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Worship Services
1 Peter

The Apologetic of Love

This sermon is part of an 11-week series on the book of 1 Peter.

October 20, 2019
1 Peter 3:8-17
preached by
Pastor Jon Needham

Sermon text

1 Peter 3:8-17

⁸ Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. ⁹ Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. ¹⁰ For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; ¹¹ let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. ¹² For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” ¹³ Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? ¹⁴ But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, ¹⁵ but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, ¹⁶ having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. ¹⁷ For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.

Understanding the text

Unfortunately, many Christians approach the Church with a consumer mentality. Once a local church fails to provide the desired goods, they move on to another church, which only perpetuates Christian immaturity. Peter sees the Church very differently. Because of our objective unity in Christ, we can not give up on each other. Rather we are to imitate Christ with “sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8). Through this, the Church is built up and sanctified.

But our love is also the supreme apologetic to the onlooking and skeptical world. We tend to think of apologetics in terms of well thought out and formulated arguments for faith in Jesus. While that is important, time and time again, the New Testament reminds us that genuine, sacrificial, gospel-motivated love for others is the authenticating sign of our discipleship.  

Additional scripture

  1. John 13:35
  2. Matthew 22:34-40
  3. 1 John 3:11-16
The Church is both a living apologetic appeal and the formative context out of which apologetic arguments are supported as plausible. —Joshua D. Chatraw

Applying the text

  1. What role did meaningful relationships with Christians play in your own conversion?
  2. Why is love such a powerful argument for the gospel of Jesus Christ?
  3. What does this text assume about the presence and purpose of Christians and the Church in the world?

Call to Worship

Psalm 20:6–9

⁶ Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. ⁷ Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. ⁸ They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. ⁹ O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.

Prayer of Confession

Father God, You have created and sustained all things. Yet we confess that we have not honored You or given You the thanks and praise You deserve. Instead of worshipping You, we have worshipped power, control, sex, money, reputation, and many other things. But they cannot save or protect us and are not worthy of our worship. Forgive us, O Lord, and grant us the grace of repentance. Reprogram our hearts to cherish You and hate our sin. May we treasure and honor You above all else. Amen.

Resources for Parents

Did you know that the kids of Coram Deo are following along with our recent study through Genesis? They are! Every Sunday, the children's ministry team creates lessons that cover the scripture and concepts from a recent sermon. The teachers ask simple questions to help the kids learn to understand and apply what God says in the Bible.

We want to equip parents to talk to their kids about what they're learning. The following is the content that the children's classes taught this week. We encourage parents to use this resource at home to help you and your kids grow as you learn from God's word together.

Children's Lesson from Sunday, October 20

Genesis 17:1-8, 15-21

The Main Point:
God's plan is the best plan.

Q: How did God help Abram and Sarai while they waited for His promise?
A: He reminded them of the promise and gave them signs.

Q: What made the reminder in today's scripture extra special?
A: God told them when their baby would be born!

Q: What can stop God's promises from happening?
A: Nothing!

Q: What is God's special promise called?
A: A covenant.  

New City Catechism Question #30

Q: What is faith in Jesus Christ?
A: Receiving and resting on him alone for salvation as he is offered to us in the gospel.

(Note: All of our classes work through one question per month from the New City Catechism. You can download the New City Catechism app with all the questions and children's songs for free.)


Jon is the lead pastor and founding pastor of Coram Deo Church. He and his wife live in Bremerton with their three kids. He loves spending time with his family and riding motorcycles.


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