Some people work best under the pressure of a deadline. I'm one of them. There's a special urgency when you know you only have a limited time to produce. It seems to sharpen the focus of my mind and help my concentration level. I'm definitely more committed to the task at hand.
You think of people who know that they don't have very long to live--the end is near--for some of them the end might even be imminent--it could come at any time--the doctors can't say for sure. What a change in perspective if God told us that 1988 was going to be it for us. Time is precious and our perspective towards time helps to determine our priorities.
Peter has already told his readers to live for eternity. That is one essential perspective towards time that will help them maintain righteous living in the face of persecution. But there is another perspective that is essential as well. (Last week we learned the lesson: Accept Suffering and Commit Yourself to the Will of God, Knowing You Will Be Vindicated and Victorious)
Big Idea: ACCEPT SUFFERING AND COMMIT YOURSELF TO THE WILL OF GOD KNOWING THE END IS IMMINENT
I. THE NEED FOR URGENCY OF COMMITMENT the end of all things is at hand
If this was true back in the days of the 1st century church; it must be even more true (if that's possible) in 1988 in the 20th century church
Throughout the epistle Peter has been laying the foundation for this perspective towards time -- that we are in the last days and must live accordingly
1:5 salvation ready to be revealed in the last time
1:6 trials and suffering are only for a little while
1:13 very parallel; links eschatological hope with urgency of commitment to holiness and the will of God in the present
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed."
1:20 "Christ was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake"
2:12 live good lives because day of visitation is coming
4:5 the judge is standing at the door; Christ is holding Himself in readiness to judge the living and the dead at His return will mean vindication and victory for us
We cannot afford to take a lazy laid-back approach towards the Christian life;
Maybe Peter had fallen asleep back in the Garden of Gethsemanee instead of watching and praying because he really hadn't believed that the end of Christ's earthly ministry was at hand. Where was his sense of urgency?
In the NT, the approach of the end is always accompanied by a challenge to watchfulness and irreproachable behavior
"the end" -- from a word that originally meant "to turn around"
"the turning point; hinge; the culminating point at which one stage ends and another begins" Marriage is a telos -- both an end of one state of existence and the beginning of another;
"has come near" -- Perf. tense with the result that it is at hand; imminent
II. COMMITMENT TO GOD
A. Thinking Straight -- Sensibly and Seriously
opposite of ignorance and frivolity
too often we go off half-cocked and pervert some doctrine into irresponsible living (cf. Thessalonian believers -- felt a sense of urgency of living in the last days, but responded by
we need the input and counsel and exhortation of the body to protect us against stupid mistakes and enable us to think straight
B. Living a Disciplined Lifestyle
Be sober -- free from excess, passion, rashness, confusion
self-controlled; not carried away by self-indulgence or excitement
harness our emotions -- only possible if we are thinking straight
C. Appropriating God's Will and Resources Through Prayer
The Priority of Prayer for 1988 sustained & efffective prayer
How can you take time for prayer if you are living with a sense of urgency? Do you think you can effectively worship God and minister to others according to your own plan and based on your own resources or only according to God's plan and with His resources?
Take time to be holy; speak oft with the Lord; forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek
III. COMMITMENT TO ONE ANOTHER
A. Mutual Love :8
same concept as aggressive love from Chap.1:22 -- directed towards the body of Christ
"above all" -- 1 Cor. 13 -- ministry is imp., but only from this solid foundation = priority of love
"fervent" -- root idea = stretched or strained -- like a horse reaching for the wire; exerting one's powers to their full extent
Why do we need to keep on aggressively loving one another?
because love covers a multitude of sins
hate loves to dig up dirt and broadcast it and gloat (our media oriented society with emphasis on the hardhitting expose has conditioned us to believe that it is our right and responsib.