Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Peter's Powerful Testimony- Pt 5

I remember it like it was yesterday- in between two high school buddies, being beaten to death over a point I had made about the Christian faith. I was a new believer, and had read the passage below the night before- "slaves, be subject to your masters with all respect". And they were hammering me....

Right there in the small, quaint kitchen- I was the one under fire......

"You have to be kidding me! You mean that a slave should be happy to stay where he is!"
"Someone who trusts in God can be content in all circumstances"

One of my friends mom sat there- sympathetic with my plea- but I knew that even she wasn't buying it.

Almost 30 years later- the argument is more defined- and I wish I had a second chance to state my case.....

I Peter 2:13 nBe subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution,1 whether it be to the emperor2 as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him oto punish those who do evil and pto praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, qthat by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 rLive as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but sliving as servants3 of God. 17 tHonor everyone. uLove the brotherhood. vFear God. Honor the emperor.
18 wServants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, xmindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But yif when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For zto this you have been called, ybecause Christ also suffered for you,aleaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 bHe committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 cWhen he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, dbut continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 eHe himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we fmight die to sin and glive to righteousness. hBy his wounds you have been healed. 25 For iyou were straying like sheep, but have now returned to jthe Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (ESV)

Love and humility go hand in hand. There is also a yieldedness that becomes a part of the Christian's disposition. Christ said "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth." But this is NOT as welcome a virtue in current society.

It is easy to mistake 'meekness for weakness' and often compels people to look at you and wonder where your manhood is.

So when it comes to 'submission'- our sinful human nature doesn't come to it easily or naturally. It feels like someone scratching on a chalkboard to hear someone bluntly screech, "The rules say..".

But notice Peter's admonition: For the Lord's sake- be subject to every human institution.
Again: It is the Lord's will to be yielded to the desires of authority.

And in the examples he gives, he include... slavery. Do what!? Is it a sin for a slave to rebel?

David Platt, Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham addressed that issue in a sermon on 1 Timothy 6- I have pasted his main points below:

 Slavery in History…
  • World history is filled with various types of slavery.
    • Hebrew servanthood.
    • Roman slavery.
    • Indentured servitude.
    • African slave trade.
  • Biblical history is filled with various perspectives on slavery.
    • Slavery is not a part of creation; it is a product of sin.
    • Specific situations in a sinful world warrant specific instructions to a sinful world.
  • Biblical instructions concerning slavery do not imply biblical approval of slavery.
In other words, what the Bible records or regulates doesn't mean it condones it......

  • The Bible condemns slavery.
    • Slavery that undermines God’s creation.
    • We have equal dignity before God.
    • We are equally submissive to God.
    • We will receive equal justice from God.
    • Slavery that violates God’s Word.
    • The Bible denounces physical abuse.
    • The Bible denounces human trafficking.

  • The Bible regulates slavery.
    • God mandates physical protection for slaves.
    • God requires financial provision for slaves.
    • God ensures caring supervision of slaves.
    • God promotes (and in some ways guarantees) eventual freedom from slavery.

  • The Bible encourages slaves.
    • Honor unbelieving masters.
    • For the glory of God.
    • For the advancement of the gospel.
  • Christianity is not aimed primarily at social reform.
  • Christianity is aimed primarily at personal redemption.
  • Respect believing masters.
  • Work wholeheartedly.
  • Serve selflessly.
  • The Bible redeems slavery.
  • The beauty of Christ…
  • Our Master has become our servant.
  • The essence of Christianity…
  • We gladly become His slave.
This type of life requires a healthy trust in God to control and use your circumstance in life. Peter encourages us to even endure suffering- the primary motivation is that Christ himself suffered for us.

Now... a bit of good news:

1) Freedom- the greatest freedom in the world is the one where we are completely justified in the sight of the Creator! So we are free, under the condemnation of no one!

2) The honor of suffering unjustly- a special place in God's heart.

At what point do I rebel? Am I willing to trust God enough to obey the authority He has placed in my life?

Am I free? Do I feel free? Does this freedom motivate me to pursue the Lord?

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