Summary: Since the end is near, let's do three delightful duties - pray seriously, love fervently and give graciously.

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Living on the Edge of Eternity

1 Peter 4:7-11

Rev. Brian Bill

February 28-March 1, 2015

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Have you heard of the Doomsday Clock? Maintained since 1947 by a group of scientists, this clock represents a countdown to impending global catastrophe, otherwise known as the end of the world. The closer the clock is set to midnight, the nearer these scientists believe we are to doom and disaster.

The second hand of the Doomsday Clock was changed just a month ago, moving the time up two minutes, so that we are now at three minutes to midnight. This is the closest to apocalypse we have come since 1984 – the coldest of the Cold War years. This is not really a scientific calculation but rather a measure of the “strong feeling of urgency” in light of world events. These experts must feel a lot of end-time urgency because the image of the updated clock is now bright red.

Many of you hope the end of winter is near, right? I confess that I like the snow. Here’s what we do in Wisconsin [show slide]. Someone posted this on Facebook this week: “Winter needs to end after Christmas. The end.”

Actually, when we process the news from this week, it makes us wonder how close we are to the end of all things, doesn’t it? Here are some actual headlines from the past seven days.

• Al-Shabaab threatens malls, including some in U.S. (Sunday)

• Iranian cruise missiles blow up life-size replica of American aircraft carrier (Wednesday)

• ISIS holds Christian hostages, will threaten to kill them (Wednesday)

• 3 Men from New York try to join Isis (Thursday)

• Iranian military chief threatens to ‘wipe Tel Aviv off the map’ (Thursday)

Last week we camped in 1 Peter 4:1-6 and learned that Christ-followers don’t do what they used to do. We were challenged to arm ourselves against sin and to abstain from sin. I appreciated an email I received this week from Duane Roesner, who teaches one of our Adult Bible Fellowship Classes. I wanted to pass it along because it was a helpful corrective to the statement I made about seeing ourselves as sinners: “Several years ago I taught on our identity...One of the things I did frequently was to ask the class, ‘who are you?’ They would answer what I taught them - a ‘child of God.’ When we become Christians we have a new identity…If you see yourself as a child of God, or a saint who sins less and less, that is what you will become because what you focus on expands.” Thanks, Duane.

Let’s look now at 1 Peter 4:7 to see how the Bible tells time: “But the end of all things is at hand…” The word “end” refers to completion or a conclusion, to a goal that has been achieved. It’s good for us to be reminded that God is in charge and He is working all things toward the completion of His plan. Nothing takes Him by surprise. I posted a verse this week that captures that truth from Psalm 47:8: “God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne.”

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