entitled Good to Great came out written by Jim
studying several companies and organizations that went from
good to great, Collins elaborated on several principles that
helped them become great.
One principle is known as the flywheel.
Collins compares these groups and their movement to a
massive metal flywheel, mounted on an axle, being pushed
slowly, but then a little faster, and a little faster until
there is an eventual point where momentum starts kicking in.
He said, “Then it began to dawn on us:
There was no miracle moment. Although it may have looked
like a single-stroke breakthrough to those peering in from
the outside, it was anything but that to people experiencing
the transformation from within.
Rather, it was a quiet, deliberate process of
figuring out what needed to be done to create the best
future results and then simply taking those steps, one after
the other, turn by turn of the flywheel. ... People want to
be a part of something that just flat out works. ... They
can feel the flywheel beginning to gain speed. ...
Each piece of the system reinforces the parts of system with
consistency. ... Get involved in something that you care so
much about that you want to make it the greatest it can
possibly be, not because of what you will get, but just
because it can be done” (Collins).
Have you ever been in a congregation that worked
according to this flywheel principle?
It can be really exciting!
The elders are continually figuring out what needs to
done and improved to get the best future results, all the
ministries are reinforcing the total program with
consistency, members can feel that the congregation is
having an impact, and all of them enjoys and praises God for
being part of congregation that just flat operates like its
That’s how it ought to be!But
what Satan wants it to be.
This was written by a former preacher: “After the
church meeting, the stories, whispers, and undercurrents
seemed to diminish. But it was only a lull before the next
Within a few months, they began circulating a petition for
One Sunday morning, as I walked into the [foyer] to prepare
for worship service, I saw several individuals welcoming the
arriving congregation by handing out flyers, urging them to
sign the petition.
I went over and said to one of them, 'How can you do
this to people who are coming here to worship and hear God's
Word?' 'This is
OUR church, not yours,' one of them replied, 'and it's about
time you realized it!'
One of the [elders] was making friendly small talk
with those handing out flyers.
I took him aside. 'Do you expect me to [promote]
worship and preach with this going on?'
The elder, who loathed confrontation, replied,
'Preacher, you have to understand these people ...'
I was devastated.
The guerrillas were attacking our most sacred event,
and one of my [church leaders] was telling me I needed to
understand these people!
'You'll have to lead the service,' I said, 'because
I'm going home.'
I gathered my family, and we left town for the day.
[My wife] feared the future, and my two boys sat in
the back seat in silence.
That week, I asked the elders to call a
congregational meeting [to let the members discuss my
staying or leaving].
Perhaps by making my leadership the issue, we could
finally settle the conflict.
I still thought the war was winnable. ... [The
congregation was in favor of my staying.]
But the war continued.
I still didn't get it.
It didn't matter what the congregation wanted.
The opposition would have their way, even it meant
scorched earth” (Bustanoby).
Needless to say, this congregation eventually split,
the preacher left town and changed careers, and Satan
enjoyed another disaster!
So which will it be for each of us?
We will work to better the church or to embitter it?
Will we live our the flywheel principle or the war
we give this congregation our best so that it will gain
momentum or will we give it our worst so that it will
To be effective, we must learn to live and work in
harmony. And to
accomplish such harmony, the apostle Peter provides some
instructions on what it will take.
These instructions are not easy to put into practice,
so this lesson is for all of us (myself included).
You may recall from a previous study that a good two
word summary of 1 Peter was “Be distinctive!” (Don't follow
the practices of the pagan culture around you!)
This letter was written around 64 A.D. and can be
divided into four parts: all Christians' salvation,
sanctification, submission, and suffering.
The reading we had of 1 Peter 3:8-12 falls under the
third section of submission.
Peter's instructions can be categorized under four
headings—the right actions, the right thoughts, the right
habits, and the right incentives.
Let's look at these very unusual instructions towards
living and working in harmony.
verses 8-9 where we discover the right actions towards
living and working in harmony.
“Finally all of you be of one mind, having
compassion for one another; love as brothers, be
tenderhearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil or
reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, ...”
As you see, these right actions are: be unified, be
compassionate, be loving, be tenderhearted, be courteous,
and be blessing.
“All of you” means everyone of the members in the
congregations to whom Peter was writing, so these are
instructions for all of us.
“Be of one mind” or be united!
must focus our minds upon Christ and His mission, and we
must set our hearts upon becoming like Jesus (Drake).
Maybe this illustration will help.
Football season is here again.
“Each player on a team has his own private life, but
when it comes to winning the game, all are in total
it comes to going to the play-offs or the bowl games, they
are all on the same page!
When it comes to being champions, they have harmony!
Just like those players, we all have our own private
lives, but when it comes to following Christ, we're on the
same page! When
it comes to our desire to see the people we love to come to
know Jesus and be obedient to the Gospel, we are in total
it comes to accepting and forgiving one another as Christ
has accepted and forgiven us, we have harmony” (Alexrod)!
Paul calls it being like-minded (Philippians 2:2).
The first right action is to be unified!
The next right action is
to be compassionate!
“The word 'compassion' literally means 'to share
someone’s feelings, to understand what they’re going
Corinthians 12:26 says that if one part of the body of
Christ suffers, every part suffers with it. That’s being
Some member says: 'My mother just got her CAT scan results
back from the doctor.
The doctor says that the cancer is spreading into the
Mom’s going to have to have another round of chemotherapy.'
You respond by giving that sister in Christ a hug and
by saying: 'I’m sorry.
You must be so sad.
I’m praying for you and your mom, and please let me
know if there’s anything else I can do'” (Axelrod)
“Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with
those who weep” (Romans 12:15)!
That's being compassionate.
“When we [show compassion] on our hurting brothers
and sisters in Christ, we are maintaining harmony in the
church. We are sharing the love of Jesus” (Axelrod).
“Being compassionate means we suffer with those who
suffer, we understand the pressure that elders are under
when they must make a tough decision, we hurt with those who
have been persecuted.
Harmony cannot exist unless believers feel compassion
for one another.
Believers cannot be selfish and aloof; they cannot be
seeking attention and seeking to get their own way if they
are to be unified” (Drake).
The second right action is being compassionate.
The third right action is to be loving, like members in a family!
“Brotherly love doesn’t mean we’ll never fuss and
we’ll always agree.
But it does mean when our brothers and sisters in the
Lord need us, we’re there!
We’re a family of faith!
When a church member is in the hospital, we pray, we
send cards, we stop by.
And we celebrate when we see them again back in
12:10 says: 'Be devoted to one another in brotherly
when we do this, we are maintaining harmony in the church
Think about this idea: “An unloving Christian is a
contradiction of terms” (Mounce)!
The third right action is to be loving.
right action is to be tenderhearted.
This term means “to be sensitive and affectionate
toward the needs of others; to be moved with tender feelings
over the pain and sufferings of others. ... Believers are to
have pity upon the sufferings of others, and especially our
“Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good
to all, especially to those who are of the household of
faith” (Galatians 6:10).
“Christians are to feel pity to the point that they
are moved to act, moved to sacrifice, and moved to help
Again, note how tenderheartedness leaves no room for
demands that a person deny himself and help others in their
Helping and ministering to one another binds and knits
people together” (Drake).
It promotes harmony.
The fourth right action is to be tenderhearted.
The next right action is to be courteous.
“This word means to be humble-minded or to be lowly
in mind. It
means not to be high-minded, proud, haughty, arrogant, or
Jesus once said: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn
of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find
rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:29).
This does not mean that Jesus was a weakling.
On the contrary, “God makes people strong, the
strongest they can possibly be.
By humility God does not mean what men mean.
God infuses a new and strong spirit within a person
and causes that person to conquer all throughout life, but
God doesn't want us walking around arrogantly in pride”
(Drake). “Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this
little child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew
Humility is having “a balanced view our own significance
[when measured] against God Himself, the entire created
order, [and other saints]” (Mounce).
By the way, it might not hurt us to practice the more
common definition of courtesy as well in order to live in
harmony. So, the
fifth right action is to be courteous or humble!
The last right action is to be blessing.
This one is very tough to practice because it goes so
much against our grain.
“The instinctive response of human beings when abused
[or insulted] is to try to get even, to hurt in return for
being hurt, or to threaten to get even later.
But these responses are natural only to people who
depend on themselves and believe that God does not have
control of the situation.
To the suffering Christian who trusts deeply in God
and believes that God is indeed in control of every
situation, there is another response, one perfectly
exhibited by Jesus: 'He committed Himself to Him who
judges righteously' (1 Peter 2:23)’” (Grudem).
In fact, “we [are to] repay insult with blessing or
speaking well of another and calling upon God to bless them
because we know that God generously blesses all, even the
evil and wicked, so we must do the same. ... Isn't this is
essence of Christian conduct—acting contrary to our old and
[wicked] nature? (Mounce).
Don't retaliate but bless.
It just takes three words: “God bless you.”
Don't hurt them either verbally or physically, but
ask God to take control and provide their need.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what
they do” (Luke 23:34).
So let's have a quick review of the right actions
that Peter instructs us to have: be unified, be
compassionate, be loving (as in a family), be tenderhearted,
be courteous or humble, and be blessing.
Putting these actions into practice will truly
promote living in harmony!
heading is the right thoughts.
Peter supplies us with two specific thoughts that
will help us to promote living and working in harmony.
Look at the later part of verse 9: “Knowing that
you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”
This passage begins with the word “knowing”.
These are ideas that affect our thoughts.
First, keep this in mind: we are called by God to put
into practice those right actions that we just read about,
just as Jesus did.
We are to imitate the goodness of Christ.
Peter reminded his readers just a few verses earlier
in 2:21-23: “For to this you were called, because Christ
also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should
follow His steps: 'Who committed not sin, nor was deceit
found in His mouth.'; who, when He was reviled, did not
revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten.”
In other words, Jesus practiced what He preached
about loving our enemies, and we have been called to imitate
Him and do the same.
It's like what Paul told Timothy: “All who desire
to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2
Secondly, keep this in mind: “that you may inherit a
God is going to bless us when we try to practice the right
Himself said that we would be blessed when persecuted for
righteousness' sake or for doing His will (Matthew 5:10-12).
Most commentators agree that inherit a blessing does
not mean that God will bless us with our reward of heaven in
No, they believe that verses 10-12 of our reading show us
the blessing that the Old Testament promises to us when we
practice all those right actions.
In other words, “God bestows favors on those who obey
Him and rewards each act of righteousness [as we live right
here on this earth]” (Mounce).
This is a part of the abundant life that Jesus
promises His followers in John 10:10.
It's not all about pie in the sky in the sweet by and
by; it's also about God's way as we pray in our lives every
day! “There is a
special blessing for people who are working things out
instead of fighting things out.
Maintaining peace and harmony will be rewarded by
God. This week,
why not try to do something nice for someone who hasn’t
always been nice to you?
Say a prayer on their behalf.
Then send them a card, or phone or visit them, or
provide them with a secret gift!
You know, when we stand before the judgment seat of
Christ, the last thing we would want is for God to say:
“Brothers from Prescott, I loved you so much.
Why couldn’t you pass it on?
Sisters from Prescott, why did you have to harbor all
Why did you have to be so selfish?”
Rather we want to here God say: “Brothers at
Prescott, you did a nice job.
Thank you for loving the people that I love too.
Sisters at Prescott, thank you for treating people
the way you would want to be treated.
Thank you for being My true servants” (Axelrod)!
We can put into practice those six right actions
because we have armed ourselves with these right thoughts!
Now that brings us to the third heading of having the right habits.
At this point, we see that Peter quotes Psalm
34:12-16 to show us how God has promised to bless those who
are righteous, but we must do our part as well.
Let's read verses 10-11: “For He who would love
life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from
evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.
Let him turn away from evil and do good, let him seek
peace and pursue it.”
So here are three habits which can cause us to love
life and to see good days right now in this life!
The first habit is to watch our speech!
James warns us that the tongue is “a restless
evil, full of deadly poison” (Jam. 3:8).
When we are being reviled and insulted by others'
words, it takes much courage and self-control not to use
malicious words in return.
Or we can use our speech to mislead or deceive.
You know, those famous half-truths and double-speak.
Jesus taught that out of the overflow of the heart
the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).
Thus, the answer to a wicked tongue is not only
self-control but also a new heart, allowing God to change
our inner man” (Mounce).
Let's get into the habit of watching our speech!
is to turn away from evil and do good.
The words “turn away” means literally “to bend away”
might say it: “Bend over backwards to avoid evil and give it
all you've got to do good!”
This takes practice on our part to opt for goodness.
Proverbs 16:17 graphically states: “The highway of
the upright is to depart from evil; he who keeps his way
preserves his soul.” The
righteous will take the freeway which goes in the opposite
direction of evil!
So, let's cultivate the habit of bending over
backwards to avoid evil and giving it all we've got to do
The third habit is to seek peace and pursue it.
Peace is that constant condition of tranquility and
goodwill between two people.
Paul encourages us: “If is it possible, as much as
depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).
Someone else said: “The true peacemaker is not
passive but active, and must take the lead, not merely in
keeping the peace himself, but in the earnest inducement of
others to do likewise” (Coffman).
The word “pursue” is that graphic term for a hunter
chasing after his game.
Now I know we have a few hunters in this crowd.
Are you hunting after peace with as much intensity
and vigor as you hunt after those other critters?
“We need to be known to others around us as
peacemakers, those who strive for harmony with others as
much as possible without compromising the truth” (Kratz).
Peter says that if we'll learn to develop these
habits, watching our speech, doing good, and seeking and
hunting after peace, then we'll enjoy life and see good
these habits will also help to reinforce the right thoughts
and the right actions as well.
All these right actions, right thoughts, and right habits are not easy to
wrong actions, thoughts, and habits seem much more natural
for us. So Peter
now closes with some right incentives to motivate us towards
doing what we should.
Verse 12 states: “For the eyes of the Lord are on
the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but
the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
One commentator rightly noted: “The phrase ‘the eyes
of the Lord are upon the righteous’ implies not merely that
God sees what the righteous are doing [for God watches all
people], but that He is looking after them for good,
recognizing and meeting their needs [since other verses in
Psalm 34 affirm God’s timely care for the righteous]” (Grudem).
Here is one of the great blessings we can enjoy right
now if we will put into practice the right actions,
thoughts, and habits: God looks with favor on those who
follow the path of obedience (Mounce).
If God is angry with and punishes every act of
disobedience, won't He also be delighted with and reward
every act of righteousness?
In other words, God sees our struggles when we are
trying to do His will, and He will bless us with His favor.
This passage also affirms that God ears will be open
to our prayers.
“Literally the text says that God’s ears are ‘into’ the
prayers of the righteous.
It is almost as if he were bending down to hear more
clearly the requests of His children [so that He can fulfill
God will take care of those who act wickedly against us.
“‘But the face of the Lord is against those that do
evil’ is clearly a verdict of judgment, for the last verse
of Peter continues in Psalm 34, ‘to cut off the remembrance
of them [the wicked] from the earth’ (Ps. 34:16)” (Grudem).
God will favor us, God will hear us, and God will
take care of those who mistreat us.
These great incentives provide a powerful motivation
to live a careful, controlled, and stout-hearted Christian
passage boldly affirms the relationship between righteous
living and God's present blessings in this life.
You see, it truly is about God's way as we pray in
our lives every day!
So which will it be for
each of us? We
will work to better the church or to embitter it?
Will we live out the flywheel principle or the war
we give this congregation our best so that it will gain
momentum or will we give it our worst so that it will
To be effective, we must learn to live and work in
harmony. And to
accomplish such harmony, we must have the right actions, the
right thoughts, the right habits, and the right incentives!
And putting into practice these instructions of Peter
is about as distinctive and counter-cultural as it gets (and
I myself am the first to admit that I need to grow in
demonstrating this kind of lifestyle that imitates Jesus
elderly sister was once asked how she was able to maintain
her composure, even in very trying circumstances.
Here was her secret—she pointed to her hands, and
then said, 'Jesus took the nails in His hands, so I have
peace.' Then she
pointed to her head, and then said, 'Jesus took that crown
of thorns on His head, so I have peace.'
Then she pointed to her side, and then she said, 'He
took the spear in His side, so I have peace'” (Brothers).
With Jesus at the forefront of all we do, we can live
and work in harmony!
Peter's challenge is before us!
Will you ignore it and continue to live your life as
Will you try to side-step it as a disciple and keep
practicing our culture's message of aggressive
Will you embrace it and try to be a person who blesses and
seeks peace, even in the midst of persecution?
Please chose Jesus and to follow in His steps.