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If you knew that you only had one more day to live what would you do?
How would your life change for that last day?
In I Peter 4.7 we read this:
1 Peter 4:7- But the end of all things is at hand:
What did Peter mean when he made this statement?
Did Peter mean that he had some kind of special revelation about when Christ would return?
I don’t think so- if he did mean that then Peter was off at least about 2000 years.
He was a terrible date setter.
I think what Peter meant was that he lived his life as if the end was right around the corner.
The verb “at hand” in the Greek is in the perfect tense- that means that the action of the verb started sometime in the past and it continues on into the future.
What I think you see theologically is that after the ascension of Christ to the right hand of the Father, there is nothing left prophetically that has to happen before Christ returns and raptures His church and puts into motion the end time events.
So when Peter says that the end is “at hand” or “is near” I think it means that Peter lived his life as if everyday was THE day that Christ would return.
He lived His life as if the end was right around the corner.
We are reminded of what Martin Luther said when asked what he would do if the end would come today.
He replied that he would plant a tree and pay his taxes.
What Luther meant, of course, was that he lived every day in light of the end, and hence he would do the appointed task of that day.
Remember Peter is writing to encourage a persecuted church to continue on in faithfulness to Christ.
Remember Peter’s earlier exhortation in vv.
In other words, he is saying, “yes, you are being persecuted for living as a Christian, but the answer is not to go back to the same excess of riot, the same flood of wicked living.
Instead, live as if every day as if the end of all things were right around the corner.”
How would you live your life differently if you actually believed that the end of all things was just around the corner?
In our text Peter assumes that you are at least to some degree living with this understanding.
He doesn’t try to convince you that the end is near, he assumes you already believe that.
What Peter does, is tell you how you should be living based on a belief that the end of all things is at hand.
If the end is right around the corner, how should our lives change to live accordingly?
We must have a serious and alert dependence upon God in prayer (v.
We must be sober- to be prudent, with focus on self-control, be reasonable, sensible, serious, keep one’s head.
The idea of keeping “sane” is that of thinking in a level-headed way about oneself.
And we must watch- (figurative expression of sobriety- be free from every form of mental and spiritual “drunkenness”- free from excess, passion, rashness, confusion- to be well balanced or self-controlled)
We need to be mentally alert.
We need to stop going through life as if in a day dream giving no thought to the very short amount of time we have left on this earth.
We must take this seriously and our minds need to be alert.
This might be the very last day you have to live your life for Christ.
This mental alertness of the coming end should lead us to dependent prayer.
Illustration: College students- how many of you have projects that are coming due at the end of the semester?
How many procrastinators do we have in the room?
You wait until the last possible moment before you have to start doing work?
Right now, early in the semester what is your mindset?
That project due date is miles away, I don’t have to worry about that.”
So instead of spending those 2 hours on you project, you felt it absolutely essential to watch 2 hours of baby kittens on YouTube.
Do we have that same kind of mindset in our Christian lives?
Did you get up this morning and pray, “God help me to live this day as today the trump of God might sound.
Help me to be mentally alert to the things of God and to depend upon you in prayer today.”
Do we pray like that?
We ought to!
What really goes through our minds on a normal day?
What am I going to eat?
When do the Packers play?
What time do I have to be at work?
Or we spend our time day dreaming about the latest book we read, or movie we watched, or game we played.
If we are honest we have to admit that we do a poor job of being serious and alert in our thinking leading to dependent prayer.
Christians, we need to- because the end of all things is at hand.
If the end is right around the corner, how should our lives change to live accordingly?
If the end is right around the corner, how should our lives change to live accordingly?
We must earnestly love and minister to one another (vv.
Above all- if you are going to properly minister to each other, then what you need most of all is to continually have earnest love for one another.
Earnest love- Pert. to being persevering, with implication that one does not waver in one’s display of interest or devotion, eager, earnest
In Peter’s mind, in the context of both suffering and the end of all things being right around the corner, what believer’s ought to be doing is showing continual earnest love towards each other.
This is a love that covers a multitude of sins.
I think that means that we can overlook a great number of minor offenses because of our love for the brethren.
It is a love according to v. 9 that displays itself in hospitality.
What it consisted of was offering to traveling Christians (including traveling teachers, prophets, and apostles) free room and board while they were legitimately in an area.
As Peter is writing to a persecuted church it would be vital in the coming days, as believers we displaced from their homes, to show one another hospitality and to do so without grudging or grumbling- this is behind-the-scenes-talk.
This is the quiet whisper, “I wish this person would hurry up and leave.”
Finally Paul escalates this idea of love and commands these believers to lovingly minster to one another.
And v. 10 is a incredibly important verse to get a handle on.
Three truths I want you to grasp:
Everyone has received a gift- this is talking about believers.
If you are a believer then you have received a spiritual gift from God.
Peter doesn’t leave anyone out.
All believers have at least one spiritual gift from God.
The purpose of your spiritual gift is to minster to one another.
διακονέω we get our word deacon from this term- it means to serve or to minister to someone else.
So you have a spiritual gift from God, and God expects you to use that gift in ministry.
You need to be serving other people with the gift that God has given you.
You are going to be held accountable for how well you use the spiritual gift that God has given you.
You are like a good steward of the manifold grace of God.
A steward is a manager of a household or an estate.
He doesn’t own the house or the estate, rather he has been put into the position by his master to take care of the house or the estate as if it were his very own.
You Christian are a steward, God has given you something that does not belong to you, it belongs to God, but God wants you to take care of it for Him.
What has God given you?
The manifold grace of God or the various kinds of the grace of God.
This is a reference to spiritual gifts.
God, by His grace, has given to His church all kinds of different spiritual gifts.
Those gifts don’t belong to us, but we are to take care of them for God.
And God wants us to use them to minister to each other.
And we will be held accountable for how well we do as stewards.
Christians, how many of you are using your God given spiritual gifts to minister to each other?
By the way this absolutely eliminates “pew sitters.”
God does not want anyone in His church to come and simply fill up a chair.
All of us need to be good stewards of the spiritual gift that God has graciously given us to minister or to serve each other.
How about you?
Are you being a good steward of God’s manifold grace?
In v. 11 Peter gives us several examples of what these spiritual gifts might look like.
Now the list is not exhaustive, it is a small sampling of the types of spiritual gifts that God gives His church.
There are other kinds of spiritual gifts mentioned in Scripture.
The kinds of spiritual gifts is not what is important in v.11, what is important is the motivation for why we use our spiritual gifts.
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