Stewards of God's Grace

by Christian Alf

This week I was preaching on 1 Peter 4:1-11; I said that I changed plans and redirected my focus onto the first line. We took a deep dive into Jesus, being both fully divine and fully man and then what this means for us. Go listen or watch it here.

We skipped talking about the second half of the verses in this section: 1 Peter 7-11. I wanted to spend a few minutes writing a blog about part of this section. Here are the verses:

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.

Peter just finished encouraging the reader to change their focus from the passions of the flesh to the will of God. The time has passed for us to continue to desire sin, now is the time for us to seek the will of God. Peter then says “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly” This is reminiscent of Jesus’ greatest commandment. To test Jesus, one of the Pharisees asked him what the greatest commandment was. Jesus answered: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40). You see, in both cases we cannot truly love our brothers and neighbors unless we first love God. That is the start of both these commands, that we would worship God first and only. And as a result we would love our neighbors.

Peter gives us two examples of this love. The first is to “show hospitality to one another without grumbling”. Hospitality is more than just inviting friends over. It is much easier for me to invite my friends over who look like me: families with young children and ties to the church, engineering, or the military. It is more difficult to love those who do not look like me. And then when I have people into our house what image am I presenting? A few weeks ago I encouraged everyone to ‘Pause and Reflect’ on the message being preached to them by books, music, and media (link). If I pause and reflect on the message being preached by my house when others come over it is that we have perfect little children and that everything is always clean. Neither of which is true. True hospitality is loving others where they are and loving them from where we are, dirty house and broken relationships. I am encouraged by Rosaria Butterfield (listen to this podcast or read her book)

Peter then goes on to call us to use our spiritual gifts, and we each have spiritual gifts. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” We are all members of the same body, but we have different gifts. We need to use the gifts to serve one another, and this will help with the hospitality piece. We do not need to live in a vacuum, we work with other believers to better show hospitality and love to one another. The example of the Whitakers opening their house up for us every week, and even the week when they were gone, is amazing. They are so generous with their time, space, and house. It is encouraging to me to see others live in this way and use their gifts (Hospitality and preaching the Word).

And why do we love one another and encourage each other to use our gifts? “in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Everything is done to bring God more glory, so that we make much of him and less of us!