Summary: Submission - Not a popular subject in America. Perhaps we misunderstand Biblical Submission.Whatever is our life circumstances, we can still act in a way that treats others well.
Note To Reader: This is the first sermon on the subject of submission. A companion sermon is found under the name - Submission: The Power of a Tender Heart
Submission – its not a popular subject here in America. Can you think of a popular song or a movie or even a recent best selling book on the subject of submission?
Defiance – the opposite of submission. We love that here in America.
Now there’s an easy list of movies, songs and best selling books.
Submission is something we shy away from, in fact, it can be seen as a weakness, something that will not only hold you back from advancement, but also as something that can utterly destroy your life as well.
But like it or not, whether American society sees submission as curse or not, submission is a biblical concept and as Christians we are called to submission…perhaps we misunderstand the biblical concept of submission.
Let me start off with an example which I think sets the stage for what Peter is speaking about in our passage this morning.
James S. Hewett tells a this story of a tyrannical husband that demanded his wife conform to rigid household standards of his choosing. She was to do certain things for him as a wife, mother, and homemaker.
In time she came to hate her husband as much as she hated his list of rules and regulations. Then, one day he died—mercifully as far as she was concerned.
Some time later, she fell in love with another man and married him.
She and her new husband lived on a perpetual honeymoon. Joyfully, she devoted herself to his happiness and welfare.
One day she ran across one of the sheets of dos and don’ts her first husband had written for her.
To her amazement she found that she was doing for her second husband all the things her first husband had demanded of her, even though her new husband had never once suggested them. She did them as an expression of her love for him and her desire to please him.”
Notice in our passage, Peter does not give advice on how to reduce stress, or make your problems go away, or give a five point plan on managing your life. No he tells us to be submissive.
I having great difficulties, things are bad, they look like they are going to get worse and Peter’s advice is…submission?
The word used in our passage is a compound word meaning "to arrange under." It is generally used as a military term, we see the concept in Matthew 8:8-9. Matt. 8:7 "Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith."
There the centurion is talking about – submission. In the Roman military the emperor had full authority. But he delegated his authority to others – so when the centurion spoke an order, he spoke an order with the emperor’s authority and to disobey, would be to disobey the emperor – an act of treason. An act of defiance.
In verse 13-14
Peter is not concerned with the king, specifically the Roman emperor and in our day, the president or our new Governor, Sarah Palin here in Alaska. Peter is concerned with proper behavior toward a supreme government authority.
See, submission is a general characteristic of public morality. He wants us to move beyond our own personal convictions, beyond our personal thoughts; He wants us to go right to behavior of how we act toward others. Christians are called to give up striving for power and authority over human beings and instead pursue the good of others –"17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king."
Notice he doesn’t say, blindly do whatever they say. He is not saying do whatever you are told to. No, we are still accountable for what we do
In verse 16 he says: "do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil
You are accountable and God will not turn a blind eye."
Years ago my wife Katie worked in an upscale kitchen store. They sold the usual kitchen stuff and also fresh coffee beans. One of those serve yourself set ups.