the great promises of God that we possess and the living hope that we are given, to live a holy life. Holy living means doing what God wants us to do, but we saw that there’s more to it than just doing some things and not doing others...there is also a mental aspect to holiness—preparing, or as Peter says, girding up our minds—and there is an emotional aspect to holiness—there is a reverent awe for God the Father connected with knowing that His Son, our Lord, died and rose again for our sin. Peter says that we need to remember that we weren’t bought and paid for with anything we have access to, whether gold or silver or anything we consider precious here on earth—our salvation is purchased with the blood of One who has lived since before the beginning of everything we know and lives on today…

So now, Peter is going to turn from the subject of holy living, how we respond to God, to another issue—how we relate to one another...So the progression, if you’ve been following these messages for a few weeks, is that Peter explains what God has done and is doing for the believer, and what He is going to do...then Peter tells the believer what the appropriate response to God is...Holy Living...now Peter wants to talk about how believers, each of whom possess he same promises, and each of whom have the same obligations, should behave toward each other.

Peter says, in verse 22, that we are to love one another “fervently.” What does “fervently” mean? In Acts chapter 12, this same word is used concerning the prayers offered up for Peter while he was imprisoned by Herod. There it is translated as “constantly” or “earnestly.” So Peter is commanding believers to constantly and earnestly love one another because of what God has done in their lives.

Well, the first question that comes to mind for me, and the one I want to discuss today, is “why?” Why does God desire, why does Peter command, love of the brethren? Why is it important that we be seen as having a fervent love for one another? There are several reasons for command to love one another and I want to look at them this morning…

I. The first reason that we are commanded to love one another fervently is because in demonstrates our discipleship. In John Chapter 13, Jesus, speaking to His disciples, says this: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Now notice what Jesus didn’t say in giving this commandment...he didn’t say that once you’ve handed out the tracts or had the opportunity to witness to somebody, you should then show love to one another, because this is a good feature of Christianity that it would be a good thing to demonstrate. No, Jesus says if you love one another, if you really love one another, the world will know you. Not by what you say, not by how you dress, not by where you live...by how you love one another.

This tells us two things...the first is that the world has no idea what godly love is...Jesus says if they see it in us, they will recognize it as something totally outside their earthly experience. If we are properly fulfilling this command, our unsaved neighbors will be forced to recognize that there’s something different about us. Unfortunately, the second thing it tells us is that we probably are not fulfilling the commandment very well...now you may say, “wait a minute pastor, I love the unsaved and I witness and I pray for them and I certainly do my best to relate to them and isn’t that love?” Yes, it is, but notice that this particular command isn’t to love the unsaved...the command is to love one another so that everyone can see what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. We can spend our thoughts, our resources, our prayers, our time, our money loving the unsaved, but if they don’t see love in the body, what is all that worth to them? It’s just a gimmick, it’s just a come-on, the gospel is just another commercial...love in the body of Christ is crucial if people are going to believe that there’s something different about being a follower of Jesus Christ.

II. The second reason fervent love of our brothers and sisters in Christ is important is because it shows forth the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives...in verse 22 of First Peter 1, Peter says “since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…

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