"Live Like There’s No Tomorrow"
What end is near? "The end of all things is near. Therefore..." When you live like there's no tomorrow,you make today's actions different. Live in the "therefore."
Live Like There Is No Tomorrow
(1 Pet. 4:7-11)
A. The date was the 19th of May, 1780. The place was Hartford, Connecticut. It was a day that went down in New England history as a terrible foretaste of Judgment Day. At noon, unexplainable, the skies turned from blue to gray and by mid-afternoon had blackened over so densely that, in that religious age, men fell on their knees and begged a final blessing before the end came. The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session. As some men fell down, others clamored for an immediate adjournment. During such a moment, the Speaker of the House, Colonel Abraham Davenport, came to his feet. He silenced and refocused them with these words: “The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty.”
B. Throughout Jewish history, it was believed that the end would come right after a period of great suffering. From the book of Daniel, we see how they believed that God would allow this great persecution to take place and then he would come and relieve them from their bondage. The book of Revelation teaches a very similar thought. So when Christians are undergoing a time of persecution the question comes, when will the end of this suffering be? How long oh Lord until you come?
C. Peter takes up that thought in the midst of a passage on suffering and shouts, “The end of all things is near.” The end of what is near? The end of the world? The end of the Jewish nation? The end of suffering? People have made arguments for each of them. The Bible pushes us to live like there is no tomorrow. Jesus will return, when we don’t know. Today, 2000 years from now?
D. Whatever it was that Peter was thinking at that time he teaches the idea of urgency. If the end is at hand, then you have to ask yourself, how does God want you to live in the midst of the suffering? Peter uses a word, “Therefore.” Because the end of all things is near, here is how you are to live. Brethren, we are called to live in the therefore. We are called to live every day like it is the last. To live in the therefore changes your mindset, words and action.
I. Clear Minded Praying
A. The first aspect to living in the therefore is prayer. Do you find it strange that if the end is near the calling is for you to be mentally alert so that you can pray? Why pray if the end is near? Because you don’t know when the end is coming, therefore… You are called to live in the therefore.
B. Prayer calls for us to clear our head and actions. You don’t need fuzzy thinking when life is throwing you a curve ball. You don’t need to swing at every pitch. People will do their best to trap you, frustrate you, and pull you down. You have spent enough time in the past living in sin and now that you are changing, those who knew you when don’t like and want your old self back. How do handle that type of pressure? PRAY!
C. Clear minded prayers are they type that demand discernment. We spend a great deal of our prayer life asking God to fix things we have messed up, heal people who are sick, or give us something. Clear minded prayers, prayers that are based in mental sobriety desire to listen and know God’s will as much as ask God for thing in this life. The end of all things is at hand, God what do you want from me? Let me focus my prayer life on listening, receiving, and seeking the will of God. As I do that I find God changing how I interact with others. God has always been about others.
II. The Height Of Love
A. When we are spending time with God in prayer, our attitude of sound judgment and sober-mindedness help us to stay alert to what is really important. Peter then adds that as we turn to others we turn to them in the height of love.
B. Above all. What a phrase. If I need mental alertness to pray properly, then I need love to live properly. Above my feelings about you, above my emotions, above my intellect about commands, above all…love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. It is a quote from Prov. 10:12, “Hatred stirs up dissention, but love covers all wrongs.”
C. Above how you treat me. Above everything that is happening in the church, in my life, in this suffering from others, I need to have an attitude of love.
D. In fact, Peter says that this love is deep or fervent. It literally means, “to stretch out with intense strain.” When Luke uses this word in his gospel and again in Acts, it is connected to prayer. They prayed fervently, intensely. Love, as an attitude, is not always easy, but it is intentional. I don’t just love deeply a person I meet on the street. I don’t fervently love someone by accident. It is intentional. When Peter calls us to love because he knows that love covers sins he might have remembered an occasion in his own life where this type of love was needed.
E. Think back to morning sometime after the resurrection when the disciples went fishing but caught nothing. When Jesus called them to shore after a great catch and fixed them breakfast he had a conversation with Peter. He asked three times, “Do you love me?” Peter had denied Jesus three times in one night. But now, Jesus is asking, “do you love me?” Love covers a multitude of sins, aren’t you glad? Aren’t you happy that Jesus could restore Peter to the work of shepherding the lambs of God? Aren’t you happy that sins were covered and Peter was still called to do the work of tending the sheep? I am. Peter is me. A sinner who needs love and forgiveness. A sinner who needs purpose in life. Through the love of Jesus my sins can be removed, covered over, and I can still be called to use my gifts to serve others. Above all, love.
III. Love In Action
A. Listen to verses 8-11. This is a list of how love is put into action. Love that covers sins is the type of love that offers hospitality without grumbling. It uses the gifts that come from God to serve others. When I speak God’s words, I should serve with all my strength because I want to glorify God.
B. Love in action is not about me, it is not about your liking me or me liking you. It is about how God is praised through the Jesus Christ. Jesus called you and me into this body. He called us to love each other especially in times of trials, so that he can be glorified. That is exactly what Jesus told his apostles when he said, “by this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35). As a church which belongs to Jesus we need to be about love in all its forms.
A. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen! It’s not about you, it’s about him. I clear my head so I can pray. I pray so I know how to love. I love because I need forgiveness and I need to offer forgiveness. I show my love by serving others in the name of Jesus Christ.
B. You have your assignment for the week. Spend time in prayer and practice deep love. It won’t be an easy week. In fact, you may feel the burdens of this world upon you. Some of you face trials in your life, some face emotional hardships, some hurt in ways no one else in this body knows. But you, the hurting, are called to share some healing with others. Will you do that? Will you love the difficult to love?
C. God loves you. You are difficult to love. He has felt the pain of your sins, your hard heart, your judgmental attitude, or your evil minds. He felt them in the nails that were driven into his hands and feet, but he hung on that cross instead of coming down, because he loved you and love covers a multitude of sin. If you need to respond to God’s love this day and let us be his hand that hold you and his mouth that helps to teach and guide you, then come as we stand and sing.