1 Peter 4:11
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
In recent years there have been more and more movies released based on comic book superheroes. There is something we all love about the idea of someone who not only has superhuman abilities but who uses them to change the world and bring justice to evildoers. If you were a superhero what ability or strength would you possess, would you fly, would you be strong, would you have telepathy? I think that many of us at least secretly have thought about being a superhero and we have thought about what powers we would have but have you thought about how you would use those powers, who you would serve?
Peter reminds us in verse 10 that as followers of Jesus Christ we are called to be superheroes, people with special gifts that we can used to serve others. Before you say but not me, look at the key word in verse 10 “Each one”. The key word in this verse is “everyone”! Not “the pastor the extroverts the young the old the educated and trained, or the talented the rich or the poor but EVERYONE! Everyone in Christ is gifted to supernatural service. Everyone in Christ is called to supernatural service. Everyone in Christ is commissioned to be stewards. So how does a superhero live, how do they serve?
I. Live and Serve Expectantly (v. 7a)
“The end of all things is near” One day, sooner than any of us really think, Jesus is going to return and take His own out this world, no more tomorrows. At first it seems like Peter got this wrong when he said it was near, that was almost 2000 years ago! Yet Peter in these verses is not saying that Christ’s coming is immediate but that His coming is imminent, it could happen at any time. Peter is emphasizing that we should live expectantly because, though we don’t know the time, we know He is coming back. When we stop being expectant we can grow carless in our serving. Matthew 24:44 “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Are you living expectantly?
II. Live and Serve Responsibly (v. 7b-11a)
Peter reminds us of several duties we must continue while we serve expectantly:
- Keep your head. (v. 7a)
clear minded and self-controlled
The word serious= not swept away by emotions or passions.
If we are not living expectantly, watching for Christ’s return it’s easy for us to become fearful over the future and lose perspective and balance in our lives. Without balance some become a fanatic others a doomsayer, but Peter says that we are to keep our perspective balanced. Don’t become obsessed with what will happen, but keep your mind fixed on faithfully following Jesus whatever happens. Part of being well-balanced is to be self-controlled, under the control of Christ, what is controlling you? Superheroes remain alert, sharp and ready at all times, they live lives that are under control even when the world they are living in seems out of control. Don’t lose your head no matter what happens!
- Keep communicating – praying. (v. 7b)
Most superheroes rely on themselves, it’s all up to them, but the real beauty of being a Christian is that we do not have to rely on ourselves we can rely on our Savior. During difficult and trying times we are called to keep our head, to not lose focus so that we will remember to relying on Him. All superheroes have enemies that want to hinder them by preventing them from using their superpowers so they will be ineffective. There are many things that can be done to hinder you from serving God, but no one can prevent your prayers except you! Peter doesn’t suggest that we pray, he commands us to keep the lines of communication open with the Lord. Don’t let what may not happen distract you from praying for God’s will that will happen. Never let the headlines discourage you from trusting God to do His will in your life and stay in touch with the Lord through prayer.
- Keep your heart – keep loving.(v. 8-9)
Like the rest of the NT Scriptures, Peter stresses the priority of love. This is not a reference to a simple feeling, emotion or “warm fuzzy of the heart.” It is a foundational attitude resulting in behavior that demonstrates the love of God. Deeply means “stretched out” and up to full capacity, it describes a horse at full gallop or “the taut muscle of strenuous and sustained effort.” The idea is to put all your effort into loving your brothers and sisters in the Lord. This is a hospitable love, a love that opens up both the heart and the home. Hospitality was an important part of ancient society, and typically meant feeding and housing guests for several days with no expectation of payment. Peter says show this welcoming love without grumbling, be willing to share what you have with those in need. The love that we have received from Christ must be unselfishly and unconditionally shared with others. It is a love that has unimaginable, divine power that none other may possibly possess. A power that is ultimately unlimited, it cannot be contained, stopped, or negated, powerful enough to “covers a multitude of sins!” Are you willing to love with a superhero love?