Live in a time/country- experiencing prosperity.
However the air is filled with anxiety over …
crime and violence, economic instability,
rumors of wars, and news of natural disasters.
The Bible calls these- end times.
How do we live in times like these?
1 Pet 4:7-9 (First read 1 Pet 4:1-2, 7-11 MSG)
Peter exhorts us to certain action based on the premise that “the end of all things is near.”
What does he mean by near?
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.
8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. NASU
Farmer- understands seasons of time- a season will come to sow/reap- he must be prepared.
We must under stand the season in which we live.
Mtt 24:44 "For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. NASU
Peter wrote 2000 years ago, end had not come yet.
Perhaps near does not mean- tomorrow, but …
it is coming,
it is going to happen,
we do not know exactly when- therefore-
we should live as if it could be tomorrow.
I believe the best way to approach Bible prophecy is to start with the right question, which is not “how can I figure out what God is going to do?” but instead, “Lord, since I believe You will return how should I live right now?”
T Michael Crews
We are concerned about when the Lord will return, not so we can use our time wisely for God,
but so we can live for ourselves- no urgency.
A boss told his employees that when he came in each morning he liked to see everyone in their place already working. He asked them if they had any suggestions as to how the business could be improved. The next day he only found one suggestion in the suggestion box. It read, “Wear squeaky shoes.”
If we knew- Lord- returning- 5 days- would suddenly adjust what is important/change our behavior.
1 Pet 4:7
We are to be of sound judgment/sober spirit …why?
So we can pray- discipline ourselves to pray.
The discipline must be developed before it is needed if you are to continue praying when persecution and catastrophe strike. Ed Wood
Peter spoke of critical times- our age is no less critical
Most people see prayer as a form of wishful thinking, not a means of influencing world events. Ed Wood
Our prayers can greatly affect the world around us.
1 Pet 4:8
The ability to be fervent in our love comes out of knowing God’s love through times of prayer.
God’ love …
passes over the faults of others,
does not look for weaknesses in others,
looks for opportunities to serve and help others.
1 Pet 4:9
Hospitality is one outlet for expressing God’s love.
Heb 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. NASU
There is something significant about hospitality.
We are all different- some open homes/lives.
1 Pet 4:10
Gift- supernatural work of God’s Spirit in us releasing ability- ability to do something for God, serve God
Manifold- diverse, of great variety.
1 Cor 12:4-6 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit … varieties of ministries, and the same Lord … varieties of effects, but the same God … NASU
Grace- supernatural influence upon the heart that is reflected in the way we live our lives.
Speaks of divine favor, empowerment, enablement.
Each of us individually has received grace from God.
Steward- manage, oversee- grace God has given us.
The key to success in serving God- remember …
all strength for service comes from God.
1 Pet 4:11
Why should we serve others w/grace that God gives?
To glorify God so others can experience His grace.
The more we glorify God, the more God empowers us
Our purpose in life is not to see our will done, but His will done on earth as it is in Heaven.
As Christians, we are building a house- both a personal house and a corporate house.
Whatever we are doing in our own strength to secure and protect ourselves is a labor in vain.
If we allow the Lord to build the house its foundation will be built on truth and it will stand.
As we build our individual houses on truth then the corporate house will be built on truth.
If the Lord builds the house he will guard the house.
Mtt 16:18 "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. NASU
Francis Frangipane …
He is stating that, when His house is built in obedience to His Word, the strongholds of evil over individuals, neighborhoods and communities will be impacted and broken.
If the church is selfish/not build according to God’s plans- enemy has greater access to people’s lives.
When the house is build according to God’s plan it releases the power of God and
displaces the powers of darkness.
The prevailing influence upon society is not lawlessness and evil, but the power of heaven. Let us rejoice in the promise that, in spite of increasing evil in the world, where the church is Christ-centered and obedient, there the Lord will guard the city. Francis Frangipane
If the Lord builds the house he will guard the house.
Early 1800s William Miller predicted that Jesus would return on Oct 22, 1844. He had up to 100,000 followers. Many sold their possessions and went to hilltops waiting for their Maker.
God does not want to come back and find us standing around waiting for Him to return.
We are to be busy about working to establish His Kingdom in the hearts of others.
As we search for meaningful behavior in a chaotic age (which very well could be the last stages of history), we must strike a balance between a heavenly and an earthly orientation. Prayer should be our first resource and love, our primary virtue. Pastor Ed Wood