Living in Light of His Return
What motivates you?
Today we’re going to see what motivated Peter and his readers and what should motivate us
Please take your Bible and turn to 1 Peter chapter 4
In our last time together, we saw Peter’s command to “arm yourselves against unjust suffering”
Today we’re looking at another way you can arm yourself and it’s found in verses 7-11
1 Peter 4:7-11, “7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Peter brings us to another triumphant in Christ
The first was His death and resurrection
The second was our death
At death, we triumph over sin!
Now he’s going to talk about “the end of all things” and what implications that should have on each one of us
It is clear we are at “the end of all things”
Peter shows us in verse 7 what that exactly means
Notice again verse 7 which says, “the end of all things is near”
The end of what things?
What are the things that are near and coming to an end?
There can be only one answer though some have proposed several
Some have said “the end of all things” is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
Others have said it no it refers to the “end” of suffering under Nero or even the end of his evil government
But is that what Peter had in mind?
The phrase “end of all things” is eschatological
Listen to these verses that use the “end” with reference to end times
Matthew 10:22, “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.”
Matthew 13:39-40, “39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40 “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.”
Matthew 13:49, “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous,”
Matthew 24:3, “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Matthew 24:6, “6 “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.”
Matthew 24:14, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
1 Corinthians 15:24, “then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.”
Hebrews 3:14, “For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,”
Revelation 2:26, “‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations;”
Peter just spoke about impending judgment on the wicked in verse 5
That naturally brings Peter to talk further about the end
But what part of eschatology is it referring to?
First notice that the word “end” is the Greek word telos, n
It occurs 40 times in the NT but has a wide variety of meaning
In some places it refers to a “tax or dues” (Mat.17:25; Rom.13:7)
In other places it refers a “consummation” or “closing act” (Mat.24:6)
Whatever “the end” is it seems to be connected to the gospel - Matthew 24:14, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
In 1 Corinthians 15:24 it appears to refer to something that is finished or accomplished
It says “then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.”
Up to this point, Peter has made 4 references to the second coming of Christ (1:5, 7, 13; 4:1)
He makes 4 more in 4:13, 17; 5:1, 4
Each of these verses talk about “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:13), “the revelation of His glory” (4:13), “the glory to be revealed” (5:1) and talks about when “the Chief Shepherd appears” (5:4)
So “the end of things” is referring to...
I. The Coming of Christ (v.7)
This is the “consummation,” “fulfillment,” (MacArthur) of “all things”
“All things” refers to “all the major events in God’s plan of redemption [that] have occurred, and now all things are ready for Christ to return and rule” (Grudem)
Wayne Grudem says, “Rather than thinking of world history in terms of earthly kings and kingdoms, Peter thinks in terms of ‘redemptive history’. From that perspective all the previous acts in the drama of redemption have been completed—creation, fall, the calling of Abraham, the exodus from Egypt, the kingdom of Israel, the exile in Babylon and the return, the birth of Christ, his life, death and resurrection, his ascension into heaven, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit to establish the church. The great ‘last act’, the church age, had been continuing for about thirty years by the time Peter wrote. Thus the curtain could fall at any time, ushering in the return of Christ and the end of the age. All things are ready: the end of all things (the ‘goal’ to which ‘all’ these events have been leading) is at hand.”
So Peter turns his attention to the second coming of Christ where from verse 5 all unbelievers will “give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead”
Paul also spoke of Jesus’ coming
As Him who we eagerly wait for - Philippians 3:20-21, “20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
As why we need to be gentle - Philippians 4:5, “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.”
As the One who will come for His own - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, “13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
James also said in James 5:8, “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.”
Since “the end of all things” is “near” (imminent approaching, eggizo, perf.act.ind.),
The perfect tense indicates this process started in the past and is approaching it’s fulfillment
Once all things are accomplished Jesus will return
What is the last thing to be accomplished? When the gospel is preached to the last person - Matthew 24:14, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
When will that be? We don’t know but very soon. It’s here. Everything is ready
The Bible has always taught the soon return of the Lord Jesus - James 5:8, “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.”
So knowing that “all things” are accomplished, it should cause us to...
II. Live in the Light of His Return (vv.7-11)
Two reasons are set forth, one is internal and the other is external
Peter first calls for two responses...
For the purpose of prayer (v.7)
These two imperatives will help them to pray more effectively, more appropriately and more intelligently
The first is to...
Be of sound judgment
“Sound judgment” is the Greek word sophroneo (aor.act.imp.) and it literally means “to be in one’s right mind” hence “levelheaded, not impulsive, not swayed by fluctuating emotions” (Cole)
The NIV says “be clear minded” but the ESV says “be self-controlled”
The idea is “to be under control and not be carried away by an errant view of oneself - Romans 12:3, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
Mark used this term to describe the man whom Jesus freed from a legion of demons - Mark 5:15, “They came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened.”
This verb also refers to guarding the mind in Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”
The Christian mind must be fixed on spiritual things and righteous living (Mat.6:33; Col.3:2, 16; Tit.2:11-12)
When believer’s minds are subject to Christ and His Word they see matters from an eternal perspective (MacArthur)
Not only thinking rightly but also
Be Sober spirit (nepho, pres.act.imp.)
Peter uses this word 3 times out of its 6 occurrences in the NT
It’s closely related in meaning to “sound judgment” and is “the opposite of intoxication” (Hiebert)
Here it means to be spiritually observant, sober minded, “free from every form of mental and spiritual drunkenness” (Arndt and Gingrich)
Jesus told His disciples to “be on the alert” (Mat.24:42) and to “keep watching” (26:41)
Godly thinking and spiritual alertness are crucial “for the purpose of prayer”
Prayer gives us access to all spiritual resources
But we cannot pray effectively if our minds are unstable
We are to live in the light of Jesus’ return for the purpose of prayer and...
For the purpose of others (vv.8-11)
“Above all” refers to “the supreme importance of that virtue in the Christian life” (MacArthur)
1 Corinthians 13:13, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Colossians 3:14, “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”
Keep fervent in love (v.8)
“keep” (echo) is in the present tense and could be translated “keep on keeping.” It’s an ongoing action
“fervent” (ektenes, adj) literally means to “stretch” or “strain”
It was used of an athlete stretching and straining every muscle toward the end of the race
It was also used of a horse stretching as he gallops
Peter says in light of the Lord’s return, they needed to exert themselves to...
“love one another”
“love” (agape), is self-sacrificial (Jn.15:13), undeserving and unconditional
We are told 10 times in the NT to specifically love another
Just to mention a few of them...
It’s used as early as Leviticus 19:18, “‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.”
Jesus repeated it in Matthew 22:37-39, “37 And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Jesus told His disciples in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Peter tells why they are to fervently love one another
“Because love covers a multitude of sins”
Commentators can’t agree as to who this phrase refers to, God or man?
So it is best says that this is a general axiom which means “whether from God or man, love covers sin” (MacArthur)
Loving one another is extended to strangers when Peter says...
Be hospitable without complaint (v.9)
The word “hospitable” (philoxenos, adj) literally means “to love strangers”
Extending hospitality to strangers was part of the Mosaic Law
Exodus 22:21, “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Deuteronomy 14:29, “The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.”
Genesis 18:1-2, “1 Now the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth,”
This is not just an act but an unselfish attitude, so that what is done, no matter the sacrifice, is done “without complaint” (MacArthur).
“Without complaint” means believers are “forgiving [to] each other” (Col.3:13). They “cover a multitude of sins.” That doesn’t mean they ignore them. It means they confront and forgive (Mat.18:15-17)
Last, Peter calls for them to...
Serve one another (vv.10-11)
He says in verses 10-11, “10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Every Christian has received a “special gift” (spiritual gift)
1 Corinthians 12:7, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
1 Corinthians 12:11, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”
Every Christian is to use the gift the Spirit has given - “employ (serve) it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God”
Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 give the list of spiritual gifts
Spiritual gifts are for the edification of the church not for yourself
The motive of our gifts is “so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
Knowing that Jesus is coming moves us to a particular kind of living
We are of sound judgment and sober spirit, fervent in our love toward one another, a lover of strangers and using our gifts in the body to serve one another
Does this describe you?
Living in light of His return is godly living
Godliness is only possible in Jesus Christ
At salvation, He makes you righteous
If you do not know Him as Lord and Savior, you are still in your sins and need to repent and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins
Call on Him now as we pray