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1 Peter (4:12-14,) 5:6-11

finalexampass

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.

But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does. 7 The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. [NRSV]

I do not remember being excused from taking final exams in my schooling career. Some of the final days of each term were easier than others. There is something fundamentally missing if we exclude the final exams.

I realize it has become the incentive to study and work hard all along and if you do so throughout the term, the final would be a redundant pressure, and yet, real life is filled with final exams that we ‘wish’ we could skip, but we are not given the pass.

Do you remember any particular finals?

I remember feeling overloaded with information that I questioned its importance on the remainder of my life.

I remember wondering in some classes, would I have an “A” and others would I have a “D” and be grateful.

My studiousness improved the longer I went to school.  Kindergarten to the senior class, two years at Oxford, two years at Emory, three years at Candler, five years at Gammon at the ITC. 25 of my 53 years have been spent in school. 53 of my 53 have been filled with tests and exams that question, measure, and challenge my faith.

If I gave myself a grade on my spiritual maturity I would prefer to be compared and measured with the hitters in baseball. Where a good season might be in the .300-.400s. comparing that is still failing compared to the A,B, C etc scale.

What I can say, is that my needs improvement is improving, the more exams I prepare for, face, endure, and reflect upon in my life.

For our Students and for us all

Real life/Faith is not excused from exams, tests, & trials.

Verse 7 begins with a call for the end of all things as the context in which we live.

Live as if the final exam is tomorrow.

  1. Be Serious: Be responsible for your own actions
    1. Don’t sign up for the blame your neighbor course
    2. Don’t be uninformed or excuse yourself from
      1. learning and
      2. growing
  2. Discipline Yourself
    1. No one else can have faith for you
    2. The prayers of others are not enough
    3. Take the mindfulness of #1 and apply it with accountability
  3. Maintain Constant Love for one another
    1. The extra credit is to matriculate in practicing love for each other
    2. The place to get on track, when we fall off the wagon, is to love
      1. and keeping practicing love,
      2. even if you don’t feel it,
      3. love will come to life.
  4. Hospitable without Complaining
    1. Hospitality: Doing what it takes to connect, welcome, share, interact, with others
    2. Even when we have reason to complain, do not let that stop us from showing hospitality
    3. Even when we disagree with one another, err on the side of hospitality, (not just a southern thing.)
  5. Be responsible with God’s grace as a good steward
    1. We thrive on Grace but know that with freedom that Grace afford
    2. Arrogance, Apathy, Anger, Selfishness, Coveting, Untruthfulness, and the like cloud and distance us from living in Grace.
      1. If the teacher allows you to rework your paper if you received a failing grade, don’t wait to fail in the future. God see us as we are.
  6. Use the gifts you have been given
    1. Don’t wait to get started for the new equipment
    2. Don’t hesitate to procrastinate
    3. See that God gives each of us, what we need to begin in faith.
  7. If you talk, speak God’s word
    1. Not everyone’s gift is speaking, but if you do, make clear that your message is true in reflecting God’s Word and not our twist on God’s word.
  8. If you serve, rely on God’s strength alone
    1. Not everyone is good at responding and acting when it comes to sharing your faith, but know that God does not take a summer break from expecting us to trust God’s strength and not rely on ours alone.
  9. The Goal: All this, so that God get’s the glory in all things through Jesus Christ

The Catch/Hook: Final exam is the same as daily exams.

  • Do you wait and study only when you must?
  • Do you procrastinate?
  • Do you get lost in the getting prepared to learn and lead and are so organized but never find God’s strength or grace?
  • Do you give us when it get’s difficult?
  • Do you find yourself distracted?
  • 1 Peter is a prayerful call to action and accountability
  • The Teacher has left the room but will show up at any moment, what type of student will you and I become?

Hear the Good News!

Jesus is our strength and teacher

Jesus is our grace and hope

God’s Holy Spirit is our guide and power

If Christ’s return is today, tomorrow or 10,000 years from now, the final exam is in progress.

 

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