Summary: Does Jesus Christ make any difference in the way Christians live? If the answer is no, Christianity is a false religion.
LIVING IN RIGHT RELATIONSHIP
INTRO: Does Jesus Christ make any difference in the way Christians live? If the answer is no, Christianity is a false religion. But if the answer is yes, other questions have to be asked. Does Jesus make a little or a lot of difference in how we live? Does salvation affect something or everything? Is Jesus interested only in our souls, or is He interested in our entire lives?
The answers are obvious. Jesus makes all the difference in the world! His salvation extends to all parts of our being. Christians must live in right relationship with God and others. That is what Peter wrote about in 1 Peter 2:17. It’s a summary of Christian duty. Peter commanded Christians to live in right relationship with God and others. How do we do this? Look at Peter’s prescription.
I. LIVING IN RIGHT RELATIONSHIP DEMANDS RECOGNIZING THE WORTH OF EVERY PERSON.
“Honor all men” seems obvious, but Peter was writing in a world of slavery, chauvinism, and bigotry. So this was a new imperative, distinctly Christian. He commanded respect for the rights of all, dignity toward all, seeing each person as worth the price of Christ’s sacrifice. All people are to be honored by Christians.
The only way we can do this is by redemption. It takes God to change us. Because we’re Christians we must heed the command, “honor all men.” It’s the Christian way to live.
II. RIGHT LIVING DEMANDS LOVING RELATIONSHIP WITH FELLOW BELIEVERS.
“Love the brotherhood.” This imperative spoke particularly of relationships within Christianity. Honor turns to love in Christ. We are an extended family, related by the blood of Jesus.
Love extends to the whole Christian family — all nations, races, sexes, denominations, branches of theology. As we love one another we’ll grow closer together and draw in others. III. LIVING IN RIGHT RELATIONSHIP DEMANDS REVERENCE FOR GOD ABOVE ALL ELSE.
“Fear God” doesn’t mean to dread or be scared of God; rather, it means holy reverence and respect of His sovereignty. In the Greek N. T. this portion of the verse is emphatic, meaning we’re to do the other three things but this above all.
If we don’t revere God above all else there is no way we can fulfill the other three commandments.
IV. WE MUST SUBMIT TO THE LAWS OF GOVERNMENT IN ORDER TO LIVE IN RIGHT RELATIONSHIP.
This command is astounding when we realize the emperor was probably Nero! “Honor the emperor.” An remember, it was outspoken, impetuous Peter who wrote this. This shows how far redemption took him. From a sword of rebellion in Gethsemane to submission to Rome because of Golgotha.
The New Testament teaches government was instituted by God to preserve order. Only by honoring government can equity and proper relationship be maintained.
CONC: We have been redeemed. God help us to live like we have! We must recognize the worth of every person, practice genuine love for all in Christ, revere God above all else, submit to the laws of government in order to live in right relationship.