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June 28, 2020 6:00 am
Summit family and friends. We are in a series called together we endured to study through Peter's first letter to the church trip got a Bible to grab better find it somewhere around your house and and open it to first Peter chapter 2, man I sure do miss being with everybody. I cannot wait we can get back together person. I know a lot of you are frustrated also. So before you start limning this give you an update on what's going on with the reopening plan at the end of May we told you that were, we would have another member meeting around this time to explain our next steps. Well, in light of recent developments in our state were going to postpone that update for just a little while our leadership task force continues to consult with other like-minded churches, medical professionals or elders to make a recommendation on what's next are directional elders are to be prayerfully considering those recommendations. This coming week. We do know right now is that at least two July 4 weekend really continue to operate online only for weekend services. You stay soon.
Of course, is a summa church.com for info and we will share with you information soon as we have it so pay attention. There especially here in this coming week now left off last time in chapter 2 were Peter was about to dive in the three really difficult relationships of believers in his day often found themselves in. One was I'm being under the authority of unjust rulers really see that in chapter 2 verse 13 to 17 minutes you discussed being under the control of an unjust master is going to be verses 18 to 25 in the number three is to discuss be married to an imperfect person. The first seven verses of chapter 3. Now will be totally honest with your cake. I was really really tempted to skip this whole section to see if you did notice because it just seemed like a really difficult time to talk about some of these dynamics they get brought up on the first and third relationships are irrelevant enough for us. All of us.
Of course, feel the frustration of being under the governance of incompetent and sometimes unjust rulers.
A man right in all of us were married know what it's like to be married to an imperfect person, a man that sound you probably her right now is my wife screaming amen from somewhere in North Raleigh then you got this second relationship right in the middle about masters and household servants. Some translations say slaves and you're like, what is that all about. So I was tempted just to come to skip it but but Peter teaches us a principal through these relationships that is incredibly relevant to us and even though we for how we think about these relationships now are is different.
The principle that Peter teaches us is still really really important for Peter ECB's three relationships are merely an application of one single principle that he is trying to drill home and that is that one of the Christian's primary colleagues as a stranger and then exile is to is to patient and faithful endurance in the face of unjust suffering in how we talking about these three relationships. He is telling you that God is not blind to your suffering in these relationships, and he is going to give you justice. One day, but in the meantime, he is using your suffering is a part of his redemptive work on earth both in you and and through you.
The word that Peter uses to introduce each of these three relationships is the word submit submit is the first word you see in verse 13, and that word is going to reopen Peter's discussion of each of these three relationships sometimes Christian men wrongly think that submission is is a woman's issue. Peter shows you. It is an important and essential part of every Christian's life. It was one of Christ's most dominant characteristics Peter explains. Yes, God has called us in Christ to thrive in the sora depth to rise above but is also called us to humble ourselves to to surrender and to guide ourselves to submit the right in the middle of of Peter's discussion of these three relationships you can appoint us to Christ.
Christ he says is your guiding example for how you should approach any of these relationships any relationship. These three or otherwise, in which you experience injustice. But what he says.
Verse 21, for you were called to this because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps. Verse 22. He did not commit sin and no deceit was found in his mouth.
A quote from Isaiah 53, when he was insulted.
He did not install in return when he suffered, he did not threaten, but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly, he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness because the Scripture says, by his wounds you have been healed. We have to look at this and are our last study. First Peter but what what did Christ do in the face of injustice. We noted for things. Number one. He was patient, verse 22. He knew that suffering was an integral part of God's plan for salvation some Christians. I explained to you have bought into the lie that if you follow Jesus and and do things right. Everything will go smoothly. Look, I don't know what savior they're following but it's not Jesus to follow in Jesus.
The steps means that we should expect unjust suffering. Jesus didn't roll into Jerusalem and escalated and take up residence in a mansion he came in on a donkey and he and he and he died on the cross.
Number two, we set Jesus committed himself to him who judges justly. That's verse 23 he knew that earthly justice will may never come.
It would it would fail him often but but God would give him justice in his heavenly country number three we saw that Jesus kept doing good. Verse 23. Even when he was being slandered even when others wronged him. He EE Doing the right think knowing that in all situations.
He was responding first and foremost, God and even of the person in front of him was treating them unjustly. He could do the right thing because he was responding, not the Bim responding to God and God would vindicate him one day number four we saw was that Jesus rested in the fact that God was bringing salvation to the world through his wounds as per 24 Jesus's wounds were that the means by which God brought salvation into the world. Peter tells us that in some mysterious way that is true of of us in our sufferings also. So now with that as our example let's look at the first two of of the three relationships of Peter tells his readers they must they must submit unit will get to the third when next time. Number one, number one, the Emperor and every human authority. Look at verse 13 submit to every human authority, by the way, which human authorities right every human authority means anyone in a rightful place of authority are you and you do that he says because of the Lord. In other words, you responding.
First and foremost, not them, but to him whether to the Emperor, he says, is the supreme authority, or to governors that are sent out by the Emperor to punish those who do what is evil into praise those who do what is good. In other words, even when the people who occupy the office are fallible about the office itself is one that is been appointed by God. You respect the office even when you don't agree with the person occupying the office. Verse 15 for it is God's will that you should silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good for 16 submit as free people. In other words you're submitting, not because they're better than you work because they own you because because your only real authority is God, yet you choose to submit to these governors for his sake as a free person you choose to submit for his sake not using your cut your freedom.
He says, is a cover-up for evil but you know it is God's slaves for 17 honor. Everyone loved the brothers and sisters fear God honor the Emperor right so the big question, of course, how do you submit to government leaders when there's so much about their lives, their beliefs in the policy. Sometimes that you disagree with the first realize that Peter would not have approved of or endorsed the vast majority of what the governing leaders of his day. Did I pretty sure that had there been a free election. They probably would not have voted for any of the Caesars that we have on record. We have reason to complain about our leaders would dare say Peter had even more this letter, we know was written and about 60 A.D. which means that that the Emperor whom Peter is talking about is me wrote me wrote was third in a trio of truly terrible Caesars assess serial cuckoo train that started with Caligula and Nero, Caligula, I've told you before, was what was unfit to keep a pet, let alone run an empire. Shortly after becoming Caesar. He had his mom and brother killed the make sure that that they did never challenge it is right to the throne. We know that he openly committed incest with with three of his sisters. He frequently cross-dressed and went out in public, install his favorite horse inside it says as a senator and then and then get this promoted him to counsel. I have to ask what had the horse done as senator to earn the promotions up to counsel mean I was a horse even vote in the Senate, you know, all in favor all in favor.
They make is at work but you get the point. Caligula once got mad at the weather and declared war on Neptune, the Roman god of the sea when he ordered his soldiers Roman soldiers to go take whips in the water and beat the waves for punishment and then to bring home seashells to symbolize taking plunder from his domain. Yet the heads of statues of deities in Rome removed and replaced that that the heads he removed with a bust of his own head and imagine of our president superimposed his face on every statue of Jesus in Washington is that what items are not far-fetched yet, but I haven't heard of that happening yet and and and and after this, you got Claudius who took over after him who may have been a hair less crazy than Caligula, but was every bit as cruel right he handed the throne over to Nero and by the way, when I say he handed over the throne. I mean, that Nero's mom killed Claudius in his sleep so that her son could place them Nero turns out to be the worst of the three. He turns out to be one of the cruelest most sadistic Christian haters of all time. He intentionally set fire to Rome or at least it was believed on strong evidence that he did it intentionally is wrong. Bernie stood on the balcony watching it and playing the harp like he was some kind of tragic poet and blame whole thing on the Christiansen use that as a pretext to have them rounded up and fed to the lions to slip this again okay this is the Emperor Nero Peter is talking about when he says submit to every human authority, and honor the Emperor Tim Keller concludes here. He says the increasingly secular West is only just beginning to experience a level of hostility the first century believers based the 21st century persecuted church experiences it every day is this type of state which the apostles tell the Christian to submit Peter in these verses tells us four things about our submission to rules like this. Firstly, he says always to be done with respect and honor this for 17 even when we don't agree with them. We can respect the office they occupy is God-given. That office is worthy of respect.
That's what Peter does. Here Peter was not part of some hashtag not my Emperor Facebook group. He recognizes God has established government and the authorities, they send out like police as a gift to humanity and because of that office to be respected. Verse 16, number two, you notice free men. Again, not because they are superior to you because they they own you as a Christian, you're under the authority controlled no one but God but in that freedom. He says you're still God's servant God wants you to submit to them for his glory for the cause of Christ not to use your freedom, he says, is a cover-up for evil, but as God's slaves verse 15 it is God's will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good you shut their mouths to the slander they give about Christians in the faith of the gospel by way that you honor and obey the authorities and you and you pursue justice, but that means number three that is submitting to authority. We never disobey the commands of God in their certain lines. We can never and should never cross. If our government tells us one day that we can't preach faith in Jesus is the only way of salvation.
Well, by God's grace we won't change our message one bit with daughter what God says about the sanctity of marriage and in this community and the sanctity of life, regardless of what of what the government says there are certain kinds of marriages that we have the summer church will not. We cannot perform in this church or use another example, we can never pay for abortions for our employees, nor can we go along with any kind of systemic injustice or discrimination in the last few weeks it's it's it's come out of their certain discriminatory practices that are still on the books and some of our cities, which is disheartening and infuriating and we are bound by God to oppose those things and speak out against them in.
And that leads to number four what Peter says honoring emperors does not preclude speaking out against evil. What you notice that honor.
The Emperor is is only one of four commands in that final verse, honor everyone love the brothers and sisters fear God honor the Emperor honoring everyone a loving brothers and sisters me speaking up for their suffering right and furthermore we live in a country where peaceful protest is a constitutional right and we get to choose our own emperors over the last couple weeks we seen some protests in our country trying to to do just that while we should deplore any kind of violence or looting.
We also recognize that many people are grieving and and rightfully angry at injustice and needless loss of life. Those of us who are not affected as directly not only want to support the right to draw our attention to these things in a moment like this one but but also to seek to understand why they are protesting and sometimes even protesting with them. That's part of of honoring them listening to them is is honoring honor the Emperor and love one another. Those are two things that you got a balance. I do think Dr. King got Martin Luther King balance it well expressed in his letter from a Birmingham Jail, which I would encourage all of you to rebuy the way Dr. King said one has not only illegal but moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. He then explains laws that lift up the sanctity of human life or just laws that degraded our unjust. Many said a peaceful protest are designed to force conversations on those issues when society refuses to have them honoring the Emperor speaking up for others living with this tension is going to make you odd right because people want us to be on one side or the other.
They want you to either be pro-Emperor or anti-Emperor, but a Christian is not captive to any Emperor that means we honor them all. We critique them all. Christians today should therefore not be owned by any political party.
We critique them all. It is, I got told you we are not the tribe of the donkey or the elephant where the tribe of the Lamb. Now, to be clear, I'm not saying all voting choices are equal or not. Same elections don't matter. I'm not even saying that you should belong to a political party, but at our core, we should stand above and apart from all of them willing to honor and praise rulers from both parties were recanted and critique them where we must limit give you a really practical way of of of telling whether or not you've achieved that balance here is if you criticize the bad in a ruler. You also praise the good or, conversely, if you if you praise the good in a particular ruler. You also criticize the bat. If you are someone who supports the current administration because it seemed like the best choice given the alternatives open to you also speak out clearly when it comes to the to to the bad that they do or if you hate the current administration are are you praising them in the good things you see them do if you've mastered Peter's balance here. I believe your Facebook page will have both praise for the good and criticism for the bad and I assure you this will make you a ride on Facebook and that's Peter's point. I knew from experience that people will come at you from both sides because they want you to be anti-Emperor Pro ever but it will point people to Jesus to your true King into your true country Summit church listen. Life is too short and eternity is too long to make political identity.
My primary identity I want my life to point to Jesus and understand that some believers are called in the politics also know the good politics is a way of loving our neighbors, which is why it's important to get involved. But it's like pastor Brian said a couple weeks ago I never want to become so obsessed with change in the government that I neglect the primary thing. The goddess called me as a believer to and that is getting the life-changing message of the gospel to our neighbors, our lives appointed Jesus much more than they do a particular political approach for ways you relate to an imperfect and infallible government.
One can always do it with respect and honor. Number two, you do it is free men and women. Three.
Never disobey God and in obeying the authorities and before you speak out against evil anywhere what happens when you do this, people see Christ at this point this is somebody who is confident that politics and earthly judges don't have the last word. People who belong to a heavenly kingdom with up with a perfect king.
It is God's will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good consistently know this was the posture of the most notable posture that characterized early Christians, and it made their their gospel witness incredibly powerful site. Leslie knew Megan, who is a missionary to India, said the victory of the church over corrupt Roman power did not come by seizing the levers of power. It was one when the victims knelt down the Coliseum and prayed in the name of Jesus for the Emperor. In so doing, the entire mystique of the Empire.
It's spiritual power was unmatched. Disarmed and rendered powerless Summit church, let me ask you how you think you're doing on this. Some of us need God's help here.
My right solace to stop here for a moment and and pray about this together. Listen, I know, I know that this thought of honoring and praying for government authorities is probably very unpopular right now for a lot of us, but but that's what being a Christian is. It's been unpopular toward the things of the world's on the NASA we all pray this out loud together will be put on the screen for your gang was pray this together out loud. God help us to honor our authorities to speak out for truth and justice point people to Jesus, give us a humble and submissive heart for your sake help our leaders make wise decisions. Please bring them to faith in Jesus, not just take 30 seconds in silence to personalize that to put that in your own words and and pray that God okay ready for relationship number two it's an unjust earthly master verse 18 household slaves, submit to your masters with all reverence not only to the good and gentle ones, but also to the cruel ones, for it brings favor if because of the consciousness of God.
Someone endures grief from suffering unjustly for what credit is there if when you do wrong or beaten you endure it when you do what is good and still suffer if you endure it well, that brings favor with God and you thought the first section will challenge limited knowledge.
This passage has been twisted and manipulated to to justify institutions like slavery order to minimize its injustices, but reading this to say Peter is supporting slavery would be a severe misreading of this passage. Peter's whole context in writing this is injustice. First electrically okay slavery in Rome. Peter was referring to is not exactly like slavery in the US in the United States. Slavery was tied to ethnicity and even worse theory of superiority based on ethnicity, you became a slave in the Roman Empire.
In one of two ways either a Rome conquered your nation and Morency became slave or be you sold yourself in the slavery in order to pay off the debt slavery in Rome was not tied to ethnicity as it was our country. Many slaves would look just like that the Roman masters. Generally, you were emancipated by the age of 30 solace either about 60 million people enslaved in these ways throughout the Empire. Now let's be clear, this system was rife with injustice.
Also, Aristotle, for example, ECE said there can be no friendship nor justice given to inanimate things just as you cannot be friends or give justice to a horse or to Iraq's so friendship and justice cannot be extended towards a slave, either as a slave and master have nothing in common. A slave is just a living to. So that's also heinously unjust. Neither Peter nor Scripture is condoning this version of slavery.
In fact, Scripture strictly condemns slavery that involves taking somebody About horses explicitly condemned in the Bible. For example, Exodus 2116 anyone who kidnaps another and sells them must be put to death in first Timothy one. Paul put slave traders in the same category as those who kill their parents. By the way, slave kidnapping is one of the few things in the Old Testament for which the death penalty is prescribed right second entire message of the gospel subverts the idea of slavery gospel teaches the revolutionary message that all people are made in the image of God were all united by common problems, then we've all got up, and hope the blood of Jesus. In Christ we are brothers and sisters in one family in Christ the poor sits down in equality with the rich in the kingdom of God. The slave is the equal the master.
By the way, that's the significance of Paul telling them to greet one another with a holy kiss in church. I know that sounds like a crazy violation of social distancing today, but I kiss Dan was a sign of equality masters in church would kiss slaves as their equals even in this passage Peter tells us to honor everyone as an equal son or daughter of God. Not that we just undo the entire basis of the entire system of slavery right mill New Testament ethic is doing to others as you would have been doing to you. Which is why everywhere throughout history that this gospel has been preached and taken seriously. Societal revolution has been the result the theologian and historian DA Carson says that in his opinion the best work on slavery out there is by an African-American scholar named Thomas soul massive three volumes that have got in my library soul points out, the slavery was universal terrible European slave trade traffic 11 million Africans but twice that many were bought and sold on the Arabian Peninsula. During the same time. Slavery was a nearly universal problem yet yet you got an enormous amount of guilt, literature, coming out of the West, but none comes out of Arabia and the efforts to stop slavery all came from the Christianized West soul points out, why is that he asked me slavery is Caesar universal in the human condition, but what stop slavery in the West is answer is as undeniably as the great awakening the preaching of men like John Wesley and the reforms of Christian statesmen like William Wilberforce. By the way, the two were connected preaching of the gospel by people like John Wesley planted seeds that ultimately undid the broken systems of the world from within.
When Christians seriously reckoned with the gospel as they did in the great awakening brought the entire system of slavery, and it said I look again let me be totally frank with you right when I read passages like this one. First Peter, I want Peter to be more direct in his condemnation. I want Peter to say this whole system is bad.
It ought to be rejected immediately but evidently God thought that a more effective way was to plant seeds for transformation from within.
You gotta wonder had Peter, Paul merely issued a political manifesto. Believers may have focused exclusively on political action to the neglect of the more the more permanent the lasting change that would come to the preaching of the gospel. Yes, we want to be involved injustice, we must be involved in it but the most important thing the church can do is preach the gospel is the preaching of John Wesley that creates the reforms of William Wilberforce and bring back to Peter's main point. Peter's purpose in writing this is not to evaluate the merits of the current economic system is people rent his purpose is to encourage those experiencing injustice. Methanol thrust of this passage how to respond to injustice. You see we live in a world where at some point you were going to be treated unjustly and no matter how much you speak up and how much you present your case. At the end of the day, things still may not work out fairly for you. That was true for Christ right. Peter's point is that in moments like these, you can still respond like Christ. You can like he did entrust yourself to God who judges justly, you can remind yourself, even when you're suffering that your heavenly citizenship is your you can be assured that through your unjust suffering. God is working redemption and salvation for others just like you use Christ unjust suffering to work. Salvation for you and me to let me press this way press this down to us. Maybe you're really frustrated with what feels like consistent injustices at work in our legal system would also be frustrated.
Why is it taking us so long to create a society where discrimination and prejudice are a thing of the past and where there is no hint of inequity in the processes of justice. Or maybe you're discouraged because a spouse is treated you badly need trying to make things right, but your spouse's lied about you and slandered you people seem to be believing them and fills unjust or maybe you're in a marriage with the other spouse treat you wrong or even worse, they tear you down to others may seem to be winning you live under this cloud of unfair treatment of slander and you are getting justice. Or maybe you've recently been taken advantage of in business and he fought in the court she tried a major case for the other person got their way in and injustice prevail. You can protest all these things we should protest these things and and we can and should pray for deliverance and and we can and should keep fighting but realize that the reality of the world is that at some level. Peter says this about injustice. You're called to this, we should expect it. It's the path of Jesus. Listen to be real or personal with you I five experiences recently in my own life. The slander that I've had to endure people line about me and and and and imputing my motives now. I awesomely same direction, funny.
There's a few main tweets. Long story short to medium people don't have male role models. Nowadays, JD Greer, his male friends seeking love songs of female voices and booty dancing is giving genes undermines biblical teachings on masculinity, maturity, modesty, and interpersonal boundaries. I also have no idea what he thought about. But here's one JD is a growing leader buddies which she is more wishy-washy than a drive-through carwash in a dusty West Texas down Jenny's Romans one sermon clearly so you can't follow the flow of the text and that he'll jump through skinny jeans to avoid preaching against sin. I had to do this when I where I got the worst Christian of 2019 on a blog by the way, this is not a spurious thing that actually had contestants and they had criteria by which the judge said it was, whoever had had been the Christian would cause the most damage to the kingdom of God that your 2000 ideally think they they elected me and David submit a trophy. This is not a joke anonymously submit trophy. This is worst Christian of 2019. Now some of the sins got humorous writer minutes done lobotomy but there are times in slander really hurts and I know for some of your module make light of its you just eat you like why is injustice prevail and when it's appropriate you clear these things out, but it's help me see to remember that that Jesus experienced these kinds of names, and he told me to expect it also to this. I have been called back even when you read Paul's epistles. You see that Paul dealt with as these normal places like Demas has done me much harm her Sausalito silversmith is with lied about me and and damage me and I'm sure Paul try to keep that from happening, but but Paul, like Jesus and like I should knew that in some ways this was inevitable. He had been called to this been called to have people say things like this and we expected and we endure faithfully and it God uses it as a part of his redemptive process to see.
Like Paul, like Peter, I continually take my refuge and first Peter two. You were called in this because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps. He did not commit sin, no deceit was found in his mouth about what they said or did about it when he was assaulted.
He did not insult and return when he suffered, he did not threaten, but he entrusted himself to the only one who judges justly waited for him.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that, having died to sin, we might live for righteousness by his wounds you have been healed so that means being patient committing myself to the one judges justly continuing to do good rested in the fact that God is bringing salvation of the world.
My wounds also. I continually rest in the fact that this world is not my home, I'm a stranger and exile here in our ultimate justice. My ultimate rewards can be found in the resurrection and in my eternal kingdom. And every day I get one day closer to my heavenly home and I can't wait. I was reminded all this of the story of Eric with L Scottish Olympic runner in the 1920s whose story inspired movie chariots of fire.
Now most people know anything about.
Eric will remember little for the movie depicts how he, because of his religious convictions. He refused the race on Sunday and it is an awesome movie. Let me be clear what we often skip is that after he became an Olympic gold medalist little left to be a missionary in China is 1925 he worked at one of the poorest provinces and that the country and when war broke out in 1941 the British government ordered all their citizens, including Eric little to to flee China but little refused the state because see little knew that his ultimate allegiance was not to the British government were to the Chinese government is allegiance was to God when the Japanese army are closer to his poor city in 1942 he stayed to help those poor Chinese in the city that he had given his life to win in 1943, the Japanese took the city. He was sent to an internment camp where he spent the last two years of his life. Everybody who knew them there if you read his biography hereby describes in this almost selfless love even completely. Others focused people it ever been around the Japanese and I here's how he died. The Japanese selected a random group of the prisoners to be set free and he was one the one chosen to set free, but instead of being set free. Eric little was shot you have to ask, how does somebody live this way.
Here's how Eric, little did not expect England or China to be his home.
He suffered thinking of his heavenly home and entrusting himself to him who judges justly pay Summit church. Let's rejoice in this promise that God has given us is God's will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good by his stripes we are healed and now mercy should be our song, we would all be hopeless without his goodness would all be desperate without his love. So may we who have received that love and mercy demonstrate that love and mercy toward others. Hallelujah for the cross