"Submit to Every Authority"
This week you will study one of the keys to the Christian life. It is totally opposed to worldly wisdom, but it is something we see perfectly in Jesus and he wants to see it in us. It is the principle of submission.
1. Already you have studied passages that tell you who really has all the authority today. It is Jesus Christ, but God has set up certain orders in society. These (1) maintain order and (2) teach us to be submissive and obedient in spirit so we can ultimately and basically submit to and obey Jesus Christ. 2. To follow Jesus Christ one must have an obedient spirit. One must be willing to submit to another’s authority. Read I Peter 1:2 and I Peter 1:14. What kind of children does God want? 3. Read Ephesians 2:1-2 to determine what kind of spirit God is opposed to. 4. Look at Hebrews 5:7-9 for an important statement about Jesus Christ who is our example in all attitudes. What did he learn? How was it learned? What does God want us to learn? How will it be learned?
1. Return to I Peter where yesterday we learned that god wants obedient children. Now look at 2:11-17. 2. Our old self with its sinful desires (described in verses 11) does not want to obey. It wants to do things "my own way." It doesn’t like to be told what to do. That’s why Jesus says "deny yourself." It is not willing to cooperate with God’s plan. 3. Notice in verses 13 why you submit to every authority. 4. List all the authorities that you can think of that are in your life, meaning all the people that are in some role where they can tell you what to do or strongly expect you to do what they ask. What is your attitude toward these authorities?
1. The question is often asked, "Do I have to submit to these authorities in my life even when they are wrong? What do you think the mind of Christ would say here? 2. Continue the passage you started yesterday. Read 1 Peter 2:18-23. What does it contribute to the question raised above? 3. What we are being told here and in Ephesians 5-6 and Colossians 3 is that we should have a submissive and obedient attitude at all times. We should be ready to obey those God has put over us. However, there will come times when we cannot obey. See Acts 4:18-20 for a clear example. Study this carefully. When a command of some man or woman constitutes a clear violation of Scripture, then we cannot obey that person; but we should not then take on a rebellious attitude. We should lovingly and with respect for their authority decline to submit in that area (but not in all others).
1. In the Body of Christ God has placed certain men over you. First there are the elders and overseers in the body and then those who have been given special authority by the elders. Look at what Hebrews 13:17 says about your responsibility to these men. 2. Do you know the names of the elders and other leaders that are working in special ways to lead and guide you. How can you specifically make their work a joy and not a burden? 3. Does this passage say we have to agree with everything a leader does before we can submit to him and obey him? 4. Make sure your relationships with all your leaders are good ones. If there is an anger or resentment or hurt in you toward any one of them, don’t put off sitting down with that leader and opening up your heart. If you see others in the body developing rebellious and disobedient attitudes, go to them and encourage them to deal with that.
1. Go to Ephesians 5:21 and start reading, and go through chapter 6:4. Regardless of who you are most likely in some kind of family relationship. In these relationships you can show the love of God… the kind of love that is willing to lay down its life for others in the family. 2. If your spouse, parents, or children have not been seeing in you the things described in Ephesians 5 and 6, then a confession to them could open up many new possibilities in your ministry to them. 3. Remember, your ultimate concern is that your family members come to know the living God through your life in a deeper and deeper way.
1. Turn to and read Romans 13. 2. List as many clear teachings in this passage as you can find. 3. Is there anything wrong with a bitter, complaining attitude about the government one lives under? 4. Again, when must a Christian say "no" to government? In what way should he say "no?"
1. One of the great texts in the New Testament is Philippians 2:1-11. Read this carefully, looking for the deeper teaching about the power of submission. 2. In what ways can you "empty yourself?" (This is literally the word translated in some versions: "made himself to be nothing"). 3. In what ways (specific) can you this week take the form of a servant to your brothers and to those who are lost? 4. What happens to those who submit? What does God do?