Sermon Study - 1 Peter 2:13-17

October 29, 2013

by Jeff Breeding

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Sermon Study

"Honor to All as God's Servants" from 1 Peter 2:13-17. You can listen to the sermon here.

Sermon Review

When you think about glorifying God, what comes to mind? Evangelism? Bible study? Love for your neighbor? Yes, those are all things that glorify God. But what about paying taxes or submitting to the governing authorities? We do not normally think about such things when we think about glorifying God.

But surprisingly, our passage this morning deals with exactly that topic – how our submission to the governing authorities does, in fact, bring glory to God. Yes, evangelism and Bible study and hard work and love for our neighbors bring glory to God. But so does paying taxes. So does obeying the law of the land. So does honoring those who hold positions of authority with the state. Even those things, when done with the right attitude, bring glory to God. That’s what this passage in 1 Peter is about – submission to the governing authorities.

But this passage is also about much more than just submission to the governing authorities. These verses also reveal to us how limited our scope often is whenever we think about glorifying God. In our text this morning, Peter teaches us that it’s not just the ‘spiritual’ things that glorify God. Peter makes clear that it’s often the ‘non-spiritual’ things that determine whether or not our lives are committed to God and his glory. It’s a passage about taxes and laws and government, but it’s also a passage about our hearts and our commitment to the glory of God.

For Further Study

The Apostle Paul also discusses the Christian’s duty to the governing authorities in Romans 13:1-7. Read those verses and then answer the following questions:

  1. In what ways is Romans 13:1-7 similar to 1 Peter 2:13-17? In what ways are the passages different?
  2. Putting both Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 together, how would you summarize a Christian’s duty to the governing authorities?

In our message, we discussed how true Christian freedom never leads to contempt for authority. Rather, it always leads to joyful, willing submission to divinely established authorities. Or, as Peter says it in v16, Christians are free to live as servants of God.

  1. How would you explain this relationship between freedom and submission to another believer?
  2. What practical difference does it make in your Christian life to understand this relationship between freedom and submission?

For Personal Reflection

What are some practical ways that you can show honor to those who hold positions of authority within the government? Would it be how you talk? Would it be how you interact with the government (i.e., participation, prayer, etc.)?

The Bible calls on Christians to pray for those in positions of governing authority (see 1 Timothy 2:1-4). How do you plan to grow in faithfully praying for our government officials?

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