Above All Things…
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. (1Peter 4:7-9)
EASTER IS PAST, and we continue our text in 1Peter. Peter, the rugged fisherman, was one of Jesus’ inner circle. (Peter, James, John). The way he seemed to have a talent in the gospels for speaking shortsightedly, it’s amazing that he ends up writing with such clarity and authority. He writes some heavy stuff.
THE END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND: the end of the Gentile age; the end of the world’s program of struggle and attempt to manage things without God. The coming of the Lord. “At hand” does not mean in the next ten minutes. It means that it is imminent, at any time. It has been “at any time” since Jesus returned to Heaven and left the apostles gazing upward at His disappearance into the clouds. The early church believed that Jesus could return at any time. We say: “We believe in the imminent return of Jesus to earth.”
BE SOBER: BE INTELLIGENT, NOT LAZY-MINDED. Be on the ball with your thinking process.
WATCH UNTO PRAYER: Be wide-awake as you pray. Don’t let your mind wander all over the place. Do give yourself to some regular, serious praying in connection with the “last days.”
ABOVE ALL THINGS: “Above all things, have fervent love among yourselves.” It is fervent love; love that is keen, eager, enthusiastic. Not reluctant. We might expect him to tell us to be fervent in prayer, instead of “watch unto prayer.” But, instead, he tells us to be fervent in our love toward one another. And, why should exercise ourselves in fervent love to each other?
The first reason for having fervent love among ourselves is to practice covering over (ignoring) our obvious faults that crop up when people live in close quarters. Families have to do this all the time if we want to have any peace in the home. I like the practical illustration McGee gives about this:
“Peter is talking about our relations as believers today. The writer of the Proverbs said, "Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins" (Proverbs 10:12).
“Hatred in a church will stir up strife. This little clique will be against that little clique, and these folk will be against somebody else, and all that type of thing. But love covers up all that. Maybe you don't like the way your pastor combs his hair.
“I knew a pastor in Texas who told me that he had a lock of hair right on top of his head which would always stand up no matter how he combed it. He said that the choir threatened to quit because of it. They sat behind him and could always see that hair come up sometime during his sermon. They actually became angry with him because of that lock of hair. Every time he went for a haircut he had the barber cut it off because he did not want to offend his choir. Imagine that type of thing! If they had had love in their hearts, that lock of hair wouldn't have bothered them one bit.” (McGee)
USE HOSPITALITY ONE TO ANOTHER WITHOUT GRUDGING. Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. (Romans 12:13) Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2) Strange that two thousand years ago a Bible writer would be telling God’s people not to give needy people food with a reluctant spirit about it. Being stingy. The opposite of that is: Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (2Corinthians 9:7)
In other words, if you have a poor family over to eat at your house, don’t keep track of how many biscuits they eat. If it pains you to watch them eat up your stuff, maybe it’s better not to have them over until you get your heart straightened out.
“ONE OF THE MOST STRIKING EFFECTS OF CHRISTIANITY was to loosen their grasp on property, and dispose them to impart liberally to those who had need. The direction here does not mean that they should literally have all things in common; that is, to go back to a state of savage barbarity; but that they should be liberal, should partake of their good things with those who were needy; compare Galatians 6:6; Romans 15:27; Philippians_4:15; 1Timothy 6:18. (Barnes)
Above all things, pray well and have fervent love among yourselves…Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
APRIL 12, 2018 – THURSDAY
A.M. 1 Samuel 10-12 P.M. Luke 13:22--35
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Please note: If you are behind in your reading, you may want to link in today and go back to where you have been reading. This will help you to eventually catch up. I read here on Bible Gateway and read YouVersion on my iPhone.
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3)
Song for Today:
There is a Fountain (4:39) – (Vestal Goodman & Gaither Group)
You may have to adjust the volume or delete an ad.