PHBC March 15, 1998
Series: First Peter, Ser. #44
UNITY PROMOTED IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH SINGLE-MINDEDNESS
Scripture: I Peter 3:8-12
TEXT: Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. The King James Version, 1769.
1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, be all of one mind, sympathising, full of brotherly love, tender hearted, humble minded; 9 not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing; but on the contrary, blessing others, because ye have been called to this, that ye should inherit blessing. Darby Bible, 1995.
1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, be ye all likeminded, compassionate, loving as brethren, tenderhearted, humbleminded: 9 not rendering evil for evil, or reviling for reviling; but contrariwise blessing; for hereunto were ye called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 1901 American Standard Version, 1994.
1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you should be in agreement, understanding each other, loving each other as family, being kind and humble.9 Do not do wrong to repay a wrong, and do not insult to repay an insult. But repay with a blessing, because you yourselves were called to do this so that you might receive a blessing. The New Century Version, 1987, 1988, 1991.
1 Peter 3:8-9 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. The New International Version, 1984.
1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it. Holy Bible, New Living Translation, 1996.
1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. The New Revised Standard Version, 1989.
1 Peter 3:8-9 And finally, being all of one mind, having fellow-feeling, loving as brethren, compassionate, courteous, 9 not giving back evil for evil, or railing for railing, and on the contrary, blessing, having known that to this ye were called, that a blessing ye may inherit. Young, Robert, Young’s Literal Translation, 1997.
"Finally, all [of you] should be of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each the others] as brethren (of one household), compassionate and courteous—tenderhearted and humble-minded." The Amplified Bible.
INTRO: Throughout the recent studies in this epistle we have seen the promotion of unity in one way or another. Not compromise but unity. Beginning back in chapter two, as I have before pointed out, the matter of submission in various relationships was discussed. Then, in the message last Sunday, we took a panoramic view of submission.
One of the purposes of submission is the promotion of unity. If we are subject to the powers that be as long as that does not require disobedience to God's commands, this will promote unity in the country. If servants were subject to masters, that promoted unity in that relationship. If wives are subject to their own husbands, that promotes unity in the home. If husbands honor their wives as the weaker vessel and defer to her as they should this will further enhance the marriage relationship. If we are all subject to one another in our relationships, unity is thereby promoted.
In this message I want to deal with the subject of unity. Peter uses three Greek words to introduce his next thoughts. They are to de telo". Let me give you my amplification of the translation of these words. Peter is saying, "Moreover, the end toward which all this is aimed, the purpose and goal of all this, the ultimate goal for saying all this about submission is that you be in harmony and unity."
Peter then continues to lay down some things that will promote and advance unity. The text from Psalm 133 shows the wonderful goodness and pleasantness of unity. Since it is so good and so pleasant to dwell together in unity, we should find those things that promote unity and pursue them with vigor.
I. THE PURSUIT OF UNITY CALLS FOR SINGLE-MINDEDNESS
A. Peter calls on these pilgrims to whom he writes to be of one mind. 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind.
B. This desired harmony does not mean we are to be clones like so many are in cults; we have different gifts and different responsibilities, but we can each do our work in harmony with others much like an orchestra; it has many different instruments and players but they play their instruments as one as did the singers and instrumentalists at the dedication of the temple. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; 14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.
C. God promised to so purify the nation of Israel that they would serve him with one consent. Zephaniah 3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
1. The word translated consent means shoulder.
2. The idea is of oxen yoked together and pulling side by side or shoulder to shoulder in harmony.
3. God would have his people serve him in such a harmonious manner—side by side and shoulder to shoulder.
D. It was Paul's prayer for the congregation in Rome that they be harmonious in their relations with one another. Romans 15:5-6 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
E. It was Paul's desire that he hear of this same harmony in the church in Philippi. Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.
F. In the second chapter of his epistle to the Philippians Paul again expresses this desire for harmony. Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
II. THIS DESIRED HARMONY WAS ATTAINED IN THE EARLY CHURCHES.
A. This harmony was evident in the days leading to the outpouring of God's Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Acts 1:13-15 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. 15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,).
B. Consider Luke's description of the attitude of the harmony of the brethren on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
C. Note also that this unity and harmony continued well after the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.
D. This harmony in that first church of the Lord Jesus Christ continued and was found in the assembly when they were praying for the release of Peter and John when they had been imprisoned. Acts 4:24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord . . .
1. Peter admonished husbands and wives to be in harmony lest their prayers be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
2. We see in Acts 4:24 that the church's prayers were very effectual, even being answered as they prayed "with one accord."
E. This single-mindedness was so dominant in this congregation in Jerusalem that they did not even consider their possessions their own but shared them freely. Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
1. I would point out that this sharing of personal possessions to the extent they did was never commanded; it was a spontaneous act of theirs.
F. As with any such thing, problems later developed in the church at Thessalonica in that some folks wanted to share the wealth but not the work. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-14 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
III. THE UNITY IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS AT HOME AND IN THE CHURCH WILL BE GREATLY ENHANCED IF WE SEEK THIS SINGLE-MINDEDNESS THAT IS SO MAGNIFIED IN SCRIPTURE
A. As Paul admonished, the brethren at Rome, let us "Be of the same mind one toward another" (Rom. 12:16).
B. Let us also hear his admonition again as he speaks to these same folks later in his epistle. Romans 15:5-6 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
C. Let us also obey the exhortation that Paul sent to the schism-riddled church at Corinth. 1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
D. Let us also obey from the heart that call of Paul to the church in Philippi. Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.
E. In the home not all of our number have Christian spouses but there is a word for you also that I would mention. Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.1 Peter 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
CONC: If we will all strive for single-mindedness in our relationships in the church, in our homes and elsewhere, God will bless us with great harmony and unity. A brother from another state recently asked me if I thought a multiplicity of elders would work in a Baptist Church today. I assured him that I thought it would and could. I then told him of the work in Illinois when we had as high as three brethren, including me, who worked full time with and for the church. I was pastor of the church and president of the school, another was dean of our school and preached most of the time when I was gone in conferences and revivals. The third was simply a helper to me in visitation, etc.
I pointed out to this brother that the only way a multiplicity of elders will work was after the New Testament pattern. There must be single mindedness. The Glory of God, the principles and doctrines of the word of God and their declaration, and the welfare of the church must be first and foremost in the minds of all if it is to work. It worked in New Testament times; it can work today. Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
It will not work, however, if there are those who love to have the preeminence over others. 3 John 9-10 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
I believe there already exists a good degree of single-mindedness among us in this church. I pray that God may be pleased to bless this message to our hearts so powerfully that there will be an even greater singleness of mind among us.
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