1 Peter 4:17-19
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us…
How we may know when some judgment approacheth. God usually, before any heavy judgment, visits a people with lesser judgments.
1. "This, and this have I done," saith the Lord, "and yet ye have not returned unto Me" (Amos 4:6, 7). There be droppings before the ruin of a house.
2. Again, usually before some great calamity, God takes away worthy men, "the councillor, and the captain, and the man of war" (Isaiah 3:2, 3). This is a fearful presage that God threateneth some destruction, for they are the pillars of the church and the strength of the world; for they keep away evil and do good by their example and by their prayers many ways.
3. God usually visits a people when some horrible crying sins reign amongst them, as —
(3) When divisions grow amongst a people. Union is a preserver.
4. Again, when sin goes with some evil circumstances and odious qualities, which aggravate the same in the sight of God, as when sin grows ripe, and abounds in a land or nation.
(1) When it is impudent; when men grow bold in sin, making it their whole course and trade of life.
(2) When sin grows common and spreads far. It is an ill plea to say, Others do so as well as I. Alas! the more sin the more danger.
(3) When there is a security in sinning, without fear of the Almighty, as if men would dare the God of heaven to do His worst.
5. Unfruitfulness threateneth a judgment upon a people. When God, the great husbandman in His Church, sees that upon so great and continual cost bestowed upon us, we remain yet unfruitful, He will not suffer us long to cumber the ground of His Church.
6. Decay in our first love is a sign of judgment approaching.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?