Occasion: Sunday Worship 6th July 2014
Illustration: Let’s pretend your name is Theolphilus, and you were born as a Greek household slave to a rich Roman centurion. The centurion is an idol worshiper, and expects you to worship his idols as a member of his household. One day by God’s grace you meet the apostle Paul in the market, and he begins to expound to you the story of God’s redemption through the Messiah. This is all very strange to you, but after many weeks of teaching from the Old Testament Jewish scriptures, you come to be fully convinced of the truthfulness of this message, and you place your faith in Jesus of Nazareth as your Messiah. You are overjoyed by the freedom you have received through your new faith in Christ, and you cannot help but tell others in the house of the beauty of this message, but to your surprise, your masters is furious with you. He beats you and tells you he will kill you if you ever mention the name Jesus of Nazareth to him. You are in a terrible situation. Legally, you are bound to your master, and can do nothing to escape his harsh treatment and vicious attacks. What should you do?
Text: 1 Peter 2:17-25
Purpose: Peter wants his audience to understand the seriousness of following Christ; therefore he gives specific commands regarding many areas of life, including the lives of abused household slaves.
Proposition: God wants us to have a supreme loyalty to Him, no matter our circumstances.
There is a difference between entering the new life and living the new life. We enter by faith alone in the finished work of Christ; however we recognize that once we are in Christ; there are certain responsibilities we have in this new position. We have a new nature, and the gift of the Spirit. By means of this Spirit, God begins changing the way we think about life and the general way in which we walk. By the Spirit’s work in us, God begins to change our character, molding us day by day into the image of Christ. Anyone can say they are a Christian, but is it really true? Anyone can say they live the Christian life, but do they actually understand the seriousness of the demands of Christ? Consider this passage that is not teaching us how to enter the Kingdom, but rather is stressing the nature of living in Christ.
Luke 9:22-26 The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.
- Daily take up his cross
- Follow me
- Lose his life for my sake
Interrogative: What qualities form the character of a Christ follower? Our last message looked at our view of God, this week, we will look at how the Christ follower relates to his fellow man.
Command 1: Honor all men 2:1
Why should we honor other men?
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
James 3:8-10 The tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
- God created all men in His image, giving them purpose and dignity.
How do we honor other men?
- Respect their time: Why is being on time for appointments so important?
- Respect their reputations: Why are gossip and bearing false witness such a serious sin?
- Respect their right to live: Why is murder and abortion so serious?
- Respect their needs: Why is ignoring the genuine needs of the destitute so serious?
Command 2: Love the brotherhood 2:17
Why should we love the brethren?
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
1 John 3:17-19 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
How do we love the brethren?
- Be honest in your dealings with brethren: Honesty seeks the truth not manipulation and builds trust, rather than tearing it down.
- Consider their wellbeing even before your own: This is why we are willing to make sacrifices for the benefit of those we love.
- Provide loving and humble accountability for your brethren: We recognize that as fallen creatures, God’s way is always the best way.
- Encourage your brethren: We recognize people need constant encouragement.
- Forgive your brothers: We release our perceived right to get revenge.
- Minister to your brethren: We recognize our spiritual gifts are for others, not for us.
Command 3: Honor the King 2:17
Why should we honor the King?
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God:
- Authority is something God ordained, and reflects one of the main reasons we are here.
- God is sovereign and allows men to rise to positions of authority, to accomplish His good purposes.
How do we honor the king?
- Submit to government laws.
- Pay your taxes.
- Treat government officials with respect when you interact with them.
Command 4: Servants be subject to your masters 2:18-20
Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
- Not only the good and gentle but also the forward.
- If you do well and suffer for it, you take it patiently.
Why should we be subject to our masters?
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
- Christ is our example.
- Christ suffered wrongfully for you, so you could be made whole.
- If Christ had to suffer so you could be saved, maybe you will need to suffer so that your master will be saved.
How should we be subject to our masters?
- Work hard.
- Learn their expectations.
- Work without complaining.
- Keep the big picture before your mind.
A disciple has a Biblical view of God, and this Biblical view of God will shape everything about the way he thinks, walks, and interacts with others. If these truths about the disciple’s view of God could guide and strengthen a suffering slave in the first century, then why can they not sustain you in the 21st century? May God give us the grace to walk faithfully, no matter our circumstance!