As we were reading, one passage in particular caught my eye because of its direct application for the life of the church.
I Peter 4:7-11 says, "But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for 'love will cover a multitude of sins.' Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
What can we learn from this passage? Let's take a look.
Because of what Jesus Christ has accomplished through His death and resurrection, we as His followers should live serious and watchful lives, abstaining from the lusts of the world while looking for Jesus' second coming. In all this, let us be praying people.
How should we treat one another in the church family? Peter tells us that the most important thing is not just love, but "fervent love." The word fervent suggests stretching and straining. We live this out by putting the good of others before our own and by being ready to quickly forgive.
We can show fervent love is various ways. One is to be hospitable to one another without any grumbling. Another is to minister to each other through the spiritual giftings the Holy Spirit has blessed us with. In all this, let us be careful of our speech, only speaking in line with God's expectations.
At the end of this paragraph, Peter reminds us of what the end goal is. We are to lovingly minister to one another so that God will be glorified through Jesus Christ. After all, glory and dominion belong to our God forever and ever.
In light of I Peter 4:7-11, how should we live? God expects us within the church to show fervent love to one another through the active use of our spiritual gifts in service to each other. When this occurs, the church is built up and, most important, God is glorified.
Let's all ask ourselves if we love the brethren with "fervent love."