Summary: There is time for action but no time to waste
1st Peter 4:7-11
“The Kingdom of Heaven is Near”
“There is time for action but no time to waste.”
I don’t know the number of times I have been on my couch screaming at the TV during the last seconds of a NASCAR race, or a football game. It seems funny that I believe Jeff Gordon will be some how inspired by my screaming. You laugh, but I know you do the same. Last seconds of an Arkansas football game, score is tied….field goal from the 45 yard line – the kicker is 1 for 2. Don’t tell me you don’t get a little excited. If you go in my office I have 3 hockey jerseys. I remember going to my first hockey game. We sat in the nose bleed section. The next season my mom gave us tickets for the whole season. The next season, we bought season tickets three rows from the ice. My voice would be gone by the end of the game because I yelled so much. It’s easy to get excited about the things we care about.
I remember just a few months ago sitting on the couch at Duane’s house watching a man on TV with his whiteboard go through the book of Revelation, explaining that we are in the last days. His emphasis was more on when it was going to happen, than that we should be prepared. Somehow he thought he figured something out that Jesus said we wouldn’t know. Jesus said that no one will know the hour or the time when the son of man returns. But over an hour long show – this certain preacher had it all figured out. We hear a lot about the last days. Wars…rumors of wars. In the 80’s they thought Regan was the antichrist, in the 90’s it was Clinton. I wonder if our emphasis hasn’t been on when, instead of the assurance that it will happen.
Peter walked with Jesus. He heard Jesus proclaim that he was going to return. Peter’s claim that Christ would return was more of a warning to get ready than a mystery about when.
Turn with me to 1st Peter 4:7-11 (read)
I believe Peter is going to give to us 3 ways that we can get ready for the coming of Christ. The first:
I. Prepare Yourself (7)
a. The end is near
This literally reads – “prepare yourself mentally, therefore, and attend to prayers” We should be prepared. Peter’s meaning is neither that the present age has reached its end nor that the end lies somewhere in the indefinite future. His meaning is that the end will be very soon, although he has no interest in setting dates.
b. Be Clear Minded
This literally reads – “prepare yourself mentally, therefore, and attend to prayers” We should be prepared.
i. Not a desire to keep yourself sober – but a desire to always be thinking of eternity.
c. Be Self-Controlled
i. We should refrain from doing that which is wrong.
ii. We should be self-controlled in our speech
1. The words we say can hold a huge punch – even when we are joking or just playing around.
Before Amanda and I got married her parents came to Ozark for the Ambassordor’s rally. I don’t know where Duane was at the time, but Amanda and her mom were sitting next to each other. The professor was calling rolled and looked at Amanda. He said that he didn’t realize Amanda had a sister – speaking of Annette. That one statement made Annette feel really comfortable in the class. The professor knew his words were powerful.
d. Be Prayerful
i. This sounds like another step –
Really it’s connected with the other two. I can’t pray and really ask for God’s will to be done in my life when I am not self-controlled, when my mind is full of cares. I can. “God give me this, give me that…help me with this.” You can always throw up something and hope it gets answered. You can take it a step further and know God is faithful, know that he answers prayers, know that he cares for you. It changes the way you will pray. Instead of praying to a God who only answers what he wants, and leaves you wishing for more, he will answer more, because your heart is right. Because your dependence is right.
Peter says another thing to do in preparation for the end of all things.
II. Love each other (8-9)
John 13:35 – By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
a. We should have a passion for one another
i. A desire to help each other
ii. A desire to meet needs
iii. A willingness to go beyond the call