New Sermon Podcast is up follow it here: http://scottstrissel.podomatic.com/entry/2013-06-23T11_08_34-07_00
1 Peter 4:7-11 (NIV)
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it 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.
Living For God
How to live consistently as a Christian:
1) Be Clear__ Minded__ (v7)
Clear minded implies that we can’t be of two minds about our faith in Jesus…it’s either all in or nothing! Peter is reminding us that our commitment to God is complete not just a portion but everything…body soul and mind.
Do you have doubts? Do you struggle with worry? Are you fearful that you aren’t good enough for this cause of Christ? Wrong…don’t let second guessing hold you back either! The mind can be a battle ground that Satan likes to prowl, but if we allow him access he will give you doubt, give you uncertainty of your mission and cause you to doubt you were even called in the first place!
2)Be Self-Controlled (7b)
Secondly in order to live for God you have to be disciplined. That’s what self-control means. How do you control what you put into this body of Christ? How do you maintain your devotion life with God? How do you continue to live for Him and be clear-minded? You have to exercise self-control and be disciplined. Our lives can be chaotic at times, we may get so busy that we forget to pray or read His word and that’s when we can starve our spirit. Did you know that our spirits require sustenance? How else can we continue to live for God if we’re not reading what He has said to us? How else can we continue to live for God if we aren’t feasting on his promises and finding peace with His still small voice? Why are we to be disciplined?
- Why? so that you can Pray!(v7)
We some- times doubt prayer…and its effectiveness. We sometimes doubt that prayer is really THAT vital. Have you ever had someone tell you that they would pray for you? Have you ever felt the effects of people gathered together to pray for you? Sometimes we treat prayer as if it is a secondary after thought. We pray to get ourselves out of trouble…we pray when times get difficult, but do we actually treat prayer as a primary weapon?
Do you consider prayer to be a primary weapon? IF you haven’t before I would like for you to consider the potency and power of prayer! Prayer is vital but it shouldn’t just be used as a reactive weapon…you know what I mean by reactive don’t you? Prayer shouldn’t be something we just do when something bad happens to us…or happens to someone else. Prayer ought to be a proactive discipline we should strive to hone in our own life. Instead of prayer being a reactive thing that we do, we should instead pray over every area of our lives… “Lord thank you for my family, how blessed I am that you have given me this group of dysfunctional people…” Ok maybe not quite like that…but you get what I’m saying? Pray for people and reflect on the blessings that God has given you! When we arm ourselves with proactive prayer…do you know what takes place? We have placed everything already at God’s feet! We essentially are saying the Lord’s prayer when we do this in that we’re stating in our actions “Lord, thy will be done…in all of my life!” Living for God implies that our conversations with God are not just reactionary prayers of petition…but we are arming ourselves with His might and His power. This type of prayer life creates too in us a disciplined lifestyle. We begin to expect His responses, we begin to converse with Him as freely as if we were talking to a good friend. We begin to find His hand in our lives and through the things that we experience. He guides us into a deeper relationship with Him which is holiness.
3) Love_______Deeply_ because it brings
Forgiveness and Acceptance_(v8)
3rdly in order to live a godly life we ought to love deeply. When we love deeply and without any kind of hidden agenda or selfish motives we begin to experience Agapa love. Agappa love is godly love. Love that permeates who God is…that’s the kind of love that sent Jesus to the cross for us. That’s the kind of love that doesn’t want us to remain in a state of sinfulness but wants a right relationship with us. Godly love is something that far too few possess. When we fulfill that first command to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” What we are saying is I no longer put the needs of myself first. I no longer wish to be God in my life…but I am giving God his rightful place in all things. And in the same breath I am then saying I will also love others as I love myself.
How can this be? People are tough to love aren’t they? Especially if those neighbors are seemingly unloveable people. Yet we are called to love them as we love ourself. DO YOU?
If we get this love of God right…the rest falls into place. If we can worship our Lord with all of our hearts instead of just a portion, then we can do this other thing regarding loving our neighbors.
When we love deeply as this scripture passage says we begin to focus less on the transgressions of our neighbors and instead focus more on the grace and love of God who first loved us in our awful state.
This passage says love covers over a multitude of sins…let me ask you…has someone sinned against you? Has someone wronged you so painfully? Has someone hurt you to the point that you can seem to find it in your heart to forgive them? Let God help you…You can’t possibly do this on your own. You aren’t supposed to. But when we love as God first loved us this paves the way for healing. This paves the way for forgiveness and reconciliation. It won’t be easy, but His grace is enough! His power can do the impossible! Do you believe that?
4) Use the Gifts God_ has given you!