Living In Light of His Coming: 2017 Study of 1 Peter #13
This is an exposition of 1 Peter 4:7-11. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, August 6, 2017.
It used to be commonplace; it dominated the preaching of Baptists a generation ago. Pulpits across the land thundered with the announcement of the coming judgment. Sermons warning of the coming Day of the Lord when divine justice would call to account the wicked and the godless. Today we are too sophisticated for such things. The culture, and it would seem the church, no longer believes that history will climax in a day of judgment. In fact many believers seem embarrassed by such notions. Images of red-faced preachers shaking their fists and calling down fire from above must be avoided if we are to be taken seriously by today’s enlightened culture. Modern man has replaced the notion of final judgment with the myth of endless progress. After all, the world is a better place today than it was 100 years ago. Look at our progress. Because of advances in science and medicine diseases that once devastated entire continents have been virtually eradicated. Technological advances have made work easier and more productive. Technology has managed to “shrink” the world. A journey that once took months now takes hours. The Internet puts the world at your fingertips.
The downside is that such advances have encouraged the notion that given time, techniques and the right leadership – we can make the world a better place. If we just take the right path we will create a utopian society. The problem is – though we are living longer and easier – we are not living better! Replacing the fact of final judgment with the myth of endless progress has not served our best interest.
While I’m not suggesting we return to the “sawdust trail” or begin a picket ministry in downtown Tulsa announcing the coming doom – I am suggesting that we return to the biblical pattern of declaring the end of all things is near. The aged apostle Peter was writing to a group of folks who were facing desperate times. Their faith was costing them dearly. Many had died – others would follow, yet Peter was not compelled to sugarcoat the message in order to help them feel better about their circumstances – he set forth the truth in plain language. He reminded them of their need for the Gospel – not just to be saved but also to live. He admonished them to live lives of holiness. He spoke of the need to submit to those in authority; the proper relationship between husbands and wives; the fact that at times it is necessary to suffer for the sake of righteousness – he reminded them of the judge who is ready to judge the living and the dead – then he said, “By the way, the end of all things is near.” Our text this evening is found in 1 Peter 1 Peter 4.
Text: 1 Peter 4:7-11
This text is about living in light of the return of Christ. We have a natural curiosity of the future. We want to know what is coming and we’d like to know when. But let’s be honest – some of the most outlandish things in the world have been done because “the end is near.” You remember all the panic related to Y2K. Some of you will remember the suicidal end of the Heaven’s Gate Cult and the fiery end of the Branch Dividians. I remember the fury of activity and predictions in the late 70’s and early 80’s as prophecy preachers made bold predictions. I remember reading 88 Reasons Why Christ Will Return in 1988 and its sequel – I Meant 89! I don’t have a problem with people who study prophecy, who diligently search the Scripture and try to make application – I just don’t feel that its all that helpful. In fact if we are not careful it can be harmful and lead to the attitude Peter addresses in 2 Peter 3.
2 Peter 3:3-4
I want us to note Peter’s approach to this subject in our text. His advice is straightforward and basic. He doesn’t beat around the bush and he doesn’t get theoretical. From Peter we learn:
Thesis: In an age dominated by the myth of social progress and unlimited potential believers must live lives focused on the fact of the coming judgment.
Now, don’t confuse basic with easy.
Peter demands some things from us that are difficult.
There are two things I want to point out in our text.
- The urgency of the hour simplifies our options. (4:7-11a)
Survival mode calls for simplicity.
Peter says four things are necessary in light of our Lord’s coming:
A sober mind and a calm spirit – for the purpose of prayer – 4:7
A fervent love for one another – 4:8
A hospitable attitude – 4:9
A servant’s heart – 4:10-11a
- The urgency of the hour reminds us of the goal of our living. (4:11b)
“So that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”