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1 Peter 4:7-11 teaches the third way we are to live godly lives: Accomplish the Will of God like Christ, page 5 of 6 around the theme 1 Peter 4:1-11 Living for God.
"7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 4:7-11).
The brevity and command nature of this section calls us, much like a soldier, to keep our task in front of us no matter what challenges we face. If necessary, we are to die, but by all means we are to accomplish the will of God.
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Legalism breeds from focusing on those things that we cannot do. We must remember there are things we are not to do. Peter discusses this in the second point found in 1 Peter 4:3-6. But do notice that he spends even more time focusing on the positive things that we are to focus on. By keeping ourselves from focusing on our own desires, we can focus on doing God's will.
Many people ask, "How can I know the will of God?" Here is the answer! Peter provides three answers.
Here are three ways to keep God's purposes in front of us.
1) Keep God's timing in mind (Ro 13:11-12, I Jn 2:18)
The end has drawn near (perfect tense implicating it has come with results with its results). It is the last hour therefore we are to live in light of the end of the age. This is consistent with Jesus’ talk about the kingdom of God is in your midst.
2) Keep a clear mind
Don't be reactive. One needs a clear mind so he or she can exercise self-control. A clear mind is when the head is clear and alert.
3) Be in a spirit of prayer
God's will becomes all important. If we are not diligent, we like the disciples will fall asleep. Peter was well-reminded of how easy it is to fall into a lull of lethargy. The time we are about to give up on praying is the very time we need to pray the most!
The challenge to constantly love is ever at hand. Proverbs 10:12 says, "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions."
When we are not challenged to love our enemies, we still will find the difficulty of loving those right next to us. Sometimes it is a spouse. At other times it might be a parent or child. When it is hard to love, love more.
Peter has carefully set out before us the way we are to serve. Everything we do is in a context of love, love and love. Just like the Apostle Paul sandwiched the 'Love Chapter', 1 Corinthians 13, in between two chapters on spiritual gifts, so Peter places this whole section within the admonishment to fervently love.
Life is not about what we get but what we give. Let's note the different spiritual ways of serving that are mentioned and the extra advice on how we are to conduct ourselves when in that spiritual ministry.
Manner of using the gift
|Hospitality||Be hospitable without complaint.|
|General Spiritual Gift (4:10)||Responsibly use it serving one another.|
|Speaks (4:11)||Speak as if the utterances of God.|
|Serves (4:11)||Serve by the strength which God supplies.|
|Purpose of service (4:11)||So that God be glorified through Christ who works in us.|
The structure is clear. Many examples of service are given, but the general admonition to wholeheartedly serve one another is set before us. We cannot say we love our brethren unless we serve them through the means God has specially given to us.
Talks of hospitality, but then thinks of the whole purpose of spiritual gifts. Display of love.
a) Every Christian has received a spiritual gift.
b) The believer ministers (serves) to one another through that gift. Too busy to serve? If we neglect to serve, we are not loving one another.
c) A believer is to responsibly serve before God. God has given the spiritual gift and therefore obligated to Him.
a) Be Hospitable with love
We are to refuse to complain at the extra work that comes our way when we are hospitable to others. We serve unto the Lord.
b) Speak as if God's utterances.
This speaks of the preacher, the evangelist, the teacher, etc. who speaks forth the Word of God to others. It is amazing to think of the special responsibility to take our messages seriously. Does it also include fathers teaching their children? Sure does.
c) Serves with God's strength.
Many a time we feel like we do not have sufficient patience or grace to carry out some task for another, be it a fellow believer or spouse. Pray and seek God's extra ordinary grace. He will provide.
God has called the believers to serve through His strength so that His Name is magnified among those we serve. He wants His Name be glorified in Christ in whom belongs all glory. Christ is now king. When we cause people to recognize His glory, we bring glory to His Name.
There are three things needed to live a persistent strong Christian life: (1) Model your life after Jesus who lived according to purpose despite affliction, (2) Refrain from lusts, (3) Live devoted to the brethren even using your spiritual gifts as a display of your love for the brethren.
View the study questions on 1 Peter 4:1-11.
Or read more on being God's light and salt on earth!
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