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Life In The Church

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I Peter 4:7-11


Flood - a community mobilized to fight a common enemy.

1 Peter 2 phrases

“a people belonging to God”

“the end of all things is near.”


A people

Mobilize to prepare for the end

The life of the church

Not comprehensive, but a few items mentioned here.

In fall, we will do a series of messages around the theme of what makes for a healthy church. Peter mentions a few items here. I will mention them briefly because they will be elaborated later on.

4 ideas

practical ideas

I. A Praying Church

As 2000 approached

Temptation to speculation

“the end of all things is near.”

Call to prayer

A. A Life of Prayer

Why Pray?

Many explanations

God won’t work unless we give permission

God doesn’t change, we do

Diminish God’s sovereignty

I don’t ask that anymore.

Our responsibility

Simple command/invitation

Just do it.

Cf. context of vs. 7 the time is near.

Prayer a central theme in this context

Both commentaries take verse 7 with what follows.

“The loving and serving community facing the end.”

End of all things forms the framework of these sayings.

Previously he has spoken of these things when facing a hostile world, now he speaks to the community.

The life of prayer

Be serious, clear minded, sober, keep alert, think clearly

Discipline yourself, self controlled, attentiveness, focus, mental concentration.

Eschatology a temptation to speculation instead of to prayer.

Outline options

Briefly cover

2. End Time urgency

the battle intensifies at the end

therefore we must be a praying church.

B. Clear Minded

Influence of the world

Our own temptations

We get fuzzy about what has real value.

Our lifestyle demonstrates what is important to us.

Eg. Russian church Sunday is a highlight

Be clear minded, the kingdom has real value.

C. Disciplined

If we are fuzzy, prayer will be overwhelming, boring and token

If we are clearminded, it will be valuable

Still requires discipline

Pray while watching the news.

A people belonging to God pray!

II. Love Which Covers Sins

A. We All Sin

“Let him who is without sin…”

“speck and beam”

B. How Love Covers Sins

1. We won’t sin

we hear about adultery, but not all the times love said “no!”

2. We bear with one another

all are different

3. We forgive

Love is never having to say your sorry - nonsense, love means saying sorry when it is needed.

Vs. 8

“keep their love for one another at full strength.”

“Covers a multitude of sins.”


            - love passes over faults in silence

            - in the final judgment, “he who loves much has many sins forgiven him.”

            - an expression of the binding and loosing, in the loving community, there is mutual forgiving.

Kelly prefers 2, I prefer 1.

Cf. I Cor. 13:5-7 - not keeping a record of wrong.

III. Hospitality Without Grumbling

A. Offer Hospitality

Vs. 9

A world context of few hotels so this was needed as Christians traveled.

B. “without grumbling” a sharp tang of realism.

“A guest is like a fish - after three days he stinks.”

C. Application

Bible school not finding billets

Dangers - our personal space has gotten larger

Our personal desires have gotten greater

You have done it for us, keep it up.

IV. Use Your God-given Gift

As the Father has sent me…

A. The Gift You Have Received

Word Gifts, Serving Gifts

Rom 12:6-8

I Cor. 12:4-10

Eph 4:11-12

What is a gift? Used to serve God.

Discovering your gift




Discovering your gift

B. Use It

Each one

Stop feeling guilty for doing what you like

“I feel guilty because I enjoy it.” Mel doing books

joy in using our gift.

C. How To Use It

1. God directed

those with speaking gifts


power comes from the word

2. God empowered

counselors tired in their work.

Illus. Jesus had compassion on them.

3. To the glory of God.

So that God may be glorified

If we like it and are affirmed, temptation to do it for more affirmation, my temptation.

“so that God may be praised.”

Vs. 10

Gifts - “capacity or endowment which can be employed for the benefit of the community.”

Romans 12:6-8; I Cor. 12; Eph. 4.

Whatever gift - all we have is a gift from God and we should use it for the good of others.

Emphasis is on their employment for mutual benefit.

Stewards in the house of God.

Ministry of the lips here and in the next verse, ministry of the hand.


Ought to rely on God’s help.

Concludes section with doxology.

Strength means the power of the Holy Spirit.

“God inspired utterance and Spirit empowered service are to characterize the ministry of God’s people.”
Mat. 28:19,20 all authority has been given to me, Jesus said. Do we believe the “all authority” of Christ? If we do, we give glory to Him in our service, because we do it in his strength.

gifts see:

Romans 12:6-8

I Corinthians 12:4-10

Ephesians 4:11,12.

“resources of the Holy Spirit for life and ministry of the community of faith and hope.”

Various classifications of the gifts have been attempted, but they fall most simply into two main categories—those which qualify their possessors for the ministry of the word and those which equip them for practical service

The New Bible Dictionary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1962.

In some instances the gifts appear to involve a release or enhancement of natural ability, for example, the gifts of teaching, helping or leadership; others are clearly a special endowment: faith, gifts of healing and the power to work miracles.

The New Bible Dictionary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1962.

a spiritual gift is an ability in some way to express, celebrate, display, and so communicate Christ. We are told that gifts, rightly used, build up Christians and churches. But only knowledge of God in Christ builds up, so each charisma must be an ability from Christ to show and share Christ in an upbuilding way.

Second, gifts are of two types. There are gifts of speech and of loving, practical helpfulness.

Packer, J. I., Concise Theology, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1993.

Root of charismata is “joy” “grace”

The operations are supernatural but not magical; one can cultivate the gifts

Kittel, Gerhard, and Friedrich, Gerhard, Editors, The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) 1985.


After 2000 years, do we still believe that the end of all things is near?

Are we alert and active?

Keep on!

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