Old Town Christian Fellowship
1 Peter 4:7-4:19
Above All Things
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  • 1 Peter 4:7-19

    Good morning church! I want to dig right in this morning, so turn to 1 Peter chapter 4 if you haven’t already and I’ll begin reading where we left off.
    1 Peter 4:7–9 NKJV
    7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
    1 Peter 4:10–11 NKJV
    10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
    Lets pray....
    When we study the church, and the concerns of the church throughout all of history, and I’m specifically speaking of the New Testament church that was birthed at the coming of Messiah Jesus, their primary focus, their biggest concern was the return of Jesus.... Greater than their fear of death, greater than their curiosities concerning Heaven, they were awaiting His return. And they lived that way, with anticipation that it could be any day and any moment of their day. Jesus said....
    Revelation 22:12 NKJV
    12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
    He also warned that there would be those in the church that were... taking comfort in a standing with Him, really a future in Heaven, that they had NO right to presume. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is quoted as saying,...
    Matthew 7:21–24 NKJV
    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
    Matthew 7:25–27 NKJV
    25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
    These sayings of mine include the words spoken to Nicodemus, one of the religious leaders of the day. If anyone might think they had the promise of Heaven it would be one in the service to God. To this same Nicodemus Jesus said...
    John 3:3 NKJV
    3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
    See the idea was that there was a sense of urgency, that one needed to be saved. For none of us know the day or the hour of our own death, and we are foolish if we assume that just because Jesus has not yet come back, He’s not coming, or that’s a long way off. Every single prophesied event that must take place before the return of Christ has already occurred.
    So our lives, Christians are to be lived in anticipation and with longing for the return, or in my mind the rescue of Jesus. In fact the bible says that this is something that is supposed to be on our lips. It is one of the things that we are to encourage each other with. Paul writes to the church in Corinth...
    1 Corinthians 15:51–52 NKJV
    51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
    To those in Thessalonica he wrote...
    1 Thessalonians 4:16–18 NKJV
    16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
    Those words to you and I Christian should bring comfort, should bring peace as we see the corruption rising up around us. I called it our rescue...But to the one who has not surrendered their life to Jesus. It should bring fear. And I really don’t say that to scare you, even so, I think that it should. See if you are not ready. If you haven’t yet chosen to make Him the Lord of your life, you too need to understand that by not choosing, you have made a choice. And there is no rescue for you on that day. The Bible describes a time known as the great tribulation, you can read about it in the book of Revelation. I think roughly chapters 6-19...
    Those that are not ready upon His return will experience that time, or at least part of that time, many won’t survive it. As God pours out His wrath on a Christ rejecting world.
    The sobriety in this room right now is an indictment to the church, this church even, that these things are not on our lips enough! IT was in Peter’s day. It was in the book of Acts...
    This was from the very beginning. 40 days after the resurrection, Jesus took His Disciples and several other of his followers up to the Mount of Olives. He gave them the great commission. To preach the gospel making disciples in all nations, and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He told them of the promise of the Holy Spirit that they would receive soon, in fact He told them to wait in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. He then blessed them and ascended into Heaven. Luke records this in his gospel and then in the first chapter of Acts we read this...
    Acts 1:9–11 NKJV
    9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
    I believe that these are the things that Peter had in mind, and were heavy on his heart as he wrote these words that pick up in verse 7 of our text....
    1 Peter 4:7 NKJV
    7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
    Peter, after telling us that even in the midst of our trials, we have a living hope in Jesus. After describing that we may have to suffer like Jesus did, not for wrong doing, but by the will of God, God may have a plan to use suffering, or use trials in our lives to change us, or to witness to others. Make no mistake though, those trials are not punishment. Jesus received all of our punishment on the cross if we are saved.
    Peter says, here’s what time it is, the time of His return is at hand, meaning it is close. The only delay is his mercy, His grace for those that have dragged their feet, but He won’t wait forever, when it is time it is time, whether you are ready or not. Does that mean He doesn’t love you if He comes back before you’re ready? No way! He’s already proven His love for you in His willingness to suffer and die for you, while you still reject Him, but there is a consequence to that and it is one of your choosing.
    But Peter is speaking to the Christian here. He is saying that that time is at hand and that should make a difference in the way that we live, and the way that we treat each other.
    The first thing that should change is our prayer life. See this message is consistent with what we heard from James and from what we have received from Peter so far. That belief requires more than I head knowledge, more than just an intellectual conclusion. Belief requires action. So if we truly believe that the end of all things is at hand, our prayer life should be radical.
    Every family member, ever church attender, all of our loved ones that haven’t yet surrendered to Jesus, their names should be on our lips days as we intercede in prayer on their behalf. Our prayers can’t save them, but we can ask the Holy Spirit to cause them to recognize their need for a Savior.
    Our prayers should be serious concerning ourselves. That we would diligently seek God’s will, His plan for our lives in these days that we have left. What should we be doing, how should we be serving? Asking God to examine our hearts and place the things that matter to Him as our highest priorities. We can be so busy, too busy, and if we are not serious about our prayers, all of those things that we are doing could just be distractions from the plan that He has for our lives, we just haven’t listened enough to discover it.
    Not just serious, but watchful. Since the end of things are at hand, are we watching and waiting for Jesus. We don’t want to be one of the ones saying “Yeah but Lord!” We did a whole bunch of religious stuff in your name, only to hear, “I never knew you.” So are we praying that He would prepare us for His return, that He would use us to help others get ready, by waking them up to the lateness of the hour? Do I lives reflect to others that we are waiting and watching? Do our prayers when we pray with others, show that we are serious and watchful?
    This was so important in the early church, that it because one of the primary reasons to establish the office of the Deacon…In Act 6 I’ll put it up here in a second, but when the widows of the Hellenists were being neglected due to the needs of ministry and some began to complain. The Disciples didn’t say well we can only do so much, or we have a limited number of resources, or even, wow, thanks for bringing that to our attention we’ll get right on it....no, they said...
    Acts 6:3–4 NKJV
    3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
    Those were the things that couldn’t be neglected or compromised.
    It is also interesting to me that when we read through the Gospels. And we read about the 12 that were with Jesus all of the time. Witnessed His preaching, witnessed Him healing, raising Lazarus from the dead even…they saw miracles occur right before their very eyes…with all of that, what did they ask Jesus to teach them to do? To Pray! They witnessed all of what He did, they witnessed His connection with God the Father, and they knew it was a result of prayer in his life. Jesus was serious about prayer.
    Peter continues with what should be our preparation...
    1 Peter 4:8 NKJV
    8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
    So Peter has a list for us here, but I want you to see what is at the top of that list…Above all things…have fervent love for one another. Why Peter…because love will cover a multitude of sins.
    If you remember our introduction, I told you that Jesus promised us another Helper for when He ascended into Heaven. That the disciples weren’t to do anything, and by extension us, today are to be walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. The bible talks about walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh. And the fruit of the Spirit, we’ve talked several times about what fruit means biblically, the fruit, or the results of being filled by the Holy Spirit, is love, well love is first on the list. So say that love defines the rest of the list. Nevertheless, we are to be filled with love.
    I’ve heard this quotation from Proverbs 10:12 explained a number of different ways, and rather than debate it’s meaning or try to limit it’s meaning to one particular aspect, lets just look at the heart side of things and how it impacts our conduct towards one another. The word fervent here is described in our modern dictionaries as passionate intensity. Biblically it is better represented by diligence with a continuous, and persistent, zealous effort marked by care.
    So you’re not just calling it in, but you are all in and giving it everything you’ve got. Now it is also important to note the type of love being described here. Peter uses the word agape. That’s that Godly, unconditional type based upon who you are, not what you’ve done. Last Sunday night when we were talking about intimacy in marriage I spoke about the uniqueness of that covenant relationship between a man and a woman. How the Lord does something miraculous in making it a One flesh relationship, but what also makes it unique, is in addition to all of that, in a Christian marriage we share the relationship of being brothers and sisters in Christ.
    I’ll tell you something else…when we are in a difficult relationship with another Christian, this is a great place to go for the purpose of examination. Self examination that is. Am I making a sincere and difficult effort to love them? It doesn’t mean that if you are they can get away with anything, or that they are going to walk all over you. But it might make the things that they do, or don’t do not such a big deal.
    Can I tell you something that I’ve observed over the years. Sometimes when Nicole and I are doing marriage counseling with another couple and one spouse or another is complaining about the faults of the other, usually with pain, and bitterness, frustration and disappointment. I’ve sat there and thought, huh I guess Nicole does that too sometimes. I’m not dumb enough to say it out loud…until now I guess…in front of all of you…But here is what else I know, that she has sat there listening to the same stuff thinking, yeah well cry me a river, Brian does or doesn’t do way more than that!
    But the truth is, we love each other. We work and when I say work, I mean invest in our relationship. So that when things aren’t perfect, or they didn’t meet our childish expectations in the beginning, it was OK, because love covers a multitude of sins. IN 1 Cor 13, the love chapter Paul tells us we can say all the right words, but if we don’t have love then it is all just a bunch of noise that doesn’t mean anything.
    So when you are frustrated in a Christian relationship the question to ask is am I frustrated in this because the offenses are so bad, or they don’t love or appreciate me? OR…is it maybe a lack of love on my part that is causing me to look at everything with a critical eye? An eye seeking fault, or looking for unfairness…rather than letting love just cover it with forgiveness? Might the actual offense be a lack of love?
    Oh, but wait, Peter has more for us. Now he tells us...
    1 Peter 4:9 NKJV
    9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
    Remember throughout this list, Peter’s drive behind it all is the end of all things is at hand, and what I love about all this is that it is not all self consuming, self directed. If I were to make an announcement that I have it on Good authority that Jesus is coming back this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. I imagine that there are several of you in this room or that have joined us on line that might have to make some changes in your plans. Not that you were going to do anything sinful after church today, but you might be concerned about you. You might want to throw some stuff out. You might want to clean some stuff up…Forgive some stuff, maybe confess some stuff, maybe ask others to forgive you.
    Peter’s list here is almost all about others, and because the time is at hand, this is how we are to treat each other. Now I’m going to try to explain this verse without giving an example of it, or at least a true to life example in our church where this has happened. The idea behind this is that we will be a generous people. There is a biblical gift of the Holy Spirit that is the gift of hospitality. To open up your home, to provide for others, and I have seen that done in really amazing ways...
    But hospitality is sometimes hard, is always costs us something, often more than we expected, and far too often we grumble about it. That’s not a gift and it’s not hospitality. I don’t mean having strings attached to your giving, I’m talking about what Peter is talking about hospitality without grumbling. I don’t know if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of that kind of hospitality? Someone is offering something and then almost as soon as the offer is extended, that’s all you hear about? No thank you! I’ll sleep in my truck before I’d want to receive that. Enough said I think…other than I mentioned that it was a spiritual gift....yet, both in Timothy and in Titus elders must be hospitable…and here Peter says you know what gang??? The time is short, gift or not, be hospitable, suck it up and do it, and do it without grumbling. Verse 10
    1 Peter 4:10 NKJV
    10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
    This verse is supported throughout the rest of the Scriptures, if you are a Christian then you have at least one Spiritual Gift given to you by the Holy Spirit, why? Peter tells us so we will bless someone else with it. So we will serve, or minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Manifold here simply means having great diversity. I have a gift or gifts and I am to use that to serve others in the body of Christ. You have a gift and you are to what? TO use it, to exercise it, to be a good steward of it.
    Do you guys remember the parable of the talents? In Matthew 25 we read about a man that was traveling to a far country so before he left he gave one of his servants 5 talents, another 2 talents and yet another 1 talents. Upon his return the one with five and the one with 2 multiplied what he had left them with and he commended them as good and faithful servants. To the one that had been given 1, he took it and buried it in the ground. When the master returned, he said, Master, I knew you to be a hard man so I played it safe and did absolutely nothing. I didn’t use it, I didn’t invest it, I buried it. And to him the Master said you are a wicked and lazy servant, not only did He correct him, but He took the talent away and gave it to the one that had 2.
    God has given all Christians gifts and if we are not wasting his grace, but being good stewards of his grace we are discovering those gifts, and we are exercising those gifts by using them to minister to others that is how we invest them in the Kingdom of God. Verse 11
    1 Peter 4:11 NKJV
    11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
    Man, this is some solid instruction on the two primary functions of the church, preaching and practical service. If you are going to preach, or you have opportunity to teach, do so as one who has a message from God to deliver to the people. It is not your opportunity to express every opinion or thought you have ever had on an issue, nor to deliver a sermon from you to the people, I think we all know what I mean by that. The goal of the teacher should always be first hearing from God and then delivering that message to the people.
    It should always bring Him glory and not yourself praise. I heard a story a while back concerning Charles Spurgeon and another famous contemporary preacher that lived during his same time. It was said that after hearing the first man, and I don’t recall his name, the crowd exclaimed with excitement, wow, what an amazing preacher he is!
    They then listened to Spurgeon preach and they said, wow what an amazing God! That is how it should be done, not that we should receive glory, but that the message takes the listener to a place that they are face to face with their Creator. Concerning service, it should always be done in the strength and ability of the Lord, not anything more and not anything less. That way it can never be misconstrued as an act of your own generosity, or sacrifice. But it is simply recognizing the work that the Lord is doing through you. That help keep you from getting prideful and the one who is on the receiving end from being humiliated.
    But that all things we do would point others to Jesus and bring Him glory.
    1 Peter 4:12–13 NKJV
    12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
    Of all the biblical writers that could have written this, I think it is the most ironic that is comes from Peter. Peter, the guy that rebuked Jesus when He said that He was going to have to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things. Peter heard Jesus say that, and he thought it was real strange. And he basically says, no way Jesus, that’s not going to happen to you. That’s when Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan.”
    But know, after Peter saw what they did to His Lord, after seeing what happened to Stephen, Peter didn’t think it was strange at all for us to suffer, to to experience a fiery trial. In fact he tells us to rejoice in it when they are done for Christ. Just as Jesus suffered, we we do for the kingdom of God we are sharing in that in some way. God will be glorified in it, and we can be glad in that.
    1 Peter 4:14–16 NKJV
    14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
    Verse 14 says that if we are reproached, mocked, reviled, or insulted for Jesus then you are blessed, and then it says something interesting there, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. Lots of modern bible commentators ignore that, but some of the old expositors relate that to the Shekinah glory that is mentioned throughout the Old Testament that represented the very presence of God.
    And then check out this list in verse 15…It’s as if Peter is saying that glory, that blessing is if you suffer for Jesus, but you better not suffer for being a murderer, a thief, and evildoer, or....a busybody…some of your translations might say gossip....a busy body is busy in everybody else’s business but their own. Some seem to wrongly think that it is their Spiritual gift, it is not. It is sin, it is destructive, and it is not at all out of place in this list!
    Then he says for those suffering for doing good, or for those who suffer as a Christian don’t be ashamed, but glorify God in the suffering. We may not see the “how” of this when we are in it. We might feel shame, mostly imposed by others. Especially if we have friends like Job did. Right? They wrongly assumed that the suffering was the result of some hidden sin in his life, that he somehow had it coming. Again, Christian, the Lord never uses suffering to punish us. All of our punishment has been paid for by Jesus. But, He may us it to correct us. When we are taking our eyes off of Him, when we are distracted by other things, suffering has a unique way of taking our eyes off of worthless things, driving us to our knees in prayer, making us single focus on God, that becomes easier when He is our only hope in our suffering.
    In all of those things we can bring glory to God as others watch us walk through the trial, or limp, or crawl depending upon what the case may be. Verse 17
    1 Peter 4:17–19 NKJV
    17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
    The kind of suffering that Peter has been speaking about can and should have a purifying effect upon us. He reminds us that before we are to judge others, or look at the fruit of others, we need to first examine ourselves. The same idea of removing the log from our own eye…he ends with the instruction for those who are suffering to commit, or entrust their souls to God. The word is the same that was spoken of Jesus when on the cross He said Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit. And God will be faithful.
    There is so much to consider here in this chapter and in regards to judgement beginning at the house of the Lord. Some may have to consider what choice they are going to make. Perhaps they have attended, they have begun to learn, but they have not yet taken the step that Jesus told Nicodemus about. That we must be born again. That means acknowledging that we are a sinner, and doing something about it.
    Asking God to forgive us by transferring the debt that we rightly owe onto the account of Jesus which He paid in full for on the cross, when He died and then defeated death by rising again.
    For others is is more like what we talked about on Wednesday night. We once walked with the Lord, but now in examining ourselves, we need to repent. We haven’t been walking with Him wholeheartedly, but in pretense only. It’s mostly been a show, just going through the motions.
    And for others, we need to examine and correct that we’ve stopped talking about and maybe sadly stopped believing that Jesus could come back at any hour and that day could be today.
    I’m going to quickly close in prayer, but after the service, if you need prayer, the pastors and elders and their wives will be up front here, don’t leave here today without taking care of business with God.
    Our Father in Heaven....holy is Your name…Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven…show us what that looks like God....amen.
    Grace and Peace
        • 1 Peter 4:7–9NKJV

        • 1 Peter 4:10–11NKJV

        • Revelation 22:12NKJV

        • Matthew 7:21–24NKJV

        • Matthew 7:25–27NKJV

        • John 3:3NKJV

        • 1 Corinthians 15:51–52NKJV

        • 1 Thessalonians 4:16–18NKJV

        • Acts 1:9–11NKJV

        • 1 Peter 4:7NKJV

        • Acts 6:3–4NKJV

        • 1 Peter 4:8NKJV

        • 1 Peter 4:9NKJV

        • 1 Peter 4:10NKJV

        • 1 Peter 4:11NKJV

        • 1 Peter 4:12–13NKJV

        • 1 Peter 4:14–16NKJV

        • 1 Peter 4:17–19NKJV