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At the Crossroads of Life. 1 Peter 4:7-11

14/10/2018

At The Crossroads of Life

Text 1 Peter 4:7-11
A diagnoses of a terminal condition changes one’s life. Peter gives us all such a diagnosis here ‘The end of all things is at hand…’ We really are living with a poor prognosis. We are in the last days. Hebrews 1:1 1 Peter 1:20  We don’t know the minute that these last days will come to an end. So in the light of eternity (which may come very quickly in their case) 7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore… What way will WE live? 2 Peter 3:11 Right here in this passage Peter gives us some indication of what the proper response of the Christian should be:-

1 Be a SERIOUS Christian!
Peter begins with prayer and fellowship.

  • Serious in Prayer. therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. In the light of our imminent departure from this world, PRAY! Actually the word serious here, is probably like ‘clear-headed!’ AMP: Therefore, be sound-minded and self-controlled for the purpose of prayer [staying balanced and focused on the things of God so that your communication will be clear, reasonable, specific and pleasing to Him.]. Stay focussed in prayer. Knowing that the end of this life is near must surely concentrate the mind greatly in prayer, for the distractions of this world must seem totally irrelevant the you come to the realisation that they will all be gone in a very short time indeed. Peter writes this, not so that we would feel guilty because we can’t pray big long eloquent prayers, but so that we get serious about prayer knowing that our days in this world are limited.
  • Serious in Fellowship. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another. Our prognosis of soon departure should cause us to love even more those who are the Lord’s people, to seek fellowship with them, and to be ever closer drawn to them, so that we have a little foretaste of heaven here in this earth. Sometime that’s not easy, and so we must be…
  • Serious in Forgiveness. for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Our sins are covered by the blood of the Lord Jesus, – of that there is no dispute. So how does ‘love cover a multitude of sins?’ This is a practical passage, and this is another little practical piece of advice. We are sinners, living together in a Christian community. When we irritate each other, and we will, and we do (for their are vestiges of our old sinful nature bubbling away under the surface of our lives – and from time to time they will come out and we’ll do something or say something and our fellow believers will be disappointed in us, or find our attitude disappointing) – we remember that we are still in this world, still imperfect, and still waiting to be changed at the resurrection, and because we love each other in the Lord, that love will overwhelm and blot out the imperfections in other believers.

That’s how we get along as a Christian fellowship. By being serious about our prayers, by loving the Lord’s people and by allowing that love to regulate our relationships within the Christian community.

2 Be a SERVING Christian.
Peter gives us two examples. It’s a good illustration, for the people of Peter’s day would have known all about servants. Many of them would be servants themselves. They were required to work hard, long hours to please their master. A Christian servant is to learn to please his or her Master, by serving others as he too served them.

  • Geniality. 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. Hospitality – we all know what that is. More than just having visitors round, – it’s being kind and hospitable to each other, being a welcoming person in every sense of the word.
    • Personal hospitality. BUT Peter knew exactly how we do this, and how we love to complain; love to complain about who we’ve invited – or perhaps who our spouse has invited. What’s a little bit of hospitality, a few hours of inconvenience in this world – even if it means we are slightly discommoded for a while!
    • Church hospitality. Hospitality extends into our church gatherings too. When someone come to church they should feel at home. No strangers in here, only valued guests, to who we extend our hospitality.
  • Generosity. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Here’s the second of these servant attitudes. Some of us have been greatly gifted. Whatever gifts you have been given, – you can’t take them with you into glory – so start and use them to bless others. Remember that every gift that we have is given by God, so be generous with your time and your substance.

Both of these are examples of good works, the outworking of our salvation in practical blessing of other people.

3 Be a SPIRITED Christian.
Note the spiritual enthusiasm and confidence in these words. In the church, it’s important to minister, with eternity in the front of our minds. So, what will the poor prognosis mean for the pastor and the church leaders…

  • In witnessing. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. Make sure that everything you say is based upon the ‘oracles of God.’ Now what is an oracle, and where do we find these ‘oracles?’ The NKJV note simply says ‘utterances.’ So where has God uttered his word, and his will? In the Bible, the Scriptures of Old and New Testament. The preacher is to be certain that what he is saying is based firmly upon the Bible, not his own opinion or invention. The Christian preacher is the very antithesis of the Greek oracles – a sober, prayerful man, reading the word of God ad sharing it with those who hear.
  • In working. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, Leadership in a church can be very hard work. We do it within our abilities – knowing that the Lord will supply us the strength that we lack, and give us grace to carry on. Indeed it could be said that we have no strength, no ability of our own, only that which the Lord supplies.
  • In worshipping. that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Peter concludes the passage with a doxology – a hymn of praise, to God’s Glory!

So with the certainty that we are living in the last days, we will be enthusiastic in faithful witnessing, working and worshipping.

So Peter gives us some idea of what the Christian life should look like, when we are conscious that our time on this earth is very short. We are living in the last days. Peter’s wise words should be our guide.

© BobMcEvoy October 2018

From → 1 Peter, Bible Study

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