The End is Near: So Serve
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The End is Near: So Serve William H. Banegas
I Peter 4:7-11 February 8, 2009
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 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.
Introduction: Have you ever watched a program about the end of all things? Or walked through NYC and seen people along the streets with signs that read “The End is Near”? Recently I watched a program on the History Channel God and Satan which tried to detail from secular and religious points of view who each was and what the end would be. Normally when you see such things these people are just standing about holding their signs not doing really much of anything, just proclaiming their message. However, the true Scriptural reaction to the thought that “The End is Near” is one of service. Believers understand Christ’s promise that He made that He would return soon in Revelation but a true understanding produces action.
Thesis: Believers must use their talents and resources in service to Christ in the time left to serve.
Believers prepare themselves for serious time in prayer in light of the coming close of all things.
Believers commit themselves to sound reasoning and thinking.
The phrase sober is best translated in reference to the mind.
The term means 1) to be of sound mind; to be in one's right mind; to exercise self control; to put a moderate estimate upon one's self, think of one's self soberly; to curb one's passions.
Believers adjust their mindset as a result of understanding how close the end is.
Believers strive after eternal riches rather than temporal physical riches.
Riches do not define life. (Luke 12:15)
Eternal riches never fade. (Luke 12:33)
Believers strive after eternal rewards rather than temporal physical goods.
Striving after physical goods never helped anyone at death. (Luke 12:20)
Believers must strive to rich toward God. (Luke 12:21)
Believers commit themselves to composure.
The phrase watch is best translated with the idea of one’s actions.
The term means 1) to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit; to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect
Believers adjust their attitude and actions as a result of understanding how close the end is.
Believers keep themselves from engaging in former sinful habits. (Romans 6:1-4)
Believers endeavor to make Christ’s priorities their own. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Lovingly Live With
Believers exercise their true love for others in accepting the faults of others.
Believers love to the end.
The term fervent has athletic overtones.
The term means to stretch or strain and describes the taut muscles of an athlete who strains to win a race. (TBKC 1985)
“A Christian’s unselfish love and concern for others should be exercised to the point of sacrifice giving for others’ welfare.” (TBKC 1985)
Believers’ love does not overlook the sins of others but recognizes and understands them.
The term “cover” means 1) to hide, veil; to hinder the knowledge of a thing.
Believers in loving other believers do not publicly promote the faults of others but seek to hinder the progression of gossip.
Believers lovingly meet the needs of others without objection.
The term “hospitality” literally means “being friendly to strangers”.
“Christian love may be displayed through extending free food and lodging.” (TBKC 1985)
Believers must in love seek to meet the physical needs of others without any sort of grumbling. (term grudging: 1) a murmur, murmuring, muttering; a secret debate; a secret displeasure not openly avowed)
Stewards like the Savior
Believers use their grace-enabled public or private resources and skills to glorify their Savior.
Believers use their variety gifts in service to others.
Believers receive gifts to minister.
The term minister literally means to serve.
God does not disperse gifts on accident but in accordance with His purpose for the Body of Christ.
Believers use their gifts to show themselves good stewards of God’s vast and varied grace.
A steward in ancient times was a house manager, most of the time a slave, with no wealth of his own but distributed his master’s wealth according to his will and direction. (TBKC 1985; I think of Joseph in Potiphar’s house)
God’s grace is capable of meeting the many different needs of each believer in Christ.
Believers, whether speaking or serving, minister in their respective capacities to glorify their Christ.
Speaking and serving were the 2 designated categories of Christian service.
Using such divisions does not mean that 1 is limited to either or but they categories overlap much of the time.
Each operate out of God’s supply of grace.
One who is an oracle of God receives his message from God and is therefore totally dependent upon Him.
One who must give the message of God must rely upon Him to supply to courage to proclaim it and the patience and endurance to see it accomplish His purpose.
Each depend upon God’s Strength and Words.
Each work toward the end of making Christ big in the sight of believers and unbelievers alike.
Conclusion: The believer in Christ does not sit idly by as the world comes to its end but he labors. The believer in Christ purposes to an adjustment of mind and actions. The believer in Christ loves his brothers and sisters in Christ in spite of their shortcomings. The believer in Christ uses his skills and gifts from Christ to serve his brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you see the progression? Change begins with the thinking then evidences itself through transformed living. Do you want to be a good steward? Change your thinking and serve you brothers and sisters in Christ in love without gossiping about their sin but investing your spiritual gifts into them that God’s grace as vast and deep as it is may meet their need of grace to develop into Christ.