1 Peter 4:7, “The End (Telos) of all things is at hand.”

In the past three messages, we’ve seen that “the End” is a day (the seventh day), that is a kingdom, that is a boat, that is a tabernacle, that is a temple, that is a person, that is the Way, that is like a van that is “at hand,” parked in the garden of your soul.

Jesus said, “I am the End… the Beginning… and the Way.”

For the past three weeks, we’ve been talking about my family’s journey to the Magic Kingdom (Disney World) in our minivan, and how, on the way from Denver to Orlando, I surprised my children in Junction City, Kansas, only to discover that my children did not want to get back in the van, for they had set their hopes on the bowling alley and the park in Junction City. And how I finally said, “Just get in the van,” and grudgingly they did, and how God “whispered to my soul, “Peter, now you know what it’s like for me, being your Daddy.” And then I (child of God) also got in the Van.

This space and time (the sixth day) is like Junction City. In Junction City, the Father’s will becomes our will, even if it’s only the size of a mustard seed at the time.

In a garden, at a junction, Jesus prayed, “nevertheless, not my will but thy will.” “Not my will” must be Adam’s will. And “thy will” must be God’s will. So, who is willing to not will their own will, but God’s will? It must be the God Man, the Eschatos Adam, the Father in his Van, Divinity in human flesh and blood, come to get us in Junction City. We are justified (made right) by the “Faith of Christ.” “If there is Faith in us, Christ is in us (See, Eph. 3:17)” wrote Augustine. We’re saved by Grace through faith, and travel by faith in Grace. Faith is Trust, and Grace is Relentless Love.

Faith in Love (and Our Father is Love) is what makes the Magic Kingdom “magic.” This Kingdom starts in the van and actually is the van — it’s the Body of Christ.

Well, imagine if I had gotten the kids in the van, turned around and said (call this “Proclamation A”), “Look. I’m going to the Magic Kingdom, and the two of you that love me most and that love each other best, I’ll take with me into the Kingdom when we arrive. But the other two, who don’t love me most and don’t love each other best, I’ll sell for medical testing in Florida, and I’ll never ever see you again.” Would any of them love each other and trust me at all, or only pretend that they did?

But imagine if I had gotten the kids in the van, turned around, and said (call this “Proclamation B”), “Look. I’m taking you all to the Magic Kingdom . . . even if it kills me. But none of us can arrive until all of us arrive, because you all are my Magic Kingdom.” Would that have been different?

If I had issued Proclamation A, and my children believed me (for they didn’t know me),
#1. They would’ve thought: There is not one end but two equal opposite ends (that aren’t “ends”)—endless bliss and endless torment.
#2. They each would’ve thought: The “end” is dependent on my own judgments, my choices, my will.
#3. Commanded to love me or else, they would try to love me but secretly despise me, and least of all trust me — for I had commanded love and threatened to not love.
#4. Commanded to love each other or else, they might pretend to love each other. But in the name of Love, they would compete (try to be first by making the other last); they would divide (So even if they acted just the same, each would be utterly alone.); and everything would die.

It’s the way of the world; it’s the “lust of the flesh”; it sounds like “religion,” doesn’t it?

We think, “No father would say such things,” and yet we — the institutional church — do say that “Our Father in heaven” says such things. We didn’t always say such things, but once we became part of Rome, we did. And we began to compete, and divide, and become whitewashed tombs and the walking dead.

Now imagine if I had turned around and issued Proclamation B: “Look. I’m taking you all to the Magic Kingdom even if it kills me, but none of us can arrive until all of us arrive, because you all are my magic kingdom… and I am yours.”

My children might actually believe (at least a bit — faith the size of a seed),
#1. That there is one End, One Magic Kingdom.
#2. And that this End is not dependent on their judgment; the End is my judgment, my choice, my will, on which they would depend.
#3. And they might trust me and actually love me, even if it hurt. For this Love is not simply a commandment; it’s a Promise guaranteed with an Oath. It’s a covenant in my own flesh and blood.

Our Father sees himself in you. 1 Peter 1:23, “You’ve been begotten from above of imperishable seed.” I had a good father. I miss his hugs. He used to look at me as if inside of me was a magic kingdom . . . or seed. And here’s a shock: He looked at my sisters — who were so different than me, and often a real pain to me — in the same way!

Isn’t it strange that for 1600 years the institutional church (in the name of Peter, “the Pope”) has divided over our gifts and differences rather than united and communed, which is the very reason that God made us all different and uniquely gifted, according to Peter?

1 Peter 4:7, “The End of all things is at hand. Wake up and get sober (my literal translation)!” “Wake up and get sober” means “Repent.” This is the prescription; the rest of our text is description. “Above all having the earnest love in one another… As each has received a gift, using it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace… to him belongs the glory and the dominion into the ages of the ages. Amen.”

Well, if I issued Proclamation A, my children might believe that there is one End that is not dependent on them, they might trust me and love me and …

#4. They might start loving each other, even as they loved themselves, for they would see themselves (and me and even a kingdom) in one another, not competing but cooperating, not dividing but communing, no longer dead but alive… in the van — that is, the Kingdom that is “at hand.”

Jesus came preaching, “Repent: the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
Peter just told us the same thing, “The End of all things is at hand. Wake up!”

In Greek, the word translated “at hand” refers to the crook of the arm, and so literally means “something that you could reach out and hug.”

In 2004, my father died and ascended to heaven. He didn’t have any of the really cool gifts (in my estimation), but he was the most Christ-like man that I’ve ever known. He loved people.

In 2007, when my world was falling apart, an acquaintance came to my office at the church. He told me about an amazing visitation that he had received at four in the morning in his home as he walked to his bathroom. He described a Presence that was so glorious it pressed him to the floor, rendering him unable to blink or breathe. He said that he felt an intense longing for a father, and he longed for my father (My dad was a father to all sorts of men) but remembered that my father had died. But then, he thought of me and suddenly realized that I was a frightened and confused boy just like him. At that, Bryan looked at me and said, “Then your father, Dan, touched me on the shoulder and said in all confidence and Joy, ‘Peter looks like he could use a hug.’ I was suddenly filled with love for you. The fear vanished. I stood up, and that’s why I’m here.” And then, he hugged me.

Heaven was unimpressed that my dad could break the spacetime continuum and appear in a bathroom at four in the morning. But Heaven was thoroughly impressed with the Love in Bryan’s hug, for God is Love and real Love is God, “Our Father.” And God in us is the Body of Christ, that is the Van that is at hand.

Repent. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Subscribe to the Podcast

All Sermons