He Keeps Watch on the Evil and the Good

He Keeps Watch on the Evil and the Good

“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, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 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. 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.””

I Peter‬ 3:8-12‬ NKJV‬‬

Finally – As the last direction, the apostle Peter now gives a general direction in regard to the Christian’s  conduct 

Be ye all of one mind – The apostle Paul tells the same to the church in Rome:

Romans 12:16  Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

The word used here (ὁμόφρων homophrōn) does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means, of the same mind; like-minded; and the object is to secure harmony in our views and feelings. This means that in things that are not Scripturally documented, we can agree to disagree on. The things that make for war in the church are typically upon our selfish concerns and lusts as James tells us:

James 4:1-6 Where do [a]wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and [b]war. [c]Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. [d]Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

The pride of life and the lust of the flesh always promotes strife. This harmony is the opposite of selfishness. A selfish person will destroy the unity of any unit- your church, your job, your family, your friendships, your marriage

Peter continues, “having compassion one of another” – “Sympathizing,” (συμπαθεῖς sumpatheis;) entering into one another’s feelings, and evincing a regard for each other’s welfare. 

Romans 12:15  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

1 Corinthians 12:26  And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

The Greek word used here also does occur not elsewhere in the New Testament. It describes that state of mind which exists when we enter into the feelings of others as if they were our own, as the different parts of the body are affected by that which affects one. 

Love as brethren – The Greek word (φιλάδελφος philadelphos) does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means loving one’s brethren; that is, loving each other as Christian brethren – that of the same family. 

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

1 John 4:20-21  If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, [a]how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

Be pitiful – The word used here (εὔσπλαγχνος eusplangchnos) occurs one other place in the New Testament, where it is rendered “tender-hearted.” 

Ephesians 4:32  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

The meaning is that of the visceral organs (“bowels“) as they exercise positive gut-level sympathy. We might say, “that hurts my heart”, or “I feel your pain so much it hurts my stomach”

Be courteous – This word also φιλόφρων (philophrōn) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means “friendly-minded, kind, courteous.”  The idea of “friendliness” coupled with that of “humility.” Christianity requires both of these virtues. 

I remember When Sarah’s mom died and the Beardan’s lost Noah and I felt it in my gut. When people left the church it felt like my hand was cut off and I had deep guttural pain and weeping. But I also have the refreshing joy of all the new marriages and the new babies arriving and soon to arrive. Some of ya’ll do not have this same love and compassion because you are not fully committed to the Body, you live outside and only dabble in your attendance. You are a mere attender, and your service is obligatory. Therefore, you cannot truly love the whole Body but can only sympathize with those members that you like. This is also how the wolves and dogs enter in- preying on our sympathy for the brethren. I have learned to discern and distinguish between those who are truly in Christ and those who just want to take advantage of God’s precious people.

 “Knowing that you were called to be LIKE CHRIST in order that you should obtain a blessing eternal in heaven. Expecting such a blessing yourselves, you should be ready to pour out blessings on all others. You should be ready to bear all other’s reproaches, and in the face of reproach, to bless. The hope of eternal life should make our minds at peace with God and others; and the prospect that we are to be seated in heaven with our King should fill our hearts with kindness and loving compasion. We have been forgiven a debt we can never repay- how can we not forgive others for their small debt against us? WE have NO RIGHT to hold anything against anyone. This right belongs to God alone.

Peter then quotes from the OT Scripture:

“Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.” Psalms‬ 34:12-16‬ 

He who would love life— “Life” here is translated as “life eternal,” and the “good days” are not those of outward prosperity, but of the peace that passes understanding. There is a way then to live and to behave in the sight of God and man that rewards us with this kind of life and blessings that the Christian runner desires.

Obviously, the apostle Peter believed the OT was the inspired Word of God and was intended to be a guide and a lamp to light our path, even to new covenant believers. This idea of a God of the OT and a God of the NT is not a new idea. It has swiftly infiltrated the church in this season through the false love gospel. A man named Marcion brought this heresy in to the church at the end of the first century, beginning of second century. He said the God of the OT was angry and wrathful, but the God of the NT was only love and grace. Modern day preachers accuse Gid the Father of being too harsh in the OT and that Jesus came to correct the Father and mercifully allow people to continue to sin because of grace.

2 Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [a]instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

At the time of Peter’s writing, the only Scriptures were those of the law and the prophets- OT Scripture. This portion of Scripture gives us three things that we must do in order to experience this eternal life and temporary good and peaceful days on this earth and at the same time warn us of the wrath of God against the wicked. Modern false grace teachers demand that we ignore God’s precious commands for a perverted grace and twisted love

Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit

Ephesians 4:29  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary [a]edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

I could preach for days on the power and destruction of the tongue.

Proverbs 6:16-19  These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to [a]Him: 17 A[b] proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

Your words matter! How we talk about people maters. What we mutter under our breath matters. You better have self-control over your mouth or you will find that the face of the Lord will be against you. 

Proverbs 8:13  The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.

You reveal a lack of the fear of the Lord by the words of your mouth. And we will all give an account of every word we speak.

Matthew 12:36-37  But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

These things are especially true where it comes to our brethren in Christ

Psalm 50:7-21

Depart from evil and do good– This is very much at the heart of all Scripture, repent from all sins and evil, turn and be transformed and go forth planting good seeds. God wants good things for our lives and so throughout history God has laid out two paths for man and told us to choose wisely. 

Deuteronomy 28:1-2 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:

Deuteronomy 30:19  I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live

God tells us there are blessings and good days for those who obey His commands, but the man who follows his own ways and does his own things will get the end of his path, which is destruction.

Jesus reaffirms this OT principle:

Matthew 7:13-14  “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 [a]Because narrow is the gate and [b]difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

The narrow path is the path of obedience. There is no salvation outside of obedience. I do not care what you have been taught. It is the path of death to our flesh and ego. It is the path of affliction, persecution and suffering. It is the high road where it gets difficult to breath. It is the road that is less traveled and you only meet a few weary travelers from time to time. Contrary to many who teach that the Christian walk is easy, Jesus taught the opposite. He taught that following Him involves heavy obligations concerning righteousness, acceptance of persecution, love for our enemies, a familial love for our brethren, obedience to His commands and self-denial.

Seek peace and pursue it– the good days are days of peace but peace is not automatic, it must be sought after and pursued.

Deuteronomy 29:19-20  and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I [a]follow the dictates of my heart’—as though the drunkard could be included with the sober. 20 “The Lord would not spare him; for then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy would burn against that man, and every curse that is written in this book would settle on him, and the Lord would blot out his name from under heaven.

What things make for peace?

Obedience- the way of peace is the way of obedience to the Lord’s commands. Belief and obedience are inseparable. If you love Him, you will obey. Disobedience will create nothing but chaos and confusion

Good company keeps the peace, bad company will steal your peace. Stop hanging out with people who continually cause a disruption in your spirit.

What you think on. What you watch. What you listen to. If watching the news steals your peace then stop watching the news. SEEK, look for ways to be at peace.

Hebrews 12:14  Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

EX: I remember a time when we first moved out of military housing and into a townhome- Parking problems were stealing our peace with our neighbor. I learned that gift giving is a good way to pursue peace. A gift given in secret pacifies anger.

Why does all this matter?  Because God is keeping watch on those who do evil and those who do good and we will one day give an account. So then it is up to us to remedy this is in our own minds, that God both loves and hates, He loves the righteous and hates the wicked.

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.” 

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.”

“The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But He loves him who follows righteousness.”

“The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, But the words of the pure are pleasant.”

“The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.”

Proverbs‬ 15:3, 8-9, 26, 29‬ NKJV‬‬

The wicked are contrasted with the righteous. God hates the sacrifice of the wicked- this is bringing worship to Him with an evil heart; the way of the wicked and the thoughts of the wicked. It is important to understand that the word wicked in Scripture can refer to anyone, not just the lost and the sinner, but even one of God’s own. It is the Hebrew word “rasha” (ray-shaw) and it means morally wrong, condemned, guilty.

David prayed 

Psalm 30:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,  And lead me in the way everlasting. (because God hates the ways and the thoughts of the wicked)

Psalm 141:3-5  Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice wicked works With men who work iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies. Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.

Peter encourages Christians to act like Christ, not the world or even the Israelites of old. Jesus endured suffering and ridicule in silence, entrusting His just cause to the ultimate Judge. Our natural tendency is to get even when we are offended, to “make it fair”. However we are not live according to our fleshly nature, but the Spirit inside of us should rule our emotions so that when we are offended, we should return good to those who hurt us.

Christ will reward us for any suffering we endure for His name. God keeps good records. He is watching over the evil and the good

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous,…. God’s countenance beholds with pleasure and delight those righteous ones who are clothed with the righteousness of Christ and obey His commands; His eyes of omniscience, love, care, and protection, are always upon the righteous, watching over us, delighting in us, running to and fro throughout the earth on behalf of us. He sees every injury done to us, and in His own time and way will do us justice; which is a reason why we should not take vengeance ourselves, but leave it with Him, whose it is.

And His ears are open to our prayers; or “prayer”; in the Hebrew text, “to their cry”. He is a God hearing prayer, and His righteous ones have His ear. He hears us while we are speaking, and will sooner or later answer, and avenge His elect, who cry unto him day and night; for as He has an ear to hear our cries, and He will save us. This is another reason why they should behave as directed.

BUT the face of the Lord is against them that do evil; it is added in the psalm, “to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth”: with the former He beholds the upright, and with it He looks upon His righteous ones; but the latter is upon and against the wicked, and is dreadful and intolerable, and the consequence of it is everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

Romans 11:22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, [a]goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

He keeps watch on the evil and the good.

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