I Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
God’s clock is continuing to count down to zero. The end of this current age is at hand. We are living in the last times. The next major event that God tells us of is the removal of New Testament saints from this earth and with that the beginning of the Tribulation time. God does not tell us when the “rapture” will take place. The first century saints expected Jesus Christ to come back in their time. Every generation of born again Christians lives with the expectation that Jesus Christ is coming back soon.
Beyond the removal of New Testament saints, the Tribulation is a seven year period. That is not very long. After that will be the Millennium. This will be a thousand years where Jesus Christ will rule from Jerusalem. There will be a Temple built in Jerusalem at that time. Following that thousand year reign, there will be the resurrection of the lost. They will be judged and cast into the lake of fire. The Bible calls this “the second death.” After that judgment, this earth and heavens will be destroyed by fire and God will make new heavens and earth. There will be no more sin.
The Bible declares all these things, and the challenge for born again Christians is to be sober. We need to live with the expectation that things could change very suddenly. Those who are saved need to live like God’s children. The Bible tells us what that looks like. Peter has already told us what that looks like. Those who are truly saved, want to see others saved. They are not content to see family members and neighbours and even strangers just go to hell. They want others to know the truth. That is why they get baptized after salvation and they join a true local church and serve God through His prescribed venue. They want to be able to help others to know the truth.
Part of being sober is watching unto prayer. This speaks of having our minds clear of the material drive of the ungodly. Christians follow passages like Psalm 1. There we are shown the way of the blessed man. That person does not fill his mind with the trash of the world. Rather he meditates on God’s Word day and night. When the child of God feeds on God’s Word as he must, he will be able to show others the blessings of God’s gift of salvation.
In verse 8 we are reminded to have fervent charity among ourselves as saved people. Charity is love. True saints need to have a genuine, caring love for one another. It is not possible to do this when a professing Christian is not a part of a true local church. How do you demonstrate this love for one another when there are no “one anothers” to show fervent charity to?
Peter tells us that when Biblical charity dominates, sin cannot exist. Peter is not telling us to ignore sin and cover it up. He tells us that if we function with the love of God sin will not be there. Jesus taught the disciples that their disputing among one another was not right. They needed to get a Biblical perspective of life and then they would not concern themselves with who would sit on the right and left hand of Jesus Christ.
It is when Christians get in the flesh, that we face trouble. We will get in the flesh at times. That is why we need to consciously cast off the old man and put on the new man. Those who have been saved have been given a new nature. The Holy Spirit indwells the true child of God and He is there to encourage the saint to follow God’s way.
In verse 9 we see the importance of hospitality. True Christians are there for one another. They do not complain when someone is seeking help or wants to spend some time in fellowship with another saint. True saints live for God and for one another. We all like our “alone time.” That time is a time to spend more concentrated time with the Lord. Jesus had that as well. He spent hours on the mountain with His Father. He did that while the disciples were sleeping. God knows our needs. He will guide us so that our needs are met. There is great blessing when God’s people show genuine hospitality toward one another.
In verse 10 we are reminded that every true child of God has received “the gift.” The question is: what is “the gift”? I Corinthians 12 & 14 speak of the various gifts of the Spirit that God distributes to His children. Peter is not talking about that. He states that every man has received “the gift.” That would be speaking of the gift of salvation. When Peter speaks of “every man” it is in the context of this passage. Every true child of God has been given the gift of salvation.
If we look at the immediate context of this verse, I believe it also refers to the gift of hospitality. Romans 12:13 speaks of a specific gift of hospitality. However, Peter speaks of hospitality in general terms. Every true child of God needs to be hospitable to other saints. We all have our “favourite” friends. John spoke of “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Jesus loved all the disciples, but He had a special relationship with John. He did not play favourites. He did not push the other disciples aside. They were not deprived of anything.
In the local church, all members need to know they are welcomed and appreciated. There needs to be that genuine love and care for one another. When we look after one another, we show good stewardship of the manifold grace of God. We can function as a family because God supplies all that is needed for us to do that.
In verse 11 Peter began with the person who is going to speak. The word translated as “speak” means of teaching or preaching. If any man is going to get up and speak to the local assembly, he needs to speak the Word of God. We do not need stories and jokes. We need sound teaching that will benefit the soul of the person.
The word translated as “minister” refers to service. The service that saints render is according to the ability God gives. We can encourage one another in our walk with the Lord, but we also need to be sensitive to the enabling that God gives the person. We also need to be careful not to overburden a person who may seem to have many talents. Each person also needs to know what their limit is. Sometimes we need to be willing to say no. God does to expect us to be burned out so that we cannot function as He would want us to.
The goal is that God be glorified through Jesus Christ. It is God Who equips His child for the calling He has for him or her. The praise does not belong to the person who speaks or who ministers. The glory belongs to God and to Jesus Christ. They are worthy of praise and dominion for ever and ever.
The jealousy and competition that we see in the disciples in the Gospels was not there after Acts 2. The change was that they were filled with the Holy Spirit and they were busy serving God. When God’s children are serving Him, they do not have time to dwell on the devil’s plots. They pray for one another and encourage one another in the things of the Lord.