Sermon for Trinity Fifteen– Sunday September 25, 2022
Sermon for Trinity Fifteen – Sunday September 25, 2022
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
God’s Grace, mercy and peace are yours in abundance, for you have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit to be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ. Amen.
1 Peter 2:13-17, EHV
13Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the king as the supreme authority 14or to governors as those who have been sent by him to punish those who do what is wrong and to praise those who do what is right. 15For this is God’s will: that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. 16Do this as free people, and do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but use it as servants of God. 17Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. ***
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Who is our King and we His Servants,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Blood –
It is sometimes said that in polite conversation there are a few subjects one should not discuss, namely – sex, politics and religion. It’s not that it’s improper to discuss such things, it’s rather that people often have differing opinions about them and discussing these subjects can make others feel uncomfortable or oppose you and your ideas.
But there are times when these topics – as controversial as they may be – need to be discussed. Where the Bible gives us direction on sex and politics, as Christians, we will want to make sure our views are in agreement with God’s Word. We want to speak with the authority of God’s Word.
As we continue our study of the 1st Letter of Peter this morning, we are reminded that as Christians we are to be Sheep...when it comes to human government. We are called upon to submit...for the Lord’s sake. We are to do so... because it is God’s will. We are to remember that we are free people who are citizens of Christ the King.
May God the Holy Spirit bless our study of this Word of God. We therefore pray, “Sanctify us by your truth, O Lord, Your Word is Truth.” Amen.
When the COVID-19 Pandemic first began, many Americans took the warnings about the virus seriously. Since we didn’t know the seriousness or extent of the virus, we willingly submitted to things like: staying at home, masking up and social distancing. When vaccines became available, some chose to be vaccinated, while others chose not to ‘get the jab.’
When the COVID-19 Pandemic began to drag on, some began to suggest that the pandemic was a joke altogether. There were some who made fun of those who were still concerned about the virus and continued to stay home, to mask up and social distance. It became popular to refer to those who still followed the dictates of the Government and the CDC leadership as – “Sheeple” or simply “Sheep.”
It was suggested that these ‘sheep’ couldn’t stand on their own two feet and needed to be told what to do because they were just stupid. Let’s face it, we human beings can be a terrible combination of arrogant and careless when we want to.
What? Willing submission to the government? Never! We are free men and women! We can do what we want to because it’s a free country! We are to think for ourselves and do what we feel is right, right?
Well, there’s just one little problem with that attitude. We are urged in Scripture to willingly be subject to every human authority, institution or government...because of the LORD. In a sense, we are called upon to be Sheep...Sheep of the Good Shepherd.
Now that doesn’t mean that we can’t think for ourselves...but it does mean that after the thinking is done...unless we are commanded to disobey God...we are to be obedient to rulers and laws of the land. This isn’t my opinion, read it for yourselves –
13Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the king as the supreme authority 14or to governors as those who have been sent by him to punish those who do what is wrong and to praise those who do what is right.
This isn’t only an important lesson for our day. It was also an important lesson for those to whom Peter wrote. Remember that Peter’s original readers were both transplanted Jews and Gentiles alienated from their former countrymen.
Moreover, when these words were written it’s likely that the Roman Emperor was the infamous Nero, who burned Rome and blamed it on Christians. He was the same twisted ruler who fed Christians to wild animals in the Colosseum and covered them with tree sap and lit them on fire.
It would be a temptation to think, “Our ruler is an unbeliever and a wicked man, we don’t have to respect or obey him.”
Some think the same way today and declare, “He’s not my president.” We may not approve of the personal life of the man or woman in office. We may not approve of their decision making and may vote against them. We may speak against their actions.
Our God would still have us submit to their authority and respect them for their office. Whether we approve of them or not, we are to be subject, to submit to every human authority. Moreover, it’s clear that these words refer to different forms of government established by human beings, because he gives examples of that human authority –
The King as supreme authority and governors sent by Him. Whether the form of government is a monarchy or democracy, we are called upon by God to submit and to obey the laws of the land.
Please don’t miss the reason! We submit – because of the Lord or for the Lord’s sake. We are not called upon to evaluate whether or not they deserve our respect or obedience. The matter is outside the realm of personal opinion.
We are to submit because of the Lord; because our Lord would have it so as citizens of heaven. We are to be law abiding in whatever land we dwell and under whatever human authority because to disobey would cast our Savior and King in a shameful light.
We should also recognize that the benefit of government (established by God, Romans 13:1ff). Its purpose is to keep order. Government (whatever the form) is to punish those who do what is wrong and praise those who do what is right. Even a government with injustice and corruption makes everyday life for its citizens possible by punishing law breakers and praising those who abide by Law.
We are not only to submit because we recognize the benefit of government, but also because it is God’s will –
15For this is God’s will:
that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.
Let’s face it, because Satan is the ruler of this world, those who follow Christ will always be accused of being the problem in society. The religion whose stated purpose is to kill the unbeliever is today declared a religion of peace while the religion that seeks the eternal good of all is declared the problem.
In the verses just before these we were urged to (1 Peter 2:12, EHV) –
“Live an honorable life among the Gentiles so that even though they slander you as evildoers, when they observe your noble deeds, they may glorify God on the day he visits us.”
So here we are urged to submit to human authority and live law-abiding lives so that those who slander us as hypocrites may be put to silence, muzzled like yapping dogs.
We do more damage to our Savior’s name, to say nothing of the name of our congregation...by doing foolish things and posting them on social media. What we are to do is glorify God...and in so doing silence the foolish...not give them something to talk about. After all, it’s one thing to ruin our own reputations. It’s another to suffer the Savior’s name to be tarnished.
Finally, we willingly submit because we are citizens of the highest power of all. As it is written --
16Do this as free people, and do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but use it as servants of God. 17Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. ***
As citizens of heaven, we are bound to obey one King. He is the one who was crowned on calvary and who rose again from death. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God. This doesn’t mean that He is sitting upon an ornate throne doing nothing. It means that He is the highest authority of all. He rules all things for the benefit of His people.
We do not submit in fear or because we must but because our King asks that it be so with us on earth. We fear no earthly ruler or king, for the Father holds us in His hand.
We are free people, freed from our former master Satan. We are set free from the ball and chain that is sin. We do not fear death eternal in Christ. We are free people, yet we are not to use our freedom to indulge our sinful desires...but us it as servants of God.
We are to honor everyone in authority.
We are to love the fellowship of believers in which we are united.
We are to respect our God.
We are even to honor human authorities, even the king.
Be sheep...sheep of the good shepherd. He has redeemed to God by His blood. We submit to His rule in heart and mind and at His command we respect those in authority. This all because we are citizens of heaven and of Christ the King and He would have it so (TLH 575:1):
Before the Lord we bow,
The God who reigns above
And rules the world below
In boundless pow’r and love.
Our thanks we bring,
In joy and praise
Our hearts we raise
To heaven’s high King.