Sermon Notes & References

Christian Submission

1 Peter 2:13-17

June 9, 2019

13 Be obedient to every institution pertaining to humankind for the Lord’s sake; whether to the king [ie., the emperor] as supreme, 14 or to governors as being sent for his [ie., the king’s] sake in order for the maintenance of justice [or, judgement] on doers of evil and commendation of the doers of good 15 (because this is God’s will: by your doing good to muzzle the ignorance of unthinking persons), 16 as free-born [free citizens] yet not having this ‘free-bornness’ as a cloak of evil, but as bond-slaves of God 17 be respectful [honouring] to all persons, love the brotherhood, fearfully reverence God, honour the king.                                                 (RGH)


A. Introduction

    1. Our Society Footnote

    2. “God’s New Society”

B. Living unto the Lord (v 13a) Footnote

C. Obeying Human Rulers (vv 13b-14)

    1. Human Institutions Footnote

    2. Their Purpose Footnote

D. Silencing the Opposition (v 15) Footnote

E. Using our Liberty (v 16) Footnote

F. Being Foursquare Christians (v 17)

Endnote  1 Peter 2:13-17. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Christian Submission


A. Introduction

    1. Our Society

        a. God had an intention for mankind when He created them

            (A)    God made the pronouncement, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’ (Genesis 1:18)

            (B)    so He set Adam to the task of naming the animals

            (C)   from which emerged there was no animal a suitable helper for him

            (D)   so God created Eve out of Adam

            (E)    the start of human society: God developed social order over time

                 (1)    first a couple – the first building block of society

                 (2)    then a family

                 (3)    after the flood, the extended family: Noah & those with him

                 (4)    later into tribes, as Noah’s descendants multiplied (Gen. 10)

                 (5)    and on account of the tower of Babel: nations (Gen. 11)

            (F)    mankind has ever since been governed by natural and moral laws in all the earth

                 (1)    that is the message of Romans 13:1-7 which we read earlier

                 (2)    not all those human moral laws are spiritually good laws

                 (3)    but though imperfect, they are a framework for society

        b. we live in a highly structured society today

            (A)    laws govern most of our decisions and actions

            (B)    much more so that in the OT or in the Roman Empire

            (C)   illustration of the ‘Migratory Bird Act’

            (D)   so, there is in us the rebellious Adamic nature what kicks at laws

                 (1)    people do not stop at a stop sign; exceed the speed limit

                 (2)    hire lawyers to get around laws: true in Jesus’ & our days

                 (3)    engage in civil disobedience when we disagree with laws

            (E)    but what God has to say to us today in what Peter has written should make us pause twice before such rebellion


    2. “God’s New Society”

        a. that is the title of a book by John Stott on the church as defined in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians

            (A)    elsewhere he wrote of the Sermon on the Mount as the Christian Counter-Culture – the contrasting nature of the new society of God

            (B)    which sermon some has called the “Manifesto of the Kingdom”

        b. God has a further plan for society, a plan including salvation from sin

            (A)    in the opening verse of this book, Peter reminds the readers that they were aliens in those countries, regardless of their birth place

            (B)    and in verse 11 of this chapter, that they and we are ‘aliens and strangers’ in this world – all the more reason not to be conformed to the world, but transformed in the way we live

            (C)   we who were once not a people are now a people of God (verse 10)

            (D)   yet, though we are now citizens of that new nation, that does not mean that our earthly obligations have been set aside, wiped out

            (E)    indeed, instead we find that they are intensified

            (F)    from a new motivation


B. Living unto the Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Verse 13a

    1. ‘Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake …’


    2. Our Higher Purpose

        a. Stephen Decatur, Endnote a U.S. navy captain, who brought to an end the Barbary coast piracy, said ‘Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.'

            (A)    that was a great expression of patriotism

            (B)    and many splendid things have been done from patriotism

            (C)   but high a motivation as that may be, yet it pales before ours

        b. ‘For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.’ (Romans 14:7-8)

            (A)    this is what motivates the believer in his or her Christian submission

            (B)    first of all, we have become members of the body of Christ

                 (1)    everything we say and do affects the other members

                 (2)    “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)

            (C)   but greater than this arises from the salvation that is in Jesus Christ

                 (1)    1 Peter 1:18 reminds us of this fact: ‘knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,’

                 (2)    our redemption from the bondage of sin into gospel liberty

                     (a)    cost Jesus everything including His life

                     (b)    the innocent Lamb of God was infected with our sin

                 (3)    so our greatest desire must be to please him

            (D)   but, if we do wrong, we bring ill repute upon the Name of Jesus, we tarnish the sweetest and dearest name we know

        c. that is our purpose, motivation, in Christian submission


C. Obey Human Rulers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Verses 13b-14

    1. ‘13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.’


    2. Mankind’s Institutions

        a. “Submit yourselves ... to ...human institution ... to a king ... governors’

        b. institution, the same word as ‘creation’ – but, while such appear to be man’s, in ultimate reality they are God’s – part of his plan for society

            (A)    just as the social order developed in stages, so is the chain of human authority

            (B)    at the top is the king (today: premier, president, prime minister)

            (C)   or, as he was termed in the Roman Empire, the emperor

        c. it if from the emperor that all the lesser officials receive authority

            (A)    the centurion asking Christ to heal his servant knew this

                 (1)    ‘For I, too, am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” (Luke 7:8)

                 (2)    in faith he knew this to be true of Jesus, knowing that Jesus had authority delegated to Him from God

            (B)    Jesus expressed the same to Pilate who could not deny it: ‘Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; …”’ (John 19:11a)

        d. Peter looks down the layers of ‘governors’ which covers a broad band of officials, rulers or leaders

            (A)    these are his agents

            (B)    they are sent by the emperor through the chain of authority

            (C)   in order to carry out his purposes


    3. Their Purpose

        a. when Peter wrote this letter

            (A)    probably in the early 60'sAD

            (B)    events were shaping up for Nero’s great persecution of Christians

            (C)   which took Peter’s life

            (D)   even as Peter records Jesus’ warning of this in 2 Peter

        b. knowing this, why are we instructed to obey such men?

            (A)    Daniel 4:25 explains, ‘the Most High is ruler over the relam of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’

            (B)    he is working all things together to fulfill His eternal plans

            (C)   moreover, Romans 13:1-7 shows that it is not the worthiness of the man, but of the office that is in view

        c. sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

            (A)    Paul, in Roman 13, takes the chain of authority back to God, but here Peter only looks at the human angle

            (B)    Calvin and other notables disagree with me, but I think the words and context make this clear

            (C)   it is in the interest of the prosperity of a nation that good deeds be rewarded, and the evil punished – when this is not the case, then anarchy takes over – history gives evidence to this over and over

            (D)   thus it is to the benefit of the ruler of a nation to see that this is so

        d. so, then, the general purposes of human authority

            (A)    though it may not be knowingly

            (B)    coincides with God’s purpose

            (C)   to punish the evil, to reward the good


D. Silencing the Opposition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Verse 15

    1. ‘For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.’


    2. A Further Reason

        a. this is an additional incentive given to Christians to do this

        b. it quiets the opposition

        c. people sometimes speak of ‘seeking God’s will”

            (A)    often it is staring out at them from the pages of Scripture

            (B)    as in “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

            (C)   and again, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification;…” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

            (D)   and so here: because

        d. silencing the opposition, allows the gospel to be heard & heeded

            (A)    to the salvation of men and women, boys and girls

            (B)    and praise to God in Christ Jesus


E. Using our Liberty. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Verse 16

    1. ‘Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.’


    2. Freedom in Christ

        a. we have already made reference back to the price paid by Jesus Christ to bring us redemption – deliverance from being enslaved to sin

            (A)    through His death we are freed from the penalty & guilt of sin

            (B)    but also we read, “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)

            (C)   which is a confirmation of Jesus’ own words of promise: “If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

        b. if we consider these things together, then we see that to use our Christian liberty to do evil deeds – to break the rules that rightfully govern society – is a contradiction in terms

            (A)    we are using that freedom to cover up what is wrong

            (B)    Illustration of “Spy vs. Spy” – re translation as “cloak”

            (C)   this very manner speaks of willful, deceptive disobedience to Christ

        c. no, what God wants is that we be …


F. Foursquare Christians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Verse 17

    1. ‘Honour all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honour the king.’


    2. Christian Attitudes

        a. no, I am not asking you to join the church founded about a century ago by Aimée Semple McPherson – The Foursquare Gospel Church

        b. but rather that the four phrases in this verse form a square defining our attitude as Christians in four different spheres of life

        c. the word honour, used in the first and last is the same word

            (A)    showing that there should be no difference in the character of our attitude towards men, whether of high or low estate

            (B)    but was far more to the point, maybe, when it was written

            (C)   for then, the king (Caesar) sought to be worshipped as divine

        d. our attitude to our Christian brothers, though, takes on an added dimension: that of following Christ’s words that we love one another

        e. and finally, toward God, there is to be shown something much deeper that respectful honour

            (A)    fear conveys the idea of the deepest reverence towards God

            (B)    fear implies the awe we need to feel respecting His greatness

            (C)   fear means the dread overcoming any man in facing his Creator

            (D)   it is who God is that will shape all these other attitudes.


G. Conclusion

    1. Let us therefore, as Paul encourages Timothy, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)