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If you are keeping up with our reading schedule, you know we have 4 wonderful portions before us today. Wonderful not in the sense that they are pleasant, but in that they display the sovereign hand of God. He is orchestrating the events of Jesus’ death; Babylon’s conquests over all the nations, not just Israel; the providential care of His people and preparation for the Believer’s suffering.
But as I began yesterday, so I want to return to 1 Peter 4 and to the announcement that “the end of all things is at hand.”
I’m Reid Ferguson and that’s our focus today on Through the Word in 2020.
As we noted yesterday, when Peter says in 4:1 that the end of all things is at hand, he then says “therefore.” His point is that given the truth of the statement, we are to respond to it in a certain way.
Now it should be obvious by the text that our response is not first and foremost panic. Self-control is his first admonition. Because the end of all things is no more out of the hand of our sovereign God than anything else in all the universe. The end is nearing because God is judging. But those who are His in Christ need not fear that judgment, because ours has been comprehended in the sufferings of Christ. So don’t panic, but be self-controlled.
And he adds to self-control, be sober-minded.
The word means to be vigilant, but circumspect. Not intoxicated by fear or anything else but well balanced, clear and in full possession of one’s senses.
Now these are good in and of themselves, but when you read the sentence as a whole, it takes on amazing new dimensions. The call is to be self-controlled and sober-minded – “for the sake of your prayers.” And the point is this: A sound prayer life is founded upon sober thinking about matters. And that will translate into a prayer life that is focused upon the purposes and plans of God, in the midst of the crumbling chaos around us.
In other words, it will be prayer still centered in seeking the restoration of the glory of God’s name in the universe above all other priorities.
Prayer for the return of Jesus for only in His return, only in His Kingdom coming can this world be set right. Nothing short of the 2nd advent can address the evil of this present age. No election. No political turn. No economic shift. No social program. Christ coming and ruling. And until then, His Kingdom through His Spirit in the hearts and minds of Believers.
Prayer for His will to be done in all the matters we face – irrespective of our own personal preferences or short-sighted wisdom.
Prayer that our souls will be satisfied daily with a full portion of The Bread of Life Himself. And to never settle for satisfaction with anything less than Christ and Christ alone.
Prayer for the forgiveness of our own sins, and that we will be filled with the same forgiveness toward those who sin against us – that we desire from Him.
And prayer that we will not be led astray by the lies, diversions, and deceptions of the Enemy of our souls, but rather led by the light of God’s Word, and the illumination of His Spirit.
Prayers, supplications, intercessions and thanksgivings for all people, including those in political power – no matter what their party or affiliation – that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way.
It takes great self-control and sober-mindedness to keep on this track. And it is the Divine way to face the end of all things – even as it is right at hand.
Settle your heart and mind there Believer.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.