Summary: Peter gives his readers some very practical instructions on how to end our time on this earth so that we are properly prepared for our eternal future. This basic instruction contains some wise counsel regarding Christian living & ministry
1 PETER 4: 7-11 [Renewing Hope Series]
PREPARING FOR THE END
The Bible here sounds a note of warning and motivation, the end is at hand! And because the end is near, there are some specific ways we should be living out the will of God. So Peter gives his readers some very practical instructions on how to end our time on this earth so that we are properly prepared for our eternal future. You could call it: Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth, or B.I.B.L.E. This basic instruction contains some wise counsel regarding Christian living and ministry (CIT).
God is concerned about our ministry. So Peter has written about such important subjects as being serious and watchful in our prayers, practicing hospitality, and above all things, sharing fervent love with one another. In other words, Peter turns his attention to practical ministry within the body of Christ.
Within these verses, we find four specific instructions and one specific goal.
I. BE SANE AND SOBER IN PRAYER, 4:7.
II. HAVE UNFAILING LOVE FOR THE CHURCH, 4:8.
III. BE HOSPITABLE AND UNCOMPLAINING, 4:9.
IV. SERVE ONE ANOTHER, 4:10-11a.
V. A LIFE GOAL TO PURSUE, 4:11b.
After mentioning Christians who had died in verse 6, verse 7 then refers to the imminent return of Christ for His church. “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.”
Another benefit of suffering is that it keeps us focused on eternity. It’s when you’re going through tough times, difficult days, seasons of suffering, pressures and persecution that you long for heaven. Good times, nice things, and easier days have a tendency to shift our focus off of eternity. It’s when the tough times come—when the body hurts, the heart breaks, or the wallet is empty that we say, “I don’t belong here. I’m longing for heaven.”
Fortunately, the end . . . is near (çngiken, lit., “draws near”or approaching; used in James 5:8 to refer to the Second Coming) or is closing in on us. The shortness of the time remaining to any and all of us is motivation to live for and serve Jesus Christ (v. 2). So Scripture urges us to be prepared for the end of our life whether it is caused by the return of Christ or by our death.
We should live our life in light of the fact that our end is near. Such perspective helps one recognize how many activities don’t make any eternal difference. So much of what Christians do is little more that rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The question of eternity is when Christ returns will he find us asleep at the switch and reclined in leisure, or will He catch us diligently working to fulfill His Great Commission to make disciples and teach them His Word?
[In regards to today’s modern church, Eugene Peterson, in his book "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" writes, “it is not difficult in our world to get a person interested in the message of the gospel; it is terrifically difficult to sustain the interest. Millions of people in our culture make decisions for Christ, but there is a dreadful attrition rate. Many claim to have been born again, but the evidence for mature Christian discipleship is slim. [In our…culture anything, even news about God, can be sold if it is packaged freshly; but when it loses its novelty, it goes on the garbage heap.] There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier Christians called holiness.”]