Summary: Good Christians are good citizens.
Rev. Brian Bill
November 8-9, 2014
Video: Veterans Day Honors
In recognition of Veterans Day this week, we’d like to honor our veterans by asking you to stand so we can show our thankfulness.
Our topic today is “Christian Citizenship” and our main point is this: Good Christians are good citizens. The timing of this message is perfect because this past Tuesday we had the privilege to vote and this Tuesday is Veterans Day. Both of these events illustrate what Christian citizenship is all about. Turn in your Bible to 1 Peter 2:13-17.
Notice the very first word in verse 13: “Therefore…” Peter is linking what he is going to say with what he has just said in the previous passage. We learned last week that we have the privilege as living stones of being in a family with a foundation and being part of a people with a purpose. If you’ve been born again and baptized you can become a member here and live on mission with us as we take the gospel to the QCA and to the ends of the earth. We do that by committing to gather, grow, give and go.
In verses 11-12, we were challenged to…
• Remember we’re from a different world.
• Realize we’re at war with sin
• Reflect Christ in our works
Peter is anticipating his readers responding with a statement something like this: If I’m a citizen of heaven, then why does it matter how I live as a citizen of earth? Christians in the Roman Empire in the first century were looked on with suspicion because their conduct was so different. Peter reminds them to respect their rulers, even when others were rising up against Roman authority. Christians should be the best citizens. Jesus said it this way in Luke 20:25: “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” As citizens of earth, give what is expected to the government; and as citizens of heaven, give your ultimate allegiance to the Almighty.
We are to live the kind of lives that make the message of God’s grace beautiful and believable. How is a saved saint supposed to behave in a Sodom-like society? I’m glad you asked. Let’s read 1 Peter 2:13-17: “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”
I see three ways that Christians are to act that are summed up with three words – submit, serve, and show.
1. Submit in public ways. I should warn you that there’s something about the while idea of submission that most of us find unpleasant. It’s almost un-American to be submissive, isn’t it? This raises at least four questions – what, who, why and when.
• What are we to do? Simply put, we’re to submit in verse 13: “Therefore submit yourselves…” This is a command, which means, “be subject to” and was used to instruct soldiers to “line up or arrange under a commander.” While most of us don’t care for this word, Peter used it six more times in this letter.
2:18: “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear.”
3:1: “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands.”
3:5: “Being submissive to their own husbands.”
3:22: “Angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.”
5:5: “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another.”
• Who should we submit to? We’re to submit to “every ordinance of man…to the king as supreme, or to governors…” The word “every” helps us see that our submission is not just to government authorities but also to other institutions that provide for the orderly function of human life. For instance, children submit to parents, employees submit to employers, teachers submit to principals, principals submit to school boards, and the Bears submit to the Packers.
We could apply submission to the “king” as obeying federal laws and “governors” cover state and local laws. This applies to ministers also. Pastor Ed was pressed for time one day and couldn’t find a parking space so he parked in a no parking zone and put a note on his windshield: “I have circled the block 10 times. I have an appointment to keep. Forgive us our trespasses.” When he returned he found a ticket under his wiper with this note: “I’ve circled this block for 10 years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I lose my job. Lead us not into temptation.”