Preparing for Christ’s Return

September 14, 2020

1 Peter 4:7-11

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

James 5:16

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Devotion

Peter begins this passage with an interesting statement: “The end of all things is near.” This means that all the major events in God’s plan of redemption have occurred, and now all things are ready for Christ to return and rule. In his commentary on 1 Peter, Wayne Grudem writes, “Rather than thinking of world history in terms of earthly kings and kingdoms, Peter thinks in terms of redemptive history. From that perspective, all the previous acts in the drama of redemption have been completed—creation, the fall, the calling of Abraham, the exodus, the kingdom of Israel, the exile and the return, the birth of Christ, his life, death and resurrection, his ascension into heaven, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit to establish his church.” Peter is saying that the stage is now set for the return of Christ, or that the return of Christ is imminent. Everything is ready!

Because the return of Christ could happen at any moment, Peter instructs believers to act in a certain way: “Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.” This means we are to “think about and evaluate situations maturely and correctly.” The idea here is not simply, ‘so that you can pray,’ but, ‘in order to pray more effectively, more appropriately,’ believers should be alert to events and evaluate them correctly in order to be able to pray more intelligently. During the current pandemic and racial unrest, many have asked, “Pastor, are these the end times?” What this verse teaches is that we must prayerfully consider all that is going on in the world considering Christ’s imminent return.

Since Christ’s ascension, there have been many world events that have stoked the fires concerning Christ’s return. There have been believers in every generation since the time of Christ that believed Jesus would return in their generation. Peter’s point is that we are to be ready and immersed in prayer as we await Christ’s return. So as world events unfold, we are to go to the Lord in prayer and seek His wisdom and will and respond appropriately and biblically to these events.

So, how do we survive and thrive during difficult times? First, we live each day as if Jesus’ return were imminent. This means that we approach each day with a sense of urgency and prayerfully consider what we see, hear, and experience. Second, we pray! As we ask God for His perspective on events that are happening around us, we will be able to pray more intelligently and effectively. Always remember this, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Questions to Ponder:

Do you live your life with a sense of urgency that Jesus’ return is imminent? When you experience difficult times, is prayer your first response? What does it mean to pray appropriately and effectively? What issues are you facing today and how is your faith helping you to thrive through hard times?

Prayer Points

  • Praise God as the Prince of Peace, all-wise Father in heaven, Comforter, and Helper.
  • Confess any complacency, compromise, indifference within you. Confess any sin that you know of and that the Holy Spirit is reminding you of.
  • Thank the LORD for His kindness, faithfulness, tenderness, as well as His power, majesty, and justice.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to pray, to help you and His church to be ones that are clear and sober minded so that we can pray.
  • Ask the LORD if there is something you need to take out of your life so that you can be “clear minded” – e.g., certain apps, TV shows, social media, an unhealthy relationship, etc.
  • Pray for yourself and our beloved church family, Oak Pointe. That we would grow in our walk with the Lord and particularly in “watching and praying.” Schedule time each day for this if you are not doing it already.

Suggested Prayer
Abba, Father, Righteous One, You are holy, perfect, and good. I praise You for being all-wise, our Wonderful Counselor, and Eternal God. Thank You, Lord, for the reminder about living each day as if it were my last or living as if You will return at any moment. Thank You, Prince of Peace, that I don’t have to be fearful or concerned with the exact time of all of this. But rather, I can be sober minded, watchful, and prayerful. I ask for help to do this by the power of the Holy Spirit that is within me. Strengthen me and Your church so we can partner with Your heart, so we can abide in Christ. Teach me Your way, oh God, and lead me into Your truth. I ask in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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