Summary: We must be willing to live in harmony with one another. We are to bless those who persecute, return love for anger, show grace to all we encounter. It is what the Bible commands that we do … plain and simple.
Unity is Key
1 Peter Sermon Series, Part 8
EASTER SERVICES ON SUNDAY!!
- Why is our testimony so important?
-- v21, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”
-- We are called to remember what Christ went through and willingly follow!
- So, why is does our testimony matter?
- Jesus is the ONLY one who is totally sinless
-- There was no deceit, no lie, and no sin that was committed by the Messiah
-- He was literally the perfect sacrifice of God; suitable for our redemption
-- His testimony before us is the guide; the plumb line; the STANDARD
- Then we discussed our relationship with one another (husband and wife)
-- HUGE: Our spiritual health depends on how WE treat one another!
-- If we treat one another poorly in marriage, we will be off-center with God
- Tonight we are going to examine our relationships IN the church
-- This is a great word of discipleship … I’m praying we will receive it well
- Read 1 Peter 3:8-12
∆ Point 1 – Unity Matters
- Let’s think for a moment of the worst church experience you’ve ever had
-- Are you still hurting from that event or have you moved passed it?
-- I’d be willing to be those that hurt you have probably forgotten what they did
-- Why? Because it didn’t happen “to” them; so they were not hurt
- Peter’s command in v8 is very clear: “BE”
-- It is an active word, present tense, pursuing one another FOR God’s glory
-- RE: Everything we’ve discussed so far has been to glorify Him, not us
- Peter is writing to the church, to those who need to live better for Him
-- APP: We are representatives of Christ; to those outside AND within church
-- IMP: There is just something about having peace in God’s house, it is GOOD!
- Turn to Psalm 133 … read all three verses
Steven C. Wright (from Chuck Colson site) writes:
“The dew from Mount Hermon doesn’t literally fall on Mount Zion. Mount Hermon lies over 100 miles northeast of Jerusalem. With a height of over 9,000 feet, it is the highest mountain in the region and is often snow-capped. Mount Hermon was lush throughout the year with heavy dew, while Mount Zion was desperately dry during the summer months when no rain fell at all. Two of the annual religious festivals fell during these months, so most pilgrims encountered a dry and dusty Jerusalem. But their unity seemed to transform the place! It was so wonderful that it was as if the dew of Mount Hermon was transported down and poured out on Mount Zion.
The unity of believers is a great blessing, but it is not the greatest blessing. As the pilgrims fostered unity in Zion, they were in the place where Yahweh had commanded the blessing of “life forevermore.” The sacrificial priestly ministry in Jerusalem pictured and declared the forgiveness of sins. When our sins are forgiven, we experience reconciliation with God that is not for a moment but for all eternity. Zion was the place where this glorious good news was most evident under the Old Covenant. Under the New Covenant, that good news is told with greater clarity in the proclamation of God’s saving grace that has come through the sacrificial death of Christ. The Church is the new Zion where believers find joy, unity, and eternal life in Jesus.
APP: Psalm 133 pictures the goodness of the unity of believers with two images of drenching from above. Verse 2 speaks of anointing oil poured out on Aaron’s head and verse 3 speaks of the dew of Mount Hermon falling on Mount Zion. Both images anticipate the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17) – a day which pictured the unity of believers in the Church. We are reminded that this unity is ultimately of gift of God that He grants through the work of His Spirit.”
- APP: The aroma that we give off is a good thing; it draws others around us
- This does not mean we will not have differences of opinion or disagree totally
-- We have different gifts which bring us to the table with different viewpoints
-- Our focus is NOT on the differences, but how we handle those in the church
- 1 Peter 1:22, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart”
-- We have a very clear focus here on how we should be dealing with one another
- Harmony within the body of Christ is necessary; it is commanded to us