1 Peter 1:22-25
1 Peter 1:22 says, “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is through the living and abiding Word of God; for all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass, the grass withers and the flower falls off but the Word of the Lord abides forever and this is the word which was preached to you.”
Now the emphasis of this particular passage is bound up in one statement in verse 22, “Love one another.” Everything else in the passage surrounds that very basic Christian principle, love one another. That is a principle which is repeated often in the New Testament and I’m not going to belabor the point to take you through passage after passage but to point out a couple of things tonight that I think are of great interest with regard to that principle. Not only is it important for its own sake in order that we might show the love of Christ, and that we might therefore benefit and bless and encourage and strengthen and assist those in the body of Christ, but our loving one another just so happens to be probably the most important factor in our impact, not only on the church but on the world.
In John 13:34 Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you that you love one another, even as I have loved you that you also love one another.” There’s the same command. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.” A very significant statement, we are known as the disciples of Jesus Christ on the basis of loving one another.
In John 17 verse 21, Jesus of course, praying that we all may be one even as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee that they also may be in us that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me. Now that’s pretty basic and what Jesus is saying is that not only does the world know that we belong to Christ, but the world knows that Christ belongs to God on the basis of our loving one another.
We are thus identified with Christ who is thus identified as having been sent by God when we manifest love to one another. We are then to love one another for the sake of that love and its benefit to each other and for the sake of that love and its benefit to the watching world that is perceiving the kind of love that is foreign to them and thus attracted to the reality of Christianity.
Another illustration of this which is monumental in my mind and you might turn for a moment to the passage, 1 Corinthians 10 verses 27 and 28. And this is a very very overlooked portion of Scripture but one which is extremely significant. And it really stands on its own without necessarily digging way back into the context. Verse 27 says, “If one of the unbelievers invites you and you wish to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’s sake.”
Now this is an evangelistic opportunity. Let’s assume that you’re a young Christian and you have been converted out of paganism. And when you were in paganism you were worshiping at an idol temple in the city of Corinth. And let’s assume that in that idol worship you were involved in drunkenness and in debauchery of various kinds and let’s assume that you were perhaps even involved in some of the sexual activities that were characteristic of the Corinthian worship. Let’s assume in your pagan worship there was gluttony and drunkenness and fornication and now you have come to Christ. And as a new Christian you want absolutely nothing to do with the former life. You want nothing to do with the paganism from which you have been redeemed.
One of the elements of your paganism was that when you worshiped your deity in the pagan temple where all the orgy and the feasting went on, you would bring food and give it to the God that you were worshiping. Obviously that god couldn’t eat it, the priest would eat some of it, the rest they would take out into the marketplace and they would sell on the open market. So they would literally market what they didn’t eat. And people then in the marketplace would buy meat offered to idols. That was never a problem for you until you became a Christian, now you’re a Christian. And now for someone to offer you meat offered to an idol would conjure up in your mind all the idolatry and the fornication and the gluttony and the drunkenness that was your former religion and because it was offered to an idol and now all the heinousness of that idolatry fills your mind, you would be unable to eat that meat, your conscience just wouldn’t let you touch it because you had been delivered from that kind of thing.
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.