1 Peter 4:7-11
But the end of all things is at hand: be you therefore sober, and watch to prayer.…
The warning of the apostle meant one thing to the Jew, another to the Christian. To the Jew it meant that the end of his nation, as a nation, had come. It meant that all the types and signs of the Messiah had been fulfilled in Christ, the true Light had appeared, and the shadows must flee away. But for the Christian the text moans more. For each of us, in one way or another, it is true that "the end of all things is at hand." Yes, of all things which belong to this life.
1. The end of earthly greatness, or wealth, or pleasure, is at hand. We read of our most famous heroes, conquerors, statesmen, and all we can see of them is a tomb in our calm cathedral. When the famous General and Conqueror Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, was old they used to beguile the tedious hours by reading aloud the history of his own campaigns. Then he would turn to the reader and ask the question, "Who commanded?" He had forgotten all the glories of Blenheim, and of Ramillies, of Oudenarde, and Malplaquet. I saw but lately a lock of King Charles I's hair, that is all that remains of the martyr king of England. The end of earthly greatness is at hand.
2. Again, the end of earthly friendship and connections is at hand.
3. Next, the end of our opportunities is at hand. Ah! make the most of your chances; once lost, they come not back again. Wisely did the old Greeks write upon the walls of one of their temples, "Know thy opportunity."
4. Once more, the end of our time of trial and waiting is at hand. Peter bids us prepare ourselves for that great beginning which commences when this life is ended. He bids us to be sober, to be watchful in prayer, to have fervent love for one another, and to show it in deeds as well as words. You would not expect the flowers to grow in your garden if the weeds were allowed to have the upper hand. Neither can you expect the graces of the soul to flourish if your body is your master. And not only should we be sober in our bodily passions, but in our words. There are many good people, sober people in other things, who are very intemperate in their talk. And again, we need to be sober in our religion, especially in these days. I do not mean that we are to be idle and indifferent, but we need not be noisy. Next, we are bidden to watch unto prayer.
(H. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.