This is an excerpt from a sermon I recently preached at Fairview Baptist Church. You can watch the whole sermon here.

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

In 1 Peter 4:7-9, we are reminded of our accountability to God in the day of judgment. In fact, the entirety of the New Testament emphasizes the expectation of the Lord’s return. Being sober minded, we must use our time wisely, knowing that at any moment we could be standing before God almighty. We must be dressed and ready for service.

This could be likened to the anticipation of expectant parents. It is always interesting when you get close to the due date. You prepare your car (install the car seat), you prepare a suitcase (or suitcases), you also prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. In other words, you are always ready to go to the hospital at a moment’s notice. This requires a constant state of readiness.

Interestingly enough, Peter connects this sober minded readiness to prayer and loving others. Readiness provokes thoughtful and constant communication with God. Readiness prepares you to immediately serve those around you in need.

These things “keep love constant”. They help us love with depth and endurance. When you consider the immediacy of Christ’s return, it gives you motivation to pray and love. And when you prayerfully consider God’s love for you, it kindles your love for others.

This love calls us to extend grace and forgiveness to those around us. When Christ returns, I do not want to be found with bitterness in my heart towards another brother or sister in Christ over a petty disagreement or hurt feelings over something done wrong. Love does not keep score, but grants forgiveness to those who seek it. In this sense, love covers a multitude of sins.

As Ed Clowney said, “Our love cannot pay the price for sin. Christ did that. But our love can imitate the mercy of God; our love can forgive, and forgiveness always pays a price.” In loving others as a kingdom community, we give a “this-world” demonstration of the world to come. We are called to glorify God by demonstrating to His dominion over every area of life.

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