Summary: We have responsibilities in the context of our relationship with God and His church. Peter provides godly guidance for our responsibilities in the Lord's church.
In the military, after the agreements and oaths, there were responsibilities. They offered training, but I had to train. They gave me equipment, but I had to maintain it. They prepared food, but I had to eat. They provided education, but I had to continue learning.
Bottom line is - I had responsibilities in the relationship.
In 1 Peter 4, we understand our reasonable expectation for being a Christian is difficulty. It is not easy!
You may have been under the wrong impression that you would simply receive your ticket to eternal life and patiently wait for His return. Peter suggests that living for the will of God is no walk in the park. In fact, when you deny your human passions, you will personally enter into warfare. Not only do you enter into internal warfare, but you are involved in spiritual warfare that you cannot see and physical warfare against the practices of this world.
Peter reminds the modern day Christian, the end of all things is at hand. Having written this letter a little over 1,950 years ago, is it any LESS true? Not at all! We are 1,950 years closer to the end!
In light of this, Peter provides guidance for our responsibilities.
1. Be self controlled and sober minded.
We know from Galatians 5:23, self control is included in the fruit of the Spirit. It is a reference to your state of mind. Be heavenly minded, and behave accordingly.
Do not be lazy, but mindful of the mission and the short time with which to live for that goal.
Be sober minded. When you hear this phrase, think control or influence. It is usually compared to one who is influenced by alcohol as opposed to the Spirit. It means to be level headed with Spirit mindedness.
Our responsibility is not allowing other forces to influence our thinking (including ourselves).
Some are compelled to figure out the date of Christ’s return against the clear teaching of God’s word.
That is an example of NOT being sober-minded – it is foolishness. The fact is, the end is nearing, so use your energy in obedience to the mission, not guessing the date of the end! Being self controlled and sober minded…
2. Keep loving.
This is not referring to a spiritual gift of loving. Every Christian is to love each other continuously, sincerely and eagerly with your possession of God’s love.
Don't misunderstand this verse! Peter said to keep loving sincerely since love covers a multitude of sins. He is not saying love COVERS UP sin or love turns a blind eye to sin.
He is saying God's love (expressed properly through His people) forgives, extends grace, understands weakness, and loves through every circumstance.
3. Show hospitality
Again, this is not the gift of hospitality, but an expression of sincere, godly love toward each other. More importantly, we do so without grumbling and complaining.
“I will do it because God said I was supposed to” is far different than desiring to fellowship and care for each other.
4. Serve one another.
Now Peter is speaking of the way the Holy Spirit manifests Himself through you for His Church. The phrase, “As each has received a gift” is a statement of fact. So, as a Christian, you do not have to wonder if you received a spiritual gift!