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Sunday, October 10, 2021

“Love One Another Deeply, From the Heart” [Matt's Messages]

“Love One Another Deeply, From the Heart”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
October 10, 2021 :: 1 Peter 1:22-2:3

“Love one another deeply, from the heart.”

Those are the words of the Apostle Peter in chapter 1, verse 22.
And they are the title of our message for today.
And they are God’s Word to us today.

This is what He wants us to hear and to obey:

“Lanse Free Church, love one another deeply from the heart.”

Let those words roll around a little inside of you:

“Love one another deeply, from the heart.”

The first thing I noticed is that it’s a command.

This isn’t something that we do naturally. It’s something that we have to be told to do.

And, at least on some level, we can choose to do this. It’s something that we either obey or disobey, we either obey or do not obey.

“Love one another deeply, from the heart.”

It also doesn’t sound, at first, counter-cultural. These words don’t sound as strange as last week’s command from verse 17, “Live your lives as [foreigners] here in reverent fear.”

That sounds strange in the ears of our culture, as did the big command right before that one back in verse 15, “Be holy in all you do.”

Those two sound much more counter-cultural, but this one doesn’t, “Love one another deeply, from the heart.”

Of course, it is counter-cultural, isn’t it? If you actually do it. Our culture is not known for actually loving each other, deeply from the heart.

Sadly, so often, professing Christians are not known for it either...

“Love one another deeply, from the heart.”

This is clearly something that can be done poorly.

The opposite of “deeply” would be shallowly, right?

The Greek word translated “deeply” in verse 22 is also translated in other English Versions as “earnestly,” “fervently,” “constantly.”

Peter obviously wants real active love here, and not fake love.

He wants his readers to love one another from their hearts. Not just on the outside. Not just a superficial “love.” Not just a theoretical “love.” Not just a “love” when it’s convenient. But “deeply, from the” real you inside of you, from the deepest part of you. From the heart.

All of a sudden, what sounds so nice, you realize is not so easy after all.

Especially when you think about whom you are called to love.

Whom does Peter tell his readers to love deeply, from the heart?

“One another.”

Peter is commanding the elect exiles, the chosen foreigners scattered throughout Asia Minor to love one another. 

Christians loving each other deeply from the heart.

I want you to take a second and look around you for a minute at the other people around you.

If you are inside, the people on the pew beside you and in front of you and look behind you.

And the same for you folks under the tent. Look all the way around you.

Look across the room. Look across the tent.

If you are in the parking lot, look at the people in the cars and trucks around you that you can see. Or think about the people that you saw walk into the building this morning. Or came out to greet you and bring you a worship bulletin.

Make this very personal today.

These are some of the people that Peter is telling you and me to love deeply, earnestly, fervently, constantly from your heart.

How’re you doing at that?


Foreigners need one another.

Foreigners, exiles, need one another, don’t they?

If you are an exile, living in a land which is not your homeland, and you find other exiles, other foreigners, like you living in that land, you should latch onto each other shouldn’t you? Especially if you speak the same language!

You could help one another to navigate living in that foreign land.

Foreigners need one another.

And, remember, Peter says that you and I are foreigners here.

And so we need to hang together, and more than that, to love one another deeply from the heart.

What does that look like?

Well, it’s going to look different in different situations.

You’re going to love some of the people in this room in some ways and some in other ways depending on a lot of circumstances.

But in none of the circumstances are we called to un-love or to hate or to be indifferent to one another.

“Love one another deeply, from the heart.”

What does that look like?

Well, the rest of the New Testament fills out the command to love one another with a whole bunch of other things that we are supposed to do to and for one another.

There’s at least 50. Let me give you just a few:

At the end of this letter, Peter is going to say, “Greet one another” (1 Peter 5:14).

That’s a way of loving one another. Just simply greeting one another on Sundays or whenever you see other Christians.

Did you greet some people this morning? Some of you are introverts who get depleted by greeting others. I understand. I commend you for expending yourself in that way, deeply from your heart. You might only get one genuine greeting in on a Sunday, but it might be the one person who really needs that. And you gave it to them.

By the way, if you are worshiping from your vehicles on Sunday mornings, what can you do out there to greet other Christians in this kind of Christian love?

You might have to get creative. COVID has caused us all to have to get creative. But  we all have to find our way to obedience to this command, “Love one another deeply, from the heart.” Maybe you can jump out of your car and greet folks at 6 foot distance before and after church.

Here’s another one: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (that’s Romans 12:10).

Whom have you honored recently? What fellow Christian have you given honor to in recent days? Is there someone sitting near you that you can praise God for and tell somebody else how much you appreciate them? 

Here’s another one: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you” (Romans 15:7). Welcome them. Take them as they are. Receive them. 

Even if they are different from you! Especially, if they’re different from you. Christians are not all the same. The Christians in this room [just look at them!] are very different from one another. But we all have Christ in common so we accept one another.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another” (Ephesians 4:32). This is the way the we’re supposed to speak to one another. To treat one another as fellow Christians. Yes, we’re supposed to do that to nonChristians, too. But just start with the church. Are you being kind and compassionate and loving people deeply from the heart?

Don’t ask if others have been kind and compassionate to you. Ask if you have been kind and compassionate to the other Christians in your life?

Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Putting up with each other. Being longsuffering.

“Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

“Spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). Don’t leave that up to the worship leaders up front.       

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

This is what it means to “love one another deeply, from the heart.”

One more from 1 Peter, chapter 4, verse 9. “Offer hospitality to one another.” Have each other in your homes. Get each other on the phone. Jump on Zoom together. Get on Facetime. Eat together. Hospitality. We’ll talk about that more when we get to chapter 4.

Do you see how active this is?

This isn’t just a feeling. 

It’s not just “have warm fuzzies for other Christians.”

Our Lord Jesus said, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all [people] will know that you are my [followers]” (John 13:34-35).

And Peter is just underlining that and putting it in all caps and 40 point font.

“Love one another deeply [earnestly, fervently, constantly], from the heart.”

Of course, that’s not all that Peter says here. It’s just the central thrust, the main command. 

He also tells us WHY and HOW to love one another like this.

Let’s start with why, and let’s read the whole verse and verse 23. 1 Peter 1:22-23.

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”

Peter says that we should love one another deeply from the heart because:

#1. WE WERE BORN AGAIN FOR THIS.

Did you ever think about why you were born again?

Why God gave you new birth by His Holy Spirit?

I mean, there’s a lot of reasons. Yes, it was for our forgiveness.

As verse 22 says, “You have purified yourselves by obeying the truth.” I think that’s talking about the truth of the gospel and their conversions to being true believers.

They have put their trust in the Lord Jesus and His gospel for their salvation and have been purified. Remember verse 2, we have been “been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying (purifying) work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood...”

But verse 22 says that we have been purified like this SO THAT we “have sincere love for [our] brothers.” The Greek word for that is “Philadelphian.” Brotherly love. The real thing. Sincere love.

Think about this: You were born again to love other Christians.

You were born again to love the brethren.

You were born again, not just for yourself, but for rest of the Church.

And of course, it takes that kind of new birth to actually do this kind of loving.

It’s not natural. It’s supernatural.

That’s the point of verse 23.

“[L]ove one another deeply, from the heart. [WHY?] For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”

Peter loves that word “imperishable.” It’s in verse 4, “never perish” about our inheritance. He’s going to use it again in chapter 3.

Here he says that we have been born again from an imperishable seed.

I think that means a supernatural undying seed. 

Perishable seed is like human seed. When we are naturally born of human seed, we live and then we die.

So our natural life has a natural end. It’s very temporary and transitory and limited.

And if that’s all we have, our love is going to be very temporary and transitory and limited.

That’s all the kind of love that the world can muster up.

But Christians have not just been born; we have been born again. Born anew.

And born to live and then live some more and then live some more and then live some more. And even if we die, to live some more and then some more and then some more and then some more!

Because this seed is imperishable. It’s the seed of the Word of God.

And that’s living and enduring.

And to prove that, Peter reaches back into his beloved Old Testament and quotes Isaiah chapter 40. V.24.

“For, ‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you.”

It’s Autumn right now which is my favorite season. I like all 3 of the good seasons, Spring, Summer, and Fall. But Fall has always been my favorite.

The leaves the change. It’s so beautiful. The harvest comes in. There’s a crispness in the air. Football season. I was the drum major for the marching band in high school. Loved to get out there on the field and perform. And Autumn was also the time you get to go back to school! Which has always been a favorite thing for me. New books and teachers to tell you which books are the best ones to read. Woohoo!

But as the Fall comes, then comes that other season, the season of death. We won’t name it here today.

But it’s the time when we are reminded of death and how transitory and temporary and weak we are. We are like grass and all of OUR glory is like the flowers of the field which withers and falls.

But the Word of God stands forever!

And that’s the word that has been preached to you and put inside of you as a seed to give you a new birth not just into a living hope but a sincere love for other Christians!

You have been born again to love this way and given an undying power to do it!

You have an undying power to love other Christians!

If you are a genuine Christian.

You have an undying power to love other Christians. Inside of you.

So you can love them deeply, from the heart. We were born again for this!

That’s WHY and bit of HOW. Here’s some more how. Look at chapter 2, verse 1.

“Therefore [because of this living and enduring powerful word implanted in you], rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”

This is the manner in which we are to love deeply:

#2. WE RID OURSELVES OF UN-LOVE.

Some translations say, “Lay aside” or “Throw off” or “Be done with” these things.

I like the NIV’s “rid yourselves.”’

We have a phrase around here in Western Pennsylvania that I didn’t grow up with.

Do you say, “Rid up” or “Rid out?”

Like “I’m going to rid up the garage this weekend.”

Which has the idea of organizing, but also getting rid of things that don’t belong in there, right?

These things do not belong in the Church or in an individual Christian:

“Malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”

Malice is harboring hate or spite or venom in your heart towards another Christian.

Deceit is lies.

Hypocrisy is being fake.

Envy is coveting what someone else has.

Slander is spreading falsehoods or gossip, talking against your fellow Christian in a damaging way.

These are all un-love. And they have to go.

And we all agree with that, right?

Until the Spirit puts His finger on us and says, “That’s you right now. And it’s gotta go.”

Ask Him to help you rid up your heart of these un-loving attitudes and actions.

And then one more word about HOW to do this loving deeply. You do it by drinking down the pure spiritual milk of the Word.

#3. WE GREEDILY CONSUME THE WORD OF GOD. V.2

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

Peter loves his Old Testament. That’s quote a from Psalm 34 that we studied together back in April.

We have tasted the Lord is good.

So now we seek even more.

Peter says that we ought to be like babies!

I think that’s great. Be like babies.

If somebody asks you what you learned in the sermon today, you can say, “The Bible says that we ought to act like babies!”

In one way, at least.

We have a lot of babies in this church right now. I count at least 6 about one year or less.

Do any of those little ones like to eat?
Do they let you know when they’re hungry?
Does it seem like they’re hungry a lot?

Especially, when they’re newborns, right? They eat all of the time.

Their little tummies are so hungry!

Peter says, “Be like a baby.”

You’ve tasted how good the Lord is?

Start yelling for more.

“More, please!”

You can find it in here. “More, please. “Please, more of this good, pure stuff.”

Are you wondering where you will get the wherewithal, the sustenance, to love some of these people?

You know, some of these people are not easy to love.

I know that I can be hard to love at times.

Christians can be hard to love.

So we greedily consume more and more and more and more of the word of God.

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

Are you growing up in your salvation?

You can tell if you are loving your brothers and sisters deeply, from you heart.


***

Previous Messages in This Series

01. "Elect Exiles" 1 Peter 1:1-2
02. "A Living Hope" 1 Peter 1:3-7
03. "Angels Long To Look Into These Things" 1 Peter 1:8-12
04. "Be Holy In All You Do" 1 Peter 1:13-16
05. "Live Your Lives As Strangers Here In Reverent Fear" 1 Peter 1:17-21

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