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The European folk tale of Henny Penny or Chicken Little brought the phrase “the sky is falling” into popular use. In all versions, a real event, in most an acorn dropping on a hen’s head, starts the whole thing rolling. The hen, concludes that since something fell randomly out of the sky and hit her – then the sky must be falling. And the story proceeds with her spreading the news with its accompanying panic as far and wide as possible.
The moral of the story – depending upon which version is either to have courage in the face of the unknown, or not to believe everything we are told, no matter how sincere the source. Both good lessons. Both only partial, even as her story was. Her experience was real. Her interpretation of the event was gravely in error.
But what are we to do when the Bible itself tells us “the end of all things is at hand”, as it does in today’s reading of 1 Peter 4? Fortunately, the same passage supplies that answer.
I’m Reid Ferguson and that’s our topic today on Through the Word in 2020.
1 Peter 4; Luke 23:6–17 and Jeremiah 21:11–25:14 round our our reading today. And all 3 address cataclysmic events. The end of all things in 1 Peter; the God ordained destruction of Jerusalem in Jeremiah; and rapidly approaching end of Jesus’ earthly ministry in Luke 23.
The Disciples would view Jesus’ death as the shattering of all they anticipated in the Messiah. Until His resurrection. The Jews would view Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion as the end of Jerusalem. Until Cyrus sent them back 70 years later. And in 1 Peter 4 we’re told the end of all things is at hand – yet goes on in Ch. 5 to remind us that Christ will bring Believers into His eternal glory yet.
But what are we to do in the face of a world that is in fact coming apart at the seams? The real events happening now – especially in the United States – seem to portend the end of all things, at least as far as prognosticators on each side of our upcoming Presidential election will tell you; if the other side wins.
In truth, the REAL, the eternal end is at hand – no matter which side wins.
I’m not Henny Penny nor the son of Henny Penny, but I can read today’s text. And most happily, it not only reads: “the end of all thing is at hand”, it adds the all important word: “Therefore.” Therefore. Here’s the plan of action for Believers.
1. Be self-controlled. Self-control is one of the gifts of the Spirit. And if you “lose it” every time you think about what life will be like if your side loses – then you need to be about the business of being filled with the Spirit and mastered by His influence once again.
2. Be sober-minded. This, along with self-controlled, for the sake of your prayers. And because this is so important, I’ll expand on that tomorrow.
3. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly. Don’t let the present crises divide you from any others who place their eternal hope in Christ and Christ alone.
4. Keep serving the Body of Christ with whatever gifts God has given you. Don’t be distracted from it by any present or coming distress.
5. Don’t be shocked by the fiery trials to come. God knows. And remains on His throne.
6. Rejoice that as Christians, we get to experience the same groaning with this present lost world Jesus did. That is a high privilege.
7. Keep entrusting your soul to your faithful Creator while doing good.
Now that is a sober plan.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow for one more look.