By studying the Scriptures on this subject, and allowing the Word of God to impact us, as Christians in these last days, we are being prepared to meet Christ at the "judgment seat," (Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:10) where every believer will appear before the Lord Jesus, individually and alone. At this judgment seat, Christ will interview each of us, as our lives are evaluated according to His Word (John 12:47,48) in order that He may reward us for our obedience to Him while we were on the earth. At this evaluation, it is not about our salvation. We are here because we are saved.
The Holy Spirit, in 1 Peter 4:7-11, teaches us what a Spirit-Filled Christian life looks like, as we live in these last days, and let God: His nature, His Word and His Spirit, through the abundance of His grace and the "free gift" of righteousness, reign and rule in our heart, mind and soul. Let's take a look at this passage.
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 for ever and ever. Amen.
In vs 7, God tells us that "the end of all things is at hand." This means the end could happen at any moment. We could be with the Lord instantly in the Rapture. Or, our death could happen, unexpectedly, at any moment. None of us really know when or how we will die. We must be prepared, for the unexpected could happen at any moment. The apostle Peter, led by the Holy Spirit as he wrote, goes on to tell us, because "the end of all things is at hand," we are to live a certain way as Christian's.
First, in vs 8, the Holy Spirit tells us, "Therefore be sober." Here, the word "sober" is not referring to alcohol or drunkenness. It is dealing with "spiritual sanity" and "sound, doctrinal judgment", according to every Word of God (Matt. 4:4). It speaks of a believer living a life of obedience to Jesus Christ in all things, starting in the thought life and imaginations. Thoughts lead to actions.
The Holy Spirit is saying, because the end of all things is at hand, be sober --have your thoughts ordered by God according to His Word, and live your life, guided and directed by the Word of God (Psalm 119:105) as a lamp to your feet and light unto your path.
Second, the Holy Spirit says, "watch unto prayer." A child of God, in these last days, is admonished by God to have a "fervent prayer life." Prayer isn't a work of the flesh. In simplicity, prayer is simply listening in quietness to God's voice, and speaking to God. Because the end of all things could occur at any moment, a Christian who is not just saved, but one who Christ is living His life IN and Through, that Christian's life will be characterized by a "fervent" life of prayer. Prayer is not a bore. Prayer is not just some religious exercise before meals or some phrase repeated. Prayer is intimate fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, by faith.
Third, the Holy Spirit tells us to: "have fervent charity (love) among ourselves." Here, the Holy Spirit says, a Christian who truly understands the times, that they could face Christ at any moment, and the end of all things is "at hand", they will have a love for God's people that surpasses the love of all other relationships. It's like what the Holy Spirit says in 1st John 3:14-16, that love for the brethren is a primary characteristic of the Christian. Jesus said in John 17, the love between Christian brethren is so powerful, that unbeliever's will know Him when they see the love of God expressed through His children. This love, the Holy Spirit of love (Romans 5:5) sheds this love abroad in our hearts. We don't produce the love. We simply receive God's love, through the Word and the Spirit, and reflect His love toward others.
At this point, lets summarize what we've discovered so far from this passage. When we believe the Word of God, that the end of all things is "at hand" (may happen at any moment), our lives are:
(1) Sober -- Spiritual sanity, sound judgment, doctrinal orientation, and obedience to Christ in thought, word and deed. All by grace through faith.
(2) Watch unto Prayer! Our understanding of the times produces lives of fervent prayer. We are not bored by prayer. We are not double-minded in prayer. We know the Lord's heart and we trust in Him. We know He sees, He hears and He delivers. Jesus said, Ask and it shall be given unto you. Knock and the door shall be open to you. Seek and you shall find. We have not because we don't ask God.
(3) Fervent love among ourselves -- Love for the Body of Christ surpasses human love, carnal relationships and natural affections. In these last days, the Holy Spirit produces fervent love for our brethren (other Christians). As God's love takes over our heart, mind and soul, we become fervent in love for our fellow believers. The love of God expressed in the body of Christ produces close knit, closely connected, deeply rooted, eternal friendships and relationships. We shift from earthly, carnal, fleshly, naturally minded friendships and relationships, to Holy Spirit led and filled, heavenly minded, Christ-focused, friendships and relationships. In other words, we all had acquaintances and friendships before we came to Christ. Those relationships that don't promote us in our walk with Christ, we cut them off and we begin to develop new, eternal friendships and relationships, with those who have the Kingdom of God at the center of the relationship.
Now, let's go on with 1 Peter 4:9,10. Here, the Holy Spirit says, "use hospitality toward one another...as every man has received the gift." We all know how we feel when someone expresses genuine hospitality to us. When a Christian discerns and understands, the end of all things is at hand, they become a hospitable Christian toward other Christians and by reaching out to the lost. They use all things, material and immaterial, to publish the gospel and build up the body of Christ.
Notice verses 10 & 11. "As everyone has received the gift, even so minister...as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." At the moment one is born-again, the Holy Spirit gives each Christian at least one spiritual gift. Here in 1 Peter 4, the Holy Spirit tells us that we will only be able to minister to others according to the gift we received from God, as a good steward of the manifold (or many sides) of the grace of God.
Our spiritual sanity, our disciplined prayer lives, our fervent love toward God, His body and lost people; our ministry of hospitality: all of these are characteristics of our new life in Christ. They will only happen as we yield to the Holy Spirit revealing to us our gift (what we received from God) apart from any work on our part, but freely by His grace (Rom. 8:32). In other words, not only have we received forgiveness of our sins by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8), not only have we received eternal life the moment we trusted in Christ as our savior (Rom 6:23); not only have we been made righteous in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21) and have become new creations in Him by grace through faith (2 Cor. 5:17); we continue to grow in God's grace, by receiving grace [(God's life, God's power, God's mind through the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29)] in order to redeem the time (I Cor. 7:29) and walk in love and wisdom (Eph. 4:1-6). God teaches us to "number our days" that we may apply our hearts unto His wisdom (Psalm 90:12). IN CONCLUSION:
The end of all things is at hand. How then should we live? We should live, having our lives ordered (guided and led) by God, as He orders our steps (Psalm 37:23) because He is already, through the Word and the Spirit, ordering our thought life (Proverbs 16:3; Phil. 4:8).
Lost Soul Seeking,
Demon Head Crushing,
Love of God expressing,
Peace of God enjoying,
Gospel of Grace publishing,
Faithful Church Attending & Continuing,
GRACE ADJUSTING & REBOUNDING
Walk of Faith Implementing,
is the only way to live
IN THESE LAST DAYS!
by: Pr. Duke Horton