“Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1Pet. 3.13-16)
The word “eager” is related to the root word for imitator or mimicker. Imitate or mimic someone doing good… How does one become a disciple? Look at the leader, how they worship, sing. How do people learn how to pray? By praying with their leaders. They learn how to love the church as they imitate their leaders who love the church.
“Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.” (Is 8.12-13)
If there is a threat, it would make sense to say do not fear “them”… but it says do not fear “what they fear.” People of God ought to fear the Lord instead. (Notes from P. Mark’s Sunday message)
Pray for your pastors and leaders, that they may be worthy of imitation, that they may fear the Lord above all else in this world… and that we would all follow and imitate the Lord together as we live out our calling.
“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. For “Those who desire life and desire to see good days, let them keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit; let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Pt 3.9-11)
Instead of repaying evil for evil… we bless. Because the Lord sees them and will bless them… Those who desire life… those who want to love life. Don’t you want to love life? We should go for that! God is calling us to love life! As opposed to hating life. What is “loving life”?
Do good… make, produce ‘good’. Making is something you set out to do. You need a plan, methodology, then the final product needs to be inspected, leading to mass production, etc… Start with prayer… Make plans about leading someone to Christ, forming a small group. You are being challenged and trained here in church. The method is to do things with a pure heart. Because the Lord sees what we do… We must do the work of prayer, believe God’s word, love the church. After all that, we must evaluate the quality of the product, is the faith genuine? are we making and producing something good? Without self-interest? (Notes from P. Mark’s Sunday message)
Let’s pray to love life as we sing “Mission’s Flame” –(Click Here)
“Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 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.” (1 Pt 3.8-9)
“Be like minded” (v. 8); have harmony with one another, to think alike, to be agreeable… Being agreeable is so important especially if you want to grow in leadership. It is fundamentally necessary to be useful to the kingdom of God.
For example, in music team, an individual can be a great musician, but working together as a team is where worship can occur, the greatest calling for musicians. Sometimes you think what you are playing is amazing… but it may not be helpful or good to others. In your mind you’re so right. It’s very difficult to be agreeable. How do you become agreeable when you don’t see what’s wrong? …At a retreat, the Spirit was moving and I had to let go of my own agenda in leading the music, the arrangement… let go and follow the Spirit… At that moment, our pastor pointed at me and said, “That’s it!” It’s worth it to be trained to experience these moments where we can follow the Spirit. It’s good to be agreeable. (Notes from P. Mark’s Sunday message)
Let’s pray to be like-minded, to be agreeable in order to be useful to the kingdom of God.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8.32)
“’Are you kidding me? There’s no absolute truth and certainly no God… I’ve studied postmodern philosophy. I can tell you there is no absolute truth… You can’t even communicate truth with language, so please don’t try to talk to me about God. It’s ridiculous, a delusion…’
‘David, there are a few issues with what you are saying… You say, “There is no absolute truth” as if it is an absolute truth, and you also used language to communicate that. You just doubly contradicted yourself… For me and your aunt, the truth is a Person we know, not just a concept in our heads. He’s someone we have a real relationship with… Just because our understanding of him isn’t always perfect doesn’t change that he’s the absolute truth. It’s his perfect grace, not “perfect” knowledge of God, that saves us, David.’
I pushed my plate away. ‘But what about all the evil the church has done to LGBTQI people? Do you really think I’d believe you after all of that?’ I shook my head…
My aunt and uncle also left soon afterward. Years later I learned that on the way home, they talked about my response. ‘When David was talking, I saw the Holy Spirit over him. He’s going to be saved and baptized with the Spirit in three months’ time,’ Brendan told my aunt confidently.” (D. Bennett, A War of Loves)
God is the God of the impossible. Let us bow down in awe of Him and sing, “Here I Bow” (Click Here)
“When God shined His light on us, we were enabled to believe. Our greatest calling is to worship God. And He touches us in worship. It’s just incredible! This testifies to God Himself in us, reaffirming to us that we can be soft and welcoming before Him, minds opened to Him, no longer have to hesitate or refuse Him. It’s wonderful to take in His Word, like taking in the best meal… It’s so wonderful how He has blessed us! We can think like Jesus, have His desires, call upon His name, receive answers, know God’s will for us and know that it is good. And there is even more! He pours His love into our hearts through His Spirit. We can hear His call and go and love others as He has loved us…” (Notes from Carol’s message Saturday evening)
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt 28.18-20)
What an amazing life the Lord has called us to! All of this… will culminate into eternal worship and glory… God will be exalted forever… and we will see Him face to face and worship Him forever… Let us sing “Endless Alleluia” (Click Here)