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As we noticed this morning, making peace is a challenging endeavor. In fact, ot be a peacemaker we must adopt unnatural attitudes and actions. We must be like Christ. This is why the peacemaker is mentioned in Matthew 5. It is truly a paradoxical quality of the spiritual person.
We also noticed this morning that making peace required the right attitudes as well as the right actions. What are the attitudes that make for peace? Peter helps us here
1 Peter 3:8-12 8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. 11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”
I. Attitudes of Pursuing Peace. – Peter mentions some key elements to having a good life and pursuing a peaceful life. These qualities are first attitudes, and then the acts of obedience that flow from them.
A. “Be of One Mind” (NASV, “harmonious”)…The phrase means to be united in the same purpose, the same goal. Unity of practice begins in a unity of purpose. We have to all be seeking the same thing. Jesus prayed for this kind of unity in John 17:20-21
1. The church displayed this type of unity in its beginning. Acts 4:32 “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. The basis of their shared life was twofold.
a. First, they were preoccupied with ministering to each other. So intent were they on meeting each other’s needs that they had no concern for gratifying their own desires. Theirs was a humility stemming from seeing themselves in relation to Jesus Christ, and others as more important than themselves (Phil 2:3).
b. Second, they were focused on reaching the lost world with the truth of the gospel. That left them little time to bother with trivial personal matters. Their unity stemmed from focusing on those priorities Jesus had left them: selflessly loving each other, and reaching the lost world.
2. How can we have this “oneness of mind”? – 2 necessary things:
a. It is attainable only to the extent that we all submit to the will of God. Our purpose is defined by His work and will. Even as Christ did while on earth – cf. John 5:30 30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
b. this oneness is also the fruit of receiving one another as Christ has received us. Rom 15:5-7 5 “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Our reception of each other is not based on our personal likes or preferences, or based on how much everyone else is like us, but on the recognition of our mutual need of Christ. Christ received us without impartiality, and to the glory of God, the Father. We receive each other in order to bring glory to God, not ourselves. We are able to receive each other because we ….
B. Have “Compassion For One Another” (NASV, “sympathetic”)…This means to have pity, a feeling of distress toward the ills of others. It is that disposition which is moved by the problems of others (like sickness, hardships, etc.)
1. This is the attitude manifested by Jesus during His earthly ministry – Matt. 9:35-38 “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Such compassion can only come from a tender, loving heart, which may be why Peter goes on to say that we need…
C. “Love as Brothers”… Literally, this means to be “brother lovers” Peter lists “Philadelphia” (brotherly love) as an essential element of spiritual growth in 2 Pet. 1:7. It is through this love for one another that we may be able to convince the world that we are truly the disciples of Jesus. (Jn 13:35)
D. “Be Tenderhearted” (NASV, “kindhearted”)… This descriptive term is used only here and in Eph. 4:32, where it is related to the willingness to forgive another. The “tender heart” is sensitive the needs and feelings of others.
1. This may be most applicable in the spiritual realm. How sensitive are you to the spiritual needs of others? Even if we start out as “cold-hearted”, in Christ Jesus we can and must undergo a transformation, in which we develop a “tender heart” –
- Colossians 3:8-10 – 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,… vs. 12 – 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.
2. Have you considered what kind of heart you have?
E. “Be Courteous” (NASV, “humble in spirit”)….Vincent says that the best rendering is humble-minded, emphasizing the spiritual demeanor of lowliness (poor in spirit). This attitude would lend a person to be courteous as opposed to insolent or arrogant toward other. s An arrogant or proud spirit does not bother to be courteous. – rich folks can be the most rude.. they are proud.
1. The word used here is from the same root word as Jesus’ words in Matt. 11:28 –come learn of me for I am meek and LOWLY in heart. Christians are to imitate their Lord and Savior, and not think so highly of themselves that they cannot be kind and courteous to others – cf. Phil 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
2. kind words promote peace.. “umpiring tactics” – don’t fold your arms, never raise your voice, speak politely.
F. “Return blessing for evil”.. The next admonition is more of a response than just an attitude. But the choice reflects the humble and committed mind of Christ. .When someone (e.g., a brother) does us evil, we are to respond with a blessing! While this may go against “human nature”, Peter gives two reasons why we are to react in this way:
1. We are called to follow the example of Christ – Peter elsewhere indicates our need to follow the perfect example left by Jesus – not through our own sinlessness, but in the willingness to return good for evil, and commit the judgment of evil to God. 1 Peter 2:21-23 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
2. That we might receive a blessing from God – Luke 6:35 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
III. The Reward of Peaceful Attitudes… To motivate us in fulfilling these duties in vs. 10-12 Peter quotes from the 34th Psalm.. (10-12)
A. “Love life and see Good Days” Everyone wishes to enjoy life as they experience it from day to day. But too often, many make their own lives miserable by their own self-seeking, self-destructive attitudes. Constantly complaining, contentious, retaliating to evil with evil, they only aggravate the situation. But David in his psalm gives the secret to loving life and seeing good days:
1. Peter’s admonitions involve both what we say and what we do.
- Refrain the tongue from evil, and lips from speaking guile – say what is right & don’t lie.
- Do good, (in contrast to what feels good, do what is good; good to others)
- seek peace and pursue it (to seek –intensive and aggressive action – as a hunter pursues prey. Make choices that will make peace. “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.”– Most people fail to see good days because they make the wrong choices. They say and do the wrong things. They are not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make peace.
B. So that the Lord will be open to Us. 1 Pet. 3:12 – 12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”
1. Only by doing the will of God (as found in 1 Pet. 3:8-9) can we ensure that…
a. His gracious eyes will watch over us & His ears will be open to our prayers
2. On the other hand, the Lord’s face is against those who do evil, and will not hear their prayers.
3. Indeed, consider the list of abominations found in Proverbs 6:16-19 and notice how many are the direct opposite of how we are to be… Prov 6:16-19 – 16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
a. We are to be courteous (humble) – but the Lord hates a proud look!
b. We are to be compassionate – but abusing the innocent is an abomination to the Lord!
c. We are to be tender-hearted – but the Lord hates a cold heart that thinks evil of others!
d. We are to return good for evil – but those who respond quickly with evil, the Lord abhors!
e. We are to be of one mind – but if we sow discord by murmuring and complaining, we are abominable in God’s sight!
Conclusion: So God knows what is best for us. Hew knows what makes life worth living and how we can see good days. We must strive to be like Him