Summary: Living on Mission in a Foreign Land Living Righteously in Light of the End of All Things
Living on Mission in a Foreign Land
Living Righteously in Light of the End of All Things
We are finishing up our second mini-series in 1 Peter, “Living on Mission in a Foreign Land,” which connects the way we live to the mission of Christ, making disciples. He tells us that 'God has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light with this purpose, to proclaim His excellencies.' Next week we start, “The Church in a Foreign Land,” where Peter describes how to live as a church in a foreign land. Today we look at 4:7-11, “Living Righteously in Light of the End of All Things,” where Peter tells us that in light of the end of all things to live out our faith practically. I will mention a couple of things about this phrase and then share with you the three things he tells us to do in response to this truth. First, this phrase, 'the end of all things is at hand' points to the time period we live in, the last days that was inaugurated with Christ's first coming and will be consummated when Christ returns. Peter tell us that in light of the time we live, live a practical, righteous life. It has been attributed to Martin Luther about the return of Christ, “"Even if I knew the world would end tomorrow, I would continue to plant my apple trees.” Whatever you believe about the last things, the bible describes the last things to encourage us that God wins and his people are to overcome or live righteously. Second, in the the phrase 'all things,' Peter sees history as God's history; nothing is outside the influence of his Lordship and he is bringing everything to the culmination of his ends. “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, "Mine!”― Abraham Kuyper. It is because God is absolutely sovereign over all things that we can have confidence that he is ruling over history and that he wins.
Big Idea – In light of the the end of the ages we are to live out our faith in practical righteousness.
In light of the end of all things we are to keep a clear head; keep praying; and keep loving one another.
Keep a Clear Head
“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded.” That first word, translated 'self control,' means to be of sound mind, in your right mind, the opposite of irattional and insanity. It is used of a demonized man after Jesus had freed him that he is described as in his right mind. The second word, translated sober minded, means to be sober not intoxicated, not given to exesses. His point is that as history is coming to a close, Christ is Lord and has defeated his enemies so do not let life cloud our thinking and do not embrace irrational exesses. The kingdoms of this age will be swallowed up by the kingdom of Christ. Be clear headed for a reason, so that you can pray effectively.
Have you ever been so distressed or irrational that you could not think clearly or did not think to pray? Keep a clear head in the midst of suffering, difficulties, so that you can effectively pray to the Lord. The only appropriate response to suffering is to turn away from self toward the victorious Lord, who has defeated sin and Satan, and look to him for the resources to thrive and overcome in life. When you are down, do not look within but to him in prayer. Have you ever wondered why you don't pray? It is because we are intoxicated – with ourselves, with this life. With the end of all things we are to keep a clear head; keep praying; and keep loving one another.
Keep Loving One Another
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” In the midst of difficulties do not withdraw from community. 'Above all' shows that loving God's family is central to discipleship and is even evidence of saving faith. Peter says to love earnestly because love covers a multitudes of sins. Where love abounds offenses are minimal, even overlooked and gossip is stifled.
He tells us to love one another by showing hospitality and serving. Let's look at what I've called happy hospitality. Hospitality, opening up our homes to others, is another mark of discipleship in the early church. The early church flourished in part because of hospitality. Disciples of Christ opened up their homes to traveling missionaries and teachers and church life revolved around the home. He tells us to show hospitality without grumbling or complaining.