Summary: The Apostle Peter directs believers in Jesus in some important attitudes as we move through our lives. He instructs us to understand the end, be intentional how we use our time, and encourages us in the practice of prayer.
INTRODUCTION… Post Apocalyptic Movies (p)
Planet of the Apes (1968). The Terminator (1984). Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). 12 Monkeys (1995). Waterworld (1995). The Postman (1997). The Day After Tomorrow (2004). Wall-E (2008). The Book of Eli (2010). Oblivion (2013).
What do these movies all have in common? All of these are movies that center on a world after a great cataclysm has happened. They give a fictional peek at what life could be life after some sort of mass worldwide disaster. Some officially call them dystopian post-apocalyptic film. I call them “lots of fun.” I think my love of post-apocalyptic movies started when I was a kid when my dad introduced me to Charelton Heston and Roddy McDowall in the movie Planet of the Apes. In this movie, we are introduced to astronauts on a strange planet ruled by thinking and talking apes only to find out at the end of the movie the astronauts are on Earth! Then when I was older I saw The Terminator which shows life after machines take over the world. When I got into college I saw Waterworld and The Postman, both starring Kevin Costner and both are the exact same movie just one in the water and one on land. In case you are wondering what my all time favorite dystopian post-apocalyptic movie is (and I have seen many of them), it would be The Hughes Brothers 2010 film “The Book of Eli” starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman.
Why do I like these types of movies? To be honest, I am not sure. I love science-fiction and many of them fall into that broad category. I love wonderful stories and most of them are wonderful creative and thoughtful stories. Many of the movies also comment on human beings and our character, values, and problems in such a world. Many of these movies make the viewer think about how we would act in such dire circumstances.
This morning we are going to talk about how to live our lives with the end in mind. Now I know that sounds a lot like a Steven Covey book, but it is not. We are going to reflect on one verse from 1 Peter chapter 4. It is unusual that we have just one verse to read. Since we do, I would like to read it several times from different translations to cement it into our hearts.
READ 1 PETER 4:7
(NIV) “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”
(RSV) “The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers.”
(ESV) “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.”
(HWP) “Da time wen everyting goin pau goin come pretty soon. So you guys, use yoa head, an watch out how you make, so you can pray good.”
(MSG) “Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer.”
The basics of this verse are not difficult. The Apostle Peter directs believers in Jesus in some important attitudes as we move through our lives. He instructs us to understand the end, be intentional how we use our time, and encourages us in the practice of prayer.
I. UNDERSTAND THE END
As we think about 1 Peter 4:7, we have the option of two types of “ending.” Is Peter talking about the end of the world, as my favorite movies often describe, or something else?
First, it is possible that the Apostle Peter is thinking about the end of time and the Judgement Day of God when he uses the word “the end of all things.” In the Old Testament, “the end of all things” is called “The Day of the Lord” in books like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, and Zephaniah. In the New Testament, “the end of all things” is called The Second Coming of Christ. It is the same event. When the “the end of all things” happens according to the Book of Revelation: war, famine, sickness, meteor showers, 100 pound hailstones falling on people, huge earthquakes, loss of all ocean life, a third of trees and all plant life dies, cities are toppled, fresh water is poisoned, daylight becomes scarce, and plagues of insects kill people. Peter could be thinking about such things when he says “the end of all things” is near.
Second, he could also be thinking about catastrophes that would soon be felt by all people in his time. In 70AD, about eight years after 1 Peter was probably written, the Roman military machine would destroy the temple in Jerusalem, kill thousands, and enslave many more. Josepus, a historian of the time, wrote: “The Temple Mount was everywhere enveloped in flames. It seemed to be boiling over from its base; yet the blood seemed more abundant than the flames and the numbers of the slain greater than those of the slayers. The soldiers climbed over heaps of bodies as they chased the fugitives." Many of the Jewish people would again be dispersed from the Promised Land. Peter could be commenting about the near future he had divinely seen when he says “the end of all things” is near.