Sermon

God's Word Faithfully Preached from the Pulpit

Honor the King, Honor Everyone (Proverbs 24:21-22 and 1 Peter 2:13-17)

INTRODUCTION

  • One of the “busiest” and “noisiest” days on social media (if not during Christmas or New Year eve) is during the election. Especially 2022 Election:
    • “Naku, pag-nanalo yang ‘lugaw’ na yan, kawawa na ang Pilipinas”
    • “Pag yung ‘magnanakaw’ na yan ang uupo, talagang aalis na ako sa Pilipinas”
    • “Bobo naman yan sa politika. Baka suntukan na lang solusyon niya sa mga problema ng Pilipinas.”
  • As Christians, how should we regard our government leaders? How should we treat everyone around us?
  • In the previous text, we discussed Peter’s exhortation on how the believers should live in the midst of the unbelieving world (abstain from sin, and live honorably as testimony to God)
  • Now, Peter goes to the specifics.
  • READ 1 Peter 2:13-17.

CONTEXT

  1. Christians (even Jews) were not compliant with the religious and cultural syncretism of their day (e.g., Emperor worship). Hence, they are accused as rebels and “disturbers” of society.

    Hence, they must show that they are NOT rebels (v. 15, “put to silence”).
  2. There is the tendency among believers that since they are now freed by Christ, and are children of God and belonging not to this world, they are free to do whatever they want.

    “Live as people who are free, [yet] not using your freedom as cover-up [license/justification] for evil…” (v. 16)

    “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh…” (Galatians 5:13)

[TRANSITION]: Yes, as believers, we are not of this world, but citizens of heaven. That’s what we long for. Christ is our King, not Caesar. Nevertheless, while we are still here, we still have a duty and obligation to society.

SERMON POINT 1: Honor the King

TEXT: Verse 13: “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution…”

  • “Be subject” — Submit, be under its rule
  • “to every human institution” — System of authority in maintaining society
    • “Human,” not as if invented only by humans, hence insignificant. “… sent by him” (v. 14a). READ Romans 13:1
    • “Human” — But although instituted by God (“sent by him”), the specific form and way of governing is peculiar to humans
    • I.e., The Bible never promotes a certain type of governance (monarchy, democracy, dictatorship).
      • QUESTION: What if there’s abuse of power? (There will always be abuse of power in any type of government as long as sinful beings rule)
    • The principle is, God instituted governing authorities. And having someone govern society (either as a king or a dictator) is better than ‘anarchy.’
  • every human institution, whether to the emperor (king) or the governors (in provinces)
    • Example: From the President down to the Barangay officials

EXPLAIN: 3 reasons why we should honor and be subject to our government officials

  1. It is for the common good (“sent to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” v. 14) — Rebelling and dishonoring the king will only lead to punishment and social disorder
  2. It is the will of God — It is what God wants from his people
  3. It is our testimony before others (“for the Lord’s sake”… “to put to silence”) — Not only confronts the false accusation of “foolish people,” but also serves as evidence that believers are actually the “good people.”

[TRANSITION:] Now, we might wonder, this Peter is the same apostle who refused to obey the Jewish leaders and said, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29). So what’s right?

CLARIFY: What submission and honoring the government is and is not.

  • Doesn’t mean obedience in everything (Example of NT believers who refused emperor worship; Exodus 1 midwives)
    • Belgic Confession Art. 36, “The government should refrain from every tendency toward exercising absolute authority… and function only in the sphere (civil domain) entrusted to them, using the means (physical means) belonging to them.”
    • Example: If the government closes the churches, bans the Bible, or requires us to preach only certain doctrines.
    • But it only means obedience in all things lawful and moral (v. 15 – “doing good”)
    • Even in these days of COVID, we may consider the advice of the government and doctors, but we must always keep in mind that their words are NEVER the inerrant, authoritative Word of God 
  • Doesn’t mean silence when truth and righteousness is at stake
    • Again, “give to Caesar what is to Caesar, and to God what is to God” (Mark 12:17). Recognize the “boundaries.”
    • Example: It is not in the authority of the government to define what is man and woman, boy or girl
    • But it only means declaring the truth with respect 
    • (Example: Reformers to their kings [Guido De Bres, John Calvin], “Consider this truth and judge for yourselves whether we are right or wrong”)
  • Doesn’t mean taking a blind eye on their faults and sins
    • But it does mean praying for them and still respecting them despite their corruption
    • NOTE: The emperor Peter is mentioning here is Nero, a dictator and wicked king (Trivia: Romans even hate calling him “king,” and call him “autocrat”).

      But Peter still uses the word “king,” and believers are exhorted to honor him. 
    • Example: Calling politicians names to mock them is dishonor.
    • How about Christ calling Herod “fox,” meaning cunning? At the end of the day, you are not Christ. Example: Apostle Paul being confronted when he called the high priest, “whitewashed wall” (Acts 23:3)

POINT: Whoever God appointed in authority over us, we must respect and honor them, and obey them in doing what is right.

IMPLY and APPLY:

https://zcrcimus.org/library/sermons/honor-the-king-honor-everyone(opens in a new tab)

  1. Be watchful with your political biases (i.e., Our loyalty is not to our Universities, or family heritage, but rather than to God)
    1. We often try to look for a clean leader, but the reality is—no political leader is clean! Even David wasn’t clean.
    2. So be careful with media, books, etc. Be more discerning. Unlike the Scriptures, these references are very often biased.
    3. And even if we come up with an opinion on this and that politician, we better make sure that we still honor them as God’s appointed leaders over us.
  2. Let us do good by obeying the government laws (e.g., traffic rules). Hindi puro reklamo.
  3. What if we have to correct them or stand against the government in some spiritual matters and moral convictions (e.g., LGBT)? We still do it in a lawful and respectful way.

Encouragement: This has nothing to do with politics. It is ultimately a matter of our obedience to Christ, as God’s people. We are freed to become God’s servants who show good example for unbelievers in obeying God’s ordained authority.

SERMON POINT 2: Honor Everyone

TEXT: Verse 17: “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

CONTEXT: 

  • The believers are being persecuted by surrounding unbelievers, yet Peter says, “Honor everyone” (Everyone!)

EXPLAIN:

  • NOTE: We’ve discussed some of the same things before. “Fear God,” reverential fear. Though we revere God, we still “honor the emperor.”  
  • Same thing with “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood.” — Special regard and love is meant for the church (READ Galatians 6:10)
  • Nevertheless, we have the duty and obligation to “honor” every single person in the society.

CLARIFY: What “honoring everyone” is not and what it is

  1. It is NOT tolerating their sin or joining them just to avoid “hurting” them
    1. 3:15 — “make a defense” of our faith, we still oppose error and uphold the truth
    2. 4:4 — “they are surprised when you do not join them in the same” sins and wickedness 
  2. It is cultivating peace and friendship to all (Romans 12:18)
    1. Not to say we must love every single person we meet (e.g., give money to every beggar or say hi to every passerby; or convert every person you encounter to the faith) and change the world
    2. In every social encounter we have with others, we think well of them and treat them well.
  3. In short, to “honor everyone” is to recognize and uphold the inherent value and worth of every human being.

[TRANSITION]: What “worth,” when we are totally depraved and corrupt like filthy rags before God?

EXPLAIN:

  • Everyone deserves honor because every human person is a creature made in the image of God.
  • What is that image?
    • Narrow / Excellent gifts: True knowledge of God, holiness, and righteousness
    • Broad / Lesser gifts: Faculty to think, be religious, volition / will
  • Because of sin, we lost all of those excellent gifts. And although man still has religious affections, our minds, hearts, and will are now corrupted by sin.
  • Yet still, it is by the goodness of God that the lesser reflections of the image of God are still retained in every human being. We’re not left to become like mindless beasts and monsters, which God could have done (e.g., Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4.).

IMPLY:

  1. This should make us thankful. The reason everyone of us can still think, desire, and do is because of the image of God remaining in us. (Acts 17:28 — “In him we live and move and have our being”).

    EXAMPLE: Bright plans and successful endeavors we are able to do as human beings. No animal (monkey or germs) could do it!
  2. But this should make us long for the restoration of that perfect image of God in us.
    1. To you unbelievers, the remaining gifts are not enough to make us righteous before the holy God. Look what we have done?!

      Created for God’s glory, yet now we live for our own glory and arrogance. Instead of living in righteousness and sweet fellowship with God, our Creator, we find ourselves rebelling against him and condemned by our own sins.

      If only we didn’t spoil the image of God, there would be no quarrels in our homes, no big mistakes in life, no wars, no crimes, etc.
    2. The good news is that while we have spoiled the image of God in us, the Son of God himself took upon our nature and lived perfectly to restore (ibalik) the image of God in us.

      Christ is the perfect image and fullness of God, and we can only be restored to God’s real design for us as his image-bearers through faith in Jesus Christ. (And through his indwelling Spirit, Christ shall continue to renew in us the true knowledge of God, holiness, and righteousness until the end)

APPLY:

  • Now for us believers, this is the reason why we must “honor everyone.” Every person—young or old, man or woman, rich or poor, Christian or non-Christian—is a bearer of God’s image.

    RELATE: No matter how cute that puppy/dog is, it is nothing compared to the value and worth of a poor person.
  • READ Genesis 9:6 (Not to discuss “grounds” for capital punishment / death penalty)(CONTEXT: Even after man is already fallen; also not under Mosaic law)
    • The life of man is so sacred, so dignified, that to take it away is punishable by death.
  • Proverbs 17:5 — “Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker”
  1. Brothers and sisters in Christ, knowing that everyone is a bearer of God’s image, we must not be discriminating and unjust towards people.

    EXAMPLE:
    1. How do you treat the beggars in the streets? Disgust or pity.
    2. How about the garbage man? The construction worker? Etc.
    3. Do you appreciate the work of a janitor or waitress? (Not about dapat same “sweldo” nila sa CEO)
    4. Or do you feel entitled to shout at these people when they make mistakes? Or do we intentionally make things hard for them and justify, “Well, kasalanan nila ‘yan, di sila nag-aral nang mabuti eh.”

      Even good manners (magandang asal) and courtesy (kagandahang loob) to others must come from this understanding that we are all made in the image of God.
  2. How about sinners and criminals? Do we torture them? View them like animals?
    1. No time to discuss all scenarios (e.g., self-defense, seeking justice from officials, etc.)
    2. One example: Myself in the past always feeling disgust when encountering gay/lesbian people. When in a store, I become harsh or cold to gay/lesbian employees even if they are just working properly. In those cases, I was the “monster.”
      1. Instead of disgust, I should instead pity them (The EXAMPLE of Christ in his time and us).

        As long as they are alive, we should still see them as image-bearers of God, and long that that image will also be restored to them by the work of the Spirit.

CONCLUSION

  • Let us live as “servants of God.” We love especially the church, but we honor everyone around us. We give reverence and loyalty to God, but we still obey and honor the government.
  • Now that we are free in Christ, we are called and enabled to live as his servants in this world. Bilang mga mananampalataya, nararapat lamang na tayo ang pinaka-masunurin na mga mamamayan, at pinaka-magalang at may kagandahang-loob sa kapwa. Hindi para tayo’y maligtas o para sa sariling reputasyon, kundi para gawin ‘to bilang mga anak ng Diyos na Kanyang iniligtas upang magbigay kaluwalhatian sa Kanya sa mundong ito.
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Reuel Dawal is a student of Theological Studies at Miami International Seminary (MINTS) and an aspiring pastor. He and his wife Yeng lives in Gen. Trias, Cavite, and are currently members of ZCRC(Imus). Aside from running their online business, Reuel loves writing and reading. You may connect with him via Facebook or his blog at GratiasDeo.org

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