March 5: Being Models of Submission (1 Peter 2:13-17)
Prepare for Sunday morning worship using the guide below.
Josh Herring will continue a series on spiritual disciplines at 9:00am in the youth room. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project (currently going through the Old Testament).
1 Peter 2:13-17
13) Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution 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. 15) For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16) Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17) Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
In our passage last week Peter instructs believers, in light of who they are in Christ, to keep their conduct honorable before a watching world. Beginning with our passage today he tells us how that would look like in terms of how we relate to each other and to society. If we were tasked to write an instruction book on how to live honorably, do you think many of us will begin by saying “be subject to every human institution?” At first it seems like a strange way to begin, but what it does is address a core issue – that of sin. Fundamentally, sin is a rebellion against God’s laws. So when we are models of submission to governing authorities we are doing so in obedience to and in recognition of the one who delegated that authority to them in the first place – God Himself. It may be excruciatingly difficult to do this – to be willing to suffer in submission. But then if anyone asks, “Why are you willing to suffer?” our answer is that our hope is in Christ, and that the present sufferings of this world cannot compare to the glory we have in honoring him. That is one of the greatest apologetics we can have for a watching world.
This Sunday an excerpt will be read from Justin Martyr’s letter to Emperor Antoninus Pius (highly recommended reading). HERE is a link to a web page containing the full text of the letter.
Review and Apply
Consider the differences between our government and the ruling authorities who were over the people Peter was writing to at the time. What made Peter’s instructions to submit more difficult for them to obey?
Why do you think it’s “for the Lord’s sake” that we be subject to those in authority over us?
What earthly authorities in your life do have difficulty honoring or obeying?
Believers are called to submit to government leaders and obey the law of the land. But are there instances when we MUST disobey? Cite some examples from scripture.
Reflect on the times you find yourself disagreeing with government leaders. Do you find yourself very vocal in your criticism of them in front of others?
When Peter tells us to “live as people who are free,” what freedom is he is talking about?
How do you answer someone who says that submission is an indication of weakness?
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