PHBC March 8, 1998
Series: First Peter, Ser. #43
A PANORAMIC VIEW OF SUBMISSION
Scripture: I Pet. 2:13-17; 1 Pet. 2:18-25; 1 Pet. 3:1-6; 1 Pet. 3:7
TEXT: 1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. The King James Version, 1769.
INTRO: In past messages I have mentioned the theme of submission that begins back about verse 13 of chapter 2 and continues through at least verse 12 of chapter 3. Peter has instructed these dispersed pilgrims to submit themselves to the governing authorities. He has admonished servants to submit themselves to their masters. He has admonished wives to submit to their husbands and husbands to their wives. He also speaks of a mutual submission of church members to one another. And, he speaks of submission to suffering using Christ as an example.
In this message I want us to look at submission in its broader context rather than in the specific instances at which we have been looking. My subject is A Panoramic View of Submission.
I. CONSIDER THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SUBMISSION
A. Submission was exemplified by the Trinity in the covenant of redemption.
1. The second Person of the Godhead, the eternal Word, voluntarily subjected himself to the Father in order to carry out his work in the scheme of that covenant.
a. Paul writes of this voluntary submission of Christ to the Father in his epistle to the church in Philippi. Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
b. In his words to the disciples at the well in Samaria, Jesus makes it plain that he has submitted himself to the Father. John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
c. It is in the voluntary submission of Christ that led to his suffering at the cross that Peter says was an example for us in submitting to suffering. 1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.
2. The Holy Spirit voluntarily submitted himself to both Father and Son in his work in the execution of covenant work.
a. This is evident from these words of Jesus. John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.
b. In the next chapter Jesus says some other things that indicate this submission of the Holy Spirit both the Father and the Son. John 16:13-15 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
B. Submission is very important to harmony in human relationships as we have seen in these studies. Philippians 2:1-4 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
1. Note especially these words from the passage just read. “. . . in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
2. Peter has this same thing in mind in the 5th chapter of our the book we are studying. 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
3. The same thing is in view in the book of Ephesians. Ephesians 4:2-3 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 5:21-22 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
4. Paul again addresses the matter in his epistle to the congregation in Rome. Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.
5. Jesus spoke of the value and importance of submission in human relationships. Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
C. The significance of submission is again seen in the failure of Lucifer to submit to God.
1. His effort at self-exaltation resulted in a disastrous fall and casting down from his lofty position. Isaiah 14:12-14 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
2. When Satan tempted Eve he seduced her into an act of insubordination against God and against Adam. Genesis 3:1-7 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
3. In his temptation of Jesus Satan again showed his rebellious and mutinous spirit. Matthew 4:1-11 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
4. False teachers exhibit a similar spirit of insubordination. 2 Peter 2:9-11 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
5. Jude also spoke of this unyielding spirit of false teachers. Jude 8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.
D. Submission to God is of paramount importance in our relationship to God.
1. Saul, king of Israel, was to learn this lesson the hard way. 1 Samuel 15:22-23 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
2. One of the main complaints which God voiced against the nation of Israel was their failure to submit to his rule. Jeremiah 11:4-8 Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God: 5 That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O LORD. 6 Then the LORD said unto me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them. 7 For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice. 8 Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not.
E. It is God’s will that we submit to him and to others. 1 Peter 2:15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.
F. In some recent studies we discussed legalism; a sure cure for legalism is submission to the will and word of God.
II. SUBMISSION DEFINED
A. As I have told in another message the word submit found in this study is a military term.
1. Strong’s Lexicon says “A Greek military term meaning "to arrange troop divisions in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".
2. The word translated submit means “to arrange under, to subordinate, to subject, put in subjection, to subject one's self, obey, to submit to one's control, to yield to one's admonition or advice, to obey, be subject.
B. In Biblical submission one does not seek to get as many under his authority as possible; he seeks to serve as many as possible. Mark 9:33-37 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? 34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. 35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. 36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, 37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. Mark 10:42-45 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
C. Submission to the powers that be must often be imposed by the presence of policemen and other enforcement authorities; the submission which we are studying must come from the heart. Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
D. Our submission to others, especially in our family and in the church, is recognition of our dependence on others and does not magnify our personal independence. Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 1 Corinthians 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
E. True submission to God causes us to do his will from our heart. Ephesians 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.
F. True submission to others is to come from the heart. Colossians 3:22-23 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
III. PROBLEMS THAT MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE DUTY OF SUBMISSION
A. Many have a problem of disordered submission.
1. One may submit to the desires of the carnal nature and fleshly desires. Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
2. Garth Brooks was in town this week and I thought, “I wonder how many people will give to Garth who never give to God.”
3. There are some who give gifts to others at Christmas who never give gifts to the Lord through his church.
B. Others have a problem with conflicted submission.
1. The scribes and Pharisees assumed that submission could not be rendered to God and to Caesar at the same time. Matthew 22:17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
2. Jesus answer was simple. Mark 12:17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.
3. We may sometimes be forced to be insubordinate to one person or agency in order to obey a higher power.
a. To some the voice of the people is more important than the voice of God. 1 Samuel 15:24-26 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD. 26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
b. Adam listened to the voice of his wife rather than to the voice of God and paid a terrible price. Genesis 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
c. When the king of Egypt commanded the killing of all male children, the midwives disobeyed because they feared God more than the king. Exodus 1:17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
d. Moses parents, through faith in God, kept Moses alive by hiding him. Hebrews 11:23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.
e. When Micaiah was urged to join the chorus of false prophets in foretelling victory for Ahab he replied as a man of God should. 1 Kings 22:13-14 And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. 14 And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.
f. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did exactly what they should have done when they disobeyed King Nebuchadnezzar and obeyed God in not worshipping idols. Daniel 3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
g. Daniel was submissive to the authorities over him in Babylon and did not violate their rules except when they would force him to violate the law of God. Daniel 6:7-10 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. 8Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 9Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. 10Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
h. When the council commanded Peter and John to not speak anymore in the name of Christ they raised a very important question. Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
i. When confronted with this matter later Peter declared their position as Christians. Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
CONC: Biblical submission is the key to blessing as we will see in our next study. 1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
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