I PETER 4:7-11

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 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.


Via Church is embarking on an exciting new season. We are looking at the next two years, 2017-2018, and sensing a God given vision for us as a congregation. The vision is compelling. Looking back, we see the big and bold faith that people that have gone before us had for this community and church. As we stand on the shoulders of others we realize now is our moment to have a faith every bit as big and every bit as bold.

Our mission at Via Church is “Reflecting the hope of Christ so others can do the same”.

Through Hope Initiative we are committing ourselves financially to the next two years of vision at Via Church. As reflectors of hope, we are going to talk about Our Great Hope.

We have been allowing Peter’s letter to the early church to speak to us as a community of faith and where we are as a church. The apostle Peter wrote this letter 2,000 years ago to a group of churches that were in modern-day Turkey. This group of churches was being persecuted and maligned. They were suffering because of their belief in Jesus - because they were following Jesus Christ. They put their faith in Him, and they were publicly living out their faith in Him. People around them knew that, and they didn’t like it. As review, we have learned that we are to have a 

  • Living Hope (being born again is being born into this hope)
  • Visible Hope (Our passions, conduct, and very lives should be striking to others)

In this letter, Peter often contrasts living for yourself with living God’s way. Our text today are the positive opposites of a life lived for self.  Look at his contrasts just in Chapter 4.

Living my way (1 Peter 4:1-6)

  • Out of control (4:3-4
  • Drunkenness (4:3)
  • Selfish Lust (4:3)
  • Self-obsessed
  • Exploitation of others (4:3-4)
  • Temporary (4:5)
  • Ends in judgment (4:5)

Living God’s way (1 Peter 4:7-11)

  • Self-controlled (4:7)
  • Sober-minded (4:7)
  • Generous Love (4:8)
  • Others-focused (4:8-10)
  • Ministry/Service to others (4:9-11)
  • Eternal (4:11)
  • Ends in God’s glory and praise (4:11)

He is pushing believers to see how their lives should be very counter-cultural. He wants them to live in such a way that others come to know the hope of Christ. Peter tells us that we should have:

A Generous Love That Is Earnest 

Praying should lead us to love others. They go together. You cannot say that you love God if you don’t love people. Peter doesn’t call us to a passive love with lip service. Instead, he calls us to love one another earnestly - or to hold unfailing love for one another. This is a love that stretches you to the limit. Our love needs to be the kind that covers each other’s sins. The focus is on the effect of love that enables fellowship in spite of sins. Authentic and earnest love is based on forgiveness of each other’s sins - especially those committed against us.

We are to work at loving each other especially in the midst of stress. Loving others is a sure sign that you have put away sinful behaviors. The community that loves one another is able to forgive one another more rapidly when issues arise. Where love abounds in a faith community, many small and even large offences are readily forgotten. But where love is lacking, every word is viewed with suspicion, every action is liable to misunderstanding, and conflicts abound - to Satan’s delight (Proverbs 10:12).

A Hospitable Love That Welcomes 

The Greek word for hospitality is philoxenia. Xenophobia is the fear of strangers. Philoxenia, on the other hand, means “love of strangers.” Hospitality is a spiritual gift like giving is a spiritual gift (Romans 12:8). Even though some are especially gifted by God, we are all called to give and be hospitable. 

What does it mean to be hospitable? Bill Versteeg said, “Hospitality is the divine enablement to share with others our home, our lives, our personal space and resources without communicating a need for performance or an expectation of return.” Henri Nouwen says, “Hospitality is… the ability to focus our attention on others.” Believers should not hesitate to offer hospitality just because they are too tired, too busy, or not wealthy enough to entertain.

Invest in people and God will take care of your budget, replenish your emotions, multiply your time and bless you. Besides, nothing is yours anyway. You are not the owner, you are the steward. The budget, the time, and the resources to be hospitable are all God’s!

A Serving Love That Comes Under And Alongside

God saved you into a living hope and has equipped you in a way that He can use you to bring Him glory. You have at least one or more spiritual gifts. God gave you gifts to help others enjoy God better and more. They aren’t given to you to boost your self-esteem, but to boost a God-esteem in others. It is to come under and alongside others.You and I are to be good stewards of everything that God has given us - our spiritual gifts and all of our resources. A steward is someone who is entrusted with something that ultimately belongs to someone else. God has entrusted us with these gifts for us to be faithful and use them. He is the owner, I am the steward or manager. So if I am not using my gift to serve others as God designed, I am weakening the local church’s vitality, growth, and effectiveness. With every spiritual gift comes a call to be faithful to what God has given. Warren Wiersbe said, “If life is to have meaning, and if God’s will is to be done, all of us have to accept who we are and what we are, give it back to God, and thank Him for the way He made us. What I am is God’s gift to me; what I do with it is my gift to Him.”

Peter is so clear why we are called to these things, “in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (verse 11). As we enter these next 2 years of vision at Via, let’s make this living hope visible for all to see. May we demonstrate a love-filled hope! Let’s be a generous church - our generosity points others to Jesus! Let’s generously fund this vision so that Christ is reflected in our church, our city, and our world!

Let’s demonstrate a love-filled hope!

 


IN COMMUNITY

This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing to discuss the implications of the message.

BLESS RHYTHMS

This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Bless
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Eat
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Speak
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Sabbath
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.

COMMUNITY DISCUSSION

Read:  I Peter 4:7-11

How have you grown in understanding forgiveness as it relates to love in your life?

Brainstorm: How could we show hospitality to our neighborhood?

Share about a time in your life when someone came alongside you as you were in pain. Why is this posture appropriate for Christians?

 NEXT WEEK'S PASSAGE:  GENESIS 6: 5-8