1 Peter 2:11-17
I.Command #1—Abstain---vs11-12 We are being watched by the lost. We must continue to remind ourselves of who we are. For all people, we have responsibilities.
A)Who we are—aliens and exiles—in the passages we have already seen that we are God’s beloved children. But Peter reminds us that we are aliens and exiles—
a)“aliens”-one who lives on earth as a stranger, sojourner, one whose real home is in heaven, one who lives here for awhile.
b)“exiles”-pilgrim, heaven is our native country, a visiting stranger
c)“soldiers involved in a spiritual battle”- abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war against your soul. For the unbeliever, earth is a playground where the flesh is free to run wild; for the believer, earth is a battleground. There is a military campaign against us. We do not win one battle and the war is over—No! NO! it is a constant warfare and we must be on our guard. READ 1 Jn 2:15-17
d)“living witnesses”- we are to maintain good conduct among the Gentiles. Gentiles is a synonym for the unsaved people. Unsaved people are watching us, speaking against us and looking for excuses to reject the Gospel. If we are to witness to the lost people, we must live honest lives. Our witness is not simply with our tongues, but our talk must match our walk. There should be nothing in our conduct that gives the unsaved person ammunition to attack Christ and the Gospel. Our witness must back up our words.
-live a clean life—your conversation, behavior, conduct, should prove that what we believe really works
-leave no room for slander- the most convincing defense is the silent integrity of our character, no how we deny the charges.
-do good deeds among unbelievers- consider the story of the Good Samaritan—deeds were done on behalf of a total stranger. Peter says that “they may see your good deeds and glorify God”--
e)-“day of visitation”- is considered a divine visitation, a language for God’s coming day of judgment.
Wiersbe tells a story- “in 1805, a number of Indian chiefs and warriors met at Buffalo Creek, NY to hear a presentation of the Christian message by Mr Cram from the Boston Missionary Society. After the sermon, a response was given by Red Jacket, one of the leading chiefs. Among other things, the chief said, “ Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again what you have said”
In other words, I hear what you say, I want to watch your life!
II. Commandment #2—Submit- We are being watched by the Lord—Vs13-1
The historical context is one in which Peter’s readers were scattered throughout the Roman Empire and the empire was not one that was benevolent. A dictatorship under Nero, who was wicked and hated Christians was taking place. Many believers had suffered persecution at Nero’s hands.
So, Peter is having to address unfair treatment—knowing that the bodies of friends and family had bloodied the sands of the Roman coliseum. Should these Christians pick up arms and resist a government with such a leader?
NOTE—in the midst of unfair treatment, we tend to act in one of the following:
--aggressive—we blame others—don’t get mad, get even. Aggression grows from simple anger all the way to rage. It starts with resentment, turns into revenge, develops into bitterness which eventually wraps up our heart. Then we want to get back. (Like the man who had rabies—made list of people he was going to bite)
--Passive—feel sorry for ourselves- throw a pity part, complaining to all—life isn’t fair! This leads us to depression, living with the blinds closed.
--Holding pattern—postpone or deny our feelings—leave the boiling issue on the back burner to simmer. This leads to doubt and disillusionment and weakens our lives.
a) Submit- vs 13-4, Peter says to “submit”—Jesus tells us to render to Caesar what is Caesar and to God the things that are Gods’(Mt 22:21). Paul exhorts us to pray for those in authority(1Tim 2:1-2). Nowhere in Scripture is overt insurrection against the government. Yet, we must stand our ground, denying to buckle under by compromising our convictions.
-Daniel and his three friends refused to obey the kings dietary regulations—yet the way they did it proved that they honored the king and respected authorities
-Peter and the Apostles commanded to stop preaching—Acts 4:19; 5:29—they submitted, but refused to stop preaching.
“submit”—fall in rank under, placing one under another. Our problem today is not understanding submission, but doing what it says. It is important that we respect the office, even if we don’t respect the person.
b) Reason to submit--vs15- God would have us put to “silence”—close the mouth with a muzzle.
“ignorance”- not having the knowledge of God, ignorant of the children of god. This should move believers pity, not our anger. Rather than civil authorities seeing us as a maverick group, doing what we please, they will see us as a people who desires to please God. When we do the will of God as the servants of God, we are doing it for the Lord’s sake. Another passage is Romans 13
c) Principle of submitting- vs16-7—Peter is exhorting believers not to us freedom as a covering for evil living, don’t abuse grace. But, if we are sincerely submitted to authority for “the Lord’s sake”, Peter says that we will:
“Honor all men”- show honor, to set a price on, estimate their value , according to what is due. Don’t treat people as things.
“love the brotherhood”- those who are members of the bride of Christ. The psalmist wrote, “Behold, how good a thing it is and how becoming well, Together such as brethren are in unity to dwell—“by this will all men know you are my disciples (Jn 13:35)
“Fear God” and “honor the king”—these go together since the powers that be are ordained of God. Prov 1:7, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”—it is the principal part.
We cannot abstain nor submit until we are totally crucified with Christ—are you?
What does the world see in you? What does Jesus see in you?