Summary: Harmony in relationships requires us to check our tongue, watch our step, and mind our manners (1 Peter 3:10 & 11).
WHAT MUST I DO? SEEK PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER
Big idea: Living in harmony requires us to check our tongue, watch our step, and mind our manners.
We are asking ourselves “What Must I Do?” and looking at the New Testament for answers. We have discovered that “Whatever God’s Word says I MUST do, God knows I CAN do!”
Paul said: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
It is with the confidence of Christ’s help that we approach these Biblical charges.
Kathy * posted a very interesting and pertinent quote on her FaceBook page recently. It comes from Chris Seay’s book, “The Gospel According to Jesus.”
You can’t say to Jesus, “Hey, Jesus, you and I have this great intimate personal relationship, but I am just not into your people. They are too much work. Very needy. They don’t keep their word and they wear too much makeup.” Well, you would be right on some fronts. Jesus’ people are not perfect. They are broken, they will disappoint you, but they will also inspire you. They will fail you, but they will also love you. If you love Jesus and want to be a part of Jesus’ reign, it also means that you are part of Jesus’ (broken people). Welcome to the family.
If there was ever a quote that got to the heart of current conversations here at the Naz it is that one. We are discovering that we are all broken. I preach to you week after week as an “unfinished soul” and you minister to each other week after week as unfinished souls. And yet, by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, we have the potential to genuinely inspire and experience transformation.
One of the challenges that we, God’s people, have in loving, understanding and accepting one another is the fact that we are all flawed and it is easy to focus on each other’s flaws.
I think that is one reason why every New Testament author seems to stress and re-stress the need for God’s people to love each other … because it’s not always easy.
But it is always worth it.
Listen to Peter’s words from 1 Peter 3:8-17. Notice the three “must” statements we find in the text.
8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, "Whoever would love life and see good days MUST keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11 He MUST turn from evil and do good; he MUST seek peace and pursue it. 12 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." 13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened."15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
The power of harmony
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another;
I wonder; do you think Peter might have been thinking of the many Brou-hah-hahs that he had seen in Jesus’ church in its few short years of existence when he wrote those words?
• Peter and Paul had a dust-up in Antioch over how Peter treated different people groups differently.
• Peter certainly knew of the polarizing moment between Paul and Barnabas when they could not see through their differences and had to part ways.
• Maybe Peter was thinking back even further, like when the 12 were debating over who was the greatest.
• Or even right after Jesus’ resurrection when he became more concerned about the marching orders Jesus was going to give John than carrying out the marching orders Jesus had given him (to feed his sheep).