Summary: Peter calls on Christians to emit the steady radiance of Christ in them into the world .
I like the Peanuts cartoon where Lucy demands that Linus change TV channel by threatening him w/ her fist if he didn’t do as she asked. Linus asks, "What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" Lucy says, "These (5) fingers…Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them together into a single fist they form a weapon that’s terrible to behold." Linus says, "Which channel do you want?" Then he turns away, looks at his fingers, and says, "Why can’t you guys get organized like that?
We’ve been in a series in 1st Peter entitled GLOW. When something glows it emits a steady radiance of light. In this epistle, Peter calls on Christians to emit the steady radiance of Christ in them into the world around them by calling us to a life of submission to Christ. The simple reality is the world will only see Christ thru us if they see Christ in us. Meaning we’ve got to get ourselves organized under Him and in alignment w/ His Word.
The most noticeable way for people see Jesus in our lives is in our attitude/conduct w/ others. In particular, Peter points out (4) primary areas where our submission should thrive:
• Formal Relationships – in submission to gov.
• Financial Relationships – in submission to work
• Family Relationships – in submission to spouse
The final area where our submission bears witness is in our fellowship relationships w/ other believers w/in the church. Peter states that the good life requires that these relationships interact and intersect.
Finally, all of you (believers) live in harmony w/ one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil w/ evil or insult w/ insult, but w/ blessing, b/c to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 1 Pt. 3:8-12
Have you heard – Your attitude determines your altitude? I think Peter would agree w/ such a notion. So much of the Christian life is about our attitude. In fact, Paul challenged the Philippians (and us) to have the same attitude that Christ had for us.
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make my joy complete by agreeing wholeheartedly w/ each other, loving one another, and working together w/ one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had for you.
Peter says there are (6) qualities essential to a right attitude that will determine your altitude in the faith:
I Seek HARMONY
harmony – like-minded. The idea is of an orchestra – while we all play different instruments, b/c we’re tuned to the same pitch and playing the same score, we make music together.
As Christians, we won’t always see eye-to-eye or walk in step together, but we can be committed to the same priorities in Christ. We can strive to achieve the Great Commission as we live in community together spurring each other along toward love/good deeds.
Spurgeon said while we may never be unanimous w/in the church, we can be united if our resolve is to glorify God.
Meaning that while we don’t always think alike, we can commit to thinking together. We can work w/ each other on a common mission. We can get in the boat and row together in the same direction, at the same pace, and at the same cadence – so that together we can accomplish our mission.
II Express SYMPATHY
sympathetic (sumpatheis) feeling what others feel so you can respond to them at the point of their need. It means to suffer with – you feel it in your heart.
This isn’t always easy. I must confess that before we had a son w/ special needs, I’d often see families facing their unique challenges and I felt sorry for them. But now my heart goes out to them.
The key is to NOT always think only about yourself. Our attitude should be like Christ – who put everyone before Himself. Look again at Phi. 2.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality w/ God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a servant and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-7