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Sermon: Honorable Conduct: Submission to Master, First Peter 2.18–25

Listen to this Sermon: 06102012FirstPe2.18-25DonRuhl

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Honorable Conduct: Submission to Masters

How do we show people that we are not evildoers?

First Peter 2.18–25

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • June 10, ad 2012

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


  1. Do you remember when you were in school and 
    1. the teacher provided a sheet of paper with the alphabet on it, and
    2. you had to write the letters below, duplicating them to the best of your ability?
  2. Do you also remember when you were young 
    1. that you would put on your parent’s shoes and
    2. try to walk in them, or just follow your parent everywhere?
  3. You may not remember either one of those, but 
    1. you have seen your children or someone else’s children doing those things.
    2. Both cases are all about imitation.
      1. Copying the letters.
      2. Walking in your parent’s footsteps.
        1. Peter uses both of these illustrations in our text,
        2. although the first one will not be obvious in English.
  4. Also, if we are all the special things Peter calls us in his letter, 
    1. the elect,
    2. obedient children,
    3. living stones in the spiritual house of God,
    4. a holy priesthood,
    5. believers,
    6. a chosen generation,
    7. a royal priesthood,
    8. a holy nation,
    9. God’s own special people,
    10. sojourners and pilgrims,
      1. why should we suffer?
      2. Should we not have a trouble-free life?
  5. In First Peter 2.11–17, the apostle 
    1. showed us how to deflect accusations against us as evildoers by
      1. doing good works, and
      2. submitting to the government.
    2. He continues his theme of submission as a form of a good work.


  1. First Peter 1.18 – Honorable Before Masters

    18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh (1Pe 2.18).
    1. In verses 13–17, Peter addressed all Christians, but in the next two sections
      1. he addressed house servants, and wives and husbands.
      2. Peter knew that
        1. submission to every ordinance of man and
        2. submission to harsh masters
          1. was difficult to practice.
          2. Therefore, in verses 19–25 he presents four reasons for submission.
    2. House servants worked closely with their masters
      1. who could more vigorously examine their work.
      2. This would also be difficult because
        1. in Christ we learn that everyone is equal.
        2. Therefore, slavery is not in harmony with Christianity, but
          1. the way to overthrow it was not violent rebellion, rather
          2. with a Christ-like spirit, for then
            1. the spirit of slavery would be detested by the world,
            2. which is how it happened, because of the church.
      3. If the church mounted a campaign against it,
        1. people would follow the church seeking political freedom
        2. rather than spiritual freedom, but
          1. teach people spiritual freedom and
          2. political freedom follows.
      4. Do this with all fear.
        1. Fear of violating God’s will in this matter.
        2. Fear of bringing reproach on the name of the Lord.
        3. In 1.17, Peter said to conduct ourselves during our stay here in fear.
    3. Obviously, submit to the good and gentle.
      1. That does seem obvious, but
      2. some people do not want to submit themselves to anyone,
        1. even the good and gentle.
        2. The Holy Spirit says, Do it anyway.
    4. Submit to harsh masters or harsh authorities,
      1. remembering that the lives of Christians are not about Christians, but
      2. about glorifying God and converting the lost.
  2. First Peter 1.19 – Honorable Conduct in Suffering #1

    19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully (1Pe 1.19).
    1. The first reason for submitting to masters and others in authority:
      1. It is commendable to suffer wrongfully.
      2. That goes against our grain, because
        1. we believe that we should have a trouble-free life.
        2. Just listen to our prayers and you will see.
          1. We do not pray to use our difficulties to glorify God, but
          2. we pray that we will not have difficulties.
    2. It is commendable if suffering is a conscience thing toward God.
      1. In other words, we need to think of what this means to God, and
      2. not concentrate on our suffering, because
        1. we live our lives in awareness of God and
        2. how our lives reflect upon His glory,
          1. how we may bless Him
          2. rather than seeking to be blessed.
    3. When we endure grief while suffering wrongfully,
      1. we show that our personal comfort is not our main goal in life, but
      2. honoring God and converting lost souls.
    4. Remember the teachings of Jesus,

      10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
      For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5.10–12).

  3. First Peter 1.20 – Honorable Conduct in Suffering #2

    20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God (1Pe 1.20).
    1. The second reason for submitting to masters and others in authority:
      1. It is to our credit to suffer when doing good.
      2. Is it any credit to us to take it patiently when beaten for our faults?
    2. The world should not see us as rebellious, complaining people.
      1. Rather than let them see this spirit,

        41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5.41).

        25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them (Acts 16.25).

  4. First Peter 2.21–24 – Honorable Conduct in Suffering #3

    21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

    22 “Who committed no sin,
    Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;

    23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed (1Pe 2.21–24).

    1. The third reason for submitting to masters and others in authority:
      1. Jesus left us an example of how to suffer.
        1. He did not suffer for His own faults, because
        2. He did not have any!
      2. The word Peter used for “example,” means to write under.
        1. Like when your teacher gave you the paper with the letters and
        2. you had to write them below.
          1. It could mean putting tracing paper over something and
          2. we copy onto the tracing paper what is under.
    2. God called us to imitate Jesus Christ in suffering.
      1. Peter addressed servants, but
        1. what he said applies to all,
        2. as you will see him do in 3.8, 9.
      2. When we suffer unjustly,
        1. the apostle teaches that we still act righteously,
        2. using Jesus as our example,
          1. walking in His footsteps,
          2. just like you did with your parents.
      3. Suffering is just part of being a Christian,

        22b “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14.22b).

        29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake… (Phi 1.29).

        12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2Ti 3.12).

    3. Then Peter reminded us of the life of Christ.
      1. In the section from verses 22–25,
        1. Peter used Isaiah 52.13–53.12,
        2. which twice refers to Jesus as a Servant [Read].
      2. First Peter 2.22 quotes Isaiah 53.9.
      3. When we imitate Jesus in His silence,
        1. it is not that we fear,
        2. it is not that we have given up,
        3. it is not that we agree with our enemies, but
          1. it is the courage to exercise self-control and self-discipline,
          2. knowing that our words will do no good, but
            1. that our patient endurance will say much, and
            2. even convert some, or at least refute them.
      4. Jesus placed His life in the hands of the Father who judges righteously.
        1. The Father would either forgive those making Jesus suffer, or
        2. the Father would pour out His wrath upon them,
          1. both of which He did,
          2. depending upon what those men did.
      5. Jesus suffered on the tree,
        1. bearing our sins in His body.
        2. His suffering stripes, His scourging, healed us.
          1. Peter’s reference to “stripes” meant something to house servants,
          2. who sometimes received their own stripes from their harsh masters.
            1. You endure at the hands of an evil master or employer, but
            2. remember what Jesus endured at the hand of the Romans.
              1. Silence seems like nothing, but
              2. in some situations it is everything.
  5. First Peter 2.25 – Honorable Conduct in Suffering #4

    25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls (1Pe 2.25).
    1. The fourth reason for submitting to masters and others in authority:
      1. “For you were like sheep going astray,” recalling Isaiah 53.6a.
    2. We should show honorable behavior during our unjust suffering, because
      1. we were like sheep going astray, but
      2. now we have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls, and
        1. for that we should willingly suffer wrong and endure it patiently, because
        2. that is what the One who saved us wants us to do.
    3. Jesus as the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls,
      1. connects us with the Shepherd in the Old Testament,
      2. such as in Psalm 23,

        1 The LORD is my shepherd;
        I shall not want.
        (Psa 23.1)

      3. Therefore, Jesus is divine.


  1. Remember who wrote these things, 
    1. the man who rebuked Jesus for saying that He had to suffer and be crucified.
    2. However, Peter gave his all
      1. to follow Jesus Christ and to imitate Him, and
      2. now calls us to do the same.
        1. We may think that we cannot do it, but
        2. remember how Jesus changed Peter
          1. from a man who could not see the glory of suffering
          2. to a man who gloried in suffering.
  2. However, if you have been baptized, 
    1. you should already have the idea of suffering in your mind, because
    2. you died to self and started living for Jesus.
      1. So now live up to the reason for which you were baptized.
      2. If you need restoring or rededication, let us help.
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