Sermon

God's Word Faithfully Preached from the Pulpit

Born Again to Love One Another (Isaiah 40:1-8 and 1 Peter 1:22-25)

INTRODUCTION

Paano binabago o tina-transform ng ebanghelyo ang ating pakiki-tungo sa isa’t-isa? How should we live with one another?

  • Brief recap: (1 Peter 1:13-21) – After exhorting about their salvation and eternal security
    • Holiness in minds, heart, and all conduct
    • Out of reverence to God and gratitude to Christ’s sacrifice
  • Today: vv. 22-25 — Continuation of Peter’s exhortation for practical living
    • One imperative: LOVE ONE ANOTHER (Mahalin niyo ang isa’t-isa)
    • Structure of the passage (surrounding the imperative):
      • The source or basis of love
      • The command to love
      • The motivation to love
  • Sermon points (Refer to back of the bulletin)

[TRANSITION]: Ano ngayon ang exhortation ni Peter in this passage?

SERMON POINT 1. Gospel-Transformation leads to Brotherly Love

TEXT: Verse 22

  • “Having purified your souls…” — Perfect tense (hence, not referring to sanctification, which still continues). Purified/regenerated, consecrated, holy in God’s sight (echoes the previous exhortation)

    “souls” — The inner person
  • “by (in) your obedience to the truth” — What truth? Since v. 3, Peter has been proclaiming about Christ. Hence, this truth is the gospel truth of salvation in Christ. (cf. 23c, 25. Peter refers to the Word of God as the gospel)

“Obedience” — Conformity to the gospel (pag-sang-ayon). Ang tunay na pananampalataya ay may kasamang pag-sunod dun sa ebanghelyo. Hindi lang siya basta alam mo at naniwala ka “intellectually.”

CLARIFY: Distinguish between faith and works. In order to be justified, hindi pwedeng susunod muna ako sa utos ng Diyos at gagawa ng mabuti, bago ako sasampalataya. Faith alone, believing in Christ, make us righteous before God. But faith itself is obedience and submission to the gospel. And that faith is not alone.

See 1 Peter 1:2, believers are chosen by God “for obedience to Jesus Christ.” It is the demonstration of salvation.

  • The whole phrase speaks of the state of the believers. “You are now holy / set apart by your submission to the gospel.” FOR WHAT? TO WHAT END, PURPOSE?

TEXT: v. 22

  • “for a sincere brotherly love” — for (eis) – Direction towards something, result
  • IMPLY: Their gospel-transformation leads to love. And it applies to us now. Ang pagmamahal natin sa isa’t-isa ang bunga ng ating kaligtasan at pananampalataya kay Cristo. (Fruit of regeneration and conversion)
  • Changes not only the way we relate to God, but also to others (**The 2 greatest commandments). EXAMPLE: Christians who devote much of their time for God but neglect their relationships with others.
  • God’s will that we love others, especially our fellow believers (Read Galatians 6:10). It is part of the fruit of the Spirit, first in the list (cf. Gal. 5:13)
  • Christ’s statement (John 13:35) — “… if you have love for one another (not by how much we know about theology)”
  • This is true Christianity: Not knowledge, but holiness before God and love for one another.
  • APPLY: 
    • Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (Context: After Paul speaks of various gifts and abilities, which the Corinthian church possess)
    • Apply and relate today:
      • Great knowledge and answers to all theological questions and win all debates… but have not love
      • We serve and give to others… but not out of real concern for others (only in action but not in heart)…
      • We get rich as a church, businesses flourish, own building… but we neglect the poor among us… we gain nothing.
  • If we are to test the genuineness of our faith, this is it. Do we love?

[TRANSITION]: What then is “love?” How should we love one another? (**Important because the world views and distorts “love” only in terms of romance, sex, or self-love contrary to what the Bible teaches).

SERMON POINT 2. The Command to Love One Another

TEXT: Vv. 22 (“… for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly) 

Observe Peter’s describes this love that we must do:

  1. “Brotherly love” — The kind of love referred to, love for blood-related brothers and sisters (philadelpian)
    1. ***Brotherly love – For single men and women, this is not about romantic and sexual love in marriage (eros), though it all starts from this. Before Christian lovers, you’re first a brother and sister in Christ.
    2. Pagmamahal bilang magkakapatid sa pananampalataya. ILLUSTRATE: Siblings united under same parents. Compared with relating to other children from different family, children in the same family have a mutual affection—yes, even despite conflicts.

      EXAMPLE: Mom to kuya: “Sino gusto mo katabi, si Louie?”
    3. Likewise, despite differences, we are brothers and sisters adopted in the same family of God.
  1. “Sincere love” — The character (quality) of this love. Without hypocrisy. Genuine… Ang tunay na pagmamahal ay totoo at hindi yung nagpapanggap lang o kaya may selfish motives.
  2. “Love earnestly” — The degree (intensity) of this love. (Gaano katindi)
    1. Gr. eagerly (zealous, willingness), fervently, constantly. May pananabik, maalab, at hindi pabago-bago kundi nagpapatuloy.
    2. Hence, “earnestly” means with all effort
  • RELATED TEXT: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
    • Not doing harm to others
    • Without wrong motives
    • Without end. It perseveres.
  • Back to 1 Peter 1:22, this is the love that believers are called to do: It is mutual care and affection, it is sincere, it is earnest.
  • RELATE: But upon examination, we all fail in this. Paano ba tayo madalas nakikitungo sa iba (3 common wrong ways)?
  1. We relate with others only when we get something from them. Pero kapag tayo na yung kailangang magbigay sa iba—we hardly make efforts.

    And this can also happen in the church. EXAMPLE: We go to church, be filled with God’s Word, be blessed by the service, then right after service—”K, thanks, bye!” (Though some reason are valid)
  2. We relate with others because we like the person/people.
    1. Age bracket (Ex. “Puro millennial or seniors”)
    2. Profession/interest
    3. Personality

      EXAMPLE: “5 Love Languages” (which becomes selfish, though there are indeed certain ways we feel more loved)
  3. We relate with other only when it is convenient
    1. Money, time, going outside home or comfort zones
    2. Kapag madaling pakisamahan yung tao (but not those who test our patience)
  • APPLY: These are all selfish ways we relate with others and even one another. But God commands the opposite—to love sincerely and earnestly.
  • ILLUSTRATE: Movie quote: “We like because _____. We love despite of / even though ____.”
  • Likewise, we shouldn’t like one another because we get something. But we must love even though we give more than we receive, even when it is inconvenient, even when it is uncomfortable, even when it is hard.
  • GOSPEL: Hence, if you look at it, this command is definitely hard… That is why, (back to 1 Peter 1:22), this love comes from a pure heart (a regenerated, converted heart).
  • We are by nature selfish and unloving people, and love does not come naturally from a sinful heart.
  • EXAMPLE: If you’re impatient and bitter in heart, it will always come out towards others—regardless of outward training (e.g., tone, choice of words).
  • That is why: The only way that we can truly love one another is when we know and experience the perfect love in our hearts.
  • Read John 15:13 — The greatest love of all, that Christ gave himself for us. At ginawa Niya yun, hindi dahil “convenient” (he suffered and died!), at hindi dahil “kaibig-ibig” tayo…
  • Romans 5:6-10
    • “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly… God shows his love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us… [Yes] while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.”
  • It would have been more convenient for God to just start all over. Or just bring everyone straight to hell. But he loves us…
  • Bagama’t tayo’y mga makasalanan at kaaway ng Diyos, Siya pa ang mismong umabot sa atin at si Cristo’y namatay alang-alang satin. He loved us greatly though we are utterly unlovable.
  • And he made the promise that those who repent and believe in him receives forgiveness and eternal life. (CALL TO FAITH) And his Spirit shall continually purify our hearts to love God and others.
  • John said, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). So pray, “Lord, give me this love, help me understand and experience your love. That I may also love others.”

[TRANSITION]: And what is our comfort and hope that we will be able to love one another?

SERMON POINT 3. The Hope and Motive for Love

TEXT: vv. 23-25 “… love one another… since you have been born”

Like verse 22, Peter says that this is the state of the believers. They are now regenerated, born again… Born again of what, by what?

  • “not perishable seed but imperishable” — Contrasted with human procreation (though the human seed is born and grows, the person eventually dies).

    But this source of their regeneration is imperishable, indestructible. How is that? Why?
  • “through the living and abiding Word of God” — The Word of God as the means for regeneration and conversion.
  • Quotation from Isaiah 40:6,8
    • Context: The prophet speaks for the exiles in Babylon, who are in great despair and discouragement. Everything is unstable.
    • But the prophet proclaims, “Comfort, comfort.” Telling the people to hope in God’s promise of deliverance, that God’s Word will never fail.
    • Peter perhaps wanted to relate the same thing to these Christian exiles suffering throughout the Roman empire. He’s saying, “Though you are exiles now, your new life in Christ will never perish. For the Word of God stands forever.” And Peter recognizes this Word of God as the gospel preached to them.
    • And if we look at the entire exhortation of Peter, the sure promises of the gospel is a call for faithfulness in their lives—both in the holiness and love.
  • IMPLY (For all believers): Likewise, as believers, our regenerated and converted life comes from the Holy Spirit through the gospel. And the gospel generates eternal life not only in the future, but it already begins now. We are given new life now.
  • This new life makes us love and obey God (holiness) and love others—and grow in it. Loving sincerely and fervently is HARD. But since God is the one sanctifying us by his Word and Spirit, we believers can faithfully love one another and grow in it.

FINAL APPLICATION

Obviously, we cannot cover the whole topic of love in one sermon. But let me end with 2 practical suggestions concerning loving one another.

1. Don’t make technology a substitute (especially today)

  • It helps in staying connected. But connection online doesn’t necessarily mean friendship. (Observation: Some people you get to chat, but can’t talk to face-to-face)
  • Though we resumed an online BS (helpful for others), it can’t be compared with a face to face fellowship with many conversations.
  • Spending time personally with one another teaches us a lot about relationships that we can’t appreciate online. (Example: Going to Reblando family and getting lost. “Bakit di na lang kasi Zoom?”)
  • In whatever means and opportunities God gives us, give time and relate with others personally not virtually (especially during the Lord’s Day)

2. Get to know and keep knowing one another

We are now growing as a church, and there are many, many ways to love and serve one another. 

  • Thanksgiving and encouragement of our men and women who help various ministries (because you know and see the needs of the church)

It all starts with getting to know and keep knowing each other.

  • The more we know others, the more we know their needs and the ways we can love and care for them using God-given resources.
  • SPECIFIC: Every Lord’s Day, why not get to talk to a person or family you’ve never talked to before?
    • “Introverts” — Understandable. But reaching to others despite our introvertness is itself loving.
    • “Awkward” — Natural, ano gusto niyo close agad?
    • “Hindi ko feel eh” — Love is ‘do’ more than ‘feel’
    • “Nasaktan na ako sa dating church eh, hirap mag-tiwala… hindi ako comfortable” etc. etc.
  • Reality of relationships: Mutual trust isn’t automatic; it is earned… Love isn’t natural, it is cultivated… And biblical friendships aren’t instant; they are built through time and effort.
  • We’ll always struggle with sin and weaknesses in our relationships as brothers and sisters in Christ, but ultimately—it is not us who build our friendships. It is God who unites us with one another by his Spirit.

So as we continue growing as a church, let us pray that as God loved us in Christ—we will also learn to love and indeed love one another.

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