1 Pet 4:7-10
INTRO: It is obvious to any student of our society that people are living unbridled lives of almost wild abandon. There is apparently not much thought - if any - given to any consequence of this lifestyle. As this kind of thinking and living becomes more pervasive, attributes of self-control, love, service become less noticed even extinct in too many cases. But the Christian life is one which recognized that things cannot go on forever like they are. It knows that thought must be given to the consequences of ones choices in life ... because those consequences follow one into eternity. So, Peter challenges Christians to Living The Prepared Life. How?
I. UNDERSTAND THE END IS NEAR (4:7a)
A. To what end did Peter refer?
1. not probably to the consummation of human activity almost 2000 years have passed (Mt 24:36)
2. likely, to final end of Jewish system (Mt 24:15-21)
3. anything which could be traced to Jewishness would come under attack of Rome and Christianity was thus identified in minds of Roman world ... time of great trial for the church
B. But - practically - end of life is near for everyone of us!
1. Heb 9:27 - compared to length of history, human life is short
2. and Peter had referred to Gods judgment 4:5
3. so, Peters words are perpetually relevant (explain)
II. A LIFE OF SOUND MINDEDNESS (4:7b)
A. The quality called sober is vital in prepared lives
1. pressures of fear, conformity, survival would be then and now - exerting damaging mental influence
2. tendencies toward emotional flightiness would exist
3. contagiousness of social ills always a threat
B. So - to Christians - Peter says, Keep your sanity
1. do not be people of extremes, not unbalanced
2. do not be pushed (mentally) away from Christ by the pressures of ungodliness or fear
3. be people of self-control and discipline 2 Tim 1:7
III. A LIFE OF VIGILANCE IN PRAYER (4:7c)
A. The word watch tells us much of the prepared life
1.abstinent in respect to wine interesting!
2. anything which dulls, influences the mind from its natural function is prohibited in the word watch!
B. The preparation of prayer is obvious in Christian life
1. it is line of communication with our Sustainer
2. Mk 13:32,33 prayer tends to keep our emphasis and direction toward holy living
IV. A LIFE OF FERVENT LOVE (4:8)
A. How else would the church survive a hostile world?
1. when all elements are against you, to then be fighting within the body is fatal to our prospects
2. fervent not emotional love ... but intensity ... exerting ones powers to full extent
B. That love covers a multitude of sins
1. it does not excuse nor ignore sin
2. but it takes the positive approach of working to resolve sin in anothers life so that the danger of fracture is removed - it does not allow personal slights to divide (Col 3:14)
V. A LIFE OF SELFLESSNESS (4:9)
A. The specific reference to hospitality
1. the imminent end would create real problems of sustaining life (2 Tim 3:1) travels of teachers/preachers would require it
(3 Jno 4-8)
2. thus, principle of 2 Cor 8:13-15 is practiced
B. Note the spirit of hospitality without grudging
1. certainly burdens, inconveniences were bound to come
2. but remember Mt 25:40 and Heb 13:2
VI. A LIFE OF SERVICE (4:10)
A. As recipients of Gods grace, we serve others
1. this is principle of privilege begetting responsibility
2. the truth is that Christ calls us to minister (see Jas 1:27 and Gal 6:10)
B. Note the use of the word stewards
1. we are entrusted with one another and the well-being of each other
2. and accountability for that trust is included!
CLOSE: To live with these qualities is to truly live the prepared life. How near is the end? I do not know but it comes for each of us. How prepared are we?
Cecil A. Hutson
06 January 2002
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)