1 Pet 2:13,14
INTRO: Its a wonderful thing that in the many expositions of practical Christian living found in the N.T. one can find principles for just about every common life situation. Certainly, these are not exhaustive treatment of details. Yet, taken in concert with other teaching and principles we can come to some very clear understandings. Among the very first practical admonitions which Peter writes is this teaching concerning the involvement or relationship of Christians with civil government. While there will probably be questions about detail which are unanswered, we can learn a great deal here.
I. FIRSTLY, CHRISTIANS DO NOT LIVE IN A SHELL!
A. Peter had called us strangers pilgrims
1. danger, then, of withdrawing, of disregarding
2. and he certainly did not imply that
B. Christianity is not monasticism, isolationism
1. Jno 15:19 with 1 Cor 7:31
2. we do live in the real world and must relate to it successfully...and that is one of the things Christs teachings is designed to help us do!
II. PETER RECOGNIZES THE NEED FOR CIVIL ORDER
A. People cannot live tegether without law and order
1. what happens when lawlessness prevails?
2. case in point: riots in Miami death and damage
3. every society - no matter how primitive - has had its rules of order
B. Therefore, Christians must be law abiding people
1. submit...to every ordinance of man - 2:13a (4:15)
2. the word submit refers to a wise and voluntary restraint and submission
3. the motive power? for the Lords sake
III. PETER RECOGNIZES THE AUTHORITY OF CIVIL POWERS
A. We could tend to point to corruption, ineptitude
1. and could find ourselves wondering if we ought to have to submit to such leaders
2. remember, though, Nero was the supreme ruler
3. and who could have been more corrupt?
B. Rather, the authority of civil rulers is recognized here
1. Mt 22:21 Rom 13:1
2. plainly, this authority in civil life has Gods blessing
3. and in general Rom 13:2
IV. PETER RECOGNIZES PRIVILEGE/RESPONSIBILITY CONCEPT IN CIVIL AFFAIRS
A. Privilege in an orderly society is a reality
1. yes, privilege will vary among civil governments
2. Peter especially mentions (a) punishment of evil doers (b) protection and praise of well doers (2:14)
3. certainly, U.S.A. is a land of privilege
B. Responsibility is the price of privilege
1. law abiding, doing well these are responsibilities
2. Rom 13:2,3,6 obeying, doing good, paying taxes!
3. 1 Tim 2:1,2 even praying for leaders
V. PETER RECOGNIZES A HIGHER RESPONSIBILITY
A. Questions often asked about obeying bad laws
1. and there may be times when civil & divine law conflict
2. but we need to be certain that Biblical principle is involved that were not just being kickative because we disagree
3. then what?
B. We must obey God there can be no other choice
1. Acts 4:18 5:28,29 here is Peters understanding!
2. 1 Pet 4:15 compared with 4:16...v. 16 implies that occasions arise when Christians suffer penalty of civil law because they are Christians (Acts 17:7)
3. early Christians found this necessary Rev 20:4
C. Do we become civil disobedients? rabble rousers?
1. indeed, not! we are called upon in those circumstances to accept the penalty graciously, hopefully
2. note Phil 1:12,13 Pauls being imprisoned because of his faith was a powerful testimony for Christ...and promoted the very thing he sought the furtherance of the gospel
3. did not Jesus own death at hands of civil authority accomplish great goals!
CLOSE: Living in a democracy, we have so many privileges...and possibilities! Christians who take no thought for civil obligation are making a grave mistake.
Cecil A. Hutson
15 July 2001
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)