By Phil Wood
Considering the sermon by Bruce Spear on May 17, 2020
Scripture Readings: 1 Peter 3:8-9, 18-20, 4:6
Pastor Bruce's sermon this week was about good news. Bruce said that Peter's message in chapters three and four was good news not only for the early church scattered throughout Asia Minor but for us believers today who make up Elizabeth Presbyterian Church.
Just as Peter commended his congregations and all believers, so Bruce commended us, the people of EPC for our:
• unity of spirit
• sympathy (empathy for one another – sharing of mutual joy, mutual woes)
• love for one another
• compassion (tender hearts)
• humble minds
• like-mindedness (not necessarily agreeing on everything but linked by common purpose, with hearts set on unity)
As Bob Johnson suggested when Bruce was interviewing him, take some time to slow down this morning and walk at Jesus' pace – two mph! Think about specific times when you have seen the above characteristics in action at EPC. Try to jot down a name and a brief recollection of how someone demonstrated at least one of these characteristics (preferably more than one).
Bruce said this was good news because Peter was not commanding that we should be unified, sympathetic, loving, compassionate, etc., but he was commending us because, to a great extent, these characteristics were already in place. Review the notes you've just written, and reflect on how these demonstrations show the work of the Holy Spirit building us into a spiritual house.
Smile. Praise God. Worship him in the Spirit and in truth.
The other piece of good news Bruce pointed out from these passages in 1 Peter was this: Christ the righteous died for the unrighteous. Even the people who had incurred God's wrath, and who had failed to observe warnings given by Noah, even those got a second chance when Jesus descended into hell.
"...the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that...they might live in the spirit as God does."
In the context of your own life, at this time in your life, how is this good news? Write down your thoughts and spend some time in prayer.
And later, if anybody asks you why you're so happy today, tell them you've heard some good news.
God be with you.