Gospel-Centered Honorable Living

Sermon: Sunday, May 14, 2023
Scripture Text: 1 Peter 2:13–25

In 1 Peter 2:9-12, we saw that believers are a special people who have been given a special purpose here-and-now. Our purpose is to wage war against the passions of our flesh (sinful desire alive within us). We do this so that our conduct will be honorable among those who oppose Christ (and us) in this world. This purpose is restated in 1 Peter 2:15, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.”

How do believers, knowing our standing of verse 9, live a beautiful (honorable) life that proclaims the excellencies of Christ in our words and our walk while living in this broken place?  

The answer is bound up in a concept that is largely rejected in our day and age. This concept is rejected in the culture, in the workplace, in the family, and in the church house. We live in submission. 

“Submit yourselves” is a military expression meaning “to arrange in formation under the commander.” (J. MacArthur)

A submissive life is a beautiful life because our faith and witness for Christ will grow when we endure unjust suffering while living a life above reproach.
How do believers, knowing our standing of verse 9, live a beautiful life that proclaims the excellencies of Christ in our words and our walk while living in this broken place?

I. We submit as citizens to civil authorities (13-17). 

  1. The motive behind our obedience to this difficult command: we submit for the Lord’s sake.
  2. Who these human institutions include: every human institution including rulers and governors. 

•     Government has three essential purposes: restrain evil, promote the public good, and punish evildoers. 

Word of caution: Submission does not mean that you quietly live under the abusive authority of another. God has established human institutions to punish those who do evil and praise those who do good. If you’re being abused, get yourself in a safe place, and report it to the proper authorities. 

  • The reason for our submission: do good in order to put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
  • The potential argument: what about our freedom? (16-17) 
  • In what ways do you find it hardest to submit to authority? How does this passage challenge and motivate you to do so? 
  • Are there ways in which you might be submitting when you ought not to, because it involves disobeying God? Whose wisdom might you seek in how to interact with authority in this way?
  • Are there areas of government or laws that you, as a Christian, should be taking a stand against or voicing your concern over? How will you do this practically, and how will you make sure you do so with proper respect? 

II. We submit as servants to our employers (18-20).  

•     What is “a gracious thing”? It is our endurance of unjust suffering that is the gracious thing in the eyes of God. 

  • To endure means to remain under. 
  • Read Romans 5:3-5, Matthew 5:10-11, and Luke 6:32-35. What are some of the promised rewards for believers who endure unjust treatment?

•     How do we fight this battle to endure, to remain under the circumstances of unjust treatment? 

•     Peter says, by “being mindful of God.” What does it mean practically to be mindful of God? 

•     Verse 20 reminds us that not all suffering is the same.

  • Sometimes we suffer because we sin and bring suffering on ourselves and others.
  • Other times we suffer because others around us sin.
  • Sometimes we suffer simply because sin is in the world.

If you sin and suffer, you deserve it. If you do good and suffer, you endure it, being mindful that God is with you, sees you, and sustains you.  

  • Do you live in such a way so as to bring unjust suffering or treatment on others around you? 
  • How are you tempted to respond to unjust suffering in your life? Will you commit to pray for God’s help to endure that treatment in an honorable way, extending goodness and kindness in exchange for evil? 
  • If you never suffer as a Christian, what might that say about your Christianity? 

III. We submit looking to Jesus as our supreme model (21-25).  

•     Jesus left us with his perfect model of submission to unjust treatment and endurance while doing good. You and I have been called to walk in the same steps that He walked (21).

•     Jesus perfectly modeled suffering service (22-24).  

•     The gospel is the grounds for submission. The gospel is our strength for submission. The gospel sustains us through submission. 

•     In the gospel we find our example and source of strength to reject a life of rebellion against authority. We find strength to…

  • Reject a life of cunning behavior, or slanderous speech, or veiled threats.
  • Repay evil with the goodness of God’s grace extended to us when we did Him evil.
  • Repay sin against us with the forgiveness of Christ that he extended to us when we sinned against him.
  • Surrender our reputations and our right to raise a self-defense when we are falsely accused and slandered because when we slandered Christ, he extended to us the kindness of salvation when we surrendered our lives to him. 
  • What are some ways you’ve experienced unjust suffering in your life? (i.e. have you been sinned against, slandered, threatened, or falsely accused?)
  • How is the knowledge that suffering as a Christian is following in Jesus’ footsteps both liberating and challenging? Is there a way you need to stop avoiding his footsteps, and begin walking in them? 
  • How does remembering different aspects of what Jesus endured for you help you to bear up under unjust suffering in your life? 
  • How does this passage help you to prefer Christ over comfort?