Summary: WE need a quick civics lesson from Peter!
• SLIDE #1
• As citizens of Heaven we have talked about how important it is for our life to reflect our true citizenship. This means that we are not to be a reflection of the world we live in but rather a reflection of the God we serve!
• Today as we continue with that theme Peter is going to share a basic Christian civics lesson so that we know what God expects from His people concerning the area of civics.
• Civics is defined as the study of the rights and duties of citizens.
• This subject is important for us so that we can be the examples that God wants us to be as we live here.
• One of the fascinating parts of this passage that we need to understand is that Nero was Emperor of Rome (54-68 A.D.) at the time this was written.
• The same Nero who burned Rome and blamed and heavily persecuted the Christians.
• Let’s turn to 1 Peter 2:13-17 for a lesson in civics today. Let’s begin in verse 13
• SLIDE #2
• 1 Peter 2:13(ESV) 13Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,
• SLIDE #3
I. A Christian’s attitude toward governing authority.
• What if we do not like who is governing us or what if we did not vote for who is governing us? What of those in charge do not represent the animal we like?
• Since we are citizens of Heaven what is our attitude toward the governing authorities supposed to be?
• Peter gives us the answer. This answer can be hard to swallow at times.
• The answer is that we are to have an attitude of submission toward that authority.
• Every human institution refers to civil authority.
• Can you imagine what the readers of this letter must have thought as you consider WHO the leader of Rome was at the time?
• It would seem a bit surprising that God would want His people to be submissive toward an ungodly ruler.
• We are called to submit to the ruling authorities. The word “submit” denotes as voluntary submission for our own benefit.
• The phrase “be subject” also implies that the subjection or submission is a conscience act of the will.
• It is voluntary acceptance or obedience to a superior authority.
• We are called to submit to the “King” or in our case “President” and to all those who represent his power and authority right down to the local authorities.
• During Jesus day there were people who openly opposed the government, they were known as Zealots. Simon, one of Jesus apostles was called Simon the Zealot (Matt 10:4)
• It is hard for a royal priest to do the work God has called them to do it they are crossways with the ruling authorities. We will have a hard time functioning if we are labeled “anti-government”
• It was the Zealots who were in part responsible for the ransacking of Jerusalem in AD 70 by Titus.
• This does not mean we BLINDLY submit to the ruling authority.
This does not mean we cannot work within the system to change things, but as Christians our life should not be just about politics.
I am political as the next person, but politics is not going to save people or change their hearts, only Jesus will do that.
• We do not have to submit to laws or authority which contradicts God.
• When Peter and John were arrested for spreading the gospel, the religious leaders told them to not preach about Jesus. They responded to the human authority.
• SLIDE #4
• Acts 4:19-20(ESV) 19But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
• Something very similar happens in Act 5. Look at Peter’s response.
• SLIDE #5
• Acts 5:29(ESV) 29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.
• They were BEATEN because they refused to disobey God in favor of the ruling authority. Verse 41 shows their response to the beating!
• Acts 5:41(ESV) 41Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.
• We are told we are to submit for the Lord’s sake. Jesus is the motivation for civil obedience. If we are always in trouble with the government we will have a hard time doing what God called us to do.
• Jesus submitted Himself to governing rulers at the time also. Matthew 17:24-27