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Love and Longing



“The definitive mark of those who have been loved by God through the grace of Jesus is that we love.”

We are continuing our Take Heart series through 1 Peter by looking at the defining trait of the believer: our love for one another. In this week’s message, Ben Stuart lays out two different reasons Peter gives for why we are meant to love each other and explores some of the ways we can love sincerely and actively.

Key Takeaway

How do you identify as a Christian? Jesus declared His believers would be known by His Love. We love because He has purified us, loved us first, and is forging a forever family in His Kingdom that will never fade. We reject what we do that kills the body of Christ and replace those actions with His everlasting provision.

Where are we at this point in the book of Peter? (1: 1-21)

  1. God has moved first. Peter talks about all God has done on our behalf.
  2. The implication is that what God has done affects what we do.
  3. Hope fully and Be holy.

Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind AND to love your neighbor as yourself.

Love with a pure heart. Mean it. Love earnestly. Peter exhorts them to love sincerely and actively. Love is genuine care for people that manifests itself in activity for their benefit. This is how Christians are to love each other.

If we're honest, loving someone is a pain. It's a lot of work that we don't necessarily want to do.

Why do we love?

1. 1 Peter 1:22 "having purified your soul"- perfect tense; and action fully completed in the past whose implications run into the future. It's not striving to be purified, you've already been purified.Hagnizo- sanctify, consecrate, holy. You consecrated yourself to the Lord, you purified your soul to say "The essential part of me is His". The best part of you belongs to Him.But how and when did that happen?By our "obedience", a combo of "listen" and "under", to the truth. 1 Peter 1:18-21 says that someone told you about Jesus and you believed and obeyed through knowing, believing, and hoping.

So, having been purified by the obedience to truth, it is FOR something. It is for a sincere brotherly love. God is forging a family. Ben gave the example of how his daughter Sparrow was instantly both a daughter to him and Donna, but also a sister to Hannah and then later Owen. It was an example of how our connection with God is an instant connection with the Church family. God, being a Father, desires for all His children to get along. Jesus as He was dying, looked at his disciple John (no blood relation) and Mary, His mother, and said "Son, behold your mother. Mother, behold your son." Because of who Jesus is and their allegiance to Him, they weren't biologically related, but they were now family.

2. 1 Peter 1:23. You're stuck with us. God is forging a forever family. "We have been born again"- perfect tense again. Both of Peter's references to love are rooted in the past, what Jesus has done, not the future. Then he launches into talking about seeds and quotes Isaiah and it feels confusing and out of place. It's not. It's deliberate.

Read Isaiah 40: 1-11 for context. Peter quotes Isaiah to them as an encouragement and motivation to love each other by talking about grass that fades, flowers that die, and God's Word standing forever. That doesn't seem like it makes sense with the passage, but Peter is writing to a scattered people in Rome who are being pressed on from every side. The temptation is to keep your head low, say nothing, and slowly lose your distinctiveness as the people of God. Peter purposely draws on Isaiah who was a prophet during the Babylonian captivity where the people of God were taken away from their society and culture, given new names, indoctrinated, and also pressed to lose their distinctiveness as God's people.

Peter and Isaiah are encouraging them that everything around them that seems so mighty, strong, and triumphant will one day be no more, except the Word of the Lord. The promises of God do not fade. Just like Jesus was promised in the Old Testament, He came, and He rose: invest in the promise of His Kingdom that will never end. So, the people remembered all that happened in Babylon, and just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego linked arms and refused to worship another god, the early Church saw that as an example of how Believers live and endure fire in an oppressing culture.

Don't be afraid, instead, prioritize the Kingdom of Jesus. So why do we love each other? God is forging a forever family.

How do we love each other sincerely?

  1. Put off relational poison. 1 Peter 2:1-3. Put off means to strip off a garment of clothing. Paul uses the phrase often when he says "Put off the old self, put on the new." Peter is talking about more than just behavior modification, he is looking at heart transformation. The key to good loving is good longing. Let's stop doing certain things and long for God's way.If you really want to love, stop practicing...
    • Malice: intent to harm, can be word and/or action
    • Deceit: withhold or distort truth, manipulation
    • Hypocrisy: false face, presenting a version of you that's not really you. Lacks integrity. We don't like what is in us, we feel a deficit, so we fake it.
    • Envy: resenting good that is in someone else because you want it for yourself and don't have it.
    • Slander: tearing others down

    All of these things are like a fast-spreading cancer that will make the body weak and eventually kill it. Put off the relational poison, do not practice these things.

  2. Partake in God's provision. Long for spiritual milk. The word spiritual here means "reasonable", it corresponds to reality. So, since we have been born again, drink that which will sustain life, not tear it down. You have a new body, so support that body.Babies instinctively know they need milk, but they will use anything to get it if the source isn't right there. So, you'll see them sucking on a toy, or a hand, or whatever they can get themselves near. It's a legitimate need that they are taking to an illegitimate place. Not only will it not help them, but it makes may make them sick. That's what Peter is saying. These sources you are going to are poison to yourself and others. So, stop sucking on the poison.So if you reject the poison, you have to replace that vacancy of the need with something. This is where Peter lets you know that the replacement is God's Word. And not just reading it, but tasting that the Lord is good. What you need to fill the vacancy is the kindness of God, His love, grace, and mercy. You encounter that in the Word, both individually and corporately. Once we are all in the Word, we have psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to speak over each other to grow in Christ.

Drink so you can be nourished and grow. Drink from the correct source. The Gospel is always reject and replace. Reject the poison, replace it with His provision.


"Love it a genuine care for other people that manifests itself in activity for their benefit."

Ben Stuart

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Scripture References

  • 1 Peter 1:22-2:3
  • John 13
  • 1 Peter 1:18-21
  • Romans 12
  • Psalm 34
  • Isaiah 40: 1-11
  • John 19:27
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.