1 Peter 4:7-11 “7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen”
The following scenario is set-up for you to think about?
You receive a phone call from your doctor and he tells you to come in to see him, you arrive at his office. He says sit down we need to talk; and he tells you that today is your last day alive on earth.
“Tonight, at midnight you will die of a rare disease that though no treatment is available and we can be readily sure of the time of your demise. You have until midnight tonight to take care of your affairs.
- What would be going through your head at this moment?
- What pressing matters would you be sure to take care of?
- Who would you see and what would you say to them?
When we see time compressed in such a way we tend to look at things differently. A new perspective, a paradigm shift is possibly required. What should be our daily values are brought into focus with a clarity rarely seen in normal light of our everyday lives.
In the book of 1st Peter verse 7 it reads “that the end of all things is near”. Peter is reminding us that we have some pressing business matters as Christians that should be part of our daily values but often aren’t because of a misconstrued sense of priorities. Peter’s main idea in this passage of Scripture is that the imminency of Christ’s return; calls for us to live in view of His coming. Are we doing this, as for me, most of the time NO however in light of the economy of the current state of world affairs and the timelines of scripture, it is becoming increasingly more apparent to me that we need to reorganise our lives in this matter
In this passage of Scripture Peter describes four ways how we should conduct ourselves and conduct our business life; in view of Christ’s return.
1. Be Disciplined and Watchful in Prayer
The first way that Peter describes how we should conduct ourselves is to be disciplined and watchful in prayer. This is what Peter says in verse 7. “Be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. The two words that Peter uses here explain the two extremes that we should avoid as Christians in waiting for our Lord’s return.
- A. Be of sound judgment (Avoid End Times frenzy)
The first extreme that Peter explains we should avoid is end times frenzy. The word, “sound judgment” describes that which is rational or disciplined and restrained. It could be translated, “Keep your head about you.” The word (sound judgment) is used in Mark where the man whom Jesus healed of the legion of demons was now in his right mind. He was no longer a raving lunatic as he had been when under the control of the demons. His mind was now rational. The word is also used in Acts 26, where Paul makes his legal defense before King Agrippa and Festus. As he tells them of his salvation through Christ, Festus calls out to Paul, “You are out of your mind, much learning has made you mad.” Paul replied that the words he spoke were true and rational. The word rational found in verse 25 is the same word Peter uses here translated as “sound judgment.”
In waiting for our Lord’s return Peter wants us to avoid end times frenzy that sometimes accompanies an end-times perspective. There are many examples of this frenzied extremism that we could mention but I will mention one of them. Date setting is one form of frenzied extremism. We have seen this in the form of a a book that I have spoke about for many years written in 1988 called, “88 Reasons Why the Jesus Will Return in 1988.” This set off such a stir among some in the Christian community that it caused people to forget that though Christ’s return is imminent we are to have a long term focus in not neglecting our present duties.
So let us stop wasting our time guessing. Let us stop this end times frenzy lest we neglect our duty to pray as we should because we are scanning the papers for the latest theory on Christ’s return.
The apostle Paul had to deal with this very issue in Thessalonica. He had taught many things about the return of Christ and the coming of Antichrist. Yet in his second letter to the church at Thessalonica he had to address a group of people who had ceased to work because of the imminency of Christ’s return. They had to be admonished that they were to get back to work and not grow weary of doing good. Peter warns us that we are not to give way to an eschatological frenzy in face of the imminent end of all things. To do so is to fall victim to the world and its own unrest at the thought of coming cataclysm. We must not have a careless attitude toward our daily responsibilities because the Lord might return today. We must still think of what Christ has for us to do in the long run.
More on this next week – Stay tuned
Stephen for the Kingdom Builders Team