Our Position in Christ Calls Us to Fulfill Our Daily Obligations: 1 Peter 2:13-16

Occasion: Sunday Worship 18th May 2014

Illustration: Is it biblically wrong to refuse to pay taxes to a government that funds abortions, or to install pirated software on a computer when the company who made the software is in another country and so rich it will never matter?  What about breaking the speed limits on the motor way, or paying bribes when you have broken the law?  Since we are strangers and pilgrims in the earth, and our citizenship is in heaven, does it really matter if we break laws made by dishonest governments which are corrupt, arbitrary, or inconvenient?

Text: 1 Peter 2:13-16

Purpose: Peter wants his audience to understand that a citizenship in heaven does not free us from daily obligations in this life, and that this careful walk will silence ignorant critics

Proposition: God wants us to fulfill our daily obligations.

Interrogative: What truths will motivate us in our daily obligations?

Truth 1: We are to submit to government and its laws: 2:13-14 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

Titus 3:1 Be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.

Romans 13:1-7 Be subject unto the higher powers…the powers that be are ordained of God…he is the minister of God to thee for good…he is the minister of God…ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake…Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

Their context: Was very difficult…

  • Herod, Matthew 2: Killed every boy in Bethlehem who was two years and below, to protect his rule.
  • Herod the tetrarch, Matthew 14: was committing adultery with his brother’s wife, and had John the Baptist beheaded.
  • Pilate, John 19: Had Jesus put to death, when he knew that Jesus was an innocent man.
  • Herod the King, Acts 12: Persecuted the Jerusalem church and accepted worship as a god from the people.
  • Nero: Persecuted Christians, throwing them to lions and burning them to light his garden at night.

This context: Is very clear…

  • The command is to submit: This means to obey, by putting yourself under the rank of another.
  • The scope is every ordinance of man: There are no exceptions mentioned in the passage, and apart from examples like we have in Daniel 3, and in Acts 5, where there are direct commands by government to disobey clear scriptural; command, we are to obey all laws established by the government.
  • The context is Kings down to governors: All governments, even the evil are ordained by God, and under His sovereign control.

Our context: Is very tempting…

  • Bribery on the roads
  • Tax evasion
  • Pirated software
  • Driving without a license or fraudulent documents
  • Working around the system

Truth 2: We are to submit for the Lord: 2:13 For the Lord’s sake…

Our lives are not about us, but rather about Him.  We exist for Him, not the other way around.  We must have a God-centered worldview, not a man-centered worldview as the heathen who profess to know God, but actually do not.

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.

Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

  • For His name: For the Lord’s sake…
  • For His pleasure: This is the will of God…
  • From a pure motive: As free…not using your liberty as a cloak of maliciousness

Truth 3: This submission will silence skeptics: 2:15-16 That with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

Notice how much Peter emphasizes this truth in his epistle:

1 Peter 1 Now for a season…ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations…

 1 Peter 2 They speak against you as evildoers…

1 Peter 3 If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled…but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ…for it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

1 Peter 4 We walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries…they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.

1 Peter 4 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye…if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

1 Peter 5 The God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

The Christian church was under constant scrutiny, and subject to many false accusations during these early days.  It is still under such scrutiny, and those who stand unashamedly for the truth, will be watched.  Peter’s point is simple.

  • Do right: With well doing
  • Actions speak louder that words: Put to silence
  • Criticism is coming from a position of spiritual blindness: Ignorance of foolish men

You must live by a distinctly Christian worldview, or your life will provide an unnecessary stumbling block to hearing and embracing the gospel.

Conclusion: God wants us to fulfill our daily obligations.

  • Are you obeying government and its laws?
  • Are you obeying for the Lord?
  • Is your submission silencing your skeptics?

 

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