Carrie here. I wanted to post something, and am going to diverge from the Wilderness study temporarily, as I am unable to access those notes. The following is from last night's Bible Study and is based on I Peter 4:7-11.
Scripture: I Peter 4:7
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
—Many people are concerned about the present situation. We could well ask the question, “Is the end of all things at hand?” Certainly, there is much in Bible prophecy to point to the soon return of our Savior. There is also much pointing to the end of our nation as we have known it. The whole world seems to be turning upside down.
—Let us assume for one minute that the end of all things is at hand. The big question then becomes, “What should we do about it?” How should Christians respond? There are many ideas. One group says, “Huddle in a cave.” Another says, “Get involved in politics.” Still another says, “We need to compromise so that we can be relevant.” The real question is, “What does the Bible say?”
—The context reveals seven things we need to do:
Scripture: Verse 7—”Be ye therefore sober…”
—First of all, we need to be sober. I find this verse to be very interesting, because it is not speaking directly to the subject of alcohol as some other verses do. Rather, the Greek word used here refers to a sound or sane mind. Certainly, a sound mind is not under the influence of a drug that impairs judgment, but that is not the real issue here. The real issue is one of sanity.
—We are living in a postmodern culture. Postmodernism is the rejection of rationalism. It is the observation and resultant lifestyle that says 6000 years of rationalism as the prevailing philosophy of mankind is totally and completely bankrupt. This should not come as a shock to fundamental, Bible-believing Baptists. Our founding fathers of fundamentalism made the same observation and said that the solution was to submit ourselves to God and live by faith.
—What is surprising is that the rest of the world has finally caught up and said the same thing. Unfortunately, they have not turned back to God, but have decided to reinvent the wheel. In rejecting rationalism, they have become irrational and have tried to come up with their very own insane version of Christianity.
—This is what is driving many of the modern trends in so-called "worship." Instead of calling people back to sanity, many seek to be just like the insane world.
—This is what passes for "cultural relevance" today. It is a bunch of guys in white coats trying to be just as crazy as the inmates in the asylum. What we really need is for God’s people to be sane, and start offering the cure to the world’s insanity.
Scripture: Verse 7—”Watch unto prayer.”
—Secondly, we need to be prayer warriors. Our text says to watch. The word is interesting, because this word does speak directly to the subject of alcohol. It is the Greek word that means to be a total abstainer from alcohol. In the first case we need to be sane and in the second case we need to abstain from alcohol so that we can pray effectively.
Scripture: Ephesians 5:18
—We cannot be filled with the Spirit if we are under the influence of alcohol. It is either/or. There is no moderation in this verse. It is only abstinence. By the same token we cannot pray effectively without the Holy Spirit. Therefore abstain--especially with the end in sight.
Scripture: I Peter 4:8
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
—Thirdly, we need to love one another with agape love. This is above everything else. Yes, we need to study the Bible. Yes, we need to pray. But above everything else, we need to love intensely with the love of God. We need divine love.
—Why do we need to do this? Our text answers the question by saying that love covers the multitude of sins. What is Peter saying? He is saying that as we see the end approaching our sins and failures are going to increase and we are going to need a lot of love and compassion for one another to keep from devouring one another. We see that right now. We are nowhere near the godliness of our forefathers. We need to look past each others faults to our Lord and Savior.
Scripture: I Peter 4:9
Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
—Fourthly, we need to use hospitality one to another without grudging. When was the last time you had someone over to your house? That is what this verse means. The word translated hospitality means fond of guests. Are we fond of guests? If we do have someone over, do we grumble about it? That is what the word translated grudging means. Here is the message for us. If this is the end, we need to get hospitable and start having people over to our homes and we need to do it without grumbling about it or making excuses.
Scripture: I Peter 4:10
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
—Fifthly, we need to minister grace to one another. This verse is not speaking about spiritual gifts or the exercise thereof. It is talking about sharing with others in whatever God has given to us. The reason for this injunction is the self-centeredness of end times. God’s people need to overcome this with compassion and care for others. Words alone will not do. There must be deeds to go with the words. Acts of kindness point people to the God who gave His Son to die for our sins—a God who gave even while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8).
Scripture: I Peter 4:11a
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;
—Sixthly, we need to speak as if the oracles of God spoke. In other words, we need to speak with authority and state what the Bible says without any apology or any compromise to make it more palatable. The world in which we live does not want to hear about sin, righteousness, or judgment and many men have accommodated the world. In the process, they have rejected the Holy Spirit’s message (John 16:8-11).
Scripture: I Peter 4:11b
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.
—Last of all, we need to yield ourselves to God. Our text is not talking about every one running around telling everyone else what their so-called spiritual gift is. It is not about me showing you how gifted I am. It is in fact an indictment against the spiritual gift movement of the end times. The text speaks of deaconing or serving and says that any service rendered to God must be done with power that only comes from God. He gives it. The Greek word refers to a dance choreographer. God needs to be in charge of our service as if He were choreographing our lives. That means that we need to submit everything to Him.
Scripture: I Peter 4:7
—We conclude where we began. The end of all things is at hand and we need to present sanity to an insane world. We need to pray in the Spirit and love with divine love. We need to show hospitality and grace towards those in Christ and those without. We need to proclaim the truth without apology or compromise and last of all submit ourselves fully to God and allow Him to use us as tools of righteousness (Romans 6:11).