The way in which some world leaders are presently postulating about the size and potency of their nuclear buttons, it seems that for many – “the end of the world is near.” Of course this is not a new idea; it is there is the New Testament, which bears testimony to the fact that the world as we know it will not end with a nuclear explosion, but with the imminent return of Christ (Acts 1 v 11 & Romans 13 v 12.)
But what are Christians to do as they eagerly await the return of Christ at the end of the world? Peter offers some guidance:-
1 – PRAY.
In order to facilitate meaningful prayer the Christian is to be:-
A – Clear minded – This is especially true when it comes to the second coming, because confusion in this area will lead to confused praying. The mind needs to be unscrambled, clear and focused, as in the case of Legion, who after he had met with Jesus was to be found – “sitting there, dressed and in his right mind” (Mark 5 v 15 – with the same word being used there as in this passage!)
B – Self controlled – This again is especially true in the light of the second coming; so no being out of control under the influence of alcohol; and no being listless and sleepy, as was Peter himself in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14 v 32.) Instead there is a need to be prayerfully alert, with watchful with expectancy, in control of all of our faculties.
2 – LOVE.
As they eagerly await the second coming Christians are to relationally love one another deeply (John 13 v 34 &1 Corinthians 13 v 13.) This does not mean condoning sin, but covering the offender in love rather than exposing them to condemnation (Proverbs 10 v 12.) The practical outworking of such an open heart of love is to be found in an open home and a ministry of hospitality.
3 – Minister.
Time is short so the Christian ought to be involved in ministry based on spiritual gifting, about which a number of things can be articulated on the basis of these verses:-
“Each one” – Every Christian has at least one spiritual gift.
“Should use” – Gifts are not to lie dormant, but to be used.
“Whatever gift he has received” – They are not merited or earned, but are given by the Spirit as he wills.
“To serve others….. so that in all things God may be praised” – Gifts are not given for the purpose of self fulfilment, but for the benefit of others and the glory of God, especially the gifts of preaching and teaching (Romans 10 v 14 – 15) and practical service (Romans 12 v 7.)
Challenge – Are you ready for his return in terms of prayer, love and ministry?
Theme: “Eagerly working while expectantly waiting”
Reading: 1 Peter 4 v 7 – 11
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Bev Sills