Let’s Do ThisDon Ellsworth
We were one goal ahead, beating the district leaders at halftime in a regional high school soccer match. No one thought we would score a goal, much less be winning, but we were. It was fun! The reality that we could survive this unexpected battle was settling in. Our coach sat us down and celebrated the obvious accomplishments; but then, with a sense of urgency, he walked us through the basics of how we should play as we finished out the final minutes of this rivalry. After he finished, he looked us in the eyes and simply said, “Guys, let’s do this!”
- What are you feeling urgent about in these final days before Christ’s return?
Read the Word
1 Peter 4:7-11 (ESV)
7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
- Verse seven starts with an attention-grabbing phrase. What impact should it have on interpreting the rest of this passage?
- This opening phrase also sets up the word, “therefore.” Identify each of the directives which follow the “therefore.” (See if you can find five.)
- Remembering that the context of 1 Peter is suffering and persecution, why are the directives to “be self-controlled and sober-minded … [and] keep loving one another” so significant? Why would “love” be especially powerful in that setting?
- What is the difference between “showing hospitality” and “entertainment,” a term that we frequently use when we have people in our home?
- Peter reminds us that we each have been given a spiritual gift. We usually view gifts as “ours” or being about us. However, there are two elements in verse 10 which remind us that our gifts are NOT about us. What are those two elements? What is the ultimate goal of the use of our gifts (last half of verse 11)?
Respond to God
Peter called the persecuted church to a standard which was beyond their ability, apart from Christ. “As stewards of God’s grace” and “by the strength that God supplies” are both poignant present-day reminders that in times of suffering and persecution, we can only live successfully through Christ’s power. As this chapter of history ends, we “therefore” should live differently than those who live in the chaos around us. Different, but always motivated by love, which covers a lot of sin and also makes beautiful a lot of the ugliness around us. Let’s do this!
- As you review the directives from this passage, ask the Lord to give you humility to submit to “the strength that he supplies.”