How To Be Like-Minded
Ways of being of one mind include having compassion, brotherly love, empathy, being humble and not getting back at someone. Let God fight your battles.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Well, thank God we’re together again over the Word of God. The miles drop away, and you and I are together, whether it’s like sitting at the kitchen table, or sitting beside you as you drive to work. Or whatever it may be, we’re together with the Word of God. What a blessed relationship that is. I’m so grateful for the privilege of sharing God’s Word with you by way of radio. I consider it the highest and holiest of privileges this side of heaven, to share God’s inerrant Word, with somebody else.
And so, here we are looking at 1 Peter 3:9. This is onto the heading of ‘Be of one mind’. He said, “Be of one mind.” How do you do that? Compassion, brotherly love, sharing with people’s sufferings, pitiful, courteous – that means have a low, a, a modest opinion of yourself. What else? Verse 9, “If you want to get together with people, be of one mind.” What else? “Not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing.” Don’t talk back, don’t give it back. Actually he said this word ‘rendering’ is, is a, is our expression, ‘give it back’. “I got back at him!” You remember saying that as a child? Or maybe even as a grown up?
He said, “Don’t do that.” You don’t have to get back at anybody. The Bible says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” saith the Lord. You don’t have to fight your own battles, you don’t have to answer your critics. I learnt from Dr. H. A. Ironside many years ago, when ‘Youth for Christ’ was just beginning back in the 1940’s. And I was being criticized along with other people because we were endeavoring to get folks together in the effort to win young people for Christ, and send them back to their own church, to serve the Lord.
And this was a new concept, and a new kind of a program approach, happy and informal, on a Saturday night. And it was just so different that people were critical of it. And I, I felt bad. You know when you get criticized it’s, it’s no fun. Well I went and talked to Dr. Ironside about it. He was then pastor of the great Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, located there at North Avenue in Clark Street in Chicago’s North side. And I told him all about it: ‘and they were criticizing me, and here I’m trying to win souls.’
And when I finished my tale of woe, he leaned back in his swiveled chair and folded his hands across his capacious middle. He had a, an immense gold chain with some kind of a gold ornament that he used to wear across his vest, connected with his, his pocket watch. And so he folded his hands across that array of, of gold chain and what not. And, and he looked at me and he said, “Well my dear young brother, if what they’re saying about you is true, mend your ways; if it isn’t, forget it and go on and serve God.” (Laughs)
Pretty good advice, you don’t have to get back at people. You can learn from your critics, if they’re correct. Some of the things that I have almost screamed about when people criticized, when I later thought about them in honest thought, I realized, were quite correct. You know, your critics sometimes at least are, are right about things. So learn from them. You don’t have to get back at folk. And if indeed you come across someone who is malicious, and who is doing things because of a malicious disposition, trying to hurt you, or to undermine you, or to displace you in a job – that often happens in the business jungle, doesn’t it? You don’t have to protect yourself, and you don’t have to get back at people.
Lloyd Cory, my good friend of Scripture Press years – he’s now retired, lives down in Oklahoma somewhere, I guess. He said to me one time, “Do you know Finagle’s Law?” I said, “No, I don’t know. What is it? I know Murphy’s Law: ‘If anything can go wrong it will, and at the worst possible time.” Now he said, “Finagles Law,” he said, “Here it is: He who Finagles, gets Finagled.” (Laughs) You scheme, other people will scheme as well; you undermine, other people will undermine you. You don’t have to get back at people. Let God fight your battles, let God be your champion.
“Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” Somebody’s, somebody does something against me, I go tell God on him. Yes I do. And God has a way of taking care of things. Number one, He straightens me out regularly. And number two, He takes care of His boy as we go on through life. A blessed, wonderful lesson to learn: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing. Don’t talk back. Don’t strike back, and don’t talk back. Those are two different things that we do, and it’s, it’s natural. Somebody hits me, I hit him back; somebody speaks evil of me, I speak evil of him in return.
This is human nature –fallen, sinful, human nature. Don’t do it. First, because you don’t have to; second, because there’s no future in it; and third, because God says don’t. Maybe I got that order reversed, didn’t I? Not rendering evil for evil, or railing, criticism for criticism. But contrary-wise, blessing. You know it’ll, it’ll shock people if they are, if they are criticizing you, if you’ll agree with him and simply say, “You’re probably right about that, God bless you.” (Laugh) I’ve done that on occasions and, and people recoil as though they were struck by something.
You know, it’s impossible to continue an argument if someone refuses to argue. And so, many years ago, I read in somebody’s book, ‘Agree with your critics’. And pf course the Sermon on the Mount says that very clearly, “Agree with thine advisory quickly whilst thou art in the way with him.” Agree with, with your critics where you can. And realize that, that a, a lot that people say about you and me probably is founded in fact. So you don’t have to argue, but you can bless them.
“Contrary-wise you don’t have to talk back,” said he. “You can bless people.” Contrary-wise, blessing. Now he says, “This is part of the calling of God, knowing that thereunto were you called that you should inherit blessing.” See? The, the atmosphere of the Christian life, a genuine Christian lives in an atmosphere of the blessing of God. That is an intangible thing, you can’t package it, you can’t weigh a pound of it. But you most certainly can tell when God is blessing your life, or other people’s lives.
There was a, a mountain preacher who was being examined for ordination. And they came to the subject of what is called unction. Now unction is a term that the old-timers used to use, especially in describing effective God blessed preaching. “He preached with great unction,” they would say. And so one of the folk who was examining this candidate for ordination said, “Well, what is unction?” He thought a moment, he says, “Brethren, I can’t tell you what it is, but I surely can tell you when it ain’t.” (Laughs) Yes can tell when the blessing of God is absent.
Oh, the brassy, clangorous, shallow sound, of purely human effort. It just distresses you if you’re living in the Spirit. You, you feel a little ill when you sense that somebody is operating without the blessing of the Lord. Why? Because this is the birthright, this is the very essence of the Christian call. “Thereunto,” said he, “where you called, that you should inherit blessing.” That’s your atmosphere. Now let me dwell on this long enough just, just to nail it down in our lives. The atmosphere in my life, not what I say necessarily, not the clothes I wear, not the motions through which I go, not the program that I follow, not even the ministry, which I seek to support. There’s been a great deal of, of talk about ‘keep the ministry going’, you know. Well I’m interested in, in keeping my own ministry going, as God enables, most certainly. So are we all.
But that isn’t what we’re talking about here. This isn’t, this, we’re talking about the basics now, beloved. And the basic equipment that has to do with God’s basic call of your life, is this word ‘blessing’. The presence, the beneficent sweet presence of God, in your life. That is what you’re called to. Now that’s why he says ‘then, “You don’t have to talk back, you don’t have to strike back. All you have to do is just bless people.” It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
I remember many years ago, there were a group of young fellows talking together in a meeting which we had convened up at Three Hills, Alberta, at Prairie Bible Institute. Our good brother L. E. Maxwell was then at the head of that great school. He was known as someone who is very direct. And someone said with a chuckle, that he delighted to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. In any case he was there in the meeting, and the young men who we were talking about promoting this, and promoting that. And when they stopped for a moment, he put in this comment. He said, “Young men, we have nobody to promote but Jesus.” And he went on out of the room.
Nobody to promote, but Jesus. Nothing to do, but bless people. Would you take hold of that concept for your life? Now you see, you can’t make a federal case of it. You can’t come up to somebody and say, “I’m going to be a blessing to you, brother” Oh no, people will stay away from by the thousands. Not that, don’t make a federal case of it. Just make sure that your life is full of the Holy Spirit of God. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” So the Holy Spirit came to dwell in your life when you gave your heart to Christ.
Your job, and mine, is to open all the doors of our heart-house to the Holy Spirit in response to the command you find in Ephesians 5:18, “Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” You open by faith, every room in your heart-house until the Holy Spirit of God has complete control of your life. And then you fulfill that word that our Lord said when He told the disciples, “It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father, who speaketh in you.”
Blessing. The presence of God, the Word of God, the power of God, the touch of God. Oh I want that for myself increasingly, don’t you? If you ever pray for Bob Cook, you pray that the blessing of God will be poured out through my life. I want to be a blessing to people. So there you are, “Hereunto say, were, were you called, that ye should inherit a blessing.”
Now he goes on in verse 10, “Because,” for, well you’d say, “because he that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. Let him eschew evil, and do good. Let him seek peace, and pursue it. Because the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” These are quotations from the Old Testament. Peter knew his Old Testament all right and he’s quoting there, isn’t he? “He that will love life and see good days, let his, refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” Now what is this? This is under the heading of being a blessing.
See, first of all we talked about of being of one mind – that’s verse 8. That has to do with compassion, and brotherly love, and the sharing of true pity – suffering with the people, and through courtesy – which means low, humble opinion of yourself. And it has to do with not, with not talking back or striking back, but rather blessing. Now, under the heading of blessing, you’ve, you’ve got all of these things. If you want to ha-, love life and see good days, you do this, and this, and this, and this. That’s what we’re going to get at the next time we get together, all right? Under the heading of ‘blessing’. It’s good stuff isn’t it? I love God’s Word. Thank you for sharing with me, during these moments.
Dear Jesus, we love thee. Oh make us a blessing today, I pray in Thy precious name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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