Nearly There…

1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is near; 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 multifaceted grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks is to do so as one who is speaking actual words of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving 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.


Such an important word!  Every time.  Slow down, and read and muse.  There are not many more stages in God’s plan, the end is near.  Near in God’s perspective, though feeling so very distant in our time-bound limited perspective.  We see in a glass dimly, but must remain like those in Jesus’ parables who will endure and wait and be found faithful when He comes.  Therefore.

Therefore we must be of sound judgement.  Sound, healthy.  If our judgement is to be healthy it must not come from within, but from the Source of Life and Living Water.  Our judgement must be according to His revealed will, according to what He will teach us in His Word.  

Look ahead to verse 17 for a moment, and notice that Peter is asking that judgment begin within the household of God.  Who is of His household?  Read Ephesians 2:11-21; Galatians 6:10; Hebrews 3:1-12.  Ponder that last section at length; for what must you take care?  Therefore, what are we judging?  We are judging trees by their fruit, as Jesus instructed; having righteous judgment as He instructed, but with fear and trembling as Paul reminds us in Philipians.  To have this sound judgement in the household of God means we continually encourage one another in the faith, with the Gospel, the whole Gospel beginning in Genesis.  We are careful to abide in His words, in His love; and as Jude puts it, to keep ourselves in the love of God.  

We build one another up in the most holy faith.  There will be tares who never come to know the One true God (John 17:3), but there are also weary brethren who need fellowship as much as we ourselves do.  We are of sound judgement together in His Church, under His Word.   As we cling to His word, together, we can–with sound judgement–discern which voices to listen to, and which are false teachers (see 1 John); we do not have to be led astray.  Yet–we will be, if we cling to this culture and its idols.

Sober Spirit

We all experience anxiety, depression, helplessness, sadness, weariness, lonliness, purposelessness…etc… To differing degrees, and at differing times.  This verse is not simply saying “Stop it!”  It is a reminder that on our own, we will sink further into those struggles.  Especially in light of those around us who malign and slander (see last week’s post), we can easily let our minds fill up with anxious thoughts.  In Christ, we find freedom and healing, we find sobriety in place of the chaos and runaway thoughts. 

Our minds can experience the peace of Christ that passess all understanding (see Philippians 4), our whole being is impacted by the fall and by our daily circumstances.  But He is our Rock, our Anchor within the veil, our Redeemer.  And He leads us into clear thinking, submission of feelings to truth, and the ability to be sensible, logical, reasonable, compassionate, thoughtful people who act on purpose.

Our spirit will not be sober on our own, but as we sit at His feet, look to Him, listen to His Words, breath and pray and remain in Him, He does this work in us.  “Be sober in spirit” is akin to “Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden…”  Come, drink deeply of the Living Waters, abide.

And then pray.  Now that you have received His calm, and have reassured your heart of His presence (that we so often forget), you can pray.  According to the Spirit of supplication who dwells in you!  You can cry out Abba Father!!!!  

Above All

Keep Fervent in your love for one another!  Beloved, now is not the time to walk away from the local church.  You need believers, and the community needs you.  Where is Jesus right now?  Amid the golden lampstands, in His churches.  Not on your desert island, not congratulating you on your self chosen isolation, not with you starting a new thing, not sharing His glory with those who have tried to find their own apart from Him.  

Love for one another; for fellow believers–not merely for your besties, or your immediate family, or those who let you uphold what you have concocted as “truth.”  Keep fervent in your love for those who abide in Jesus’ love, the love that draws us together–not into little cliques or small pockets, but draws more and more into His Body.    

Colossians 3:14  put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

The next few lines made for a wonderful ladies’ retreat last Fall, sometime, I hope you too get the chance to sit over these verses with your local church body.  But we sum up a “so that” which is just as important as our therefores.  

So That

So that God may be glorified in all things.  He who works all things together for the good of those who love Him gets all the glory.  He alone is glorious.  The flesh fights against this; the spirit finds great comfort in this. And so we find true comfort.  

What happens in your soul as you ponder His glory?  As you ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His Name?  What does His Name mean?   How wonderful it is to be among those who know His Name, and among those who to whom He will continually reveal more of Himself (see John 14:18-27; 17:6-10)!  

Share the Sufferings of Christ

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though something strange were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that at the revelation of His glory you may also rejoice and be overjoyed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, and of God, rests upon you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?

These seven verses ask you, the reader, to think about your circumstances–testing, trials, suffering, whatever is happening around you.  Do not be surprised, but rejoice.  What do you rejoice in?  How often do you consider “the revelation of His glory,” that is, the time when Jesus returns?  How often do you slowly muse upon the many passages that direct our thoughts in this manner?  God’s people will often think of this time and find comfort.  

Though it is being slung around this culture that “the epistles do not mention hell, therefore it is a construct of faulty evangelicals,” they are wrong.  Peter does not need to reteach us about Hell, but does close this section by asking his readers to think about what will become of the godless man and sinner.  They know what Jesus taught, they know; and what will this focused remembering about this do within them?

Remember Hebrews 3 from earlier–it will stir us up to remind one another of living in light of the gospel.  It will stir us up to care about whether our friends and loved ones will be among those who endure to the end (Matthew 24:11-13, see this post).  It will cause our gratitude to abound to the glory of God!  We are grateful for His redemption.

Photo by Aaron Burden in Unsplash.

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