Summary: We have a Christian responsibility to follow the legitimate commands of our leaders and we are obligated to deal honorably with our employers. What this means is that we have to set an example for others to follow.
Sermon Title: Free To Be Slaves
Sermon Text: 1 Peter 2:13-20
Ralf HT Bergmann
Bethel Christian Church
Date: November 12th, 2000
The elections are now over. For some, they are still in the throes of celebration, others are yet licking their wounds in defeat. It does not make any difference what side we find ourselves on, as Christians we are given a Biblical mandate – we are to be obedient to those in authority, we are to be in submission to their authority. We now have the hardest portion of the process yet in front of us. We must lift the present government to the Lord in prayer.
I found myself convicted of failing to do that many times in the past eight years. I chose to criticize instead of intercede in prayer for President Clinton. I chose to pass judgement on his morality all the while forgetting about the plank in my own eye. If the rulers, or officials are not of the caliber that God would like them to be, we need to petition the Holy Spirit to do a mighty work of cleansing in their hearts and minds and turn them into the leaders that they need to be.
In the Old Testament there is a story of someone who despite their less than desirable circumstances chose to seek the best for someone whom we may see as very undeserving of this kindness. We read in 2 KIngs 5:1-4 Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper. 2 Now the Arameans had gone out in bands and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, "I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy." 4 Naaman went in and told his master, saying, "Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel."
How many of us could act in such a manner, and yet, this is one of the many facets in the section of Scripture written by Peter that we are about to read? Let us open our hearts and see what our almighty God has for us today, right here, this morning.
Please join me in the reading of God’s Holy Word!
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 2:13-20
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. 18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
I think of when I was growing up, and of course Jeremy seems to think at times that this time period coincides with the age of dinosaurs, I had to follow the instructions of my parents, and I see somewhat of a comparison to this section of Scripture. I was required to submit to the authority of my parents. This is something that simply does not change when we reach the magic age of adulthood. To often as kids we imagine the freedom of being older and when then monumental moment of adulthood arrives, after the uniqueness has worn off, we find ourselves in a situation where we are accountable for more then we had imagined.
It is a well accepted fact among those that have reached and acknowledge that they are indeed adults, that we must heed the laws of those appointed over us! Now for many this becomes a problem. Some may point to the American Revolution and say “The founding father didn’t obey the monarchy”. But if you take a careful look at the history that led up to the revolution, there were numerous attempts to rectify the problems that were the catalyst that led up to the war. There were methods and manners and customs regarding negotiations that were followed and only then after those failed was the process taken to the next level.