God's Word Faithfully Preached from the Pulpit

Love and Serve One Another (Leviticus 19:17-18 and 1 Peter 4:7-11)


If you have only 3 weeks left before you die or Christ returns, what will you do?

  • Build your dream house
  • Go to your dream vacation
  • Reconcile with your family
  • Or perhaps, serve the church with all that you have?

This morning, we’ll continue our series on 1 Peter. (And this will be our last for now, and just resume next year in January).

In the previous sermon, we looked at Peter’s exhortation to the believers to live in holiness rather than immorality. “Live the rest of your lives no longer in sin but for the will of God, who is now ready to judge the living and the dead.”

Now, in verse 7, Peter somehow calls to mind again the truth of God’s imminent judgment or the end of all things. But for a different exhortation… Since Christ is coming soon, they must love and serve one another.

READ 1 Peter 4:7-10

v.7 — “The end (consummation) of all things is at hand (near).”

  • v.7 “… therefore, be self-controlled (sensible, serious) and sober-minded (self-restraint, usually in contrast with drunkenness)

v.8 — “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly…”

  • Gr. No period, not separate commands. Can be translated as, “be self-controlled and sober-minded for the purpose of prayer, having (above all) earnest love for one another…”
  • The main verb/imperative is in verse 7 “be self-controlled and sober-minded,” and the sense of the command until verse 10 comes from verse 7
  • Hence, the instructions to love and serve are rooted in the command to live a disciplined and sober life.
  • So “… having earnest love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins” (i.e., not about overlooking sins, but implies forgiveness and patience towards our sins)

v.9 — “showing hospitality to one another without grumbling”

  • Again, the sense of the instruction begins with being sober-minded.
  • “Hospitable” — Not just about opening one’s house, but doing kindness to those who come under one’s care (e.g., It is quite common in ancient times that Christians open their house for Christian travelers/traders, or in today’s context, hospitality would also mean extending kindness to church guests)

v.10 — “… use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace”

  • Again, the sense of the instruction begins with being sober-minded.

Having earnest love for one another, showing hospitality to one another, serving one another… Obviously, this whole passage is another exhortation on how believers should live sensibly while anticipating the coming of Christ. And it is a call to love and serve one another

Take note, friends, Peter’s audience are Christians who are already suffering. Yet far from promoting “individualism” or “self-preservation,” he exhorts them: “Extend kindness to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Serve one another.” 

And as we shall see later on, the same reality applies to us today: That loving and serving one another is an evidence of our faith and it is our life as believers.

CLARIFICATION: Now, before we look at the principles in this passage, let’s make a clarification to avoid confusions throughout our sermon. What are the “gifts” referring to?

  1. “Gifts” — The Bible talks about “gifts” or “spiritual gifts” in 2 basic senses/categories.
    1. “Spiritual gifts” referring to events/actions like miracles, tongues, healings, which Paul highlighted in 1 Corinthians 12-14. These are events totally and powerfully prompted by the Holy Spirit in a way that is already beyond or contrary to the usual “nature/abilities” of the person (e.g. Peter/Paul didn’t always heal the sick).

      These are often identified as “manifestations of the Spirit.”
    2. “Gifts” that appear largely within the “natural abilities and capabilities” of a person, stirred up by the Holy Spirit and performed for the building up of the church. Paul highlights this in Romans 12:3-8 (serving, teaching, showing mercy, contributing to the needs of others) and in 1 Corinthians 12:20 (helping, administrating).

      Take note: These are personal “abilities and capabilities” for the building up of the church. NOT just TALENTS. (E.g., talent of hip-hop dancing is hardly a ”gift,” but the ability to organize events can be considered a “gift” when used for the church).
    3. So it is this second sense/category of “gifts” that Peter refers to in 1 Peter 4 (e.g., including hospitality, not tongues & miracles of healing).

Now, going back to the text, there are 3 major principles that we shall learn from this passage about serving one another (and we’ll learn that through our 3 sermon points).


SERMON POINT 1: All believers are called to serve one another


  • Peter reminds the same theme of loving one another
  • But after verse 8, he focuses on extending kindness (“hospitality”) and serving others
  • This implies that the actual demonstration of love is giving something of ourselves to others—ano man yan na meron tayo, spiritually, physically or financially. 

And this is God’s will and calling to all believers. But can’t these persecuted believers be excused? (“As each [one] has received a gift, use it to serve one another…” 

Even for us today, this applies to all of us who profess faith in Christ. There’s no exclusion. 

But why is it that in many churches, not everyone who is able to serve—serves?

One hindrance (not the only hindrance) in serving one another is a faulty or imbalanced understanding of “ministry” or “serving in the church”

  • Experience with evangelicalism — Serving equals teaching
    • Example: “Hindi naman ako marunong magturo eh. Hindi ako people-person, wala akong gift. Hindi ako pwede mag-serve.” Yet serving others is not limited to teaching.
    • v. 11 — some “speaks”, some “serves” in general
    • 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 — “gifts of healing, helping, administering, and various kinds of tongues” (though some already ceased, there are other ways to serve other than teaching)
  • Reformed emphasis — “The gifts are the men” (READ Ephesians 4:7, 11)
    • After discussing the “unity” of the church (4:1-6), Paul takes note of the diversity of the church
    • V. 7 — “… grace was given to each one of us according to Christ’s gift”
    • V. 11 — “And he gave the apostles, the prophets…”
    • We cannot ignore the difference between v. 7 and v. 11. Grace was given to each one of us, while the apostles, prophets, ministers and teachers are themselves gifts of Christ to the church.
    • While we distinguish the special office from the general office of believers, we acknowledge the varied gifts of God operating in every individual in Christ’s church.
    • Hence, (v. 16) “when each part is working properly, makes the [whole] body grow…”
    • ILLUSTRATE: When your right knee is aching, the whole body is affected. All parts should work properly.
  • Another helpful text is Romans 12:4-8 (READ)
    • Not all have the same function, but all have a function as members of one body.

Serving others is not limited to some believers only (e.g., officebearers only, young only). As believers, serving others is not an option.

  • EXAMPLE: Pastor Bob Amigo’s past counsel: “Look for a church not simply to benefit yourselves (i.e., though that’s the reality, we look for proper feeding). But also seek to build up and serve others.”
  • Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 21, Q. 55
    • Q. What do you understand by “the communion of saints”?
    • “First, that believers one and all, as members of this community share in Christ and in all his treasures and gifts. Second, that each member should consider it his duty to use his gifts readily and cheerfully for the service and enrichment of the other members.”

Again, as believers, each and all of us are called to serve one another.

[TRANSITION]: Now, many of us would agree, “That’s easier said than done.” Mahirap mag-serve. And that’s true. That’s why we could only serve as recipients of God’s grace.

And this leads us to our sermon point 2…

SERMON POINT 2: We Serve as Recipients of God’s Grace

In verse 9, Peter instructs, “show hospitality [extend kindness] without grumbling/complaining.

In verse 10, “as each one has received a gift, use it [for yourself? No] to serve one another.

  • The fact that Peter has to remind them, “without grumbling,” means it is possible for them to extend kindness yet complain in their hearts.
  • Especially given their situations, where there are accusations and threats of persecutions, they must be tempted to seek their own welfare and focus on self-preservation.
  • So Peter encourages them and reminds them to serve (not themselves, but others) and to do it willingly, sacrificially and joyfully.
  • Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 21, Q. 55
    • Q. What do you understand by “the communion of saints”?
    • “… that each member should consider it his duty to use his gifts readily and cheerfully for the service and enrichment of the other members.

At mga magulang ko’t kapatid, sino po ba satin ang never nag-complain habang nag-se-serve sa iba? Sino po satin ang laging nag-vo-volunteer na mag-serve sa iba, whatever the cost?

  • Ang hirap mag-serve lalo na kapag inconvenient (masarap yung naka-upo ka lang, or wala masyadong iniisip, or yung hindi mababawasan savings mo)
  • Ang hirap mag-serve lalo na kapag ikaw nagsisipag ka, tapos yung iba parang walang ginagawa or konti lang
  • Ang hirap mag-serve lalo na kapag naisip mo na it will be costly, “Baka hindi ko kayanin. Baka mapahiya lang ako. Baka wala namang maka-appreciate. Baka magkamali lang ako at ma-criticize pa ng iba.”

It is not explicitly mentioned in the text, but Peter’s instruction implies that serving one another requires more than just the ability or capacity to serve

IMPLY: In order for us to serve well, we need the grace of God. In what way? Let me give 3 subpoints:

  1. We need God to give us a selfless, loving heart
    1. There’s always the temptation to “grumble/complain” when serving others, or to keep our gifts for ourselves because we are by nature selfish people.
    2. Ayaw natin ng nahihirapan tayo. Ayaw natin ng nai-inconvenience tayo. Kung meron man na dapat mag-sacrifice at mag-take ng responsibility—iba na lang. Hindi tayo.
    3. And that’s why it requires the Holy Spirit’s work within us in order to give hearts that are willing and joyful to give ourselves and whatever we have for the benefit of others.
    4. At paano Niya ginagawa ‘to? He points us to Christ. He knows what it means to serve, and he actually did it. As he said in Matthew 20:28, he came “not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 
    5. Though he doesn’t deserve it, though it is inconvenient and hard, though it will cost him his life—he willingly did it for our benefit. He did it all to reconcile us to God and give us all saving benefits, including a new heart and a new life.
    6. By ourselves, hindi po natin kayang baguhin ang ating mga puso. Pwedeng maging masipag tayo na gawin kung ano yung kailangan ng iba, pero kung wala sa’tin si Cristo, we won’t have joy in serving others.
  1. We need God’s provision and sustenance to serve
    1. As Peter said in verse 11, “whoever serves, serve by the strength (or out of the strength) that God supplies
    2. Whenever we serve, it requires and takes something from us.

      EXAMPLE: “Pag magtuturo ka, it will consume your energy and knowledge. Kailangan, marami-rami alam mo… Pag tutulong ka sa Technical, magbubuhat ka, papawisan ka. Kailangan, matibay-tibay likod mo… Pag tutulong ka financially, kailangan may enough provisions ka not just for yourself, your family, but also for others.
    3. In all of this, it shows that in our service to others, we are fully dependent on God. In any form of service, none of us is sufficient… Whenever we love and serve others, darating at darating po yung panahon na mapapagod tayo, madi-disappoint, at manghihina. At kung sa sarili lang po natin, hindi po natin kayang magpatuloy.
    4. But God is faithful. READ 2 Corinthians 9:8. Although the immediate context is giving financial/material support, it reads… 
    5. Indeed, in Christ, God does not only inspire us to love and serve the needs of others, but he also enables us to do it.
  1. We need God’s favor and delight in our service
  1. ILLUSTRATE: At work, there are times when some co-workers disagree with your plan, but it is approved by the boss. And that’s what matters to you: the favor and acceptance of the boss.
  2. Likewise, in our service as believers, what ultimately matters is not the acceptance of other people but the acceptance of God. Mas gugustuhin mo nang natutuwa ang Diyos sa ginagawa mo, bagama’t maraming tao ang ayaw sa’yo… kaysa galit ang Diyos sa’yo, bagama’t natutuwa ang maraming tao.
  3. Now if you think of it, beloved, we don’t always love and serve others as we should.
    1. Our text shows that there is a proper way in serving others. God has a standard, which is perfect.
    2. We don’t always extend kindness without complaining. We don’t always use our gifts “as good stewards” (i.e., stewardship implies cultivating our gifts, doing the best).
    3. Our service to others will always be spoiled by sin and imperfections. We are not faithful and at our best in our duties all the time.
  4. But this reminds us again of the good news of our salvation in Christ. It’s not that we shouldn’t pursue excellence anymore (i.e., “Pastor, ‘wag ka na masyadong magsipag, gracious naman si Lord”). But the gospel reminds us that no matter how flawed and imperfect our good works and service to others are, God is pleased with it because of the perfect work of Jesus Christ.
  5. Because Christ already rendered the perfect service and good work that God demands, God no longer requires it from us. We serve not to win God’s favor, but as gratitude for his favor to us in Christ.
  6. And this gives us freedom in obeying God and serving others. It removes legalism. Tinatanggal nito yung takot na dapat may ma-reach kang certain perfection, or else lagot ka kay Lord. Basta tama yung intensyon natin na tayo’y nagsisilbi para sa iba at para sa kaluwalhatian ng Diyos, ang Diyos ay natutuwa gaano man ka-simple or ka-imperfect yung ating mga gawa.
  7. And that also makes us patient and gracious to ourselves and to others whenever we serve one another.

POINT SUMMARY: So as we mentioned earlier: Each one and all of us believers are called to serve one another. And we are able to do it by the grace that God supplies to us in Jesus Christ and through the Spirit.

Now, since we received God’s grace in Christ, what now? 

We are encouraged to go and use our gifts to serve others. And that leads us to our sermon point 3.

SERMON POINT3: We Serve as God’s Representatives and Stewards

v. 10 — “As each has received, use it to serve others… as good stewards…”

v. 11 — “If any one speaks, speak as one who speaks oracles of God” (i.e., speak to others as God’s representative)

Although the Bible speaks of “serving God,” it is not as if he needs anything from us. That’s what Paul also argued in Acts 17:24-25. We serve God because he is our King. But God calls us to serve others because they need us. That’s our privilege as sinners saved by grace, na gamitin ni Lord bilang instrumento para matugunan ang pangangailangan ng bawat isa.

And because…

  • Because each of us received a gift
  • Because the Spirit works in us a heart to serve
  • Because God supplies all we need to serve
  • And because we have the freedom to serve without any fear of God’s rejection…

… let us serve one another.

Our gifts and resources are not meant to be hidden for ourselves. Ano man po ang ibinibigay sa’tin ng Diyos—ayon sa kanyang biyaya—ginagamit po ‘yan.

ILLUSTRATE: Nung nag-aayos kami ng mga gamit para lumipat, ang dami naming binenta at pinamigay. Bakit? Hindi naman ginagamit eh. Sayang lang. Mapapakinabangan pa ng iba.

Likewise, God supplies gifts to us so we can share it with one another.

So, how do we serve as members of the church? In what areas should we serve? 

  • One way to answer that is to ask yourself, “What do you have?” “What is your gift? Anong kayang mong gawin? Anong experience mo sa work or sa dating church na tingin mo magiging useful sa church natin?”

“Eh, pastor, ‘each one has a gift,’ pero hindi ko alam kung ano gift ko eh.”… or “Pastor, ‘dance ministry’ ako sa dating church, kaso dito sa Reformed church, wala namang ganun eh.”

  • Well, then, what is the need? Anong opportunities ba meron to serve? As a general rule, “Serve wherever the need is.”

May need po sa housekeeping, ushering, technical team, admin, at iba pa. May need din for teachers sa Children’s sunday school. Eventually, malalaman mo naman if that is your gift or not.

Even if some of us (particularly men) think that we are being called to become officebearers soon, you can start serving in other aspects of the church. That will also help cultivate your deeper love for others.

Again, “serve wherever it is needed.” Ask your officebearers, “What can I do to help?”

  • You know, practically, the more we know one another, the more God reveals opportunities to serve.  Habang mas nagiging involved tayo sa buhay ng bawat isa—mas makikita natin yung mga pangangailangan natin. 

EXAMPLE: When someone shares a need via chat or in prayer meeting, it opens opportunities to serve.

Hence, we are encouraged to build our fellowship and friendship with one another—whether it is after Lord’s Day service, prayer meeting, general assembly, Bible Studies, or even conferences. The more we involve ourselves in the life of the church, the more we’ll know what areas we can serve inside or outside the walls of this church.

  • There are other specific needs in the church, but given our limited time, we can just discuss it in our General Assembly as members on Dec. 4. But let me end with this…


  • Apparently, our generation today is so busier than ever. Everything is fast paced. Ang daming pangarap na gustong abutin. Ang daming lugar na gustong puntahan. Ang daming mga bagay na gustong bilhin. Etc. 
  • And we Christians are often tempted to go with the flow. Hindi po masama mangarap, hindi po masama maghangad ng ilang bagay sa buhay—but let us make sure that it doesn’t prevent us from serving the needs of one another with whatever gift or capacity we have.
  • As Peter exhorts, “The end of all things is at hand!” While the world cries, “Life is short, play more, acquire more, experience more…” God’s Word implies, “Life is short, serve more!”
  • Oh, may we live our remaining days in such a way that when we are at our final breath, we can say, “I have no regrets. I have served my King and my brethren. And now I can’t wait to hear his voice, ‘Welcome home, my good and faithful servant.’”
  • God makes no promise that when you serve more or give to others more—your life will be more prosperous. WE’RE NOT SERVING FOR PERSONAL GAIN. But he promised that he will supply our needs in life, and will also give everything necessary for us to grow and abound in loving and serving others—for his glory.
  • May that be our desire and our life until God finally brings us home.

Share with others:

Leave a Comment