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Stay Focused On God’s Purposes    1 Peter 4:7-19     April 22, 2007


Introduction

       The Christian life can be easy only if we seek the control of the Lord. The Lord told us His burden was light and His yoke was easy. If we Stay Focused on God’s Purposes, our lives will be empowered by Him. It is too easy for most of us to get our focus on what we want rather than staying focused on the purposes of the Lord.

 

1.   Stay Focused Through . . Serving. 4:7-11

       A.   Serving With The Focus Of Our . . Prayer Life. 4:7

            7 Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be clear-headed and disciplined for prayer.

 

       B.   Serving With The Focus Of Our . . Passionate Hospitality. 4:8-9

8 Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining.

 

       C.   Serving With The Focus Of Our . . Provisions From God. 4:10-11

10 Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good

              managers of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, his speech should be like the

              oracles of God; if anyone serves, his service should be from the strength God provides,

              so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong the

              glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.


       Few of us think enough about serving God through a prayer ministry. In my recent reading of 35 books on the subject of prayer I am more aware of those who really spend time in intercessory prayer. They are few in number, but mighty in service. All of us could focus more on the purposes of God through prayer. We may also serve the Lord through a passionate desire to be hospitable. The quality of love for God’s people has always been needed but perhaps even more today. Most people enjoy fellowship, and in the home there usually seems to be an added dimension to it. We stay focused when we serve through the God given spiritual gifts He provides for His children. Serving though these gifts brings us the greatest fulfillment. 

 

2.   Stay Focused Through . . Surprises. 4:12-14

      A.  Surprises That Are . . Common. 4:12

12 Dear friends, when the fiery ordeal arises among you to test you, don't be surprised by it, as if something unusual were happening to you.

 

      B.  Surprises That Are . . Cheerful. 4:13-14

13 Instead, as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah rejoice, so that you may also

       rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory.

       14 If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory

       and of God rests on you.


       Simon Peter tells us not to be surprised, or think it strange, when we face “fiery” ordeals or trials. Can surprising trials cause Christian growth? The prominent Methodist preacher Charles Allen tells of being in the hospital and his best friend came in to see him. He expected some real sympathy, and his friend looked at him and said, “He maketh me to lie down.” He then left Charles to reflect on those words. Victory came through this time of trial. A trial may come when we stand up for Jesus. Being ridiculed can be a compliment, because those who ridicule do not know what there are talking about. If you are ridiculed in this matter be cheerful about it and glorify God through it.

 

3.   Stay Focused Through . . Suffering. 4:15-19

      A.  Suffering That Is . . Christlike. 4:15-16

15 None of you, however, should suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a meddler.

       16 But if anyone suffers as a Christian, he should not be ashamed, but should glorify God

       with that name.

 

      B.  Suffering That Is . . Condemning. 4:17-18

       17 For the time has come for judgment to begin with God's household; and if it begins

       with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?

       18 And if the righteous is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the

       sinner?

 

      C.  Suffering That Is . . Commendable. 4:19

19 So those who suffer according to God's will should, in doing good, entrust themselves

       to a faithful Creator. HCSB


       Suffering is part of life generally, and specifically the Christian life. We must not be ashamed to suffer this way. We may see the focus of God in these times where we would not see it in a time of ease. God may discipline us with judgement as we serve Christ. Sinners may see in our times of difficulty the judgement they can expect. Suffering may very well be in the will of God as He shapes and molds our character focusing us on our life of service. Would you not agree we must Stay Focused On God’s Purposes? Amen? Amen!