Summary: Living with the end in mind leads to a fuller and holier life!
As many of you know, we are in a series right now called COVID and the Christian. We’ve been spending much of our time together in the book of 1st Peter trying to biblically answer the question: How should we as Christians be living out our faith during this historic moment in history?
• 1st Peter is a great book of the bible to turn to for the answers to that question! I’ve been calling 1st Peter: The Christians guide to enduring COVID with your faith intact!
Peter wrote his letter to Christians who were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus. He wrote to teach and encourage them on how to endure and thrive even during the most difficult of days.
• How do you walk faithfully when the environment around you turns hostile?
• How do you bring glory to God when times get strange and tough?
o And no, there is no mention of a virus outbreak in 1st Peter, but the teaching and application fit just the same! We would be wise to take to heart the words of Scripture all the time, but the Word of God especially rings true and helpful in the most difficult of times!
Please open your bibles to 1st Peter 4. That’s where we’re going to be today, and while you’re finding 1st Peter 4, let me show you a picture and ask you a question: If you were driving down the street and saw this guy holding this sign saying, “The End IS Near!” [SHOW PICTURE] -- What would you think? What’s your first reaction?
• Crazy dude holding a sign!
• Radical weirdo!
• Get a life!
• Not all there!
Oddly enough, I didn’t hear any of you say (or did any of you think), “Well that’s what it says in the Bible!” This is exactly what Peter wrote to the church in his letter!
1 Peter 4:7 (NIV)
7 The end of all things is near.
Now, I don’t think the crazy looking dude holding the sign in this picture was thinking about 1st Peter 4:7 when he made that sign, but it is consistent with the words of Peter! – “The end of all things in near!”
Why on earth would Peter want the recipients of this letter to know that? The end of all things in near?
For starters, if I was one of the persecuted recipients of this letter back in the 1st century who was struggling every day to live for Jesus, this might be welcomed news! This suffering; this ridicule; this always trying to take the high road; this submitting for the sake of God… -- It’s not going to last forever!
• I think Peter is trying to encourage them to stay the course! Life is challenging, but don’t lose sight of the fact that it won’t be like this forever! Jesus is coming back! This too will all come to an end one day. Your suffering will end. God will make all of this right one day and the devil and all those who do evil with be dealt with. In fact, the end of all things is near.
That was nearly 2,000 years ago… Question: Do you believe him? Do you believe the end of all things is near? Do you think that most Christians today believe that the end of all things is near? That Jesus could come back at any moment…
• This is just my opinion (and it’s going to sound contradictory): I believe that most Christian believe “the end is near” this without question, but most of the time, they’re pretty nonchalant about it! They believe it, but they don’t think about it much.
Peter said, “The end of all things is near!” I don’t think Peter is trying to turn the church into a bunch of dooms day preppers! Oh my goodness… Have you ever seen that show! I don’t even know if it’s still on, but--
• It’s a show about people who go to extreme measures to prepare for the end of the world. These are people, who believe that the world is going to end at any moment, or some catastrophic event is going to take place catching most people off guard and unprepared to deal with it! So they build survival bunkers, load up on years’ worth of food and supplies to prepare for what they believe to be the inevitable end; whether that end will come from nuclear war, or an asteroid slamming into the earth, or alien attack, global warming, solar flares, or whatever doomsday prediction that is out there!
• The most extreme doomsday preppers live every day of their lives expecting the end of the world and being ready for it!
I’m confident that Peter is not trying to turn the church into doomsday preppers! But what Peter is doing is challenging the church to have a constant heightened sense of awareness of an unavoidable truth that all of this will one day come to an end. So, church… don’t ever lose your sense of awareness that the end is near!