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Making sense of our times

Chatswood Baptist Church https://www.chatswoodbaptist.com.au
  1. Priorities (v7-11)

Peter’s first words are ones that ring urgency. He says the v7 The end of all things is near.

We are in the time of the now and not yet…Peter writes to the believers who had received mercy, given new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-  kept in heaven for you…awaiting the salvation that is to be revealed in the last time. Yet until that time, they faced trial and suffer grief in all kinds of trials…

I remember our school bell used to ring at 257pm, and that was the pack up bell, before the final bell at 3pm…home time…and we’d dash out the door. We’d use that last three minutes to pack up and get ready to go as quick as possible, to make the train at 309pm or to head to the bus for afterschool sports..

We wanted to make use of that time…

Today, Peter tells us The end of all things is near, and therefore, how can we make the most of it?

Look at his priorities.

  1. first to God
  2. and then, to one another

As such, Peter’s first priority is that they live to God, having clear perspective and in prayer. He says

  • Therefore, be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray.

To pray is to draw near to God…to spend time in relationship with Him and His word. To not only ask, but to reflect on who God is, praise and thanks. Perspective for God’s people means drawing closer to him in our prayer life. What helpful habits might you have to share with others?

Next priority? He wants to see scattered followers strengthened in the bonds of fellowship.

Take  a look, (read v8-10)  he urges love each other deeply (verse 8), Offer hospitality (v9), and to serve one another (v10). Let’s take a look at each in turn

Firstly, about love…

We belong to God, and our precious to Him…and so we also belong to one another.

Remember that great identity, ‘but you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1 pet 2:9). Because we belong to God, and our treasured by him, Christian fellowship is as the cliché goes..looking after the other fellow in the ship…

Here’s another 1970s song… How deep is your love? I really want to know…cos we are living in a world …We belong to you and me…the BeeGees

What do we love, and where do we belong?

  • Private vs Personal faith
  • Dealing with past hurts

Next, to strengthen the bonds of fellowship:

  1. Peter considers hospitality. As we move on, the next point Peter addresses is hospitality… to be done willingly, not begrudgingly.
  • Hospitality then and now
  • Some tips from Rosaria Butterfield about ‘margin space’

Next, serving by God’s grace and strength

  1. Struggle (v12-19)

In Verses 12-19 , we see a focuses on struggles.

One considers the persecuted church, think of Afghanistan, or Morocco, a country where there are roughly 30000 in a population of over 30 million, where Christians are scattered and face persecution and imprisonment for being Christian.

We ought to be so thankful for the peace we enjoy here, and pray that God comforts and sustains believers elsewhere. But it would be naïve to not expect suffering for following Jesus here.

Lets take a closer look at Verses 12-19.

First of all:

  1. What was happening? they suffered because they were Christian

V13 you participate in the sufferings of Christ, V14 if you are insulted because of the name of Christ

It was not because they lived ungodly lives

Have you felt at odds to the world because of your faith? Here are some examples where this might be happening in our society- do you see it?

  • Personal life
  • Politics
  • Church

What was Peter’s challenge and God’s comfort?

Peter challenges the thinking and suggests to do a double take:

  1. Challenge: V12 Don’t be surprised..v13 But rejoice.

Our present troubles give way to future glory.

  1. i) Comfort: The believers comfort, is first, that they participate in Christ.
  2. ii) God’s presence

3.We’ve looked at priorities, struggles, and now, we look at some final words.

Life is like a box of chocolates…how will you respond to the bitter ones?

We live in a broken world , but a Saviour has come and our hope is tied up in him. But what about the one who has not obeyed the gospel, the one who has not responded in obedience and faith?

Take a look at verse 17: For it is time for judgement to begin with the family of God, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the Gospel?

The judgement we all deserve is condemnation. From the moment of Adam’s rebellion, mankind has been corrupted by sin. We live ignoring God, and living to please one self. We place our views, our experiences and elevated that above God’s revealed will in scripture and through His Son. We continue to reject Jesus, and the gospel message.

Silence follows the question about those who do not obey the gospel.

Imagine if there’s no heaven…and no religion too…imagine if there’s no God…is that a life you really want?

If there’s no heaven and no God, perhaps we just eat drink attend be merry for tomorrow we die.

How do we make sense of our time? Are you just living your own way, ignoring the Creator of the world? Ignoring his Son? Ridiculing his people? What will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

People say there is no God…or think.. the Christian view is no longer relevant because it is archaic, outdated or irrelevant. Or it’s none of your business. Some theorise that the world is indifferent to all…existence is an accident. Some might say that religion makes people feel better to give them meaning. If that is what you think, what do you think God thinks about that?If he is all loving, how would he deal with evil in the world?

From since the garden of Eden, from Adam’s rebellion and sin… our humanity has been stained by sin and we live in a manner that worships ourselves and our corrupted desires rather than God’s ways or acknowledges him. We need rescue from our sin.

For the follower of Jesus, today, we’ve been reminded about the great hope of the Christian gospel. There’s a different song.

We join the heavenly throne room: Praise be to Our God forever and ever.

As a final encouragement,

Look at these final words in verse 19: So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Martin Luther, in the 1522…he penned these words about faith which I think is an appropriate response to making sense of our time:

Faith is a living daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake his life on it a thousand times. He goes on to say…This knowledge of and confidence in God’s grace makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and with all creatures. And this is the work which the Holy Spirit performs in faith. Because of it, without compulsion, a person is ready and glad to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, out of love and praise to God who has shown him this grace.  500 years on, I think those words still ring true,…but that’s really nothing in light of eternity. How will you make sense of our time? Friends, what song will you sing when the final bell rings? How will you make sense of your time?