Focal Passage: 1 Peter 4:1-11
Individualism is antithetical to community. Individualism has become one of the distinctives of modern life.
The sovereign autonomous self reigns in popular culture and in the heart of every person.
All around us we see selfish desires driving people to seek escape, comfort and satisfaction in the passions of the flesh.
And if we are honest, we are just as broken on the inside as the people we usually point to on the outside. But for us, it is more comfortable to hide our brokenness by covering it up and acting as if everything is OK, especially around our local church community.
But in 1 Peter 4:8-10 we are able to see into the window of a community of believers that express selfless love for one another earnestly, accepting each other as they are, more importantly, as they are in Christ.
We see a community of believers that are focused on serving one another instead of looking out to satisfy their own needs.
It is in this type of environment that we receive spiritual nurture, but also one in which deep-seated problems will come to the surface and will receive treatment. In a community marked by gospel love, hospitality and service everyone is free to rest on the grace of God and be open about who they really are. Dietrich Bonheoffer once said that “the pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner … but the fact is, we are sinners.” While others may find their joy in satisfying their own desires and projecting a self-reliant image of themselves to the world, we as a community of Christians must find our joy in Christ. And when we do, we will count it joy to serve others. Moreover, we will feel the freedom to be reliant on the only One to whom belongs glory and dominion forever and ever.