First Peter 2 18-23
Last week we spoke of submitting to kings, rulers and all those in authority over us. Today we go on to the next area of submission. Our passage this morning deals with a slave’s respect to his master. READ 1Peter 2:18-25.
There are a few places in the Bible that are very difficult to understand. Here in our passage this morning is one of those sections. One of the reasons some Scriptures is hard to accept is simply because it not what we want to hear. The destruction of the world by God bringing the flood or people spending eternity in hell are not well liked by many. People can really get mad when you tell them faith in Jesus is the only way to heaven.
Well today we look at how a slave was to submit to the one over them. Let me say that this has been a passage that has been a battle field for some. What I want to do is to look at the passage and ask what does God’s Word teach. When it comes to understanding Scripture you must not impose your ideas and presuppositions upon the text. So let us see what we will learn.
v. 18—The word slave here refers to a household slave. Over 50% of people in the New Testament Roman world were slaves and some of these slaves have become, by God’s grace, believers in Christ. Obviously, when you believe in Christ your life changes. There is a whole new set of values and a new way of living…the old has gone and the new has come. We are to live as children of God not as we use to. So how did that apply to the slavery they were under?
Peter puts it plainly—you must submit. Remember; submit means to put yourself under for the purpose of obedience to that person. There is one other aspect of submission in the Bible. When you submit you honor God.
Peter adds to the command to submit to your master the words “with all respect.” It’s one thing to submit to someone just because you have to; it is another to do it with respect. To what kind of boss/master were they to submit? Both the good and the harsh boss! Peter, you must be kidding! You mean if the person over me is harsh in his treatment of me, I must still learn to submit with all respect? We have the option of quitting. A slave did not. God tells them they must submit. They are the authority.
But God, my master is a tyrant, how can you ask me to live like this? Why Lord?
v. 19-21 You know God and the Lord Jesus Christ set the example for you to follow. The believer is to serve even the hard master as if he were serving the Lord. (I told you this passage was not easy.) Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-25.
We are commended by God if we bear up under pain of unjust suffering. Note: if you suffer for doing good and you endure it this is commendable before God.
And why is this? v. 21—You are called to this suffering and Christ is your example. An example is a pattern to follow. Do you remember how many of you learned to write? On the top of the page was a pattern of a letter, A – you were to trace that pattern and then make a copy from the pattern on the lines below. Did you know they learned the same way back in Peters day. What then is our pattern? It is the same as for them 2000 years ago – Jesus. v. 22-23
1. No deceit from your mouth, 1Tim. 6:1
2. No retaliation. Human tendency is to fight back.
3. No threats. Human tendency is to demand rights, Titus 2:9-10
4. Trust in God to deal in what must be done.
Peter wants us to understand what Jesus proved, that a person could be in the will of God, be greatly loved by God, and still suffer unjustly. Those who say that Christians will not suffer if they are in the will of God have forgotten the cross. They also forgot to read this section.
We in the natural man fight so hard for our rights so we won’t have to suffer. We want it easy. Listen to these verses.
Rom. 5:3, 8:17
Phil. 1:29, 3:10
Heb. 2:10, 5:8
Your godward growth comes through suffering. Yet we are so quick to beg God to remove it. God doesn’t ask you to do what comes naturally, but what comes supernaturally by a Spirit-filled life. That was the directives for those slaves and for us.
Remember, the kind of behavior spoken in our text not only brings glory to God, but it also had the potential of ministering to their masters and to others around them.
In fact, most of us have seen the power of that kind of behavior affect the lives of others. The following story revels this truth.
A number of years ago a man came to a personal faith in Christ through the influence of his employee. His employee had personified this kind of behavior to his boss.
The boss had become very bitter over the years. He started drinking and became an alcoholic and began to badly mistreat this employee.
Work became terrible and he started to hate his boss. However, within this context, this employee began to attend church and received Christ as Savior and Lord. That hatred and resistance to the man’s cruelty was changed to love and concern. One day, after the boss had chewed him out big time, he realized that the man was expressing love to him rather than fear and hatred.
The boss was deeply touched by that response even in his stupor. He asked the employee why he was responding so strangely, and the man replied, “It’s because I love you. God loves you, and so do I!”
During the coming months, as the boss continued go into fits of rage yet the simple statement kept coming back to him, “God loves you, and so do I!” The more hatred and bitterness he directed toward his employee, the more love he returned to him. And one day, he could stand it no longer. He was so convicted by the Holy Spirit through the love of his employee, he blurted out to the man, “I want the love you have for God! How can I get it?”
That day, his employee explained how he could come to know God through a saving faith in Jesus Christ. The man led his boss to Christ. That is the potential power of “supernatural” living in a relationship to harsh masters, a rotten boss, and to all of those outside the Kingdom of God.
I use this story to spur you on to think what would you have done and why. In cases like this it is not right what that boss did and unless God directed someone to stay I would tell them to leave. We are not slaves we are employees. But if God tells you to stay in that type of situation pray for that supernatural power to love as Christ loves.
Why does Peter say Jesus died on the cross? V. 24-25 The cross is not just a doctrinal truth. The purpose of the cross is not just for salvation, it includes biblical ethical living. Christ’s death is intended to change the way we actually live. Benediction 1Pt. 5:10-11