Keeping your head in the end times | 1 Peter 4:1-11 | Chapel Hill Church
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
This morning we’re talking about the end times…and last week, something occurred that suggests the return of Christ is imminent: the United States Senate had a unanimous vote! By unanimous consent, the chamber passed the Sunshine Protection Act, a law that will make Daylight Savings Time permanent. It still has to go to the House of Representatives (where anything can get screwed up), but the fact that 100 senators could actually agree on anything…if that’s not a sign of the end times, I don’t know what is. Now…if they can just start working together on things that really matter to our country!
A few nights ago Cyndi and I invited a young soldier to dinner. The talk turned to Ukraine and Putin’s brutality. 80 years ago, things that happened in Europe could stay in Europe. But in a nuclear world, we ALL pay attention to a madman with his finger on a button. And let’s face it, we are a target-rich environment. JBLM, Kitsap Naval Base, Bangor Trident Sub Base. As my young friend pointed out, “Guess who’s right in the middle of all of that!” A little fishing village called Gig Harbor.
Let’s be honest: We’ve all thought about it. The threat of war. The threat of nuclear war. Some of us put it out of our minds… some of us obsess about it…but the possibility that a far-distant war could become close and personal real quick…it’s a reality, isn’t it? So what do we do? How do we respond when such a threat hangs over us? Well…we aren’t the first Christians to thing about such things. Peter said, “The end of all things is at hand. I Pet 4.7”
“Are these the end times?” I’ve been asked that question more times in the past two years than ever before. It’s easy to see why. In Revelation 6, John had a vision of Four Horsemen PIC who would bring the apocalypse to earth. The white horseman was intent on destabilizing the nations of the earth, the red horseman brought war, the black horseman brought food shortages and famine and the pale horseman brought pestilence and death. International unrest, war, shortages, famine, pestilence and death. These are our headlines, aren’t they?
I don’t know if these are THE end times. But we are certainly closer than when Peter wrote, “The end of all things is at hand.” So…what do we do? When the Four Horsemen gallop across the land…when we have a nuclear target painted on our town…what do we do? When the news channels are 24-hour doomsday purveyors…what do we do? (Besides turning off the bleeping news channels?)
Well…here’s what Peters says: Keep your Head. Keep your head. Listen to more of verse 7. “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded …..” The Greek idea behind those two phrases…self-controlled…sober-minded… can be summed up with one phrase. Keep your head. The end of all things is at hand; THEREFORE…keep your head. When everyone around you is freaking out…or hoarding toilet paper…or attacking one another…you keep your head. When those around you are numbing their pain or dulling their senses or distracting themselves with debauched living…keep your head. When News Channels are screaming at you and Chicken Little is squawking, “The sky is falling…”… keep your head.
When I was a child, my dad would tuck me in at night. We might talk or play games before prayers. But one memory I have after all these years is a poem he read to me: “If” by Rudyard Kipling. Every father ought to find and read that poem to his children. The opening line goes like this:
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…”
It is easy to feel like the sky is falling. Like things will never return to normal. No sooner has the pandemic died down…than Putin invades Ukraine. It would be easy to lose our heads, lose control, lose hope. But, Peter says, BECAUSE the end is near…BECAUSE things are going crazy…you must keep your head. This is good advice for everyone. But particularly, for Christians.
…to read more, visit https://www.chapelhillpc.org/listen