PHBC December 27, 1998

Series: First Peter, Ser. #65

PILGRIMS LIVING WITH THE END IN MIND


Scripture: I Pet. 4:1-7

TEXT: 1 Peter 4:6-7 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

INTRO: My subject is, Pilgrims Living With The End In Mind. I believe there have been times in history that are similar to this in which we live. But, I daresay, none have been more caught up in living as if today would last forever. Gratification of the desires, lusts, and perceived needs is more important than anything else to many.

When Ruth and I got married we had the bare necessities to live. We had one little metal cabinet in which to store our dishes. We got apple crates, which were then made of wood, and stacked them on their sides with the open top facing forward and Ruth made some attractive curtains to enclose the front and that was part of our kitchen cabinetry. We lived in an old farmhouse that had so many cracks in the floor that we put news papers under our linoleum to keep the edges of the boards from making patterns on the linoleum. By the way, we probably paid only 8 or 9 dollars for the cheap linoleum.

With the cracks in the floor and other factors, we came home one day after a thunderstorm and all our paper from under the rugs had been blown out and was on top of them. We had outdoor plumbing and for showers in the summer, we had a barrel about 8 feet off the ground with a tin enclosure on three sides and a curtain in the front. Each evening, after showers, I would refill the barrel so that the water would be warmed for the next afternoon showers.

We ended our first year of marriage debt free and bought us a pickup truck. Do you know that we lived until the late 1960ís without a credit card of any kind.

Do you think the generation that followed us and the next generation would start out as many of us did in those days? No! The majority people, note I did not say "all", but the majority of people in their early 40ís and down, want everything now, today. As long as they can beg or borrow enough to satisfy their immediate gratification, and can make enough to pay their bills at the lowest possible monthly payments, they are happy. This is why so many are in debt up to their ears and why some do not give to the Lord as they should. Matthew 6:19-20 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

Now, let me come to my reason for saying the things I have just said. I fear that most folks follow this same pattern in the spiritual realm. Much of the preaching and teaching in "Christianity" (I use the word loosely) is geared to present gratification of oneís spiritual desires. Most folks go to church "to get something out of it" rather than to worship Him who has given us so much. Those preachers who spend the majority of their time dealing with current issues in politics, etc., are not looking to the end, but at the present.

Christians should live with the end in mind. This is the message of our text.

I. WITH THE END IN MIND, WE SHOULD NOT SPEND A GREAT DEAL OF TIME WORRYING ABOUT HOW MEN JUDGE US IS WE ARE LIVING FOR CHRIST

A. This is what Jesus had in mind when he called on his disciples to not be amazed if they found the world hating them. John 15:18-20 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

B. The apostle John was very much aware that the world would hate true Christians. 1 John 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

C. Paul warned Timothy that those who live godly will suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

D. Jesus spoke of this hatred of his people in his high priestly prayer. John 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

E. Jesus warned us that we would have trouble and tribulation in this world. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

F. Jesus also warned that his election of his people would be a cause of the worldís hatred. John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. John 15:18-19 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

G. Jesus encouraged us to count it a blessing when we are hated for his sake. Luke 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of manís sake.

H. In verse 12 of this very chapter, Peter calls on Pilgrims to not think it strange when persecution comes our way. 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.

I. Often we may be certain that God is the source of these trials as he seeks to refine us as one refines gold to rid it of impurities. Psalm 66:10-12 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. 11 Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. 12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

J. Let us glory in the fact when the Lord chooses to put us through trials on this earth. Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.

K. Even in these trials we need to keep the end of the age in mind. James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

L. There is a blessing for those who patiently endure trials. Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

M. There is a precious reward in the future for those who endure trials. Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

N. Therefore, beloved of God, chosen children, pilgrims and strangers in a cruel, hating world, rejoice in tribulation and trials for they result in rewards when patiently endured. Endure them with the thought in mind that the end is near.1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

II. WITH THE END IN MIND, WE SHOULD LIVE ACCORDING TO GOD IN THE SPIRIT

A. We should walk in the Spirit lest we fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

B. If we say that we live in the Spirit, have been regenerated by the Spirit, and are indwelt by the Spirit, surely we ought to walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:24-25 And they that are Christís have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

C. In our text Peter calls this living according to God in the Spirit. 1 Peter 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

D. Paul is bold in the Spirit when he says that those who are after the Spirit, or are born of the Spirit, walk after the Spirit. Romans 8:4-6 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

E. There is a fatal flaw in the life of those who claim to be saved but sow to the flesh, give it its way, follow their desires and lusts. Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

F. I repeat something I have said many times; we do not owe this fleshly, carnal nature which lives within us, anything. Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

G. With the end in view, with expectations of the sure and certain coming of the great God and our Saviour, let us live according to God after the Spirit. 1 Peter 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

III. WITH THE END IN MIND, LET US LIVE SOBER LIVES

A. Sober living means self-controlled living.

1. The word sober has the idea of having a sound mind.

2. It means to exercise moderation and self-control.

3. It means to control your passions, desires, lusts, etc.

B. We saw before where Peter admonished Pilgrims to gird up the loins of our minds and I will repeat some things we considered then. 1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

C. Sobermindedness calls for not being intoxicated with the cares and things of this world.

1. Some let the cares of this world choke their growth as Christians.

2. This intoxication with worldly care may reveal that one is not even saved, but is a mere professor. Mark 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

3. Martha experienced this lack of soberness. Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things.

a. John Gill said something on this matter almost two hundred years ago that is so applicable today. He said that some become "intoxicated with errors, and false doctrine . . . and turn their head from faith to fables . . . ."

b. This intoxication with the sensational, the novel, the latest thing in religious activity is behind the Promise Keepers and other para-church organizations.

D. Three times in this epistle Peter calls on these folks to be sober.

1. In chapter 1 he calls on them to be sober in the face of suffering. 1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober.

2. Here in our text he He calls on them again to be sober in light of the coming end of this present age. 1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

3. Again he calls on them to be sober in light of the wickedness of the Devil. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

E. Paul called for soberness on the part of the Thessalonians Christians. 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

F. One of the qualifications of a pastor is that he be a sober-minded person. 1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach.

G. Soberness is a virtue that should be found in all those professing to know Jesus Christ.

1. Older Christian men are to be sober-minded. Titus 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

2. The older women are to be sober so that they may teach the younger women to be the same. Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

3. Young men are also exhorted to be sober-minded. Titus 2:6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

IV. WITH THE END IN MIND, WE SHOULD LIVE WATCHFUL, PRAYERFUL LIVES

A. Being watchful in prayer means to be wide-awake in prayer. Matthew 26:40-41 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

B. Jesus commanded watchfulness with regard to the return of Christ. Matthew 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

C. Watchfulness means being alert, having your mind on praying, not drifting off on other thoughts.

1. I dare say that one of our greatest privileges is the privilege of prayer wherein we talk to God.

2. I will also venture to say that one of our greatest failures is in the realm of prayer.

a. We may not pray as often as we should.

b. We may not pray as fervently as we should.

c. We may not pray as attentively as we should.

d. We may not pray as alertly as we should.

e. We may not pray for what we ought to pray.

f. We may not pray with the faith that we should.

g. We may pray presumptuously.

h. We may pray too repetitiously.

3. Let us learn to be very watchful in our praying as we are admonished in Scripture.

CONC: If it was important for those Pilgrims to live as Peter admonished them, it is important that we live so. We are nearer the end than they were. Let us live sober, prayerful, watchful, lives unto God regardless of how men in the flesh may judge us and mistreat us. The end is near. Our full and complete salvation, including the glorification of our bodies, is nearer when we believed. It is high time to awake out of our state of semi-somnia and live for God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

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