Listen to this Sermon: 03374,06.03.2012,FirstPe2.13-17

Download the Notes: 03374,06.03.2012,FirstPe2.13-17

Honorable Conduct: Submission to the Government

How do we show people that we are not evildoers?

First Peter 2.13–17

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • June 3, ad 2012

Scripture Reader and Reading: Blade – First Peter 2.11, 12


  1. After Nebuchadnezzar took some of the Jews captive to pagan Babylon, 
    1. he wanted some young men selected to serve in the Babylonian government.
    2. During their three-year training period,
      1. they would learn the language and literature of the Chaldeans—
      2. the ruling class of Babylon.
        1. The king also wanted the young Jewish men
        2. to eat and drink the food the Chaldeans,
          1. which did not all conform to the Law of Moses.
  2. One of the young men decided that he could not eat and drink these things,

    8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself (Dan 1.8).

    1. Then writer added this,

      9 Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs (Dan 1.9).
    2. Daniel had not made himself odious to his new government,
      1. although that government had killed many of his people, and
      2. destroyed his beloved city and the temple of God made by Solomon.
  3. This chief of the eunuchs expressed his fear 
    1. that if Daniel refused what the king ordered,
    2. the chief of the eunuchs might have to forfeit his life.
      1. Again, Daniel did not present himself in an ugly way, but
      2. maintained a respectful attitude and
        1. proposed to the chief
        2. that Daniel’s way be tested to see that it was better.
          1. When Daniel demonstrated that his way was superior,
          2. watch what the chief eunuch did,

            16 Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables (Dan 1.16).
  4. From that time on, 
    1. the Bible shows Daniel seeking the good of the king, and
    2. his empire.
  5. Daniel provides an excellent illustration of my text from First Peter 2
    1. Peter wrote briefly of various trials in 1.6, and
    2. he wrote of the Gentiles who speak against us as evildoers in verse 12,
      1. revealing that the way to combat that false charge is
        1. to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against soul (v. 11), and
        2. to have honorable conduct among our enemies (v. 12).
  6. From this point on, 
    1. Peter shows how to have honorable conduct
    2. that is filled with good works that refutes the false accusations against us.


  1. First Peter 2.13, 14 – Honorable Before the Government

    13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good (1Pe 2.13, 14).

    1. In the first century, Greeks accused the church of evil against the Roman government,

      7 “Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus” (Acts 17.7).

      1. Someday our fellow-Americans will accuse us of being unconstitutional.
      2. It is coming.
        1. Be prepared for it, and
        2. learn from the Holy Spirit-inspired Peter on what to do.
    2. The first way that Peter lists
      1. on how to have honorable conduct among the Gentiles and
      2. what good works we can do before them is this:
        1. Submit to every ordinance of man,
        2. doing it for the Lord’s sake.
          1. He appointed governments.
          2. They do His will.
    3. We do this toward the king as supreme and
      1. his governors,
      2. knowing that the king has put these governors in position for two things:
        1. To punish evildoers,
        2. To praise those who do good.
    4. Peter did not say to which form of government we should do these things, for
      1. it applies to any form of government where the Christian may live.
      2. Think of the government under which Peter and our early brethren lived.
        1. Was the Roman Empire friendly to the church?
        2. Even without that question, what was the government of Rome like?
    5. Yes, of course there are exceptions, but
      1. most of the time we do not need those exceptions,
      2. that is why they are exceptions.
        1. The Bible records Peter himself stating those exceptions,
        2. such as in Acts 4 when the authorities told him to quit preaching,

          19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge” (Acts 4.19),
        3. and in Acts 5, it happened again for the same reason,

          29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5.29).
    6. Therefore, when we do as Peter instructed,
      1. we honor the Lord, and
      2. if we fail to do as instructed, we dishonor the Lord.
    7. Notice that Peter recognizes ranking in the government.
      1. There is the king, or similar national leader, who is supreme.
      2. There are governors.
      3. Ecclesiastes 5 shows ranking also, but
        1. it also reassures us that though higher human authorities exist,
        2. there is someone above them,

          8 If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them (Ecc 5.8).

          1. Authorities in the heavenly places, such as angels and others,
          2. rank above any human authority, and
            1. the Holy Spirit ranks above the created heavenly host, and
            2. Jesus ranks over the Holy Spirit, and
            3. the Father ranks above Jesus.
      4. Therefore, do not despair when persecution arrives (which is Solomon’s point),
        1. even if it comes from the government, because
        2. while the government may think it is the highest authority,
          1. it is not, and
          2. there are much higher authorities over human governments.
  2. First Peter 2.15, 16 – Honorable Before Foolish Men

    15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God (1Pe 2.15, 16).

    1. This goes back to verse 12,

      12 …having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation (1Pe 2.12).
    2. God’s will is that the way to muzzle these vicious dogs is to do good.
      1. The apostle did not say to rebel against the government, but
      2. submit to their ordinances, because
        1. even ignorant and foolish men
        2. have a hard time arguing against people who do good things.
          1. Sometimes wicked people will fight us anyway, and
          2. Peter addresses that later in his letter.
      3. The good things that we do should be the most obvious part of our lives.
    3. They are ignorant, hence they are foolish, saying foolish things.
      1. They do not understand Christianity and
      2. so it looks evil to them.
        1. Their criticisms are like the people who crucified Christ, and
          1. Jesus prayed for them,

            34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots (Luke 23.34).
          2. Paul commented on the people who crucified Christ,

            7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1Co 2.7, 8).
        2. What they did in ignorance toward Jesus, they will also do toward us.
      3. It can be frustrating to reason with them, but
        1. when they see how we live, and
        2. our abundance of good works,
          1. they will have a hard time continuing to call us evildoers, and
          2. they will begin to see the goodness of our religion.
    4. We want them to see that the church is a blessing to our society.
      1. We want them to see us as peacemakers,
      2. not as troublemakers.
    5. Yet, Peter warns quickly,
      1. that we are free, and
      2. that such freedom cannot be used as a cloak for vice, but
        1. we use our freedom as bondservants of God.
        2. Free, yet bondservants to God.
  3. First Peter 2.17 – Honorable Before All

    17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king (1Pe 2.17).

    1. Here are four ways to silence ignorant and foolish men.
      1. Honor all people.
        1. Think of how that would deflect
        2. the charge that we are evildoers.
      2. Love the brotherhood.
        1. If we cannot love our own,
        2. how can we say that our way is better?
          1. If we love the brotherhood,
          2. we will attract the attention of the world in a very good way,

            34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13.34, 35).
      3. Fear God.
        1. What we do, we do because we fear God.
        2. This will show our accusers that we practice what we preach.
      4. Honor the king.
        1. How we treat those in authority,
        2. will show our accusers that we are not here to overthrow the government.
    2. So then, when these ignorant and foolish men speak against us as evildoers, and
      1. someone asks them what evil it is that we do,
      2. they will have to say, well
        1. they honor all people,
        2. they love their brotherhood,
        3. they fear their God, and
        4. they honor the king.
          1. Quickly our accusers will see their own baseless charges, and
          2. others will see the truth about us.


  1. Do you struggle with submitting to every ordinance of man? 
    1. Do not ignore it, for
    2. what the Lord teaches and commands,
      1. He expects us to keep, and
      2. we will give an account to Him for failing to do it.
  2. Do you need us then to pray for you? 
    1. Do not risk losing your soul over this matter.
    2. I had a Christian tell me once that if he loses his soul,
      1. it will be over the hatred that he had for one of our presidents.
      2. That brother died in that condition, and
        1. if he never repented, he may very well be lost.
      3. When you have entered eternity, and
        1. you are lost for having disobeyed our passage,
        2. will you be happy about it?
  3. Our text also spoke of doing good. 
    1. If I submit to every ordinance of man, but
    2. fail to do good,
      1. what have I gained?
      2. From my understanding of Scripture,
        1. I do not believe that I have gained heaven.
        2. Do not lose your soul over
          1. failing to do good works, because
          2. there were other things that you wanted to do.
  4. Nothing tops where we shall go for eternity. 
    1. The choice is yours.
    2. Choose heaven. Let us help you.