1 Peter 3:8-12 NLT
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 10 For the Scriptures say,
“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.”
Reflect on the Passage
Take a moment to read through the passage slowly. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through it.
Is there a word or phrase that God is drawing to your attention? What is He saying to you through this text?
Engage with the Message
· What stood out to you from the Scripture passage and/or this week's message?
· In what ways is God challenging you and/or encouraging you through the message?
· If a spy came into our church community who had no experience with the church or understanding of Christianity, what do you think they might observe about who we are and how we live? What would they deduce about the Christian faith based on how you live and how you speak with others? Consider both the negatives and the positives.
· Pastor Jeff shared the following quote by John Stott:
The problem we experience, whenever we think about the church, concerns the tension between the ideal and the reality. The ideal is beautiful. The church is the chosen and beloved people of God, his own special treasure, the covenant community to whom he has committed himself for ever, engaged in continuous worship of God and in compassionate outreach to the world, a haven of love and peace, and pilgrim people headed for the eternal city.
But in reality we who claim to be the church are often a motley rabble of rather scruffy individuals, half-educated and half-saved, uninspired in our worship, constantly bickering with each other, concerned more for our maintenance than our mission, struggling and stumbling along the road, needing constant rebuke and exhortation, which are readily available from both Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles.
Reflect on the differences in the ideal church and the way the church operates in reality. How would you contrast the two in our culture? Is it possible for us to become the "ideal" church? How can we grow to reflect God's ideal for His church more fully?
· Consider some of the people or situations you have been complaining about or critiquing lately. What would it look like for you to shift your posture to become part of the solution? Spend some time praying for the people involved and how God is calling you to navigate the situation.