March 16 - 1 Peter 4:7-11

Sunday, March 16, 2014

1 Peter 4:7-11 – The End is Near

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

This is an amazing passage, one that is filled with deeper meanings as you look at the Greek, yet on the face of it, is still filled with so much truth.  Take some time to read it through.

The end of all things is near. Whether it is our own death or the return of the Messiah, we don't have that much time. When you begin to add up the minutes and the hours, the days, weeks, months and years that are left in our individual lifetimes, we find that time is short and we cannot afford to squander what we have.  1 Peter 4:7 - " clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray."

In 1 Peter 4:8, Peter discusses love - a deep love. There are three words for love in the Greek language: "agape - divine love; eros - physical love; philos - brotherly/friendship love." The word in this verse is 'agape.' This is the same love that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. Love that is sacrificial, love that overlooks others sins and wrongdoings, love that comes from the depths of our soul ... the deep that calls out to deep.

Then Peter writes of hospitality.  This gracious gift was something that was never questioned in Jewish society. Hospitality above all else was practiced. But, that didn't mean that behind a guest's back, the host wouldn't be murmuring and grumbling.  Peter calls us to gracious, sacrificial giving.

The gift that Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 4:10 is the Greek word 'charisma.' The holder of this gift is a steward of the grace of God. There is no question as to whether or not each of us have received a gift, the only question is whether or not it will be used.  As this verse goes on, it says 'faithfully administering God's grace in its 'various' forms.'  The word 'various' is translated from the Greek 'poikolos' which means multi-colored or variegated.  The word polkadot comes from the same word. God's grace comes through in many types - multi-colored/variegated - of gifts.  Each of us has a gift from God. We are stewards. We can't hoard this or hide it.

The last verse of this passage begins with a direct call to use the words we speak to speak the words of God. God's sayings (Greek: logia) are so much more important than our own. And yet, we barely know God's Word. How can we be certain that we are speaking it? Peter calls us to serve, using God's strength not ours.  He isn't being kind or generous to us, worrying that we might wear ourselves out. He knows that when we set ourselves aside, God will be glorified.

He ends this passage with a short benediction, actually glorifying and praising God. That's all I can think to do after reading these verses.

God is holy and is worthy of our praise.