More on Christian Living
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
From specific exhortations to classes of people such as slaves, masters, husbands and wives, Peter now addresses all Christians. These verses gives us the necessary information to live as true Christians. The subject now is how Christians should treat one another. What is our responsibilities to all God’s children? Peter points out these advices by using the words “finally.” The household of God is to apply the following:
I. Be ye all of one mind
A. Be harmonious.” “Be ye all likeminded,” one in sentiment, of “one accord”.
B. The point of these words is that Christians are to be in agreement as to our purpose. God wants us to have unity of purpose and mind.
C. Harmony among Christians is the point here. Christians think in harmony when they agree on the principles of the Word of God together.
D. The early church operated “with one accord.” The book of Acts uses this phrase eleven times. “One accord” speaks of spiritual harmony. Note the use of this phrase in Acts 1:14 (prayer), obedience (2:1), presence (2:1), purpose (2:46) praise (4:24, 31-37) unity in service (5:12), response to message (8:6), and unity for missions (15:25).
Illustration: Getting Along
Mark Twain used to say he put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment, to see if they could get along. They did, so he put in a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put in a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic; soon there was not a living thing left.
“To remain divided is sinful! Did not our Lord pray, that they may be one, even as we are one”? (John 17:22). A chorus of ecumenical voices keep harping the unity tune. What they are saying is, “Christians of all doctrinal shades and beliefs must come together in one visible organization, regardless… Unite, unite!”
Such teaching is false, reckless and dangerous. Truth alone must determine our alignments. Truth comes before unity. Unity without truth is hazardous. Our Lord’s Prayer in John 17 must be read in its full context. Look at verse 17: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” Only those sanctified through the Word can be one in Christ. To teach otherwise is to betray the Gospel.
From: Charles H. Spurgeon, The Essence of Separation.
II. Having Compassion
A. “Compassion” comes from two words to be affected and with. “Compassion” then means to suffer with someone else, to be affected in like manner.
B. This carries the idea of fellow-identity. This is the interchange of fellow-identity. We get our English word “sympathy” from this Greek word.
C. We must sympathize with the sorrows and also with the blessings of others.
D. Christ’s compassion was manifested on:
1. Weary and heavy-laden. Mt 11:28-30
2. Weak in faith. Isa. 40:11; 42:3; M. 12:20
3. Tempted. Heb. 2:18
4. Afflicted. Lk. 7:13; Jn. 11:33,35
5. Diseased. Mt. 14:14; Mk. 1:41
6. Poor. Mk. 8:2
7. Perishing sinners. Mt. 9:36; Lk. 19:41; Jn. 3:16
III. Love as brethren or love as brothers
A. We are to be brother lovers.
B. The love of God and the love for mankind go hand in hand.
C. If you cannot love your brother whom you see physically, how can you love God whom you cannot see?
D. Do you love the family of God? Are you your brother keeper?
E. Are you a blessing to your brother’s in your home church? How about to missionaries?
Illustration: Love of enemies
In The Grace of Giving, Stephen Olford tells of a Baptist pastor during the American Revolution, Peter Miller, who lived in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and enjoyed the friendship of George Washington. In Ephrata also lived Michael Wittman, an evil-minded sort who did all he could to oppose and humiliate the pastor. One day Michael Wittman was arrested for treason and sentenced to die. Peter Miller travelled seventy miles on foot to Philadelphia to plead for the life of the traitor.
“No, Peter,” General Washington said. “I cannot grant you the life of your friend.”
“My friend!” exclaimed the old preacher. “He’s the bitterest enemy I have.”
“What?” cried Washington. “You’ve walked seventy miles to save the life of an enemy? That puts the matter in different light. I’ll grant your pardon.” And he did.
Peter Miller took Michael Wittman back home to Ephrata—no longer an enemy but a friend.
From: The Grace of Giving, by Stephen Olford
IV. Be pitiful
A. To be pitiful means tender hearted ready to show mercy, of a merciful disposition, Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12.
B. Sensitive to the feelings and needs of others.
C. Others are “cold hearted” the opposite of tender hearted.
D. What kind of heart do you have?
Illustration: Heart in Scripture
Heart is used in Scripture as the most comprehensive term for the authentic person. It is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide. It has been described as “the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity,” “the comprehensive term for a person as a whole; his feelings, desires, passions, thought, understanding and will,” and “the center of a person. The place to which God turns.”
V. Be courteous
A. To be courteous means to be friendly of mind, i.e. kind:
B. I would say it is humility of mind. To be humble minded.
C. God expects us to have an attitude of humility toward other Christians.
Illustration: The Test of a Truly Great Man
It was John Riskin who said, “I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a … feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them.” Andrew Murray said, “The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear others praised while he is forgotten because … he has received the spirit of Jesus, who pleased not Himself, and who sought not His own honor. Therefore, in putting on the Lord Jesus Christ he has put on the heart of compassion, kindness, meekness, longsuffering, and humility.”
M. R. De Haan used to say, “Humility is something we should constantly pray for, yet never thank God that we have.”
Will you follow the Lord’s will for us to do through this short Epistle of Peter? The Bible says that his commandments are not grievous or not hard to obey or follow. Will you obey the Lord? Will you live the way He wants you to?