Summary: Three very basic aspects of our duty: 1) the incentive to our spiritual duty, 2) the instructions for our duty, and 3) the intention of our duty.
In HUNTINGTON, Utah -Crews were forced to halt their desperate underground search for six trapped coal miners after a cave-in killed three rescue workers and injured six. "We have suspended indefinitely the underground portion of this rescue effort," said Richard Stickler, head of the U.S. government’s Mine Safety & Health Administration. Rescuers will continue to drill bore holes down through the top of the mountain to try to find the miners, who have not been heard from since a collapse Aug. 6 and are thought to be located 550 metres underground. If the miners were found, a larger hole would be drilled in from the surface in a long, slow effort, he said. One of those killed and one seriously injured in Thursday evening’s collapse were federal employees, Mr. Stickler said. The collapse raised fears that tunnelling to try to find the men trapped in the central Utah mine was too dangerous to continue without further casualties. "Yesterday we went from a tragedy to a catastrophe," Jon Huntsman, the Utah Governor, said outside the Crandall Canyon Mine, south of Salt Lake City, as he called for new efforts to make mining safer in his state and the country.
Was the action of the rescuers foolish? Could you see yourself taking the risk? Is there anything that you would risk all for? How far would you go for a stranger? How far would you go for a loved one? How far would you go for yourself?
In our study on Thursday’s, John Piper stated: “Risk is woven into the fabric of our finite lives. We cannot avoid risk even if we want to. Every direction you turn there are unknowns and things beyond your control. The tragic hypocrisy is that the enchantment of security lets us take risks every day for ourselves but paralyzes us from taking risks for others on the Calvary road of Love. We are deluded and think that it may jeopardize a security that in fact does not even exist”. (Don’t Waste your life: 2003. Crossway Books. p.81).
In our study on Wednesday nights we saw the Apostle Paul proclaim:
Acts 21:13b For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." (ESV)
Paul had two choices: he could waste his life or live with risk. He answered this choice clearly:
Acts 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (ESV)
When something great may be achieved for the cause of Christ and for the good of others, it is right to risk. This is duty and in 1 Peter 4:7-11 the apostle Peter in this passage instructs Christians concerning three very basic aspects of our duty: 1) the incentive to our spiritual duty, 2) the instructions for our duty, and 3) the intention of our duty.
1) THE INCENTIVE TO OUR SPIRITUAL DUTY 1 PETER 4:7A
1 Peter 4:7a The end of all things is at hand
The word rendered end (telos) does not necessarily indicate cessation, termination, or chronological conclusion. Rather here it means “consummation,” “fulfillment,” “a purpose attained,” or “a goal achieved.” In this context, it refers to Christ’s second coming. His reference to the fulfillment of all things indicates he is speaking of the Lord’s return (cf. Acts 3:21; Col. 3:4; 2 Thess. 1:10; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8; Heb. 9:28; Rev. 20:11–13).
• We are living in the final age of redemption.
The verb translated is at hand/near (çggiken) means “approaching.” The perfect tense indicates a consummated process with a resulting nearness —the event (Christ’s return) is imminent; it could occur at any moment (cf. Matt. 24:37–39; Rom. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:2; Rev. 16:15; 22:20). Therefore believers are to live with an ongoing attitude of anticipation or expectancy, as a mark of faithfulness. The early church was already in the last days (1 John 2:18), which had begun with Christ’s first coming (Heb. 1:1–2).
The author of Hebrews exhorted his readers:
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (ESV)
The apostle John, as he neared the end of his life, was firmly convinced that the return of Christ, with all its attendant events and phenomena, divinely revealed to him in the visions of revelation, could occur very soon. Under the Spirit’s inspiration, he testified to that truth and to the blessing of Christians’ living in daily anticipation of it (cf. Rev. 1:3; 22:20).