" Finally all of you live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers be compassionate and humble. 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" 1st Peter 3:8-9
Introduction: In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn't. "What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus. "These five fingers," says Lucy. "Individually they're nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single fist they form a weapon that is terrible to behold." "Which channel do you want?" asks Linus. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, "Why can't you guys get organized like that?
"There are two ways of being united -- one is by being frozen together, and the other is by being melted together. What Christians need is to be united in brotherly love, and then they may expect to have power. Moody's Anecdotes, Page 53
Transition: Someone well said, "whenever you sling mud, you lose ground" You not only lose ground when you sling mud i.e. insult others, and fail to live in harmony and love as Christ loved, but as we will learn today you miss the favor and blessing of God!
" Finally all of you live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers be compassionate and humble. 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" 1st Peter 3:8-9 God desires his people too:
1. "Live in harmony with others"
2. "Be a family"
3. "Be a blessing and too inherit a blessing"
I. Live in harmony with others:
" Finally all of you live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers be compassionate and humble. Peter makes a sweeping challenge to the people of God, it is an all-inclusive call to "living out" what we are so quick to affirm with our lips! To be alive is a gift of God, to live for God is a choice that we make each day and in every moment that comprises that day. Peter declares that living in harmony, is really living! It’s living with the blessing of God on our lives, it’s living that’s refreshing! Are you a refresher?
Who can begin to calculate what encouragement can do to lift a hurting or fearful heart? People, who live in harmony, are refreshers! Encouragers! They understand that harmony by definition: Means agreement, a pleasing interaction! When people in the course of life bump into you, is there a pleasing interaction?
I am reminded of a friend of the apostle Paul, a man by the name of Onesiphorous, who searched hard for the apostle in spite of harsh prison conditions until he found him. Paul spoke of his friend this way in 2 Timothy 1:16-17
" May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorous, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary when he was in Rome he searched hard for me until he found me"
Friends I want to say to you that you can’t live in harmony with one another and not be a refresher! And you can’t be a refresher when you’re not living in harmony! Peter asks you a question that stretches across the centuries are you living in harmony? " Finally all of you live in harmony with one another. "Sharing the same thoughts and attitudes without being clones. We must take "others into consideration when making decisions. And in an age of selfish individualism we are to avoid slipping into a survival of the fittest mentality in the Church. * Andrew Whitman free to hope Pg 119. Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
II. Be a family:
There’s more to living in harmony notice were to be sympathetic, love, as brothers be compassionate and humble. In essence were to be a family and act like a family! The Apostle Paul in Romans 12: 15: In harmony with Peter, writes: Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn" There is an expectation that comes with knowing God, its caring for others! Caring for others! May almighty God so shape and mold this congregation into the image of his son that when one of us cries we all taste salt! Being sympathetic is feeling what someone else feels, it’s an identification that goes well beyond the surface relationships that too often characterize our Christian lives! One of life's major mistakes is being the last member in the family to come down with the flu -- after all the sympathy has run out. *Bill Vaughan, NANA.