Stay Focused on God's Purposes
I Peter 4:7-19
April 22, 2007
v. 7 - The end is at hand, not only the judgment of
persecutors and slanderers, but the end of
persecutions and sufferings, the end of our
great conflict with sin, the end of the earth,
therefore prepare to meet thy God.
"Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel" - Amos 4:12
We should remember the transitory and temporary
nature of all things earthly!
This nearness of the end gives the Christian, a motive,
not for self-indulgence, but for self-denial, not for
neglect of duty but for increasing ZEAL!
It takes a lot of self-discipline to keep the end in
view - it implies a well-ordered mind and a life
guided by the eternal Law of God!
It was not for Peter, neither for us to know the
times or the seasons - Acts 1:7
It is enough to know that the time is short!
The coming of the Lord was the beginning of the
last period in the development of God's dealings
with mankind - there is no further dispensation
to look for!
"be sober" - self-restrained-calm-thoughtful
Points to temperance, abstinence from strong
drinks though it suggests also wariness and
cool thoughtfulness which are destroyed by
EXCESS in meat or drink or other pleasures
unnerves the mind - excess weakens the BODY
and ruins the SOUL!
The libertine cannot pray - his vices burden his
soul and weighs it down to the earth - he will not
Prayer requires concentration of thought, energy of
desire - it takes the gracious help of God the Holy
Ghost - one cannot pray aright, (except "God be
merciful to me, a sinner) unless he lives a godly
and sober life. "If I regard iniquity in my heart,
the Lord will not hear me" - Psalm 66:18
Perseverance in prayer - aroused from indifference
into which men are so apt to fall.
v. 8 - Intense charity/love - love promotes concord
by concealing and forgiving sins
True charity covers sins - it is done gently and with
tact - seeking God's forgiveness of sins
In view of the coming end - love is before all
things precious for our own souls and the souls of
"Because iniquity shall abound the love of many
shall wax cold" - Matt. 24:12
v. 9 - "use hospitality to one another"
"without grudging" or murmuring -
that would take from hospitality all its
v. 10 - Gifts and Service - God gives the gifts
for service - a part of the vision that
Bro. Larry has for this church is SERVICE.
The large principles embodied in these simple words would
revolutionize the Church and go far to regenerate the world,
if they were honestly carried out!
"As every man has received the gift" - every Christian is
endowed with some gift; for every Christian has the Spirit of
God dwelling in him (John 14:23) and that Spirit never comes
The concert will not be complete, though the noise around the
throne be as the noise of many waters, without the tinkle of
the little rill of your/my praise!
Some poor soul, which God meant to go shares with me, will
have to starve, if I do not part my portion with the needy!
Take your directions at first hand from God, and don't spoil
your own little gift by trying to bend it into the shape of
somebody else's. Flutes cannot be made to sound like tubas.
Be content to sound out your own note and leave the harmony
"gifts" - they are received - they are
diverse - Rom. 12:6 - the grace that
give them is called "manifold" because
of the diversity and variety of their
Golf with Dale Taylor on 4/16/2007
With diversity comes room for mutual help and mutual
tolerance. Do not hastily condemn modes of action
because they are not yours
The widest tolerance of the diversities of operation is the
truest recognition of "the one Spirit which worketh all in
all" - I Cor. 12:6
These ministrations require love, zeal, energy
The question is: "If men are indifferent, listless
in their religious exercises, without zeal, without
enthusiasm, without self-denial - can they be walking
in the narrow way? Matthew 7:13-14
Naught have I but what I have received!
Whatever gift or gifts we receive - they are to
be used to serve others and for the glory of God!
They are not to be used for show or selfish
ostentation - Jesus told of the unjust steward
who wasted his master's goods and the only
foresight and worldly prudence he showed was
only in providing for himself. Luke 16:1
Regardless of how small the gift we are to
contribute our part - Eph. 4:16
God has given them unto us for the sake of others.
If Christian men really believed that they are
stewards and not owners of these gifts, the face of
Christianity would be altered. There would be men
and money for all noble service, and the world would
be bright with unselfish and varied ministries, worthily
representing "the manifold grace of God"!
God supplieth the strength to do the work which
He has called us to do - "faithful is He which
calleth you who also will do it" - I Thess. 5:24
"I can do all things through Christ which strengthens
me" - Phil 4:13
We should live so close to the Father that it can
be said of us as Jesus said to the disciples - "It is
not ye that speak but the Spirit of your Father
which speaketh in you" - Matt. 10:20
v. 11 - one of those gifts is utterance - "as the
oracles of God" - a Divine response or
utterance - the mind and will of Divinity -
that is the Scriptures - yielded to the Holy Spirit -
the teachings should be the Teachings of God -
seeking no praise or glory except the glory and
praise of God - those who do speak as it
were the oracles of God -
Mark 13:11- "it is not ye that speak but the
"...that God in all things may be glorified through
Jesus Christ. To whom be praise and dominion
for ever and ever. Amen"
Compare the doxology of Rev. 1:6
The glory and dominion are His - "all power is
given unto me in heaven and in earth" and
that includes helping you to live a holy life and
die a blessed death!
v. 12 - the persecution is a burning, a fiery furnace,
which is being kindled for a trial, to try the
strength of their faith.
It would prove them and turn out to their good!
Paul preached "that we must through much
tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" - Acts 14:22
Remember the words of Jesus "In the world ye shall have
tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the
world" - John 16:33
Learn to acclimate yourself to it - it would brace
you and strengthen you faith.
There is a knowledge of God and Divine things that
come only through the door of suffering. It is as
sufferers that we have the deepest experience of God -
Bro. Duncan's testimony!
v. 13 - Matt. 5:12
"rejoice - suffering for the Lord's sake draws the
Christian nearer to the crucified Lord -
"that I might know Him and the fellowship of His
sufferings" - Phil. 3:10
The eye of faith must be fixed on Christ - united with
Him one is made to be a partaker of Christ's sufferings!
Suffering weans the Christian from thinking too much
of this world and the Christian being made like his Lord
in suffering is the highest of all earthly/heavenly distinctions!
There is a glory of Christ which at the present is concealed!
(at the revelation of Christ)
v. 14 - The Holy Spirit is glorified by patient endurance of
suffering - He abides on those who suffer for
"for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you"
v. 15 - It is not the suffering which brings the blessedness.
It is the cause, the faith and patience with which it is borne.
Christians are spoken of as evil-doers - (the heat is on by
a very secular and ungodly press and philosophy today)
Be careful to preserve your purity and to suffer, if need
be, not for evil doing but for well-doing.
Don't be a "busy-body" - an inspector, an overseer,
a referee if you please.
Sign on church marquee - God has called us to witness,
not to judge! Bro. Wilson's interim church now!
A self-appointed judge and meddler in other men's
Spiritual knowledge and spiritual dignity exposes
Christians to this temptation.
v. 16 - One of three places where the word "Christian"
is mentioned in the New Testament
Here and in Acts 11:26, 26:28
"let him glorify God on this behalf" - compare Acts 5:41
v. 17 - "For the time is come that judgment must begin
at the house of God"
God hates sin - He hates it most in those who are nearest
to Him - therefore "whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth" -
"He doth not willingly afflict nor grieve the children
of men" - Lamentations 3:33
Yet, "He chastens us for our profit, that we may be
partakers of His holiness" - Heb. 12:10
v. 19 - God is in control whether in times of suffering or
in times of prosperity - on the mountain or in the
We are in the hands of a loving Father - may we learn
submission - not because suffering is inevitable but
because it is according to His will and His will is our
sanctification and salvation!
"Commit the keeping of their souls to Him in
well doing, as unto a faithful Creator"
He gave the spirit, to Him it returns - Let us
imitate Christ - "Father, into thy hands, I commend
my spirit" - Luke 23:46
"in well-doing" - even in the midst of suffering the
Christian must be careful "to maintain good works"
"For I know whom I have believed and am
persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have
committed unto Him against that day" - II Tim. 1:12
"It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good" -
I Sam. 3:18 is a talisman which changes bitter into sweet, darkness into light, sorrow into contentment and death into LIFE!
In our private sorrows let us not sit down, and brood,
and weep - it is a great mistake to give up work because
If we too pray "Forsake not the work of thy hands"
Same verse "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth
we shall be blessed with the answer given to a hundred
generations - what God told Jacob in Gen. 28:15 - "I will
not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken"
Also: Joshua 21:45, 23:14 Psalm 84:11