A Lifestyle For The Last Days
Important Words from the Apostle Peter
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…. 2 Peter 3:10-12
Everywhere you go these days, you see believers shaking their heads, saying to each other, “We sure are living in the last days.” The latest newscast or headline brings a jarring reminder of just how depraved our culture has become. Thus the lament, “We’re in the last days.”
They’re right—we are indeed in “the last days.” But not, perhaps, for the reasons they think.
Turn in your Bible to the book of First Peter. We are going to be in several places— Peter’s two letters to the church and other books—during our study, which will center upon our personal lives and conduct as Christians living in “the last days.”
First, let’s establish why we candefinitively say, without guessing, that we are in “The Last Days” or “The End Times.”
1. Turn to 1 Peter 4:7.
But the ______ of ______ ___________ is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
2. Turn to Acts 2:17. On the day of Pentecost, Peter described what was happening with these words, quoting the prophet Joel and applying that prophecy to that very day:
"And it shall come to pass in ______ ________ _______, saith God, that I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh."
Peter called Pentecost part of “The Last Days.”
You may say, "Wait a minute. You say the end is at hand, but when Peter wrote this, it was almost 2,000 years ago. Peter said then 'It is nigh'—and it hasn't come yet! He must have gotten confused.”
Was Peter wrong? Absolutely not. From the days of Pentecost right up to this present day, we live in an age called “The Last Days” or “The End Times.”
3. For further verification of this truth, turn to 1 Corinthians 10:11. Paul said,
"All of these things happened to them [the Old Testament Saints] as examples for us upon whom the _______ ___ ____ ________ are come."
4. Now turn to Hebrews 1:1-2, two of the most wonderful verses in Scripture:
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in __________ ________ ________ spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;”
The Bible writers speak of the times in which we're living as “the end times” or “the last days.” Why? Because ever since Pentecost till this present time, Jesus Christ could come at any moment. Every one of us after the birth of the Church is living in the “last days.” That’s what Paul meant when he said,
a. “The Lord is ____ _______.” Philippians 4:5
b. That's what James meant when he said, "The Judge standeth ___ _____ ______,"
c. That’s what the Apostle John meant when he said, "Little children, it is ____ _____
________." 1 John 2:18
Every Christian, therefore, should be keenly aware that Jesus may come in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
It’s important to understand that eternity is not something “way out yonder.” It's only a heartbeat away. The Second Coming is right around the corner.
You say, "I don't think He's going to come today." Why is that the best sign that He might? (See Matthew 24:44).___________________________________________________________________
If Jesus is coming suddenly, swiftly, quickly, cataclysmically, then what should be the lifestyle of the child of God? How should we be living in the days of our Lord’s imminent return?
5. Turn back to 1 Peter chapter 4. Read verses 7 through 11. Peter tells us how…even if Jesus tarries another 2,000 years. These verses are a great directive. List some of the ways we should be living in our Last Days Lifestyle.
_____________________ _________________________ __________________________
_____________________ ___________________________ __________________________
A CLOSER LOOK AT “SERIOUS-MINDED”
“Serious-minded” doesn’t mean to be a humorless “Mr. Sobersides,” but a serious thinker. We need to be sober-minded about the Second Coming of Jesus.
You're not going to be able to make sense out of life today if you leave out the missing key, the Second Coming of Christ. If you have read the Word of God, you know how it will all end…“the ______________ of this world will _____________ the _______________ of our Lord and His Christ.” (Revelation 11:15)
You cannot make sense out of history until you understand the Second Coming. But when you do, then you're not going to get led down some blind alley. You’ll understand that all of mankind’s futile “answers” for his dilemma fall far short. Science is not the answer. Militarism is not the answer. Social reform is not the answer. Even Education, in and of itself, is not the answer. All these have failed us.
The answer for this world and the solution to the mystery of history is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
In these last days, a sober-minded understanding of the return of Christ will help us cope also with the suffering we see.
6. Turn to Romans 8:18. Paul comforts us with the assurance that…
"The sufferings of this present time are ______ ___________ to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us."
7. Suffering will cause you to long for His coming—and we should be longing for His coming.
We cannot make sense of suffering until we see it in the light of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In their letters, both Paul and Peter were talking to saints who were suffering. Many were being persecuted, slandered, passed over for promotions, and their goods were being confiscated. How is that going to make sense? When Jesus comes.
a. Peter tells believers in these last days to “watch and pray” (1 Peter 4:7)
What kind of prayer is this? __________________________________________________
b. How did Jesus teach us to pray in Matthew 6:10? “Thy ________________ __________.”
c. Turn to Psalm 122:6. What does the Bible tell us to do? ___________________________
d. The aged Apostle John, exiled to the Isle of Patmos, wrote at the very end of the Bible in the book of Revelation one last prayer—the final prayer in Scripture.
Turn to Revelation 22:20. What did John pray? ___________________________________
We should be praying that as well. For when He comes, we're going to receive our glorified bodies. Learn about this and do some serious thinking, or the devil will discourage you and get you off base. Nothing makes sense unless you live in the light of His coming.
WHAT HAVE WE SEEN SO FAR?
- We’re to be sober-minded, learning about His coming
- We’re to be looking for His coming.
- We’re to be praying, longing for His coming.
8. In our lifestyle for the last days, it’s interesting that Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, would also say this: (back to our 1 Peter 4 passage, see verse 8)
And above all things have fervent ________ for one another, for “_______ will cover a multitude of sins.”
Simon Peter, being the good preacher that he was, uses the Old Testament as a text, quoting Proverbs10:12, contrasting hatred and love. Real love is practical; it's more than words. It is a love that costs and cares.
We are to be filled with love at the coming of the Lord Jesus. Why? Speaking of the last days, Jesus said, “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matt. 24:12)
A CLOSER LOOK AT “INIQUITY” AND LOVE “WAXING COLD”
The word iniquity literally means “lawlessness.”
The last days are characterized by a tidal wave of lawlessness, crime,
immorality and vice. Because of that, there will be great
Peter is saying, “Don't let that get to you. Don't let the devil keep you from loving in these last days.”
9. Why is love so important? Why does Peter say, “Above all…”? Turn to 1 Corinthians 13:
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the _______________ of these is love.”
Love is the greatest virtue you can have.
10. Love is the greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:37-39).
11. Love is the greatest testimony. Turn to John 13:35
“By this shall _____ _____ _______ that you are my disciples if you have love one for another.”
12. Love is the greatest motivation. What motivates our hearts to serve the Lord? To give sacrificially, to be faithful?
2 Corinthians 5:14: “For the ________ of Christ _____________ us.” Nothing should motivate you like a heart full of love for Jesus and His love for you.
13. If you are wondering whether you are saved or not, turn to 1 John 3:14.
How do you know whether or not you have “passed from death to life”? _______________
When Jesus comes, is He going to find your heart filled with love? Will we have a love that covers? Will He find His children not bickering or squabbling but loving one another? That's our lifestyle for the last days.
14. Back to our main passage in 1 Peter 4. See verses 9-11:
9 “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, _____________ it to one another [that is, we’re to do it for the good of others] as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
15. 11 “If anyone speaks, [that's the speaking gift] let him speak as the _____________ of _____.”
Peter says, “If you are going to be laboring for God, when you speak, make sure that you’re a man of God. Don't speak out of your own well. Speak as the oracles of God, as a man of God, the speaking gifts. Whether it be preaching, teaching, testifying, exhorting, singing, praising, praying—whatever you do, when it comes out of your mouth, let God the Holy Spirit anoint it.
Have you observed the foolishness, the wickedness, the despair, the things being said today? There is so much falsehood, so much pessimism, so much confusion, so many lies. We need in the last days someone who will speak as the oracles of God. There is a famine for a word from God. Peter is saying your lifestyle in the last days should be to take the gifts God has given you and speak as the oracles of God.
16. 11 “If anyone ____________ [that's the serving gift], let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen”
What is your lifestyle? Have you been learning about Him?
Are you looking for Him? Are you longing for Him to come?
Are you using the gifts God has given you?
Is your heart filled with love?
When Jesus Christ comes, He is going to ask for an accounting of your stewardship.
- Live in the light of His coming.
- The end of all things is at hand. Be sober. Watch and pray.
- You have a gift. It may be a speaking gift. It may be a serving gift, but you have a gift!
- Use it for the good of others and for the glory of God…that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ.
When Jesus Christ comes, you want to be found giving God glory through Jesus.
“When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found,
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.”