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1 Peter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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When I last preached, Peter explained for us that we are
a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Pe 2:9). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Having said that, he went on to explain to us that this was not any reason to become puffed up with pride, since by God’s sovereign grace, He chose us in spite of our sinful, rebellious attitudes.
If you look at the way people with power and authority behave today, its completely different from what the Lord expects from His priests and disciples. We are not to aspire to power, to fine clothing and vestments, to be carried around in sedan chairs, to be honored in in the public square - this was how the Pharisee and Sadducees behaved, and Jesus told us that they already had their reward and could only expect eternal damnation, if they did not repent of their sins of pride and corruption.
We have to beware of spiritual pride - there is no place for it. Our chosen status as a holy nation and a royal priesthood have nothing to do with what we have done. We didn’t win an award or trophy from God because of something we did. He was gracious and chose us, in spite of our sinful rebellious state. That means that our conduct as Christians should be governed by that knowledge, and our joy at being saved.

Interrogative: How are we to conduct ourselves, in light of our chosen status?

Imperative: We must submit to all human authority as representatives of Christ.


What specifically does God expect of us in this situation?

1. Give honor to all (vv 13-17)

Be subject for the Lord’s sake..” That phrase, in the greek, means literally to become subordinate, in this case, to willingly enslave oneself because of the Lord.
Now remember, these were Jewish Christians, but nevertheless Jews, and the Jews had a reputation around the empire, as being unruly and difficult to govern. This fact is attested by secular Roman historians like Pliny and Josephus. In fact, it was this unruliness that played a part in the trial, conviction and execution of Jesus by Roman authorities.
Christians were developing a a bad reputation as well, for two main reasons. Like the Jews they refused to worship the Emperor, which was like treason. Even worse, from a Roman point of view, unlike the Jews, they proselytized, so they were openly trying to win converts to the faith, so their numbers tended to multiply whereever they were found. And the Roman authorities saw this as a growing rebellion.
Submission can be a hard thing - it goes against our pride and our sinful, self-centered nature. Peter is instructing Christ’s followers to mortify, or put to death, this nature and attitude and to do so because it is God’s will.
Human institutions.
According to Christ, even man made organizations and governments have been instituted by God. Therefore, We are to render unto Caesar, what is due Caesar.(Matt 22, Mark 17, Luke 20) Remember that Christ told this very thing to Pilate, right before Pilate passed judgment on Him. (John 19:11)
The apostle Paul said:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 13:1). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Peter goes on to tell them specifically some of the kinds of institutions to which he refers. He starts with two: whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Pe 2:13–14). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Civil government is instituted by God and Christians, have an obligation to it. Why is this? Peter tells them:
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Pe 2:15). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
So this is their purpose in civil society. Oftentimes, the ungodliness of civil authority conflicted with God’s commands, as happened in Acts 4 when Peter and John were instructed not to preach Christ, or in Daniel Chapter 3 with Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, or to Daniel himself in Chapter 6, when he refused to Darius edict not to worship anyone but Darius.
They are to live as free men and women, not as slaves. The word live here, refers to their way of life or manner of living. They are to conduct ourselves not as slaves, but as free people doing what they WANT to do, not what they HAVE to do.
Christians are free from the influence of sin to do the will of God; as opposed to unbelievers, who are bound by their sin and sinful tendencies. God freed us from the slavery of sin and so we must not use our newfound freedom as a license to slip back into sin. There is a concept today in many churches that is called “No Lordship” salvation - it is a notion that one can make a public profession of faith and then continue to sin, since “once saved, always saved”. A public profession of faith does not make one “saved”, only the saving work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. A person who exhibits no change in his or her life when they turn to Christ, is probably dishonest, and did not turn to Christ in faith. People who turn to Christ in faith exhibit a change in their lives. They may sometimes slide back into sin, but this will not be permanent, because Holy Spirit will convict God’s children of their sins and lead them back to Christ. When that doesn’t happen, they may never have been saved.
They were to value and honor everyone. In addition, they were expected to love the brotherhood, the fellowship of believers. Know this, you will spend eternity with the fellowship of believers, so we must truly learn to love one another now.
Fear the Lord (nobody wants anyone to have to suffer God’s wrath and His power over us is total), and to value, respect and honor the emperor.
The Roman emperors in Peter’s time were wicked and sinful men, but nevertheless, they were expected to respect the office.
Illustration: Charles Spurgeon had an interesting way of describing how we are to behave, which I will borrow. There may be an American living in Germany. There may be many things about Germany that he would like to change, but since he is an American, his attitude is that he should leave making changes in Germany to the German people. As an American, he is obligated to obey the laws, respect the people, and their goverment(if he gets a traffic ticket, he must pay it and must obey the tax laws). The politics of Germany is not his concern because he is an American; he accepts that he subject to the government in everything as long as I live there. But as an American, he is a representative of America to the German people. He should not want to bring discredit upon his country. If he meets Germans who think badly of America, by his conduct, he should want want to change their opinion.
He votes and participates in the government in America. His loyalty and allegiance are to America. These are his legitimate concerns as an American.
Similarly, Christians are citizens of heaven, living in the world. We are subject to the human institutions of the world, as long as we live here. We must obey the laws, honor and respect those in authority over us. As Christians living the the world, though, we represent the King of Heaven, and so as His ambassadors, we must conduct ourselves in a way to bring honor on our own country (Hebrews 11:14) and to persuade the people in the world of its beauty and desirability.
Argumentation: Submission is no longer considered a virtue by society. Rebellion came to be glorified in the 1960s over political, racial and gender issues and society distanced itself more and more from the belief that submission was a virtue. As a result, just as in the days of the Judges, people are doing what is right in their own minds and conflict is abounding over all manner of social and political issues. The ironic thing about this, is that those in rebellion insist on conformity and submission to ALL their ideas - these movements of rebellion are ruthless and cruel in their rigid views. They tolerate no dissent.
All of us have grown up and our schools and popular culture have glorified rebellion. Nevertheless, its important to know that no where does the Bible teach rebellion as a virtue and we, as Christians, should repent of that notion.

2. The glory of submission (vv 18-21)

This principle of submission carries on to every facet of our earthly existence. The term servants here, refers to household slaves. These slaves were often, but not always, better of than the slaves from Africa some 200 years ago.
This is what the Holman Bible Dictionary had to say about slaves:
SLAVE, SERVANT Person totally responsible to and dependent upon another person.
Slavery was prevalent and widely accepted in the ancient world. The economy of Egypt, Greece, and Rome was based on slave labor. In the first Christian century, one out of three persons in Italy and one out of five elsewhere was a slave. Huge gangs toiled in the fields and mines and on building projects. Many were domestic and civil servants. Some were temple slaves and others were craftsmen. Some were forced to become gladiators. Some were highly intelligent and held responsible positions. Legally, a slave had no rights; but, except for the gangs, most were treated humanely and were better off than many free persons. Domestics were considered part of the family, and some were greatly loved by their masters. (Then again, some were abused, and had to endure it since they had no rights.)
Brooks, J. A. (2003). Slave, Servant. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (p. 1511). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
So a slave’s quality of life depended upon the disposition of his/her master. Having said that, no matter how the master behaved, the expectations of the slave didn’t change. The slave was expected to be obedient regardless of his or her master’s disposition. Going back to the illustration we used a moment ago, my motivations as an American should not change, regardless of whether I’m in Germany, Great Britain, Kenya or Saudi Arabia. Christian slaves are not citizens of this world, so they represent the Lord regardless of their circumstances. The Christians in China still represent the Lord, no matter how badly their earthly masters treat them.
We are Christians, chosen by God the Father and redeemed by Christ. That does not change no matter how we are treated in the world. We cannot change our citizenship just to conform to the sinful, corrupt, society around us.
When we lived in England years ago, our son was bullied by some older kids in school. They didn’t like the way he acted or talked - they wanted him to be English. He refused because he was an American, but he suffered and was beaten for it.
As Christians in a lost and fallen world, this is our privilege. We cannot change into something sinful to save our skins. This is a gracious thing in the sight of God. Our reward will be in Heaven, not here.

3. Christ, our example (vv 21-25)

They had to keep foremost in their minds who’s they were. Who called them? God called them to Christ through the agency of the Holy Ghost. And that Christ, by whom they were called, provided them His own example. He suffered terribly to redeem them from their sins. It was not fair, from a human perspective - He did nothing wrong and they did everything wrong, yet He was the one reviled and punished. That’s because the Father sent Him to redeem a people for Himself, they were a sinful people, and God’s justice had to be served. So Christ took our punishment on the cross. Peter tells us that Christ took that punishment willingly, because He trusted not in man, but in God to judge righteously.
This is why the Christian martyrs went willingly to the flames, to be burned at the stake. They knew the flames were only for a moment, but that the Lord had saved them for eternal glory.
Christ died that we might live in His righteousness. He reconciled us, who were lost sheep, to the great Shepherd and Him who cares for our souls.
No matter what the world does to us, its only for a moment, because of that.


When Christ called us, He began preparing us, sanctifying us for a new mission, to be His priests to a fallen and sinful world. But we are not called to change the world, or our society, or our country, or our town. Peter re-affirms to us, in this text, that we are in the world, but not of the world. I amy live in Germany, but I’m a citizen of Heaven. We are called to proclaim the gospel to a fallen people, that some might be saved.
Our job, like when Jesus sent out the 12 or the 72 to minister the gospel to a lost and dying world. We are to
be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Pe 3:15). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Through instruction and affliction, He is preparing us and sending us out to proclaim His gospel, reach the lost, build disciples, and continue to build the temple of God, His church.
As Paul said in Acts 14:
through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ac 14:22). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gospel appeal

There may be some of you here who have not put your faith in Christ, who are not yet a part of His priesthood. If you turn to Him, He offers to redeem you from your sins so that you can enter the glorious kingdom of heaven. There is no denying the fact that we have all broken God’s law and deserve death and Hell, but there is a way out of Hell, because, as Paul said,
the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 6:23). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Turn to Christ today.
Let’s pray.
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