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

 

Prov. 29:18

 

Points to temperance, abstinence from strong

drinks though it suggests also wariness and

cool thoughtfulness which are destroyed by

excess.

 

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

pray.

 

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

 

Mark 11:25-26

 

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

others.

 

"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

            beauty.

 

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

EIMPTY-HANDED!

 

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

to God.

 

"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

            manifestation.

 

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

and self-denial!

 

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

            Holy Ghost"

 

"...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

            righteousness sake!

 

"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.

 

ch. 3:17

 

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

matters.

 

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" -

                                                Heb. 12:6

 

"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. 18

 

v. 19 -  God is in control whether in times of suffering or

            in times of prosperity - on the mountain or in the

            valley -

 

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

 

Romans 8:18

 

"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

of trouble.

 

If we too pray "Forsake not the work of thy hands"

                        Psalm 138:8

 

Same verse "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth

                        me"

 

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