Unity in a Time of Conflict – 1 Peter 3:8-12 ESV, Tom Bradwell, Assistant Pastor

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.” 

So, what does it mean to have unity of mind? The term literally means “same thinking” 

As believers we are called to bring our unique experiences, backgrounds, cultures, and testimonies and to out of this diversity to form a unity in our shared pursuit of the mind of God! 

Regardless of our differences, we need to know what thus says the Lord, we need His insight, His direction, His will…The mind of Christ. 

Philippians 2:5 NKJ Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Christians aren’t ultimately concerned with what society thinks, the majority thinks, a political party or movement thinks, or even with our own opinions, we are fixated on the question: What does Jesus think?

So, how do we determine the mind of God, of Jesus? 

  • Through the Word. 
  • Through walking in and being led by His Spirit. 
  • Through prayer and fellowship. 

Hebrews 3:13 Amp But continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today” [and there is an opportunity], so that none of you will be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [its cleverness, delusive glamour, and sophistication]. 

  • Through His example. **Jesus reveals the mind of God in His actions and teachings.

What unity of mind DOESN’T mean

When pursuing unity we should not place ultimate value on our personal opinions. 

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, ”declares the Lord. 9  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

We should not adopt the thinking of the culture or society 

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed (fashion yourself according) to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Let me pause and say…Our greatest act of worship is not singing songs or performing religious ritual. It is the surrendered life, the surrendered mind, choosing this day to forsake our idols and follow Jesus.

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Again, we are called to seek the mind of God.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind

Peter continues to describe the traits that produce and guard unity?  

8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind

Sympathy- The next trait is sympathēs, which describes an understanding disposition or the ability to put oneself in another’s place. To see the world through the lens of another.

Brotherly love- The next term, philadelphoi. The adjective philadelphoi, which literally means, “loving one’s sister/ brother,”

A Tender heart- We can understand the Greek idiom that uses “intestines” (splanchnon) to denote feelings of great affection (here eusplanchnos). True affection is more than intellectual; it is felt. Tenderness when injured, hurting, beaten about by life. Story of the barefoot boy.

A humble mind- The final adjective, tapeinophrōn, occurs only here in the NT but is one of a family of words that speak of humility. This is voluntary submission, and it stands in contrast to boastfulness or self-aggrandizement.

Philippians 2:5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature a God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature b of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

Disunity is a device of the enemy and a sign of the end times.

Matthew 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

CLOSING. 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.