August 25, 2013
1 Peter: Stand firm in God’s grace
Sermon Series: 1 Peter: Stand firm in God’s grace
Message: Living like there is no Tomorrow Text: 1 Peter 4:7-11
Introduction: As I read the text for this morning it brought me back to a book I read years ago, Francis Schaefer’s ‘How Should We then Live?’ Schaefer’s point was not the end times but our worldview and how Christians should see things and then live differently than…well everyone else! But I have always linked the title of that book, to my view of living in light of Jesus’ return. I think the Apostle Peter would have done the same thing.
Whether you are a Christian or not, knowing that eternity is just around the corner should significantly affect the way you live.
Transition: Open your Bibles to 1 Peter 4:7 for it’s there Peter will tell us how to live like there’s no tomorrow.
- 1 Peter 4:7a Live with urgency
Read: 1 Peter 4:7a
ILL: William Miller came to Christ in the 1800’s, a period of great revival in the churches of the NE USA. It was a time when, much the same as today, there was a great interest in the prophecy, especially concerning the return of Christ.
Right after coming to faith in Jesus, Miller immersed himself in the book of Daniel, and after 14 years of study, he announced Jesus Christ would return to earth sometime in 1843 or 1844. He eventually nailed down the date to October 22, 1844.
On the morning of October 22, 1844
- Thousands of people gathered on mountaintops and in churches.
- Others were in graveyards, planning to ascend together with their departed loved ones.
- Philadelphia society ladies clustered together outside town to avoid entering God’s kingdom with the commoners.
When the day passed uneventfully, many Christians grew disillusioned. The unsaved became cynical. The event became known as “The Great Disappointment”, but still, many of Miller’s followers started the Seventh Day Adventist church. (Michael Crews)
Perhaps, you too are fascinated with the prophesies of Jesus’ return. But, perhaps you are also a bit frustrated that the Bible keeps talking about Jesus’ imminent return, but you’ve been waiting expectantly for over 2000 years.
Truth be told, many Christians have just given up waiting, they’ve stopped living like there’s no tomorrow because there have been over 2000 years of unfulfilled tomorrows.
The reality is, many of us here today are not truly living like there’s no tomorrow. We know is coming back, but have given up the idea that it will happen in our lifetime. And that’s what the Apostle Peter addresses in our text this morning when he said:
- The end of all things is at hand.
Do you believe that? Does your life;
- the choices you make,
- the attitudes/behaviors you display,
- the time you spend
Perhaps…to some degree. But it has been 2000yrs and who’s to say it won’t be another 2000?
Let me read the text one more time. The end of all things is at hand. Notice Peter doesn’t say ‘the end of all things is here.’
- It is near, it’s coming, it’s close!
Wording it the way he does, Peter wants to instill in us a strong sense of expectancy, of urgency, to live today and every day in light of Jesus’ return, even….. even if it doesn’t happen in your lifetime.
Transition: In the rest of the text, Peter tells us what living like there’s no tomorrow looks like.
- 1 Peter 4:7b
Read: 1 Peter 4:7b
- Be self-controlled
This means ‘keep a cool head.’ Don’t fly off the handle’ ‘Don’t lose it.’ ‘Don’t let other people push your buttons.’ Because when you do, you are not in control any longer, and you are more likely to sin.
- Be sober minded
Means being serious about how you live life. Disciplined. Being able to regularly and clearly make life choices based upon the truth of God’s Word and will. The Apostle Paul said it a bit differently.
Read: Eph. 5:15-16 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Be self-controlled, be sober minded…
- For the sake of your prayers
This isn’t the first time Peter uses this phrase. He gave the same warning to husbands as a reason to treat their wives well.
Folks, living like there’s no tomorrow will contribute not only to the right content of your prayers (you will pray in line with God’s will) but also to the effectiveness of your prayers. (So God will hear and answer)
Transition: Living like there’s no tomorrow means to be self-controlled, and sober minded. It also means to love each other earnestly.
- 1 Peter 7:8 Earnestly love one another
Read: 1 Peter 4:8
We have talked a lot about what this looks like. It is one of Peters main ideas and the second greatest commandment of God.
Question: What’s the first and most important commandment in Scripture? To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. (Matt. 22:37)
I want to look at three parts of this verse.
- First, Peter says this is above all.
Question: What does that mean?
It means, when living like there’s no tomorrow, the most important character trait, thought and behavior to have is love for one another.
- Second, our love for one another is to be earnest. Not a term we use too often today. The Greek word for earnest means deeply, strained like the muscles of a runner to win the race. It means we work hard to love people so that our love is deep and rich.
- Third, our love covers each others sins. No that doesn’t me we condone or approve of the sins of our brothers/sisters in Christ. It means because of our deep love for them, we ‘overlook’ their sin.
We accept the faults/sins that are present in each one of us, and we don’t hold them over their heads or shove them in their faces. If you are a card player, love always trumps sin when it comes to our relationship with each other.
Transition: The highest priority in living like there’s no tomorrow is to love one another deeply. And Peter says one way to do that is by showing hospitality.
- 1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another
Read: 1 Peter 4:9
Here’s the point. Peter is writing to those who were persecuted for doing good: sharing the Gospel and living God centered lives. When they did that, people didn’t like it and some were persecuted to the point that they lost their jobs, and even their homes.
Peter’s point… help them out. Give them a meal, let them stay with you if there is room, even if there’s not room, make do if there truly is a need.
OK, we are not persecuted, but we are still to show hospitality…both when there is a clear need, and just to develop and nurture relationships with each other.
What does that look like?
- Dinner 8’s. Sign up, attend, get to know people here at CBC on more than a ‘Sunday Morning Only’ level.
- Be a part of our Meals of Love program. When someone is recovering from a recent hospital stay, volunteer when asked, to provide a meal for them and their family.
- Just get together with people from CBC on an informal basis.
- We had a great time at our CBC Picnic at the Vilanovas yesterday. Thanks Joe/Claire for being such wonderful hosts!
Raise your hand if you have provided hospitality in your home to someone here at CBC.
Raise your hand if you have gone over to someone’s home here at CBC for some fellowship/meal.
For those who don’t have your hands up, invite someone over your home! The rest of you now know who needs hospitality. I would love to ask this question again in January and see if any hands go up.
Transition: Living like there’s no tomorrow means we spend more time together outside the church as friends and brothers/sisters in Christ. Peter will now say what we should do together in the church.
- 1 Peter 4:10-11a Serve one another
Read: 1 Peter 4:10-11a
Again, we have spent a great deal of time on this subject when we were in 1 Corinthians so I will be brief.
God has given each of us abilities/gifts to be used in His church. And living like there’s no tomorrow means we are to actively use those gifts in some area of ministry in the local church. Because, we don’t know how many tomorrows we will have before Jesus returns.
I don’t want anyone to raise their hands, but I want to ask…are you involved in serving in a specific ministry here at CBC?
For God to place serving in the church here, in this context, He’s saying it’s vital to living like there’s no tomorrow.
In October our Nominating Committee will be formed with the task of seeing who God wants to serve in active ministry here at CBC.
- To be honest, we need help. There are many people who are wearing multiple hats in ministry…only because there are many who aren’t wearing any hats at all.
o Sunday School teachers, Childrens Church Teachers
o Nursery workers, Youth Staff leaders
o Counters, committee members
- Look, I know you are busy, honestly, everyone who serves here is busy with life stuff… but if you choose to obey God and use your gifts here at CBC, God will supply the time and strength you will need to serve.
- How do I know that? Peter tells us. …whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies…
I know I am asking a lot. But you are so very much needed here if we are going to build the Kingdom of God in this part of Monmouth County. Please as we approach the Fall, consider how/where you can serve God and each other here at CBC in the coming year…should Jesus delay His return.
Transition: Finally, Peter gives us the motivation for living like there’s no tomorrow.
- 1 Peter 4:11b Give God the glory in everything
Read: 1 Peter 4:11b
This is quite simple…. Bring glory to God in all that you do.
- Bring glory to God by being self-controlled.
- Bring glory to God by being sober minded.
- Bring glory to God by loving each other earnestly.
- Bring glory to God by showing hospitality to those here at CBC.
- Bring glory to God by serving Him and each other in some area of ministry here at CBC.
Peter ends by reminding us that living like there’s no tomorrow is not about us at all, it’s about Jesus!
- Living through Him and for Him
ILL: Author Erwin Lutzer wrote Many Christians long for the Rapture, not because of their intense love for the Lord, but because it symbolizes an escape from the distress of our age. (end quote)
Our longing for Jesus to return should be that He will be exalted, not that we will be extracted.
Our goal, our principle motivation in life should be to bring glory to Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
Let me end with two questions:
- What are some practical changes you can make to live like there’s no tomorrow?
- What are some practical changes you can make to bring glory/praise/honor to Jesus?
Let all begin to live like there’s no tomorrow!