What is the MOST Important Thing as the End of Time Draws Near? #140
Hello friends, and welcome to another beautiful Lord’s Day! Some of you will be going back to in-person church today for the first time in a long time, and I honestly envy you. I miss seeing the people of God! Some of you are still doing the digital church thing, like our congregation. If you’re looking for a digital church home – come join us today at Valley Baptist Church! Our gathering is at 11am Pacific, and is on Facebook live. Just search for VBC Salinas and like our page, and then tune in. We’d love to have you!
Shoutout to John F. Finch III, who is an listener from Arizona and left a comment at our www.Biblereadingpodcast.com site. I listen to Pastor Chase Thompson’s Podcast daily. I love the way he expounds the Word of God in a really easy and down to earth manner. Please be encouraged and keep up this Great work the Lord has given you. You are making a difference in many people’s lives. I shared #137 with a friend and he told me he really needed/appreciated it. Last summer my family and I vacationed in Bolinas, California. I have a niece that lives in SLO.
John F. Finch III
Thank you, John! I LOVE TO HEAR FROM LISTENERS – KEEP IT UP!
Today’s Bible readings include Numbers 26, Psalms 69, Isaiah 16 and 1st Peter 4. Today’s Big Bible Question was designed to be very sensationalistic and almost clickbaity, but at the same time very accurate to the passage. Let’s read 1 Peter 4, and see if you can pick out Peter’s answer to our question: What is the most important thing for us to focus on as we get closer to the end times/Second Coming? Here’s the key verse:
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer. 8 Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:7-11
As we have discussed many times before, most people’s discussion of the end times and the return of Jesus focuses on the time question – WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN? The very thing jesus told us that we won’t know. Unfortunately, this means that absolutely crucial end-times passages like 1 Peter 4:8 gets overlooked. How do we handle things living close to the end-times? Peter says that – BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE – ABOVE ALL – maintain constant love for one another.
We often forget that Jesus centers the first and greatest command in Scripture – and the second greatest command in Scripture – around love. Love is so important – first that we would be lovers of God, but also, as Peter points us to here, that we ABOUND IN CONSTANT love for each other.
Brothers and sisters – you who are absolutely done and through with quarantine and being around your family – this is a passage for you. Above all, love each other. LOVE COVERS SINS. What does love look like? Well, says Paul, love is first and foremost PATIENT, then it is KIND. Love is patient and kind. My dear friends, are you being patient and kind with your housemates and workmates as we all go through this most difficult of times? God is using His servant Peter today to exhort you to ABOVE ALL – be in CONSTANT love for each other. Let’s close our discussion with some wisdom from friend of the podcast John Piper on this topic:
Then verse 8: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” Love is paramount, and it will be needed all the more as the end draws near. Why? Because the pressures and stresses and tribulations of the last days will put relationships under tremendous stress. But in these days we will need each other, and the world will be watching to see if we are real: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Will we cover and bear and endure each others’ faults and foibles, or will anger rule our hearts?
John Piper, Sermons from John Piper (2000–2014) (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2014).
Verse 8 says that our love needs to be the kind that covers each other’s sins. In other words the focus is on the effect of love that enables fellowship in spite of sins. Isn’t that remarkable?
Then in verse 9 Peter says that we should be hospitable “without complaint” or without grumbling. Grumbling about what? Maybe about the time and effort it takes to fix a meal or straighten the house. But don’t you think he means grumbling about people. Love covers over sins. Let hospitality be without grumbling. Love says, “I’m just going to cover the things about which I could complain and grumble.”
But God’s amazing word to us this morning, I believe, is: love covers sins, so that hospitality—real heart-felt fellowship—can happen, not because we even agree on what the sins are—that’s the amazing thing in this text—not because we finally decide what the real sins are, but because love covers them.
John Piper, Sermons from John Piper (1990–1999) (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2007).