Summary: Exposition of 1 Peter 4:7-11
Text: 1 Peter 4:7-11, Title: The End is Coming, Date/Place: LSCC, 2/19/06, AM
A. Opening illustration: statements from JWs and Gallup poll--ill file
B. Background to passage: Peter brings up the subject of the “end of all things” as a reality check for the suffering believers of his day. So after reminding them to keep the sufferings of Christ in their minds to help them suffer well, he reminds them of the urgency of our mission with the understanding that Christ will return, and it will be soon. The perfect tense verb “has come near” means that all things are in place for Christ to return, and we must be ready, therefore…
C. Main thought: Peter gives us three instructions with one empowering method.
A. Pray more (v. 7)
1. Peter uses two terms here that instruct believers to think and evaluate situations in life in view of prayer. The idea is that prayer should increase as the battle of life intensifies and moves toward its designed end. And believers must be alert as to the things that they should pray for. Informed thoughtful prayer is better than sending up “old faithful.” In fact, Peter implies here that prayer based on knowledge and spiritually mature evaluation is more effective and productive. Peter assumes that prayer will be continual through the day.
2. 1 Pet 1:13, 5:8, 1 Thess 5:6-8, Tit 2:12, Rom 12:12, Matt 6:7, Mar 14:38, Luk 21:34,
3. Illustration: In one region of Africa, the first converts to Christianity were very diligent about praying. In fact, the believers each had their own special place outside the village where they went to pray in solitude. The villagers reached these “prayer rooms” by using their own private footpaths through the brush. When grass began to grow over one of these trails, it was evident that the person to whom it belonged was not praying very much. Because these new Christians were concerned for each other’s spiritual welfare, a unique custom sprang up. When ever anyone noticed an overgrown “Prayer path,” he or she would go to the person and lovingly warn, “Friend, there’s grass on your path!” the praying soldier—ill file
4. The understanding that Christ is on his way will do much good to our prayer life. Do you really believe that? This can be done while you are talking with your spouse, reading the newspaper, watching the evening news, traveling to work, and so on. We must be alert to the spiritual significance of all of life as we prepare to pray. We must guard against vain repetition and thoughtlessness in our prayer life. Life is short, the return of Christ is soon, and we are at war, pray hard! Is your prayer life growing? On a very practical note, fasting helps you to focus your mind, and stay in prayer more consistently through the day—hunger can be a good reminder to pray diligently the end is near.
B. Love more (v. 8-9)
1. Peter emphasizes the reality that Christian love is a foundational grace to all other types of service, ministry, and duty. He says “above all” to keep on loving (agapao) one another fervently. This word fervent means to stretch or strain in order to reach the one being loved. Love intensely and devotedly. Then Peter gives a benefit of this self-sacrificing love by quoting Prov 10:12: covers sin. Side note that Peter or Mark had been memorizing scripture in Hebrew. Reference to relationships between believers with a family kind of love, but alludes to Christ’s love of sinners. Have a special love for other believers, but furthermore, be lovers of strangers. Explain hospitality in the first century, especially among early Christians. By 100 AD however, certain restrictions were put in place to curb abuse. Love strangers without complaining, but help them to get back on their feet, not welfare.
2. 1 Pet 1:22, Col 3:14, 1 Thess 3:12, 1 Cor 13:7, Heb 13:2,
3. Illustration: Something from Christmas Vacation about hospitality, great examples in our church – Mark and Lauri, all those that bring food and watch Mackenzie, the ICU—ill file,
4. To serve without love is hypocrisy; to preach without love is harsh and legalistic; to do missions without love is cold and mechanical. Sometimes to love someone is difficult. In fact some people are difficult to love. There are some of you here who have never opened up your home to another church member for dinner, or helped out a student, or single person in a tight spot, or supported a Christian ministry outside your church tithe. We must be about the business of caring for our own and winning others to Christ through service. Some of you are being hospitable but complaining about it. Allow Christ to love people through you when you are out of love. Allow his love to cover their sin, and yours.