ROOTED | Living Scattered, Not Shattered | ROOTED Love | 1 Peter 4:1-11
Topic: New Testament Passage: 1 Peter 4:1–11
Loving Like Jesus
So today we are talking about Loving like Jesus. I want to start with the heart of the passage. In 1 Peter 4:8 he says
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
If you get anything out of this message, it is a call from God to love one another earnestly. This is the key to understanding this passage. The Bible often talks about the importance of love:
 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (ESV)
1 John 4:20
 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (ESV)
We know that awe have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. What Jesus says is that the essence of true Christian spirituality is to love well
Unfortunately, Christians do not have the reputation of loving well. Even loving other Christians. We have thousands of denominations because we don’t love well. This is not meant to shame us. However this is an opportunity for us to grow.
Pete Scazzero says the mark of spiritual maturity is that we love well. Somehow we have gotten away from this.
While the one another language seems to indicate the importance of living out this love with other believers, it definitely starts there. How can we love strangers when we struggle to love our close family members, people in our church, and Christians down the road. As we begin to learn how to love we realize this love extends beyond the church as we are encouraged to love our neighbors, foreigners, and even our enemies.
Love is seeking the good of others not just a positive feeling. And seeking the good of others is more than saying “I love you” or sending a card. It is active.
It says it covers a multitude of sins. It doesn’t say it covers up or hides a multitude of sins. It is more about forgives a multitude of sins. Love leads with forgiveness. Can you imagine if this is how we engaged on social media.
We says we are to love earnestly. Sometimes we love out of obligation. Or to look good to others. Or we love to get something out of the relationship. You know when you do a project
for your wife to get the pat on the back. Was it really out of love? Or was it out of a need for validation. We do this a ton. In fact I do this a ton. So how do we love earnestly? How do we become ridiculously good loving others? I have 4 ways from this passage to help us learn to love people better.
- Stop doing what Americans do
- Start soaking in God’s love
- Share what we have
- Let God flow through us
- We stop doing what Americans do
- Read Text
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.  With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;  but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.  For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does
- Explain historical context “What Gentiles Do”
Chapters and Verse came later… He is referring to the verses before
 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit (ESV)
He is referring to the Gospel. Jesus suffered to pay for our sins, therefore we need to embrace the reality that living for Jesus and not pursuing sin, doesn’t automatically result in health and wealth. In fact we may suffer loss of friendships, loss of financial gain, and for lots of people around the world… actual persecution.
When you do what is right, and things don’t get better, it can be disorienting. Suffering was a real consequence to following Jesus for Peter’s listeners. Peter is reassuring them that this is to be expected. We are not suffering for Jesus here in the NW. But doing what is right may not lead to us accomplishing the American dream and that is ok. The really interesting part is Peter says don’t do what Gentiles do. Many of them were Gentiles, or if not Gentiles they had lived there for generations.
Don’t do what Gentiles do… some were gentiles.
- Did some research on the Cappadocians:
- Highlands of Turkey
- Slow growth of Christianity
- Heavy snows would confine people for 2 months
- They were known for being tough… think Vikings
- Sought after as slaves
- “A venomous viper bit a Cappadocian and the viper died”
- Considered Worthless. deceitful, selfish and brutal.
- Remained backward and impoverished
- People sought after as slaves
- Major “bro” culture. Take what you want.
- Eat, drink, be merry for tomorrow we die
- Didn’t believe in an afterlife
- Was a lifestyle of this. Not just occasionally had a beer too many.
Think of what it might have been to be a Capadotian
- Considered worthless
- No law. Constantly violated and abused by others.
- Always poor and uneducated
- Killed and carried off as slaves
- Harsh living conditions, short life expectancy
- All they knew is that life is hard and then you die.
- So how do you fill the emptiness and brokenness in your soul?
- You look for something to numb the pain: alcohol, drugs, sex and abuse others - These people desperately need Jesus…. Can you see it?
- If it’s not going to make today better, why do it?
- And they mocked others for following Jesus
- took advantage of those trying to do what is right
- made them feel like Christians were the crazy ones
- Peter says, we need to acknowledge the culture that we came from and realize that it is part of how we do life. It affects us. We need to stop
- What Americans do
No longer do what Americans do.
- American Dream may not be God’s dream for your life
- Busy. Time is money. How do Americans spend their time?
- Express opinions on social Media
- Obsessed with experiences
Around the world Americans are known for:
- Arrogance: Consider others as more important
- Capitalism: Share with those in need
- Freedom: Serve others as slaves to Jesus
No longer do what Northwesterners do
- Friendly, but stay out of people’s lives
- You love the outdoors more than people
Other identities we need to shed:
- No longer do what Republicans/Democrats do.
- No longer do what Baptists / Reformed people do.
- No longer do what our parents/ families of origin do.
As exiles, we are tourists, not locals.
It is essential for our identity to shift to being Jesus people as our primary identity.
- We start soaking in God’s love
- Read the Text
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
- Explain Text
The end of all things… what the heck does this mean?
Is he talking about the end of the world? Maybe. More likely we are in a new phase. If time
- What prayer is all about
Instead of numbing the pain, or looking to others for validation. The heart of prayer is God’s love for us. “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Before Jesus started his ministry he heard a voice from heaven saying “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” This love from God the Father is what empowered Jesus to love others.
So many of us long to hear those words from our earthly Father:
You are much loved.
I’m proud of you.
You are enough.
I love you exactly as you are.
We need to soak in these words from God in order to get us through the day, not alcohol, not instagram. When Jesus took our sins and our place on the cross, we received his place of love and acceptance from God. Why are prayers so important?
We have been studying prayer with the youth on wed night and how prayer is so much more than asking God for stuff. It’s talking with him and listening to him. Being still and feeling God’s love. I challenge you to take some time alone with God and soak in those words. It will change your life.
I am deeply loved by God.
God is pleased with me.
Imagine how we live our lives differently based on these 2 statements. We no longer are desperate for others to validate us. Our tank is full and we have extra to love on others that need it, or are difficult to love. We can do our jobs without needing kudos. And we can stop achieving, knowing that God is already pleased with us. We must soak in God’s love. We must feel it in our bones. We must let it cover the multitude of our sins. We must let the kindness and gentleness of God’s love permeate our brokenness.
- We use the little we have
1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling
Have you ever helped someone out, but then complained about it? I once let my sister-in-law park her Camper in our driveway. She was desperate to have a place to park it for a short time… and I felt good to help someone out. But then later I found myself complaining to my
wife and friends about how much I hated having the camper in our driveway. That is not what God is calling us to do.
Once we are deeply saturated in God’s love and acceptance we don’t feel threatened by others. It reminds me of middle school. Middle school is the worst. When you are in middle school you are deeply aware of yourself and your differences and you are constantly winding if people will accept you. And are looking for validation that you are ok, you are worthy, and yes you are special. However going into a social setting feeling like a middle school student does not allow you to love and accept others, it makes you awkward and weird. Soaking in God’s love changes that acceptance and allows us to operate from a place of acceptance and health. We are not operating from a mentality of scarcity and are free to give up our precious time and resources to others. What is hospitality?
- Making others feel welcome.
- Smiling at people.
- Acknowledging others.
- This can be having someone over for dinner
- Doing a hobby with someone
- helping a neighbor
We have a reputation as Christians of only making certain people feel welcome. When someone is different from us we feel threatened. They look different, believe different, dress differently. If we are secure in who we are in Christ, then we no longer feel threatened by these difference. We can be curious about them. About people. We can welcome people into our lives that are not even Christians. We can learn from them and show them unexpected kindness. And this can lead to them being curious about this God that we serve.
What about people who go to a different church, or have different theology, or are from a different culture or language, or have different clothing. I know that the LGBTQ community often does not feel welcome in church. They desperately need love and acceptance that only Jesus can give them. Let’s lead with that and let Jesus be the one to change people.
- We let God empower us.
1 Peter 4:10–11
 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:  whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)
It doesn’t matter who you are, God has given you gift to serve others. Don’t hold out. Our church, our communities, our world needs you and how God has made you. I don’t know how God has gifted each of you, but we need to use our gifts to serve and love others for God’s glory not our own. If you have the gift of public speaking or leadership, God is calling you to use it to serve others. Whether you are a man or woman, high school student or a grandmother. This is inside the church and also outside our church. Gifts could be doing art, writing books or blogs, making videos, working with teens or kids,
Using our gifts is a holy activity in which we are participating with God as we serve people. These gifts are not to be used outside of a deep communion with God. We go back to the soaking in God’s love and letting God’s love flow through us. Using our gifts in our own
strength bring us the glory. I tell you this… this is a downfall of many. They are naturally good at something and so they do it and are praised for it and it becomes all about their ego.
Your doing from God should not excede your being with God.
Your doing from God should not excede your being with God.
It must come from a deep place of being filled with God, so that our gifts can be used to love others not ourselves. Many a pastor has crashed and burned by serving out of their own strength and not the strength that comes from God. It has to be fueled by a deep relationship with God.
This is inside the church and also outside our church. Gifts could be doing art, writing books or blogs, making videos, working with teens or kids,
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