7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, 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.We are in the end times, it may be tempting to look at verse 7 and think that since it was so long ago that Peter said the end was at hand, he must have been wrong. However, he wasn't wrong. In the scheme of History, it wasn't really that long ago. We have been in the end times since Christ ascended, moving closer to His return each day, and each day the signs increase all around us, indicating that His return is imminent. He wants us to continue to live our lives, but always with the knowledge that He could return any moment.
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now
“ If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:7-19, New King James Version)
Remain watchful, see the signs around you and talk to God about them, ask Him to help you understand their significance, ask Him for wisdom, and He will give it. Continue in love, hospitality and service to another, not grudgingly, not with a grumbling heart, but rather doing all for God's glory.
Expect some level of persecution, it may come of in only in the form of mockery, or it may be full blown persecution by an evil government that wants to make it a "hate crime" to teach certain parts of the Bible, but all of us need to realize that some for persecution is to be expected. It is not unusual, but rather is a normal occurrence when one follows Christ in this fallen world.
American Christians have had it easy so far, our idea of persecution has consisted mostly of people laughing at us behind our backs, and perhaps in extreme cases to our faces. We might even occasionally get yelled at, or if you live in certain cities, beat up because you believe. But most of us have never experienced these things, for most of us, we fear ridicule and think that is persecution. However, government sanctioned persecution is coming to America, I believe that in the very core of my heart. It is very near as the world becomes more and more tolerant of all viewpoints other than Christian, and more and more intolerant of our beliefs. In many places in the world, places that have had free speech laws similar to those in the U.S. it has become illegal to read certain portions of the Bible out loud in Church, or to express publicly your belief in what those parts of the Bible teach. Our own country is fast heading down that same road. Soon, belief in the Bible will called hatred and bigotry, and teaching the Bible will be a hate crime.
It is coming, we may be able to delay it through the democratic process, we be able to temporarily fight it in the courts. Certainly God may see fit to delay it if we get on our knees and pray earnestly for revival to sweep this land. If we fast and fall on our faces before God brokenhearted, not only over the sin of unbelievers in our land, but over our own sin. Perhaps if we humble ourselves, confess our sin, and recommit to God as Nehemiah did in Nehemiah 1:5-11. Perhaps God will hear, and send revival, and delay the persecution that is heading our way. Either way, whether He grants us a reprieve or not, we must trust God, totally commit our souls to Him, trusting that He knows what is best. We must continue to do good and to walk with Him, doing all to His glory.
In some cases we need to repent of being more political than spiritual, and of being busybodies in other people's matters, and in other cases we need to repent of not using the freedom we have to influence our government, either way we must repent of not putting God first, and not travailing in prayer over the direction our nation is taking. Judgment begins in the house of God, the Church must repent of its materialism, its apathy, and its prayerlessness. Revival always begins with an awakened awareness of sin and repentance from it. Let the Church examine itself and ask God to search it and know it. Let the individual Christian look into the mirror of God's word and ask God to show us if there is any wicked way within us. Let us come to Him humbly repenting, not just in hopes of avoiding persecution, but in humility, in deep pain over having dragged Christ's name through the muck by our actions. Let us truly be sorry for having dishonored and disobeyed god. Let us come to Him humbly and repent.
Lord, I confess to You that in so many ways I have strayed from Your ways and Your word. In so many ways I have not been serious and watchful, in so many ways I have sinned and not served You with all my heart, have not loved You all my heart, mind, and strength. Lord, I implore You, I beg You, send revival. Let revival be sent to this nation, and let it begin within my own heart, right now.