April 15

“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. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:7-11)=

Do you have a teenager who wants to do things that are risky, unwise, or even dangerous? We who have survived our teenage years are on the other side now and know how many foolish ideas can surface in their brains, which, by the way, are not finished developing. In the same way, we live on the finished side of Christ’s atoning death, resurrection, and ascension. We know the outcome of our Savior’s sacrifice and look forward to the future that we have with him. In this way, we are at the “end of all [spiritual] things” and not the beginning. At any time, Jesus may return, or he may not return anytime soon; but that is the next great event in redemptive history for God’s people.

This being the case, we are called to be self-disciplined and realistically humble prayer warriors who love and forgive each other. We love with the love that the Holy Spirit gives us from Christ, in appreciation of what he has done and continues to do for us. We offer joyful, voluntary hospitality and service in the body of Christ, as stewards of God’s grace. Church is not something we can do alone. Sitting in front of a TV or devise while watching other people worship is not doing church; listening to a podcast is not doing church. Participating in worship must involve some contribution on our part. See how the 1 Peter passage continues, “whoever speaks…whoever serves…by the strength that God supplies.” Being an aloof visitor, observer, or watcher of worship will not do at all; we involve ourselves to serve God by serving the body, the men, women, and children whom God has called together for his purposes, to witness for Jesus Christ to the world and each other.

I have intentionally not used the word “should” concerning the service we offer to our brothers and sisters in Christ. I usually omit it because if we are truly regenerated, we want to do these things and are empowered to do them. “Should” usually come from a place of self-effort, pressure, or threat of punishment; therefore, legalists often speak in “shoulds” and “oughts.” When we have experienced the grace of God we want to love, show hospitality, share the gospel, and serve alongside others at church and in church.

Is it your sincere, joyful desire to participate in worship today, or are you forcing yourself to go to a building to sing the right songs, say proper prayers, and listen to a moral sermon? How can you find more joy in worship to glorify God? “To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

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