Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: Jesus is Coming!
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 4:7 (NIV) The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
It’s been almost two-thousand years since this was written, and still the end hasn’t come. What’s up with that?
Maybe this is just a false prophecy of Peter spoken in an uninspired moment. But other writers of the New Testament affirm its truth. James says You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. (5:8) Paul says it in Romans – The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (13:12) The writer of Hebrews says Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (10:25) It’s not a false prophecy. It is an unfulfilled one. The fact that the end is coming is one of the foundational motivators of holy living.
Peter understood from the Lord that when people lose sight of the coming of Christ, they turn to worldly living. In the next letter he writes he says, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. (3:3-4, 10) Those who live their lives without an acknowledgement of the coming of Christ will live according to their own evil desires.
But contrast that with what Peter says will happen in the lives of those who are anxiously awaiting the Lord’s return. They will be clear-minded and self controlled. That’s because they’re not living for the present world but the coming one. They control their passions because those passions conflict with God’s purpose.
People who are expecting the return of Christ are also able to pray. That’s interesting. When Jesus taught us to pray he said, “Our Father, Who art in heaven, holy is your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We cannot pray in the will of God if we do not have our eyes fixed on the coming of the Kingdom of God. The prayer lives of most people are ineffective because they don’t want the purpose and plan of God accomplished but rather want their own goals realized. Only when we surrender to the coming of Christ and the reality of His present kingdom will we be able to pray effectively.
Jesus is coming. The Apostle Peter lived life as if it was near. The Apostle Paul lived as if it were the next thing to happen in history. It is to be always in the forefront of our thinking as well. It is to be the one motivator of our lifestyle choices and decisions. We are to be in fellowship with Christ and not the world. The Apostle John said it this way – And now, dear children, continue to live in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. (1 John 2:28 NLT)
So instead of looking around and getting discouraged and filled with earthly passions, look up, and be encouraged with the imminent return of Jesus. He’s coming, and those who are looking for it will go with Him. And while we wait, we will live for Him.