Practical Christianity Or End Time Ethics

Scripture: I Peter 4:7-11

7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer. 8 Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.– 1 Peter 4:7-11 (CSB)


If you’re like me, you first thought after reading verse 7 is that Peter was wrong because it has been 2,000 years plus since he wrote this letter. But the Greek word he uses is a very familiar word to us in English, it is telos and it carries multiple meaning: actually four–

  1. Termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time).

  2. The end, the last in any succession or series.

  3. That by which a thing is finished, its close.

  4. The end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose.

Peter could have meant the pupose or aim of all things is near. We don’t know. We do know that Jesus taught us that no one knows the day or hour. Peter is a practical man. He came from the middle class. He was a fisherman and that was not easy work. Peter was a man of action and here he is giving us practical wisdom on how to live our lives. The opening line, The end of all things is near, is there for a purpose. We Christians need a sense of urgency. What happened when a doctor tells a patient that he/she has six months to live? Have you witnessed such a thing up close and personal. I have. I have had several friends that heard the doctor say, “You have cancer and in inoperable. We can prolong your life with treatment but we cannot cure your cancer.” Let me tell you what happens: they go through a period of shock and denial; then they move to acceptance and then they reorder their lives. They eliminate trivial pursuits. They stop wasting time. They began to cherish relationships. They totally reshuffle their priorities and put the most important things first.

TRANSITION: Isn’t this the way we are supposed to live?


  1. BE ALERT–The Greek word means to be of sound mind, sane, (figuratively) moderate:—be in right mind, be sober (minded), soberly. 
  2. BE SOBER— We usually use this word in reference to Alcohol but it means more than not being drunk. It means to be calm and collected in spirit, temperate, and dispassionate. Obviously Peter is not trying to sell books are tapes. He is not trying to scare folks with a doomday prediction. He is doing the opposite: BE CALM. We never accomplish very much in a state of panic. I don’t know if its just me but traffic everywhere seems to be getting worse. It may be my age but I really think there are too many cars for too little road. The LORD speaks to me but I need to be in a calm state to hear Him. I’m not saying He cannot speak in the tension of traffic but I sure love my quiet little cabin.
  3. BE PRAYERFUL–Again Peter connects the word for calm to prayer. Yes, we can all pray in a state of panic but to have sweet communion with Christ, we need a quiet place. Chuck Swindoll tells two stories about prayer in his commentary on this passage.

    I suppose it was him on the plane but in a routine flight to NY city, on his decent to land, the pilot realized that his landing gear was not coming down and locking into place. He continued to work with the levers and buttons as he circled the airport but with no success. Finally, he calmly announced to the passengers that the landing gear was not operational and they would be making a crash landing. He calmly explained how the process would work and immediately flight attendants began circulating, giving instruction and preparing folks for the rough landing. They told them that on command, they were to put their heads between their legs and hold their ankles. It is a good think I was not aboard because I cannot put my head between my legs. I do good to tie my shoes. There was some panic among passengers but the flight attendants did their job. The emergency crew at the airport coated the runway with foam and awaited the plane with all the emergency equipment available. Upon final approach, the captain came over the intecom with these word, “At this moment, in accordance with international aviation codes established in Geneva, it is my obligation to inform you that if you believe in God, you should commence prayer.” The story has a happy ending. No one was injured. One passenger was so impress that she called the airline the next day and asked for a copy of the code. The airline refused to comment. AMAZING: the only thing that brought this secret code into the light was a crisis. I don’t see how God could not be offended. SECOND STORY: A report got caught near the mouth of Mount Saint Helens in 1980. He literally had to run for his life. He forgot to turn off his camera which recorded every word. The audio recorded coughing, gagging, heavy breathing and prayer, one prayer after the other.

  4. BE LOVINGAbove all {Peter says} maintain constant love for one another since love covers a multitude of sins.” Peterson says, “Love each other as if your life depended upon it.” The AV reads...And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves. The Greek word means stretched out, intent, earnestly, assiduously, constantly without ceasing. Peter is not implying that our love can cover our sins. He is simply making the point that when we love each other intently, we overlook each others faults. June knows my faults: it is not that she is blind to them but she is able to overlook them because she loves me. You either love or get a divorce.
  5. BE HOSPITABLE [V.9] and do it without complaining. We have totally lost the meaning of hospitality. We think it is inviting friends over for dinner. The Message reads: Be quick to give a meal to the hungry or a bed to the homeless. We are not into that kind of hospitality are we?
  6. BE SERVANTS [V.10-11] –Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God…. if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides. Note: Peter puts more emphasis on serving than all the others. Serving others is the most practical way to demonstrate Christ love: if we do it cheerfully and without desire for recognition. I noticed something in my study that I had not seen before…FROM THE STRENGTH GOD PROVIDES...WOW!
  7. BE WITNESSES [V.11] If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words. Perry told me Sunday that he had just finished a book about lay evangelism. Every believer is to be a witness. God called me to be a witness before He called me to preach.


All of the above should result in one thing: God being glorified through Jesus Christ and this is in everything.