I Peter 4:7-9

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

BELIEVERS MUST BE CONCERNED

ABOUT THEIR PERSONAL LIVES

INTRODUCTION:

 

I remind you of two verses we looked at last time –

I Peter 4:1-2 – (1) Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; (2) That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

 

In I Peter 4:7-9 Peter lists four things which are part of the will of God for believers. Let’s take a look at them.

 

I Peter 4:7-9 – (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.

We see that –

    I.     THE END OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS COMING SOON - 4:7A

 

I Peter 4:7 a – But the end of all things is at hand. . . .

 

This is given as the reason Christians should continue to be faithful to the Lord, no matter what their circumstances. It is Peter’s introduction to his final summary of the need to suffer for righteousness’ sake as godly people.

 

The end of all things suggests that Peter has in mind the end in the sense of the termination or the cessation of the church age in which we live. The Lord Jesus Christ will bring this age to a sudden end at the rapture when He returns and meets believers in the air as is indicated in several passages Paul has written.

 

I Thessalonians 4:13-18 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

 

I Corinthians 15:51-58 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible [i.e. this corruptible body = the body which is subject to decay] must put on incorruption [i.e. it will no longer be subject to decay], and this mortal [i.e. this mortal body = a body which is subject to death] must put on immortality [i.e. the resurrection body will not be subject to death]. 54 So when this corruptible [i.e. this corruptible body] shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal [i.e. this mortal body] shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

 

Philippians 3:20-2120 For our conversation [i.e. citizenship] is in heaven; from whence [i.e. from where] also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

 

Titus 2:11-1411 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

 

Back to I Peter 4:7

Is at hand means is approaching or is coming near. This will bring all suffering for the believer to an end, and he will at last be in the very presence of the Lord Whom he loves, and for Whom he has suffered as a believer. Eternity in heaven is near. Christ may come at any time. Therefore, His coming can be said to be at hand. It is imminent.

 

Nothing in prophecy remains to be fulfilled which would prevent His coming at any moment. This gives the believer the incentive he needs to stay faithful to the Lord in his present circumstances no matter how trying they may be. If he happens to die in the process of his suffering, he will be with the Lord even sooner.

In the second place, we see that –

  II.     BELIEVERS SHOULD BE SOBER MINDED - 4:7B

 

I Peter 4:7 b – . . . Be ye therefore sober. . . .

 

Therefore indicates that there is an appropriate course of action for believers because they know that the end of all things is at hand. It introduces an inference drawn from what Peter has written in the first part of this verse.

 

Be ye . . . sober is a commandment which means be of sound mind, be sober-minded, or be self-controlled. It has nothing to do with drinking alcoholic beverages.

 

This same word is translated to think soberly in Romans 12:3 , be sober in II Corinthians 5:13, and to be sober minded in Titus 2:6 .

 

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly (i.e. to think sober-mindedly), according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

 

II Corinthians 5:13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober (i.e. be sober-minded), it is for your cause.

 

Titus 2:6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

 

Believers can be lulled to sleep and fail to take the things of the Lord seriously. Others have not lived sensibly. We should never be in a frenzy over anything.

 

Although we know that the Lord may come back at any moment, we also know that He may not return within our lifetimes. We need to live practical and Spirit-controlled lives in the meantime. We must both be prepared for His return and also be prepared to live for Him and serve Him for an entire lifetime. To sit on our rooftops awaiting His return does not make sense, but to live godly lives while serving Him faithfully makes good sense.

In the third place, we see that –

 III.     BELIEVERS SHOULD WATCH UNTO PRAYER - 4:7C

 

I Peter 4:7 c – . . . And watch unto prayer.

 

And indicates that there is more to this commandment.

 

Watch literally means be sober in the sense of not being drunk or abstaining from wine. In the New Testament it is used figuratively to mean free from every form of mental and spiritual ‘drunkenness,’ from excess passion, rashness, confusion, etc., be well-balanced, self-controlled, or self-possessed.

 

Unto prayer is literally unto prayers and suggests the direction in which believers should be watching. Prayers is plural because it refers to prayer in general and to one prayer after another. Believers are to be morally and spiritually alert to pray.

 

We are to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17 ).

 

We are to pray about everything.

 

Philippians 4:6-76 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

Prayer acknowledges the believer’s dependence upon God.

 

Inasmuch as the end is near, believers need to be encouraged to hold out to the end. To do this they must be serious-minded and spiritually alert so that they pray.

 

Was Peter reminded of his own failure to watch unto prayer when he did not pray because he fell asleep just before Jesus was betrayed? Later that same night, within the next 8-10 hours, Peter denied the Lord three times.

In the fourth place, we see that –

 IV.     BELIEVERS SHOULD LOVE ONE ANOTHER - 4:8A

 

I Peter 4:8 a – And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves. . . .

 

This statement continues Peter’s list of things believers should do because the end of all things is at hand.

 

Above all things is used in the sense of before all things and indicates that having fervent charity among yourselves is a matter of priority.

 

Have is used as an imperative or command

 

Fervent describes love and means eager or earnest. It speaks of the intensity of the love believers are to have for one another.

 

Charity or love is what believers are to have among themselves. It is the sort of love that gives itself one hundred percent for another without expecting anything in return. It is unconditional love.

 

This same word is translated love in many passages. It is also translated charity in I Corinthians 13:4-7 .

 

I Corinthians 13:4-7 – (4) Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, (5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; (6) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (7) Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

 

Similarly, Jesus told his disciples that they needed to love one another when He said,

 

John 15:12 This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.

 

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

 

This is the same love God demonstrated when He sent Christ to die for us.

 

I John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

It is also the sort of love that husbands are to have for their wives.

 

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.

 

Believers are also to love their enemies with this same kind of love. How can a saved husband or wife claim not to love his (or her) spouse any longer when Jesus taught that we must even love our enemies!

 

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

 

Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

 

Back to I Peter 4:8 a –

Among yourselves means that believers are to have fervent love unto one another, for one another, unto each other, or for each other.

 

It means that believers must love each other deeply.

In addition we see that –

   V.     LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS - 4:8B

 

I Peter 4:8 b – . . . For charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

 

This supplies a reason believers should have fervent love among themselves. It will help them overlook each other’s faults. Although we have been saved, we still commit sin from time to time.

 

The word translated for is the word ordinarily translated because and should be understood in this sense in this verse.

 

Charity or love is used for the second time in this verse.

 

Shall cover means will hide or will conceal, and its form indicates that this action will definitely happen. It is not just something which might potentially happen.

 

Love will cover a multitude or large number of sins. It does not broadcast them or gloat over them. It seeks to protect the individual involved. Love also forgives. Love does not fail to carry out responsibility in dealing with sin that is observed in others; instead, it directs the manner in which someone might deal with it.

Finally, we see that –

 VI.     BELIEVERS SHOULD BE GENUINELY HOSPITABLE - 4:9

 

I Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

 

Use hospitality one to another without grudging is the next thing Peter lists that believers should do because the end of all things is at hand. It is the result of having fervent love for one another.

 

Use hospitality means that believers must be hospitable. It implies that they must receive guests cordially.

 

One to another is unto one another or unto each other.

 

Without grudging is without grumbling. The word translated grudging is plural and means complaints. It is used in the sense of displeasure expressed in murmurings.

 

Some might be hospitable because it is forced upon them, and they may grumble about it.

 

Instead, believers should be hospitable toward each other because they choose to be.

 

In the New Testament era Christian workers traveled from one place to another. There were no modern motels or hotels in which they might stay, and some places might even have been dangerous for them. Furthermore, believers were likely to be poor. Other believers, therefore, opened their homes to them, and they were to do this without grudging.

 

Perhaps, it was frequently necessary for a family to show hospitality, and eventually it may have become tiresome. Also, churches met in homes, and it was necessary for someone to be hospitable and open his home; or they would have nowhere to meet.

CONCLUSION:

 

The Scriptures reveal the will of God for believers. In I Peter 4:7-9 , we have seen several things which are part of God’s will for all believers.

 

            1.   Believers are to be serious minded (v. 7).

 

            2.   Believers are to be spiritually alert in prayer (v. 7).

 

            3.   Believers are to love their fellow-believers (v. 8).

 

            4.   Believers are to be hospitable without complaining (v. 9).

 

How are you doing?