Love one another earnestly
1 Peter 1:22-25 (ESV)
22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
· The subject is ‘love one another’ and staying with this verse, let me add the word ‘earnestly’
· I exhort you, today, to love one another earnestly!
· This is the fourth exhortation Peter gives to the elect exiles of the dispersion
· As you may recall, the first was hope you saw that in verse 13, where God’s Word informs you to set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ
· Hope with a prepared and sober mind
· The second was holiness, in verse 15, ‘but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct’
· And the third, we looked at last week, was fear of God, listen;
1 Peter 1:17 (ESV)
17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,
· Now we arrive at this fourth exhortation
· You are urged to, well, listen to it again
· Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
· In your fallen condition and the focus resulting from that fallen condition, the condition in and of itself, causes this word ‘love’ to be over used, misused, and abused
· It is applied out of context and usually taken out of order
· The results are problems, issues, and confusions in your relationships
· And because Peter is addressing this to the elect, to saints, to believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,
· I feel very safe in saying that because of your fallen condition focus, there are problems, issues, and confusions in the relationships you see in church folks
· All in the name of love
· I don’t need to go into details but most of you have heard stories or have even witnessed events in church and church fellowships, affairs, abuse of relationships, misuse of authority
· All of which smell of smoke and is from the pit of hell!
· The love that Peter has in view that he mentions here and that he flesh out in the remainder of this letter is neither the warm fuzzy feeling nor is it
· The friendship around a coffee pot after worship. Though, I must add, love as Peter defines it may involves both of these
· New Hope, prepare your mind now and stay sober-minded,
· This love refers to righteous relationships with each other that is based on God’s character.
· This is the character that your Christian behavior, your Christian ethics, reflects
· By it, you are seen in a unique way by the people of this world, listen to what the Word of God says;
John 13:34-35 (ESV)
34 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. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
· I am going to show in a moment that the command to love is not the new stuff but the key to this new commandment and to Peter’s letter are these six words; ‘just as I have loved you’
· Brothers and Sisters, if you, as born again believers, get your minds prepared to deal with these words and approach them, meditate on them in a sober-minded way, ‘just as I, said Jesus, have loved you’
· Then these stories you hear and witness will decrease, they must decrease because your relationship with Him, the way He loves you is not one of misuse or abuse
· Peter will show this characteristic of love throughout this letter
· He introduces it here
· Notice first that this is not the first exhortation but the fourth and that means there are some prerequisites before you can even apply it.
· Let me be clear here; loving one another earnestly from a pure heart cannot happen first, nor second, nor third
· It would be like saying to Brother Matthew back there recording, just press the record button!
· No! there are other prerequisites that must happen before pressing the record button
· If it is dark back there, for example, he may turn on the lights first, but we know that if he does not turn on the power, pressing record does nothing,
· Even with the power on, pressing record will produce nothing if the does not put in a CD or making sure that he has digital space to record to
· Listen to how Peter says the same thing in a different way;
· Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love
· Paraphrase; by your obedience to the truth, you now have moral virtue in your inner self for a genuine love for your fellow brother
· A little side note here; Peter said in his greeting back up in verse 2 that they are elect for the obedience to Jesus Christ it’s applied here
· So by your obedience to the truth, these are the prerequisites, listen again
· Set your hope on the grace, the unmerited favor, from where? From God almighty!
· Grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of who? Answer Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity!
· And you obeyed that!
· The next truth; be holy in all your conduct as He who called you is Holy. Now who is the He who calls? The focus again is on God almighty
· And you obeyed that!
· After that, if you call on Him as Father, because of your born again relationship with God almighty, the Father who judges, then conduct yourselves with fear of Him
· The focus once again is on God almighty and you obeyed that
· Here is an application of this passage of scripture
Matthew 22:36-39 (ESV)
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
· The first three exhortations are applications of the first and great commandment; you shall love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind
· Only God’s grace can cause this to be true
· Only when this has happened can there be a second
· And please don’t hold to the futile ways inherited from your forefathers to think that if the first is eliminated, then the second moves up and becomes first
· No, God forbids, if the first is eliminated, there is no second true but it doesn’t exist at all
· Without loving God with a purified soul and from a pure heart, you can never love your neighbor as yourself and in fact you can’t even love yourself
· Because my hope is in Jesus, I emulate His conduct in holiness and I have this fear, this respect for my heavenly Father knowing that He is judging every one of my deeds, impartially,
· I can stand before you and say that my brotherly love for you is genuine
· I want you to leave here confident that if you can say Amen, if you too are in agreement with my testimony, then you can love one another earnestly
· It is love, both ways, love one another
· It is 100 percent giving love and not taking account of what you receive, love one another
· You can show love, demonstrate love and do this earnestly which means continuously and without ceasing and with eagerness
· Let me also add, without suspensions and conditions
· Allow me to make one more point here, today
· Jesus said, I quoted the scripture earlier; “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
· Hear me New Hope, this gets you noticed as to who you are and whose you are
· People will know that you are Christian, not Baptist, not Methodist, not Pentecostal, not Catholic, or whatever, they know that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are one of His students who have not played hooky, you are Christian Christ like because of you ethics.
· That is well and good but that in and of itself will not save them it just cause them to notice you
· Remember and take note of the remainder of this exhortation
23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
· People have commented even about this fellowship that there is a lot of love in this fellowship and walk away
· But and it is a big contra, ‘a lot of love from the brethren will not save you!’
Listen some more to this passage from the book of Romans
Romans 10:8-17 (ESV)
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
· If you attempt to duplicate loving one another earnestly without Jesus, you will fail
· As I said earlier, this has been allowed to come into our church fellowships and the world waits to pounce on it
· We are fearful for our children, our women, our men in the church house instead of being faithful
· The remedy is usually more natural instead of spiritual (examples)
· Where there is a need for more of the word of Christ we are finding less and less
· Know this that the natural things, the things of the flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flowers of grass. The grass withers and the flowers falls
· But the Word of the Lord remains forever. And love never fails
· As you leave here this day know that this sincere love is an everlasting love, it is an earnest love that goes on forever.
· As we leave here today, let us love each other as Christ has loved us and shown it time after time after time. Let us pray