Summary: Sermon encourages us to live with the expectation of the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“Living With Expectancy”
I recall growing up, when my parents would leave the house for a while and they would leave certain responsibilities for me and my siblings, to be done by the time they returned. How cognizant I was to make certain that everything they asked me to do was done by the time they returned. However; every so often I would go to the front door or window and see if they were near, because we did not want to be caught with our duties undone.
When Peter mentions, “...the end of all times is at hand...” he is saying get your house in order because the Master is on His way back. He is literally calling for us to be on the lookout for the returning Christ. Most theologians agree that Peter felt that Jesus was coming back in that day in that time. Now because he did not return does not invalidate His promise. The key is this scripture is as valid and relevant today as it was then. Peter, reminds us that our time is not like Gods time in 2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The truth is we must live with expectancy.
To live in expectancy, is to prepare for the day we will stand before Christ. Most importantly, it is knowing that how we serve Him and live today, is the determining factor of how we are judged and rewarded when we meet Him.
Peter gives us some hints and keys necessary to glorify the Master as we live expecting His return. Vs7 of the text teaches us to:
I. Live Deliberately
Three words stand out in verse 7 which guide us in understanding Peter’s exhortation. Sober, Watch and Prayer. Peter says, be sober and watch unto prayer.
This word sober in the original language means to be clear minded. The thought then is of one who is focused and uneasily distracted. What was there to be distracted by you ask? There was some disruptive behavior going on at this time by Nero and persecutors of the church. Nero was burning Rome and anyone found displaying faith in Christ. See, satan has a tendency to disrupt the lives of many believers and he doesn’t always make it obvious. His methods are not always the same. There are moments he is quite subtle and discreet with his ploys sometimes he will use fear. So Peter suggests we be clear minded and focused. He says watch unto prayer. That word watch in the Greek is nēphō which means to be self-controlled. The lesson is that regardless of how difficult life gets or how painful our suffering we are required to live faithfully and submissive to the will of God. And if that isn’t enough he throws another requirement at us by saying, unto prayer. Interestingly enough the word prayer used here is a word often used for Worship. He tells us to make it a point to be serious about your walk with Christ. The call is for an intentional and continuous worship life. He is telling is to live deliberately to avoid any interruption to our prayer life. Let nothing hinder you from communicating daily with the Savior. Let nothing interfere with your worship. Watch- (control yourself) knowing the Savior desires to hear your prayers. Watch (control yourself) knowing Satan desires to interrupt your prayers. Worship knowing Jesus answers your prayers.
Peter admonishes that even under stress and suffering that we are obligated, secondly to:
II. Love Demonstratively (Vs. 8)
Can I just be honest for a moment? There are some folk who make loving them very difficult. I mean it becomes hard to hold my peace, my patience is tried, my nerves get short, because they know how to push buttons. I don’t enjoy being pushed. But you know what I have found out is that the more I love them in spite of their actions the better I feel. It is when I snap off or become abrasive and combative when I feel the worse. Why, you ask? Because I realize that the ultimate responsibility to love and show love is on me. Peter says “above all things have fervent charity among yourselves”
This word fervent is ĕktĕnēs, (ek-ten-ace ́): without ceasing, more vividly it means to stretch out. It is strong and bonded love that cannot be broken. Love, the Agape, compels us to do the opposite of those things we want to do. Love, the Agape, keeps us stretching even when it hurts. Does that remind you of something? It reminds us of the love Christ on Calvary as He stretched for you and me. Christian love, my friends never reaches a breaking point. (we stretch and never break) Jesus said, by this will others know that you are my disciple that you love one another (Jn. 13:23).