Summary: We are to live out the Gospel even with people who make it difficult.
Living With A Difficult Boss
Text: 1 Peter 2:18-25
1. Illustration: Rick Warren ("Purpose Driven") accurately observes: "We can measure our servant’s heart by how we respond when others treat us like servants. How do you react when you’re taken for granted, bossed around, treated as an inferior…?
2. Most of us have probably had the experience of a difficult boss of supervisor at work. Someone that no matter what you do insists on making your life difficult or simply treats you unfairly because they know you are a Christian and they want to get under your skin to see how you will react.
3. We might even think that we are with in our rights to retaliate against these kind of people, but the Gospel calls us to a higher standard.
4. Today, Peter puts before us...
a. An Expectation
b. An Implication
c. An Illustration
5. Let's stand together as we read 1 Peter 2:18-25
Proposition: We are to live out the Gospel even with people who make it difficult.
Transition: Let's first look at...
I. The Expectation (18).
A. Accept Authority
1. This Scripture can be one of those that on certain days we just assumed rip it out of our Bibles and turn the page...next!
a. It's kind of like the guy that I used to know that whenever I was having a bad day, he would give me this stupid grin and say, "Count it all joy Bro!"
b. There are some days you just don't want to hear it, but that is the time you need to hear it the most.
2. Peter begins by saying, "You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel."
a. It goes without saying that it is easy to work for masters who are kind, easy to get along with, and generous; but it is hard to have the same disposition to those who are nasty, quick tempered, and temperamental.
b. Yet, Peter insists, Christian slaves should be obedient to all masters, regardless of their personal characteristics.
c. Here he specifically addressed Christians who were slaves in pagan homes.
d. The Greek word means a household servant. Peter called these servants to accept the authority of their masters, meaning that they should cooperate, be loyal, and willingly obey (Barton, Life Application New Testament Commentary, 1112).
3. You might be asking, "But Pastor, what's that got to do with us? I mean slavery has been illegal here for over 150 years! In order to understand this we have to have a basic understanding of slavery in Peter's day.
4. The New World slavery that was institutionalized in the United States, especially known to the American public through the TV series Roots, differed dramatically from first-century slavery.
a. Slavery was a diverse institution in the ancient world, altering itself from one culture to another.
b. Yet the Roman and Greek worlds anchored their entire economic system in this institution.
c. Some have estimated that one-third of the population in urban areas was slave population.
d. In both worlds, especially the Roman world (which is our interest for 1 Peter), slavery was not usually a permanent condition of life.
e. Rather, it was a temporary condition on the path toward freedom.
f. Many ancient people voluntarily chose to be slaves of a Roman citizen so that, upon being granted freedom from slavery as a result either of good behavior or adequate savings, they could become full Roman citizens.
g. In fact, it is entirely possible that one reason Peter (and Paul) urged Christian slaves to be submissive and obedient was that by living obediently, they could be set free.
h. To be a slave was not to be assigned to a specific, especially low-class, station in life. Slaves had the status and power that was connected with their masters; if their master was powerful, they indirectly inherited that power too.
i. Thus, it was desirable at times to be a slave. While most slaves of the New Testament documents were born that way (because their mothers were slaves), many chose slavery over the vagabond existence of finding odd jobs.
5. Peter's exhortation to live under the order as slaves emerges, then, from this economic context. So if you put this in a modern context, what Peter is saying is "submit to the authority of your boss."
a. He reminds them that they are to do this "with all respect," or "with deep respect." He insists that they are to show the same "deep respect" even to "those who are harsh."
b. Peter wants the Christian slave community to manifest a kind of behavior that transcends the norm of society and demonstrates its supernatural origins.