"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER" Our Duties To Each Other (3:8-12) INTRODUCTION 1. So far in his epistle, Peter has defined the Christian's duties in various relationships... a. Our duty in relation to those of the world - 1Pe 2:11-12 b. Our duty in relation to governmental authorities - 1Pe 2:13-17 c. Our duty in a servant-master relationship - 1Pe 2:18-25 d. Our duty in wife-husband relationships - 1Pe 3:1-7 2. Beginning now in verse 8 of the third chapter, Peter defines our duty to each other as brethren in Christ... [Peter will provide motivation to fulfill our duties to one another in verses 10-12, but let's first consider what these duties are...] I. OUR DUTIES TO EACH OTHER (8-9) A. TO "BE OF ONE MIND" (NASV, "harmonious")... 1. That is, to be united in the same purpose, the same goal 2. Jesus prayed for this kind of unity in Jn 17:20-21 3. A church that demonstrated this "oneness of mind" is that of Jerusalem - Ac 4:32 4. How can we have this "oneness of mind"? a. It is attainable only to the extent that we all submit to the will of God b. Therefore, we all need to make God's Will our will, His Purpose our purpose c. Even as Christ did while on earth - cf. Jn 5:30 B. TO HAVE "COMPASSION FOR ONE ANOTHER" (NASV, "sympathetic")... 1. This means to have pity, a feeling of distress toward the ills of others 2. It is that disposition which is moved by the problems of others (like sickness, hardships, etc.) 3. This is the attitude manifested by Jesus... a. During His earthly ministry - Mt 9:35-36 b. During His heavenly ministry - He 4:15 4. Such compassion can only come from a tender, loving heart, which may be why Peter goes on to say that we need... C. TO "LOVE AS BROTHERS"... 1. Literally, this means to be "brother lovers" 2. This attribute is essential, if we are to... a. Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ - 2Pe 1:7-8 b. Convince the world that we are truly disciples of Jesus - Jn 13:35 3. Are you a "brother lover"? If not... a. You are not a lover of God, either! - 1Jn 4:20 b. You do not even know God! - 1Jn 4:7-8 4. Here is one way to know if you are a "brother lover"... a. Ask yourself this question: "Do I even know my brother?" b. If you don't, how can you honestly say that you are a "brother lover"? D. TO "BE TENDERHEARTED" (NASV, "kindhearted")... 1. It is this kind of heart that is compassionate, capable of loving our brethren 2. The opposite would be "cold-hearted", where we are insensitive to the needs and feelings of others 3. 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" - cf. Ep 4:22-24, 31-32; Col 3:8-10,12 4. Have you considered what kind of heart you have? E. TO "BE COURTEOUS" (NASV, "humble in spirit")... 1. Literally, to be "friendly of mind, kind" a. Such courtesy would imply a humility of spirit b. For an arrogant or proud spirit does not bother to be courteous 2. 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. Php 2:3-5 F. TO "RETURN BLESSING FOR EVIL"... 1. When someone (e.g., a brother) does us evil, we are to respond with a blessing! 2. While this may go against "human nature", Peter gives two reasons why we are to react in this way: a. We are called to follow the example of Christ
- cf. 1Pe 3:9 with 1Pe 2:21-23 b. That we might receive a blessing from God - cf. Lk 6:35 [These are six duties that we have one toward another. They are part of what constitutes the Christ-like character that we are to develop as His disciples. Being saved, then, is not the end of God's plan for us; He would have us become like His Son (cf. Ro 8:29). To motivate us in fulfilling these duties, Peter quotes from the 34th Psalm...] II. MOTIVATION TO FULFILL THESE DUTIES (10-12) A. THAT WE MIGHT "LOVE LIFE AND SEE GOOD DAYS"... 1. Everyone wishes to enjoy life as they experience it from day to day... a. But too often, many make their own lives miserable by their own self-seeking, self-destructive attitudes b. Constantly complaining, contentious, retaliating to evil with evil, they only aggravate the situation 2. But David in his psalm gives the secret to loving life and seeing good days: a. Refrain the tongue from evil, and lips from speaking guile - 1Pe 3:10 1) I.e., don't engage in slander, backbiting, complaining, lying, murmuring, and grumbling 2) It doesn't solve difficulties, but only makes them worse b. Do good, seek peace and pursue it - 1Pe 3:11 1) I.e., do the very kind of things mentioned by Peter in 1Pe 3:8-9 2) Only then will your life be pleasant, for the qualities described by Peter... a) Make the best out of difficult situations b) Make good situations even better! B. SO THE LORD WILL BE OPEN TO US - 1Pe 3:12 1. Only by doing the will of God (as found in 1Pe 3:8-9) can we ensure that... a. His gracious eyes will watch over us b. 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 Pr 6:16-19 and notice how many are the direct opposite of how we are to be... 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 1. So if we want the Lord to watch over us, if we want Him to heed our prayers, let us be sure to fulfill our duties to each other as brethren as outlined by Peter in verses 8-9 2. In so doing, we will enjoy life to its fullest, and see many good days during our pilgrimage here on earth!