1 Peter 3:8-9 (KJV) Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
The boss of a large company is driving to work one day when – at a stop light – a young person texting on a cell phone rear ends his car. After waiting on the police, the accident report, and the other driver who still kept on texting, the boss is filled with repressed anger. When he gets to work 2 hours late he finds that one of his junior supervisors has once more failed to leave him a morning report. Furious, he calls the man into his office and chews him out! The supervisor heads back to his office, stomps past his secretary, and slams his office door. His secretary wonders what is wrong, so she taps on his door and asks if there’s anything she can do. The supervisor – upset because he was chewed out – chews her out and slams the door in her face. At the end of the day the secretary goes home and finds dirty dishes in the sink and her husband playing video games on the television. She blisters him for his laziness, stalks out, and he angrily gets up and heads outside. As he is heading for the door the dog is quietly laying on the floor watching whatever in the world is going on. As the husband goes outside he kicks the dog …. and the dog yelps, running away and wondering what he did to make everyone so mad.
So who kicked the dog?
If you are a Christian God has not called you to kick the dog – or anyone else. Christians are not to be part of the problem, not to be part of the darkness, but we are called to be part of the Light.
How Does One Become A “Christian”?
Christians are products of G R A C E. I have heard GRACE described as:
Grace is to receive MERCY when you deserve PUNISHMENT. Grace is to not get what you deserve, but to get what you DO NOT deserve. Grace is God showing us undeserved love.
God is holy, righteous, and just.
He is the Owner of Heaven.
Heaven is therefore holy, righteous, and just.
Yet we are all – young or old, rich or poor, male or female – separated from God because we are sinners.
We were born in sin (Psalm 51:5)
We are guilty of breaking God’s laws (Romans 3:9–20, 23)
We were enemies of God (Romans 5:6, 10; 8:7; Colossians 1:21)
We deserve death and damnation (Romans 6:23a)
We once reveled in unrighteous (Romans 3:10)
And we could not save ourselves (Romans 3:20)
So God stepped in. He sent Jesus to take our sin burden on Himself so that we could stand clean before God.
Romans 8:3-4 (KJV) … God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Jesus gave Himself for you and for me. The day that you realized you were a sinner destined to hell, that you were without God and without hope, that very day you cried out to Jesus the Lord saved you. You and I were saved not because we earned it, not because we deserved it, but because God gave it to us as an absolutely free gift. One of the greatest texts that explain GRACE is found in:
Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We have faith in what Christ did, not in what we do. When our faith is placed wholly in Christ then God saves us. It is a gift. It is by GRACE. But GRACE was not just given to us to save us, but if you are saved by GRACE then this GRACE should operate in you. Grace is how the Christian lives, moves, and breathes. GRACE is not the end of our faith. Many people teach GRACE as a gateway by which we are saved and then go no farther than that. That is untrue. GRACE is not a train ticket punched to get you to Heaven.
Grace is THE way of life
Grace is not just the way TO life eternal,
it is THE way of life.
In our text today we see that those who are saved by grace are to live by grace. We treat one another as Christ treated us. We treat the lost as Christ treats us. We are to love as we are loved. The first thing that the Apostle tells us is to …
be ye all of one mind
We who believe are called to “be ye ALL of ONE MIND”. Let’s examine that. What is our mind to be? We are to have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16 (KJV) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
We are to think like Jesus thought. We are not to think like the world thinks, but to be like Christ in thought and therefore in deed. The Bible says:
Romans 12:2 (KJV) … be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, …
How do we as believers become Christ-minded? Do we query the world, asking it what is politically acceptable? No! Absolutely not! We are commanded:
Colossians 2:8 (KJV) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
The world is not our resource. The world does not have the mind of Christ. We have the mind of Christ available to us. We become united in mind and in practice by adhering firmly to both Spirit and Scripture.
The Christian has the mind of Christ. What gives us the mind of Christ? Two things – God’s written Word, and God’s indwelling Word or the Holy Spirit.
When you received Christ as Lord and Savior you also received the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit was given to you to “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). The written Word of God is truth. Jesus in His High Priestly prayer said:
Sanctify them through Thy Truth.
Thy WORD is Truth (John 17:17)
What is the MIND we are ALL to have? Here is what God’s Word says:
Philippians 2:5-8 (KJV) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
The Mind of Christ did not puff Himself up. The Mind of Christ lowered Himself, washing the feet of the disciples:
John 13:14 (KJV) If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
This was not meant to be a mindless ritual, but a way of life where we lovingly serve others. This is what Christ did throughout His earthly life. He gave Himself for us. He loved us, even doing the dirty tasks. In this world people elevate themselves. They put themselves first and foremost. Christ calls us to put God first, to put others before ourselves, and to do so unashamedly.
Our minds are to be grace oriented, grace filled. This is radical love.
Matthew 5:38-39 (KJV) Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Matthew 5:43-46 (KJV) Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Children imitate their parents. We are to imitate Christ. I was in a fast food restaurant the other day when someone near me made an ugly remark about a woman and her child. I will not repeat the remark, but I can honestly say it was a remark unworthy of a saint. We who are Christ’s are to have HIS mind – putting others before ourselves, loving as He loved. What has God said?
Philippians 2:3-4 (KJV) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Hell will be filled with people who elevated themselves while deriding others. If you are Christ’s then this mind must NOT be in you. Love as Jesus loved.
Grace Puts Itself In The Place Of Others
1 Peter 3:8 (KJV) Finally, be ye all of one mind,
having compassion one of another
The word “compassion” is a compound word which means “to suffer or be in pain with another”. It is to put yourself in the place of another, to empathize.
Grace asks itself “If I were in his place what would I feel?”
When we empathize with one another we become the unified Body of Christ with Jesus as our Head. It is Christ’s desire that …
1 Corinthians 12:25-26 (KJV) … there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.
When I was in the military the first lesson we learned was to work together, because we’re all in this together. This is why we marched. This is why we had inspections. When I ran my first 3 mile obstacle we helped the slowest member of the squad cross the finish line. Listen Beloved, we either stand together or we will fall apart. We empathize with one another as family.
1 Peter 3:8 (KJV) Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren
A Church is the Family of God.
We are not strangers with no purpose.
We are family serving our Father.
Our goal is to promote Christ.
We do this by love.
Jesus said in John 13:35:
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. “
Not just “love” but “have love”. Jesus said we are not just to have FEELS toward one another but to actually put love into action.
Illustrate I have had people come to me and tell me “I’m cold” when in this sanctuary. When that happens I go and look at the thermostat. If the thermostat tells me the room temperature is 78 degrees then it’s not cold in here. You may feel cold because of your metabolism, but in fact the room is not cold. That’s why I bought blankets for the Church. Some of you feel cold when the rest of us are burning up. But I love you, so I tried to provide a solution that doesn’t melt the rest of us. The thermostat tells us the actual temperature, the actual fact as to whether it is cold or hot in here.
Whether you actually do love or not shows
whether you are saved or not.
Love in action is the thermostat of your soul!
Don’t believe me? See what the Scripture says:
1 John 3:14 (KJV) We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
If you do not love your fellow believers then you are yet in the dark Kingdom of satan. Love lifts up and does not tear down.
Romans 13:10 (KJV) Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
If we put ourselves in the place of others we will …
1 Peter 3:8 (KJV)… be pitiful,
Word Study This word – the Greek εὔσπλαγχνος eúsplanchnos – means “to be tenderhearted toward another”. We are not to harden our hearts toward others, but to be …
Ephesians 4:32 (KJV) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
I am so glad that God didn’t harden His heart toward us, but loved us enough to reach out and lift us up from the mire of sin and darkness. As you have been loved, love one another! Do so for God’s sake.
Grace Always Responds In A Godly Way
1 Peter 3:8 (KJV) … be courteous
1 Peter 3:9 (KJV) Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
We are to bless others because God has promised us a blessing. We are Heaven bound creatures – let us live that way. Let us be His children, shining in the midst of this present darkness.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 (KJV) See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
There are three ways we can respond to others. We can …
Return evil for good – which is satanic
Return good for good and evil for evil – which is worldly
Return good for evil – which is godly
If we belong to God let us be godly. By our lives and how we live them we may win others to His Kingdom. Let us do so for the glory of God – in Christ’s name I pray. Amen!