Summary: Being only days away now from something known as “March Madness,” the pace and intensity of college basketball games begin to reach a new level. There’s a sense of urgency as teams begin to prepare for a run that will eventually result in four unbeaten
Opening Statement: Being only days away now from something known as “March Madness,” the pace and intensity of college basketball games begin to reach a new level. There’s a sense of urgency as teams begin to prepare for a run that will eventually result in four unbeaten teams, one of which will become the new NCAA champions. Office workers scurry to get their brackets filled out. Coaches try to put together a game plan that will insure a win. The under-dog, 16th seeded teams hope for an upset.The sports commentators pontificate over “bracketology.” The number 1 seeds fear the “spoiler” no-name team that gets hot just
as the tournament starts. Fans hurry to the box office to purchase a ticket when they find out that their team made it to the Final Four. It’s a fevered pitch as young athletes aspire to that “one-shining” moment when their will and resolve will be sorely tested and only the strong survive.
Transition: This atmosphere sets up our text today and really sets up the entire New Testament. There’s a sense of urgency in the New Testament. It breathes expectancy with a lot more at stake than any Final Four game.
Observation: The Apostle John wrote in 90 AD “It is the last hour… (1 John 2:18).” Paul wrote in Romans 13:12: “The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Peter picks up on this intensity when he wrote: “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer (1 Peter 4:7).” “The coming of the Lord is at hand,” James wrote (5:8). Christ said in Revelation 1:3; 22:20, “Surely, I am coming soon.” In fact, Peter had a great deal to say about time. In 1 Peter 1:5, he said that Christ provided “a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” In 1 Peter 1:17, he said to “Conduct yourselves in the fear of God during the time of your stay upon the earth.” And in 1:20, he wrote: “Christ appeared in these last times…” In 5:6 Peter said: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” Peter believed that our time on earth was limited but that there was such a thing as eternity and that this world was not all that there was. As a result, he wanted to make the most of his time today.
Background: In 1 Peter 4, Peter very urgently writes to a group of suffering Christians, telling them that the end of all things is near. A time of testing is closing in. Things are beginning to reach a fevered-pitch in his world. Pandemonium is about to break loose. Only the well prepared will survive. Peter wants them to live with this sense of urgency. Time was short. I don’t think Peter wanted them to always go around in a hurry. No, rather, he wanted them to have this sense of the passing of time and the opportunities that we must take advantage of while we still have the chance.
Title: Living With a Sense of Urgency
Key Word: Since the end was near for Peter, Peter defined for us what a life led with a sense of urgency looks like in the light of the end?
Text: 1 Peter 4:1-11
Recitation: 4:1 So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin, 4:2 in that he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and
not human desires. 4:3 For the time that has passed was sufficient for you to do what the non-Christians desire. You lived then in debauchery, evil desires, drunkenness, carousing, boozing, and wanton idolatries. 4:4 So they are astonished when you do not rush with them into the same flood of wickedness, and they vilify you. 4:5 They will face a reckoning before Jesus Christ who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. 4:6 Now it was for this very purpose that the gospel was preached to those who are now dead, so that though they were judged in the flesh by human standards they may live spiritually by God’s standards. 4:7 For the culmination of all things is near. So be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of prayer. 4:8 Above all keep your love for one another fervent, because love covers a multitude of sins. 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without complaining. 4:10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 4:11 Whoever speaks, let it be with God’s words. Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.