Summary: This message is a challenge for the New Year for the church to be devoted to connecting, serving, and loving one another in Jesus’ Name.
Go Farther Together • 1 Peter 4:7-11 • JAN 3, 2010
OPENING: Recount work of God in our midst as a church throughout 2009.
INTRODUCTION: This year we must STRETCH both personally and collectively as a church to CONNECT, SERVE, and LOVE others in the name of Jesus.
WORSE-CASE SCENARIO: What this passage illuminates is the fact that when we fail in these areas Peter mentions the forces of the Enemy will weaken and eventually destroy the church.
I. Peter issues a REMINDER (v 7a)
• Peter has just commented on the reality of judgment
• Biblical as the end approaches persecution ++ Mk 13, Rev
• “Last Days” initiated by coming of Jesus
• 2 Problems: 1) Lack of understanding – focus on signs of times 2) lack of urgency – focus on selfish things
II. Peter identifies a RELATIONSHIP (vv 7b-9)
a.VERTICAL relationship (v 7b) (priority of prayer)
• Be self-controlled = clear-minded – sensible – “keeping ones head despite danger & fear (context of persecution)
• Be sober-minded – well-balanced – context = intoxication – taking things seriously – unwelcome facts can lead us to take things too lightly…
• Idea is not to be a spiritual sourpuss but to be joyful… rejoice in the Lord always…
b. HORIZONTAL relationship (vv 8-9) (priority of partnership)
• Above All – supreme importance (1:22, 2:17, 3:8)
• Love earnestly – deep love – full-stretch = stretched to the limit by the demands made on it
• Focus on relations in the church. Not yet in view. (1:22)
• Give examples of "unlovely" people
• Love is the answer to the problem. Truth is we fall out of love easily with one another. Over time we all the reasons not to love emerge… and we are distracted…
• Peter says only love will overcome them and regard them as of no account b/c love covers a multitude of sins.
• Show Hospitality – context of early church life… concept of inconvenience but imperative is on w/o grumbling…
III. Peter imparts a RESPONSIBILITY (vv. 10-11)
(the following subpoints of the message were inspired in a message by Ed Stetzer)
a. YOU ARE GIFTED!
• God has called you to serve others in the Name and Glory of Jesus.
• Majority of ppl in most churches (ours included) are not serving others. I could stand here today and preach against things… but reality is most people listening to this message already know and have chosen not to obey what this passage is communicating.
• 1 Corinthians 12:7 “to produce” = for common good
• Gifts have been given for the benefit of church. When you don’t use your gift you are robbing this church from what God has given to her.
• God’s plan is for God’s people to do God’s work.
b. GOD HAS GIFTED YOU FOR A REASON.
• You have a gift only question is will you use it for God’s glory.
• 1 Cor. 12:18
• “You don’t know what I’ve been thru”… I know sometimes ppl come to church to heal and to hide…
• True healing comes as we are on mission with Jesus… if you want complete emotional & transformational healing? Pick up a towel as Jesus did and begin to serve others.
c. HIS GIFT IS MAXIMIZED THROUGH HIS POWER!
• Channel of His blessing… be a blessing – be blessed
• I’ve retired… until you walk through the gates of glory still a part of “each one”
• I have yet to see a church revitalized and on mission with Jesus who did not exp trying to get his hands in things. If you want to be a part of what God wants to do within the life of our church, join hands with others and lets get to work!
• You don’t heal by sitting but by serving…
d. HIS GIFT ARE DESIGNED TO GIVE HIM GLORY!
• You say, Pastor I can’t serve because…
• Can I tell you… everyone has a reason… Jesus has a call…