Community Group Study Notes
- What does it mean to honor governing authorities? How does honoring governing authorities show honor to God?
- How can we in practical ways demonstrate honor for the authorities God has established in our current culture? What posture must our heart attitude be in order to live this out?
- What is one action step you can take to what you heard in Sunday’s message?
"When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." -1 Peter 2:23
I've had the opportunity in my lifetime to have seen in person five US Presidents. Earlier in the day, I was thinking it was four, but a friend helped remind me that I'd actually seen five. Years ago, I saw President Carter. I have had the opportunity to see, President George H.W. Bush in person. I have President George W. Bush in person. I have seen President Obama in person. And I have seen President Trump in person.
I've had the privilege in my life to have seen five United States presidents in person. I've also had an opportunity to see a variety of Senators and representatives and Congress people.
And interestingly enough in each of those scenarios that I was in, What I found was something interesting. And it was this, is that, in all of those scenarios generally speaking most people treated them in those settings with due honor and respect.
Not everyone was a supporter, even though in most of those settings as I recall most of those people would have been somewhat at home in the environments that they were in, and supported mostly by the people that support them. But not in all of them.
But even in those cases what I found is that, while some of the folks in those contexts may not have supported those particular presidents, or senators, or other governmental officials, even if they didn't have a ton of respect for the person, they showed respect for the office. I just found that to be the case.
It became interesting this week when kind of there was a crash with those memories when I saw what was happening in our culture. When Roseanne Barr sends out a tweet about a former senior advisor in the previous administration, President Obama's administration, that appealed to everything ugly, and discriminatory, that we have in our culture.
And then I see a TV show host, Samantha Bee who went on camera and used incredible, extraordinary vulgarity to describe someone who is also an official in the White House who happens to be the current president's daughter. And that was just this week.
If we were to make a catalog of how many disparaging, dishonorable remarks have been made about President's in the past or current, their families from the past or current, we would be here for the rest of our lives trying to catalog how dishonorable, and disparaging, and ugly that our culture has been in relationship to all of these things.
Unfortunately what our culture has become, it has been commonplace now in our culture to be dishonorable towards those who are in authority. It's commonplace in our culture. It should not be commonplace in the culture of the people of God. It should not.
Actually, there is instruction in the scripture around that idea because ultimately what we should be doing as the people of God, is following what the spirit of God, speaking through the Apostles are teaching us about this very idea of what it means to honor authority.
There's one particular Apostle, his name is Peter. You're familiar with him. And he wrote a couple of letters and he wrote them from Rome. It says at the end of his letter that he's writing from Babylon. Babylon was code, it was metaphor for Rome at that time. And if you ever wanted to be in the centerpiece of like political power, this was the place.
This was the Roman Empire that was controlling kind of the narrative of the world. And there, Peter is writing from that place to Christians that are spread out all over Asia minor including those that are in Rome. And he's giving them some instruction for how to live life in the face of some sense of persecution that was happening. And some persecution that was going to come.
He was talking to them predominantly about how to live as strangers and kind of aliens in this world. How we live as kind of counter cultural people in this world. And Peter actually addressed this idea of honoring authorities. And I want you to catch up with me. It's gonna be in 1Peter Chapter 2 if you're gonna be following along because that's where I'm going to work my through today. I'm gonna reference some other places but, 1Peter 2 is where I'm going to be working from today.
If you have a bible with you, or you're grabbing one out of a seat or on a table it's toward the end of your bible alright? You can always use the Table Of Contents, nobody here is gonna make fun of you. Feel free to look that up and find a page number if you have to. But it's towards kind of the back end of your bible, 1Peter.
Heres what it says in 1Peter chapter 2, verse 17. "Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the Emperor." You've noted here if you're looking up this way. Some of you were looking down at your copy of scripture. But I've highlighted this last piece for us, honor the Emperor.
This word honor that we're talking about this week, when Peter uses this term, it's slightly different than the term that we talked about last week. When we talked about it last week, we talked about honoring God. And it was the idea honor had the idea of praise or exalt, or glorify, or magnify, or make much of. That was the idea behind the word we talked about, honor, when we talked about honoring God.
But in this context, the word honor is a different choice of words, translated honor, that really means, deference. It's very similar to respect though in the Greek they do make a slight difference because as you can read there it says, "Show respect to everyone." And then later it says, "Honor the Emperor."
It's very close to the idea of respect but it's talking about showing due respect or deference to those who are in authority. Specifically this word honor has an object when Peter is writing. And that object is, the Emperor. He says, "Honor the Emperor."
Now hold on for a second. The Emperor. As in the Roman Emperor? As in the Caesar? As in the controlling force of kind of all of the Roman Empire? Yes. And if you know your history, and if you have any idea of when 1Peter might have been written, based upon who was ruling in Rome at the time, heres what you'll find out. The Emperor that Peter was referring to was Nero. That Nero. Some of you went, "Oh."
If you know your history, you know that, that Nero is the Nero who blamed the Christians for the great fire in Rome. It's that Nero who scapegoated those Christians by making them human candles and burning them at the stake to light Rome up. It's the same Nero that married a boy name Sporus. And heres what Peter says, "Honor the Emperor."
Now, when we read that, we kind of have a little-bit of trouble thinking about this because it's like, wait a second, how in the world could Peter say, "Honor the Emperor?" The truth is, is that, some of these things that I just described about Nero may have been happening as Peter was writing. Or may have about to have happened when Peter was writing. We're not 100 percent sure.
Heres what we know. Peter knew that there was a persecution that was beginning among the people of God. And he also knew what was coming. He had an idea that this was going to potentially get ugly in the people of God in terms of persecution. And so, Peter is writing. But in the midst of all of that he says, "Honor the Emperor."
If he were writing today and we were in the context that we're in, in the United States of America, he would simply have said, Honor the president, honor the president and the officials associated with the president, honor the governing authorities." The president in our context is not a king. But in the context of when he was writing, there was an emperor who was a king and who was viewed as deity.
Some of us are saying, "Well when you say, honor the Emperor I go okay, alright, whatever, you know that's the teaching of scripture and I get it but honor the president I mean come on." Some of you are going, "I don't know if I can do that." Some of you are thinking back to a previous administration going, "I couldn't do that then, I can do it now." Some of you are going, "I can't do it now but I could do it then."
Well let me hold you here for just a second. It didn't say honor the Emperor that you like. It didn't say, honor the Emperor that you most agree with. It just says, honor the Emperor. This is what Peter is saying. My guess is, is that, Peter was no big fan of Nero's policies. He was no big fan of Nero's choices morally. Yet he still writes, "Honor the Emperor."
Why would Peter write something like that? Why would Peter say something along that line? Why would he say, "Honor the Emperor? Well I'm glad that he wrote more than just verse 17 that we were reading. And we're gonna unpack that for just a second. I'm gonna give you a few quick things for you to be reminded of because I'm gonna answer this question. Why should we honor authorities? Why should we?
Heres the first reason that I think Peter gives to us. It's this, because it honors God. Alright, I'm gonna simplify this for us, and we're gonna see this in the text of scripture itself. Why should we honor authorities? Because it honors God. If we look in our text in 1Peter chapter 2. Look in the beginning of verse 13 and it says, this, "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority." "Submit yourself, for the Lord's sake, to every human authority."
Why would we submit to human authority, civil authorities? Peter says, we do it for the Lord's sake. Why do we do it for the Lords sake? Heres why, because governing authorities are God's idea. That's why. That's why we would submit ourselves, for the Lords sake because the idea of governing authorities is actually God's idea and God's appointment.
In fact, Paul, you know Paul right? Paul and Peter? Apostles. Of course, a lot of us only know them by robbing Peter to take Paul. Whatever that phrase is right? Robbing Peter to pay Paul. Robbing Paul to pay Peter. They didn't rob each other. Stop saying that. They were friends. They had a little-bit of stuff they had to work out but they didn't rob each other. Take it easy.
But Paul also wrote about this idea interestingly enough. He wrote it in his letter to the Romans. You see, in the same way that Peter is writing from Rome talking about this idea of governance and honoring of authorities, Paul also wrote to the Romans and he said similar things. In fact, when Peter says that, "You are to honor and submit to human authorities for the Lords sake" he's doing that because it's God's idea.
And Paul actually expounds on that in Romans chapter 13. Listen to what he says. "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except for that which God has established." The authorities that exist have been established by God." "Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority, is rebelling against what God has instituted and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."
The judgment that's being spoken of there in that text is not judgment from God, it's actually judgment from the governing officials that when you disobey that's kind of what they do, is they pronounce judgment.
Don't be confused here. Paul and Peter who we just referenced here in these moments right? They're not naïve. It's not as if they think, government can never do anything wrong. Or governments never gonna do anything bad. They're not naïve. They're living in the context of the Roman Empire. They're living in the face of persecution.
In fact, Paul was very clear when he wrote to the church at Corinth, that leaders did not really understand the full mystery of God, revealed in Jesus Christ. In fact, what Paul said in 1Corinthians chapter 2 is this, "None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." In other words, the same Lord that established governance, dies at the hand of it. Think about it that way.
In fact, when Jesus was facing his crucifixion, he was facing that with the powers that be. And the powers that be were the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. And he stands before Pilate, and he has to give account for himself. And he doesn't really say anything. And notice what happens in John, chapter 19, versus 10. Pilate said, "Do you refuse to speak to me?" "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" And Jesus said, "You would have no power over me, if it were not given to you from above."
Isn't it extraordinary, that even though Jesus is about to face crucifixion at the hands of the government, he affirms Gods righteous ability to give power to whom he deems. Startling. You see, one of the reasons that we honor authorities is because, we honor God when we honor authorities because what we're saying is, we believe God has established this. And that honors God.
Let me give you a second reason. The second reason we should honor authorities is because of their purpose. You see, the governing authorities actually have a job description in the bible. Some of you are going I wish that they would read it. Well, it is a job description and generally speaking, government has a purpose.
Look what Peter says in verse 13 and 14 of chapter 2. "Submit yourselves for the Lords sake to every human authority whether to the Emperor as the supreme authority or to governors who are sent by him to ... Here it is. "Punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right." Do you see the purposes? You should, I highlighted them. Punish those who do wrong. And commend those who do right. This is actually the job description for governance.
If you think Peter's alone in that job description, he's not because Paul his friend that they don't burglarize each other as I've already established. Paul his friend in his letter to Rome, also said the same thing.
Listen to what Paul said in Romans 13. "For rules hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong." "Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority?" "Then do what is right and you will be commended." "For the one in authority is God's servant for you good." "But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason, they are God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrong doer, therefore it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment, but also as a matter of conscious."
The reason that this should be a conscience driven issue for us as the people of God, is because we believe God is the one who established authorities. And when we honor authorities we are honoring God. So this should be a conscience issue.
But ultimately government has a purpose. And the purpose is, is to dela with the things that are bad, and commend the things that are good. Basically, things that are bad for human flourishing and life, and commend things that are good for human flourishing and life, that's kind of the goal. This goal goes way back in time, and we can walk all the way back further than where I'm going to go. But we can go back to the time of Noah. Back in the book of Genesis.
And if we go back into the time of Noah heres what we find out about Noah's time. Noah's time was violent, and horrible, and murderous, and awful. This is what was happening on the Earth. People slaying people for no reason. Bloodshed all over the place. This is the description that you get when you're reading in Genesis chapter 9.
And so what does God do? God deals in judgment. He saves Noah, his wife, some kids, family, puts them on the arc. Sends a flood of judgment. And then after that, he makes a covenant with Noah. You see the rainbow in the sky. The covenant was, I'm not gonna judge the Earth in the same manner ever again. And that rainbow was a reminder of that right?
But then he says to Noah, "Heres what I want you to understand. I want you to understand that when you get off here, and you begin repopulating and doing what you do, there's some rules that I want you to enforce. I want you set them up. And I want you to enforce them. It's kind of the seed bed, the foundation of governance we're reading about right there in Genesis chapter 9.
And notice what he said, he said, "For your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting." "I will demand an accounting from every animal, and from each human being too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being, whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed, for in the image of God, has God made mankind."
In other words, the rationale behind God setting this up, he's saying, if a human being is just gonna kill another human being, then that human being is going to die at the hands of other human beings. Why? Why was the purpose of God setting it up that way?
Heres why, because of the value, the sanctity, and the dignity of human life. He said because, "In the image of God have people been made." And we don't treat that lightly. We want to make sure that there are things that help in the protection of that because God values life.
There is a purpose behind governance, and it is to withstand that stuff that is wrong. In other words, particularly where it infringes upon, or murders, or kills people right? Punish that and commend the good. That's really the role of governance. It has a purpose. That's why we should honor authorities because God has established it with purpose and with foundation.
But let me give you a third reason. Because it quiets opponents of Christianity. When we honor authorities, it quiets opponents of Christianity. You think this was something relevant in the culture that Peter is writing it into? You better believe it. Christians were in the minority. They were a persecuted group of people. And so there were always people from the outside looking to blame them, like Nero and many others.
But notice what Peter writes in verse number 15. He says, "For it is God's will, that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people, by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people." In other words, what believers ought to do, what Christians ought to do, what the people of God ought to do, is they ought to honor the authorities, and they ought to honor the laws of the land as long as those laws don't cause us to have to disobey God and all those kinds of things.
I'll get to that in a minute. I know your minds working there and I'm gonna catch that. Don't worry. But we're to honor those laws. So that means, sir, ma'am, if you're a business owner, it means the people around you ought to see, that you are taking care of taxes in the way you should deal with those. That you're taking care of employees in the way you should deal with those. That you're doing what you're doing with integrity. You're carrying on what you're doing with integrity.
These are very important things because this is about not giving the world a reason to not look at Christians and say, "They don't even know how to honor an authority they can see, how in the world would they honor authority that they can't?" You see, this is really a part of why this instruction is important for us right? Because we have to understand the authorities have been placed by God, have been appointed by God.
Let's just say for instance, I'll use me as an example. I could use any of but let's just say I get a speed ticket. Let's say I got a speeding ticket in a small town near here, multiple times. I'm not saying if I did, I'm not saying if I didn't. Let's just say that I did alright? Let's say that in that small town, they don't post speed limit signs anywhere. Let's just say that, that's the case. I don't know if it is but lets just say for example.
Let's just say that the officer pulled you over, and of course they ask the key question, "Did you know how fast you were going?" Sort of. But I know you did. And before we get into this ticket thing, could I just tell you I thank God for you. That you are an agent of the Lord established by God and I just wanted you to know that. Let's hug it out. No, don't do that. Not the approach. Not the approach.
We have to recognize that those who have been put in place, have been put in place for the good, at least that's how God drew it up. It doesn't always go that way, but that's how God drew it up right? Because governments are made up of human beings, it means that governments are fallible. But the bottom line here is this, is that, we want to honor God because we recognize Gods the one who's put it in place. And we want to make sure that we can honor governments because they have a purpose. And that purpose is actually for our good because God put it in place.
And we want to keep the ability to have a bunch of resources in the hands of unbelieving people who want to take shots at believers. We don't want to give them that because we want to be people who honor the authorities, and who honor the laws of the land so that we don't give them any additional material to blame us, to criticize us. We want them to see people who know what it looks like to submit, because we want them to actually see a different kingdom among us.
Let me give you a fourth reason. It's because we're free. Why do we honor authorities? Because we're free. In fact, listen to what Peter says in verse number 16. "Live as free people but do not use your freedom as a cover up for evil, live as Gods slaves." In other words, the beauty of this reminder is this, is that because we're free, we have the ability to say, we are loyal to King Jesus. And you know what that also means? We can freely honor those who are in authority over us. Plain and simple.
Why? Because we honor King Jesus. Because we know he is the king over every king. The Lord over every Lord. And that we can just trust him and we can freely do that. It's the same thing with like forgiveness. Sometimes the world looks at us really weird when things have been done to us as believers and they say, "I can't believe you would forgive that person."
Do you know why we can forgive? Because we're free. Because we've been set free. Because the Lord of life, has freely forgiven us, and we can now extend freedom and forgiveness to other people because of what we've been given.
It's not because we're bound to do it. It's not because we are slaves to do it. It's because we're actually free. But we're free to serve God. And in serving God, we will honor authorities. But let me give you a last one.
Why should we honor authorities? It's because God judges justly. God judges justly. In fact, when Peter is talking about this, he looks at the example of Jesus, and in verse number 23, he says this, "When they hurled their insults at Jesus, he didn't retaliate, when he suffered he made no threats, instead he ... What? "Entrusted himself to him who judges justly."
Even when Jesus was on the cross, remember there were a few things that he said when he was on the cross. And when he was dying with his dying breath he said, into your hands I, in some translations it says, "Commit." In some it says, "Commend." But you know what that word also translates? "Entrust my spirit." "Into your hands I entrust my spirit." Why? "Because I know God you judge justly, and I know that I will be exalted because of my obedience."
You see, that's why the scripture tells us that, Jesus even though he took on the form of servant and he was obedient to death, even the death of the cross, therefore God gave him a name that is exalted above every name that at the name of Jesus, every knee would bow, and every tongue would confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God, the Father.
You see, Jesus entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. Do you know Paul did the same thing by the way? Peter did the same thing by the way. When Paul was writing to Timothy, Paul knew he was getting near the end of his life. And notice what Paul says in 2Timothy 1. "This is why I'm suffering as I am, yet this is no cause for shame because I know whom I have believed, and I'm convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day."
In other words, even though Paul may be tried and trumped up charges, and made an example of, and they my kill him, even though Jesus was tried unjustly. It was really a mockery of justice in fact. Even though the same thing was gonna happen to Peter eventually, guess what? They entrusted themselves to the God who judges justly.
And that's a part of why we can surrender and we can submit to the authorities that we in the world that we live in, because we recognize that God will ultimately be the deciding factor. Regardless of how that plays out in this life, we know that he's gonna be the one whose the deciding factor.
That said if I could sum up for you what I'm trying to say before I move on to another thing that I want to teach us, I would sum it up by simply saying this, if we truly honor The King of The Kingdom, then we will freely honor lesser kings of lesser kingdoms.
If we truly honor King Jesus, who is King over the eternal kingdom, then we won't' have a problem freely honoring lesser kings, of lesser kingdoms. That's ultimately what I think Peter is teaching us in this context.
But Peter also understands something real clearly that I want to make sure that we all understand as well. In fact, we'll see it in the same verse that we talked about from the very beginning, verse 17 where I highlighted, "Honor the Emperor." Right? I want to highlight something different in that verse and I want you not to miss it.
Heres what it says in verse 17. "Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the Emperor." Fear God, honor the Emperor. You see, for Peter, the most important thing for him was that the fear of God was the most important thing right? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fear God, honor the Emperor.
Heres what we have to understand. When we see fearing God first, heres what we realize. Sometimes you have to resist who God puts in authority to do what God commands. Sometimes you have to resist who God puts in authority to do what God commands.
That should probably be the exception to the rule. The rule is, is that we're going to honor authority right? But there are times when authority is not going to honor God and in such a way that it's causing us to be either in a place of trying to disobey God, and that's where we simply can't be.
Let me give you some examples in fact. An example from the Old Testament. You remember when the people of God were kind of a growing people of God. This is before they became kind of a formalized people of Israel and before they were let out of captivity to Egypt. When they were in Egypt and they were growing. And the Pharaoh, he got a little-bit upset with that because he's like if these people keep growing this is gonna be a problem for us.
So the Pharaoh gave an edict particularly to the midwives who were helping the Israelite women give birth. Listen to what it says in Exodus chapter 1. The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose same were Shiphrah and Puah, "When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him, but if it's a girl, let her live."
The midwives however, feared God, and did not do what the King of Egypt had told them to do. They let the boys live. Then the King of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, "Why have you done this, why have you let the boys live?" The midwives answered Pharaoh, "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian woman, they're vigorous and give birth before the midwives around."
These Egyptian women they're like 10 hours in labor, these other ladies they're like 10 minutes. So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God he gave them families of their own.
You see, there was an edict that was given, but this edict was about killing babies. And they said, "Mm-mm-(negative) we fear God and we know that it would be disobedient to him to do that." And so they did not do what the Pharaoh deemed that they should do.
If we fast forward in Old Testament history into the book of Daniel, we would find three friends, Jewish friends, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego. If you're a friend of Veggie Tales it would be just Rach, Shach, and Bennie. I watched them I know.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And King Nebuchadnezzar had set up a golden image to be worshiped as God. And they knew that they couldn't do that but if you didn't do that, you were gonna get thrown into the fiery furnace.
Notice what it says in Daniel chapter 3. "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to him, "King Nebuchadnezzar we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter, if we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it and he will deliver us from your majesty's hand." "But even if he does not, we want you to know your majesty that we will not serve your God's or worship the image of gold you have set up.
They weren't having it. If it's a command to worship and image of gold instead of worship God, then light it up. Fire it up because we're not doing it. Sometimes you have resist who God appointed to do what God commanded. That was true in their lives.
Matter of fact if we stayed in the book of Daniel you know about Daniel right? King Darius gets information from all of his governing officials, and they tell him, if any body worship's anybody but you, throw them to the lions.
Let me read it. It's better than me talking. These administrators and satraps, went as a group to the king and say, "May King Darius live forever, the royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisors, and governors have all agreed, that the king should issue and edict and enforce the decree that anyone who preys to any God or human being during the next 30 days except to you, your majesty, shall be thrown into the lion's den." "Now your majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered in accordance with the law of the needs and Persians which cannot be repealed.
So King Darius put the decree in writing. Listen to how Daniel responded, "Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published he went home to his upstairs room where the windows open toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees and he prayed, giving thanks to his God just as he had done before." He ain't having it. He knows he is going to serve, and worship, and follow God alone.
If I took you into the New Testament, you'd find the same principle. Sometimes you have to resist the authorities that Gods appointed to be able to do, what god commanded. And if I took you to Peter and the Apostles. Peter the same one who wrote to us, "Honor the Emperor." Peter had to deal with this himself.
Listen to what happened in Acts chapter 5. The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, the name of Jesus he said. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this mans blood.
Peter and the other apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than human beings, we must obey God rather than human beings." You see, ladies and gentleman, this is ultimately what we have to understand, is that sometimes we have to resist those who God has appointed to be to do what God has commanded.
Generally speaking we ought to be a people who honor the authorities why? Because it honors God. Because we're a free people. Because we realize that they have a purpose. All of these things we're trying to teach a different narrative but sometimes we have to resist the authorities, to be able to do what God commanded.
Now I say this, we're not there yet in our context. But there's maybe coming a time where we're going to see what Revelation talks about when it gives us a metaphor of a beast, which is really a human government that is calling us to places and to things that we simply cannot embrace. I don't know what that's going to look like even for my life.
But potentially in my lifetime, depending on how everything goes, it may be that, the government even in the country that we live in, starts to monitor or try to marshal in what we say when we preach the gospel.
That we are not allowed to call sins, sin. But not to call sin, sin, is not to preach the gospel. Because the only way we know we have need of a savior, is if we know we have sinned and come short of the glory of God. How else would we need a rescuer?
If I am coming face to face at some point in my life, with having to face that, well then it will be what it will be. Because I will preach the gospel. Heres why. Because my brothers and sisters who've come before me, who gave their very lives for the sake of the gospel so that we could be here doing what we're doing.
That Peter who honored authorities, who honored the Emperor, who communicated by the Spirit, to teach us as a people to do the very same thing, ultimately got to a place that even though he was unfairly dealt with, he still came to a place where he had to say, no I will continue to preach the gospel that gives life to people, even if you as my governing authority are going to put me to death for it.
I've got brothers and sisters in the faith line that I want to be faithful to God and I want to be faithful to them because this is what we've been called to. I don't look forward to that day by the way. It's not something I invite and trying to buck up and braggadocios and all that. It's not what I'm doing.
But I also am not naïve. That day may come. And if it does, may God find me faithful to preach the gospel period. And whatever comes, comes. Because God hasn't called us to step back from the truth. He's called us to embrace. In love to the world that we live in. But there may come a time where the world that we live in, becomes a beast instead of becoming what it's supposed to be, as the God ordained authority to punish the evil and to commend the good.
What if we started living like people of honor in the culture that we live in? What if we like like people of honor? What if we were the kind of people in the church, the people of God? What if we didn't get so caught up in all of the ridiculous, grotesque, degrading, dehumanizing, political rhetoric? I'm not suggesting that we can't have opinions. I'm not suggesting we can't hold strong opinions. Certainly we can.
But of all the people in the world, that should be able to model civil discourse, it should be the people of God. It should be the people of God. That we know how to speak, how we want to speak without being disparaging, dehumanizing, and degrading. What if we started teaching the world a different narrative?
You know what it does? It actually gives us now distinguishing features as the people of God where the world says, they're somewhat counter cultural in the way that they go about doing what they do. They hold opinions. But they don't hold them in such a way that they are violating the dignity and the humanity of the people to whom they are expressing them.
This is important for us. This is why this matters to us. Because what happens ladies and gentleman, when we learn to honor authorities, because we're honoring God, we're actually practicing for what it looks like to honor God. Because when we truly honor The King of The Kingdom, we won't have a problem freely honoring lesser kings of lesser kingdoms.
And it also helps us to prepare with integrity, for when the day actually may come where we simply have to say, "No we cannot, no we cannot do that because we are the people of God." These things are important. Even though maybe you're thinking to yourself, boy when we approached this topic I didn't think it was gonna be something that I was very interested in but there's a lot for us here.
One of the things that we need to remember is that one day the government is going to be on Jesus shoulders. And the government will be upon his shoulders. Right you know the song. It comes out of Isaiah. But nonetheless, you know the song.
The governments gonna be on his shoulders. And do you know how Jesus brought his Government to be? He didn't bring it by force, he brought it by submission to the Father. The people that we are, submitted to the father, and honoring and submitted to the authorities, helps to tell the world a different story about a different kingdom. Let's be those kinds of people.
Let's bow our heads together. Just before we're dismissed, if you're here and you've never come to relationship with God through his son Jesus, then I pray that when we dismiss you'll come by the Fireside room, it's just in the atrium, you can see it clearly. We'd loved to talk to you about what it means to begin a relationship with Jesus.
Father, so much here for us to grab hold of and I don't know what it means for us personally in each individual circumstance, but I pray that the light of your spirit would shine on every one of our hearts and maybe show us areas where we might need to repent. Areas where we might need to grow. Areas where we could ask the question what would it look like in my world to honor those in authority so that I can demonstrate my honor of God? What would it look like? What would need to be corrected? What would need to be begun?
I pray that by your spirit, you would apply this in the hearts of every single one of us because we want to be a people God, that demonstrate that we are loyal to The King of The kingdom. We want to demonstrate this Lord. How we demonstrate this can be a challenge. But we want your insight into how we do that because we need to tell the world a different story. They need to see a counter narrative to the dishonor culture, to the disparaging culture, to the dehumanizing culture. And see what a culture of honor, actually looks like that's established by God.
Help us by your spirit to embrace this. That we might honor you God in the world that we live in. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.