Glorify God in Everyday Life (1 Peter 4:7-11)
We will be in 1 Peter 4:7-11 this morning.
Stewardship is one of the great principles of the New Testament that is all over the place, yet we so often and so quickly seem to forget it.
When you hear stewardship your mind probably jumps to money or finances.Which is certainly an aspect of being a good steward, not not the complete picture.
The Bible talks about stewardship in such a way as to remind you and I that everything that we have… is from God.
So your career, your finances are certainly part of what it takes to be a biblically good steward, but it’s more than that… every breath you breath is a gift from God. You are responsible for stewarding them well.
Every beat of your heart is a gift from God you are responsible for stewarding them well.
Your kids are gifts from God, they do not belong to you… your job is to steward them well, that’s parenting.
Everything about you, everything you have, everything you are… is a gift from God.
It’s a grace.
This reality should have a profoundly deep impact on how we live!
Let’s read 1 Peter 4: 7-11 and then pray.
The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
Time is ending soon so glorify God
Time is ending soon so glorify God
The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer.
The end of all things is near
Peter coming off the heels of a section talking about Flesh and spirit and the struggle and sufferings, is telling this group of Christians, stay at it!
A Living Hope: A Commentary on 1 and 2 Peter (How to Live in the Family of God (4:7–11))
The end, is also the goal toward which history moves—that which gives meaning to the entire process of events. The end of history in the sense of time is important only in that it is the occasion for the realization of the goal of history in the sense of purpose or outcome.
Don’t stop now!
Back in the Track and Cross Country It was always right at the middle to the last third of the race that was the hardest for me.
Because I would get to that point and the initial energy of racing is gone, likely the field is spread out, especially in distance racing. There is a point somewhere at this spot where the end is still aways away, but the race is still on… the runner that could thrive at this point in the race were the ones who won and did the best. But this is the hardest part. Muscles are tired and straining, most of the time you see people at the beginning and at the end, but in the middle it feels alone, but really it the brain that is that hardest to fight here.
The end isn’t close enough to offer hope, and so the temptation is the ease up and then when it’s time to kick and spring at the end or when you see you see people and can feed of their energy.
Since Jesus ascended Christians have always lived with an urgency the the end is coming soon.
However no-one know the time nor the hour when Jesus will come back.
36 “Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels of heaven nor the Son—except the Father alone.
We can make charts, we can take texts, we can map out things, but in the end no one knows.
2 Peter 3:8 says.
Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
So this is taken by many to be almost like a key or a math formula… but no one knows the day nor the hour.
What Peter is telling us is the end of all things is coming soon by God’s standards… 2000 years is nothing to God because God is outside of time.
This is what makes the incarnation of Jesus so magnificent.... God stepped into History in the flesh and bound himself to time, something that He created. So that He could save people from sin and death, the result of their sin.
So what Peter is really talking is all of history is not some random things happening until God finally decides it’s time to come back.
All of History, all of time is under the sovereign hand of God.
Nothing is to small for God to care, nothing is to big to be beyond God’s control.
From Adam to the second coming of Christ there is a central story a purpose, and goal… as many pastors have said before a Scarlett thread that ties all history together pointing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So Peter is saying from the time of Jesus the “last days” have begun.
This means we live different… we have heightened sense of the eternal values because the end is drawing ever nearer.
We are not in the middle of the race… we are at the end… it’s time to kick!!
What Peter is telling these people, and tells us EVEN MORE SO!
Like I know you are tired, and I know you feel alone, and I know it feels hopeless, but you are closer to the finish line than you think.
Everything that you have gone through, everything that Peter has mentioned, everything that is past is proof that the end if near.
Don’t let up! Don’t ease up here, now is not the time to coast instead. Now is the time to...
Therefore be alert and sober-minded for prayer
Because the end is near, because you are close to the finish line… be alert, or self controlled, or sober, or have sound judgement, or be serious, or be earnest.
It’s hard to read this and not think about how Peter failed at this. He isn’t writing this letter as someone who has perfectly done this, he is writing as someone who has mad mistakes!
Jesus after the Last Supper takes Peter, James, and John and goes to the Garden of Olives.
Jesus tells those three, Peter, James, and John (the same three that went with him to the transfiguration) to pray.
Jesus slips a stones throw away from them, and instead of praying those three fall asleep… Does your prayer life feel that way?
Jesus wakes them up and says PRAY!
They Fall asleep again.
Jesus wakes them up and says PRAY! Think about what Jesus is dealing with in this moment… he knows what is coming on the cross the betrayal and Judas, the physical suffering and pain that is coming, but more than that the full wrath of God the father turning His face away causes so much despair in Jesus that he sweats drops of blood thinking about it! He is praying to the Father to let this cup pass, but not His will but the will of the father… meanwhile Peter, James, and John are sleeping a few feet away over and over.
Peter is saying don’t do what I did!
Be alert, be sober-minded for prayer!
This is not time to coast… this isn’t the time in the race to stride it out… This is the time to tell your mind tell you muscles we have got to go!
Peter is saying be prudent… focus on your self control … be reasonable, be sensible, be serious, keep your head.
You have felt the suffering and persecution that has come, and it’s not going let up anytime soon.
Don’t let that pull you from your commitment to the Lord, and the One another.
Be Sober-minded, watch out, be disciplined, have a sober spirit. This is a command! This isn’t something that just happens, this is something that you have to commit to doing.
Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Exercise self restraint to help you pray!
Be well balanced, this isn’t really talking about alcohol… it’s talking about state of mind… be self controlled.
It’s easy to be in the extremes, the highs and the lows. Be real on where the Lord has you and where you are at.
Be free from the control and sin, and live in that freedom from the power of sin.
This is something we have to set out to do, it’s a command.
Be alert be sober minded for prayer.
Time is running out… be intentional with your life… and lean into Jesus and trust Him.
Bring it to the Lord, and see how this should level you out.
When I hear the end of all things is near, my heart and my mind thinks I am so ready…
To not have to worry about the stomach bug, strep throat, and scours anymore! I am so ready.
To have no more tears, to have no more pain, to be in the presence of God, and basking in His glory… I am so ready.
But there is another way to see this.
The people Peter is writing too would certainly read this with that in mind too, I am so ready to not be persecuted, to be accepted, to belong.
But when Peter says the end of all things is near, what we also need to realize is we are only given so much time here and now.
We only have so many breaths to take. We only have so many heart beats.
We only have so much time to share the Gospel with others… There will be all sorts of good things in heaven, but what won’t be their are unbelievers to witness to.
Lost people to share Jesus with and see how God strikes a light within them.
Whats more valuable? Piddling around the house or building a relationship with your neighbor your family and living a Gospel centered life in front of them, sharing Jesus with them?
Whats more valuable? Scrolling social media, gossiping, and seeking out entertainment as something you just have to have, or humbling gathering with brothers and sisters that you have covenanted with… that you promised to help grow in Jesus and that are helping you grow in the Gospel too. Singing songs together, you know church researchers will tell you that is old school and out dated… you need a band or you need to modernize… What we need is to worship God and that has nothing to do with the type the style of music and everything to do with the content of the songs and us committing to sing together. We are not worshipping ourselves, so preferences must be set aside.
You know that church research tells you that you do not need a sermon, you need a motivational, positive and uplifting speech done in under 10 minutes, with stories and instruments being played softly behind to help evoke emotions maybe even a little fog machine so people might think that their emotions and the fog are the Holy Spirit… What we need is an open bible, proclamation of what God says.
Because we don’t have much time left together… We will be Gospel Centered in Heaven, but we will not be evangelizing.
Love is continuous so Glorify God
Love is continuous so Glorify God
Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining.
So we have the time is running out so finish strong… push to the end! Don’t coast here don’t settle here… So how? Like life isn’t really a race… amen?
Above all… this means most importantly to finish well...
maintain constant love for one another,
keep earnest living
have fervent charity
keep fervent in your love
deeply love each other
continue to show deep love
This idea is to love… and to continue loving… it’s a continuous love.
So this love, is not a verb here but a noun. It’s what is to be maintained continuously… love.
This love Peter is talking about means interest in another, esteem, affection, regard.
This has been a point He has returned to through out this letter.
22 Since you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth, so that you show sincere brotherly love for each other, from a pure heart love one another constantly,
17 Honor everyone. Love the brothers and sisters. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
8 Finally, all of you be like-minded and sympathetic, love one another, and be compassionate and humble,
So love is caring for others… Love is staying through the good and bad the thick and thin. Love is wanting whats best for someone else.
But Peter doesn’t say start loving others… he says maintain constant love for one another.
You don’t maintain something that you don’t have.
This people Peter is writing to have been through somethings… they have had some rough member meetings they have survived some rough potlucks… they have had committees implode… That have members that don’t make it to their gathering because they have been arrests or possibly killed.
They have shared meals together, they have raised kids together, they have spent time together. They have fellowshipped together.
This love is not something they are faking… there is so much external pressure persecutions, suffering, that those in the church love each other, comfort each other, care for each other, understand what it means to be exiles, understand how the race of life feels long and tiring and is taking a toll.
This love Peter is talking about is not natural it’s supernatural. It’s not a soft love, like a little match that you are protecting from the wind hoping it'll stay lit just a little longer… this love is a love a care a concern that have been cultivated over the years… this love is a love for people who at one point or another you probably didn’t like… they got on your nerves you got on their nerves too. Praise God we can stick it out and Love one another and maintain that constant love.
This isn’t written to an individual Christian looking to apply it… this was distributed to churches, so when Peter says one another he is saying Love your church (not the building, not a group of the people within the church) the whole church body. The easy to love ones, and the ones who require extra grace.
since love covers a multitude of sins.
This is pointing us to several things.
Love is a noun here not a verb.
Covers is the verb.
it has the continuous aspect too.
So It’s not something that stops… it keeps going. maintain this love and don’t stop loving.
because this love never stops covering a multitude of sins.
So on a human level it’s like this, we forgive because we will be wronged being around other people. But we love them and know they love us and so we communicate our hurts and wounds and we quickly forgive one another, because love covers a multitude of sin.
If you genuinely love someone else you do not want to cause them harm… you want what is best for them. If you want whats best for someone else and they want whats best for you, then when sin enters when the fallen and broken world comes into the picture, forgiveness and reconciliation happen quickly because love covers a multitude of sins. They may have sinned against you but you know they love you, forgiveness comes quick. You may have sinned against them but they know you love them forgiveness comes quick.
This doing life togetherness that is supposed to be taking place within the church, and through the church means we are not just acquaintances, we are not step brothers and sisters. We are not half brothers and sisters. if you are a believer in Jesus Christ you have been adopted into God’s family as a son or daughter, you are completely and fully a child of God and God by His grace has given you brothers and sisters, Also adopted into the family who are fully your siblings for all eternity. When we are this close together we are bound to hurt one another at various points in our lives. Love covers a multitude of sins.
And so the Love that God has for you creates in you a love for God… And that Love from and for God creates a love for your siblings.
But on a spiritual level… Love covers a multitude of sins points us straight to the Gospel.
What does God gain, by saving sinners?
Before creation God is compete in and of Himself, within the God head, the trinity there is no sin, there is not selfishness, there is not loneliness. Just perfection.
God creates everything to display His glory and he makes mankind the pinnacle of His creation, in his image given dominion and commands to be fruitful and multiply. Yet this peak of creation… rebels against the creator.
Why does God not just destroy everything?
Why does God not remove the tree of the knowledge of good and evil so mankind cannot sin?
Because God is interested in displaying His glory and we do not know everything and we cannot see everything. But we know that what is happening in the world is for the glory of God, so this is the way that God is most glorified.
But that means… God dies.
That this God head, the trinity, choose to save some from mankind that absolutely do not deserve to be saved. They do not love God, they flee from God as fast and as far as they can.
But because of God’s great love for us, that while we were still sinners Christ died for our sins… WHILE WE ARE STILL SINNERS.
We were unlovable and God loved us.
Because the Love of God Covers a multitude of sins.
Praise God that it does!
No sin is to much, no person is to far.
God’s love is greater than all our sin.
Be hospitable to one another without complaining.
If we remember the love we have for one another then we are to be hospitable.
Meaning the door is open…
Love plays itself out by being welcome and welcoming others into your biological family.
Love one anther, be hospitable to one another… without complaining
It’s like Peter is able to look into the future and see the church of America…
It’s like the Bible is authoritative and applicable to us even now.
Now what Peter is not saying is just do whatever the “church” says without whining.
There is a time and a place to voice your opinion, to lead! Be constructive and to grow… but we do not do this behind each others backs, we don’t do this by complaining until what we want gets fixed or changed.
We do it with loving and open conversations.
We do it by going to member meetings and making decisions as a body of believers.
We do it by getting on committees and serving as best as we can… youth committee…
We do it by getting off some committees that we don’t have the time or desire to serve on.
We do it by considering everyone which means we make to slow of decisions for some… to fast for others but because of the love we have for one anthers we give and we take.
Steward the gifts for the Glory of God
Steward the gifts for the Glory of God
Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
Peter doesn’t go into a lot of detail like Paul does on gifts.
So the short summary is God has given every person at least one gift… something they can do to serve the church.
That is where your spiritual gifts are meant to be used.
I know in the past there have been spiritual gifts tests you can take and do, they offer some value, however they are not perfect.
In my experience the best way to find out what your spiritual gift is is to plug and and see what excites you, ask others what you are good and and figure it out.
There is also this thought with spiritual gifts that what gift you have is the only way that you serve.
This cannot be true… Paul says one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is evangelism… while all throughout the New Testament believers are commanded to share the Gospel to Evangelize… so if evangelism isn’t your natural spiritual gift do you have to do it?
Some people are going to naturally be better at it than others, learn from them but it doens’t excuse you from it.
So to say that’s not my gift as an excuse to not do something might get you out of doing it, but it won’t stand up in the end when Jesus is judge.
The goal is to have you serve where you thrive… this is two fold
1.a place where you are good and a place that you enjoy not doing to much while also not doing nothing.
2. At the same time a serving in a place that challenges you and causes you to grow.
Peter is very straight forward here… you have a gift… use it to serve other.
Because that gift is a gift from God.
God did not give you that gift to hide it and horde it.
God gave you that gift to build up the church… you are called to steward your gifts.
Which means not to much not to little. It’s not yours you don’t own it, you are simply managing what God has entrusted to you.
God’s grace is far more than we imagine.
And one of the ways we get to witness God’s grace is by understanding that each person has a role in the body of Christ.
There will always be more ministry than people serving.
He told them, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.
But God by His magnificent and varied, manifold, variety of Grace has given each church what she needs.
The last part of verse 10 has been misunderstood to means we are stewards of God’s grace, as in we distribute God’s grace, but that is not what Peter is saying. Grace is not the object that we steward, but rather the basis upon which we were called to be stewards.
We have no authority to distribute God’s grace, but because of the grace God has given to us… we are called to steward the gifts God has given along with everything else.
So use your gifts for the glory of God in the Local church!
If God gives you the gift of preaching and teaching… speaking let it be as one who speaks God’s words.
The word of God is everlasting, grass withers, flowers fade but the word of God lasts forever.
but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this word is the gospel that was proclaimed to you.
So when you speak… especially to brothers and sisters in Christ in the same church you are committed to… your advice, your prayers, your conversations should point to the Gospel.
They should be Gospel Centered.
Not in a weird way where you are trying to Jesus juke everyone… apologetics the band… I love the apostle Paul… Learn some Deuteronomy… etc.
The old t-shirts that would say Jesus instead of Reeses or A bible verse instead of Coke.
We are not doing a bait and switch… the devil is deceptive not us!
what comes out of the mouth flows from the heart. Love God Love the Brothers and Sisters in the church and see how quickly and naturally much of the conversations we have center on Jesus.
This also means we need to care about each other enough to talk more than simply the passing hello and hi as we go to and from classrooms.
Spend time outside of the services together talking about life and what the Lord is teaching you.
Speak the Words of God the Gospel to each other.
Life is hard… The Gospel is what we need. Remind one another of Jesus.
The word serve is the verb form of deacon, this is what the deacons and I talked about at the last deacon’s meeting.
To deacon is to serve.
If you serve or minister or help others it’s draining.
you cannot do it from your own strength.
God provides what you need, and this includes strength, ability and energy.
Don’t complain and sometimes this means you don’t go solo. you do with with others.
Because the goal is not just that God is glorified when we gather here, but that God is glorified through Jesus Christ in Everything that we do even when we scatter.
We will only be a Gospel Centered Church when we are gathered, when you and I as individuals are Gospel Centered when we scatter as well.
Jesus is Lord over all, not just this little building on this plot of land.
To Him be glory and power forever!
Time is ending soon
Love is continuous
Stewardship is not ownership