Suffering For Christ’s Sake

1 Peter 2:13-25, NLT 

13 For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 
14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. 
15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.
16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 
17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king. 
18 You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 
19 For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. 
20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. 
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. 
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. 
24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. 
25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.

NASB

Submit yourselves for the LORD’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him [the king] for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor [not worship] the king. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good to and gentle, but also those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it, you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps. WHO [Christ] committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to HIM who judges righteously, and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

INTRODUCTION

In our last message, we talked about submitting to authority. Before the flood, there was no such thing as government. God sent the flood because anarchy was destroying mankind. Noah had no institution or power to protect him or his family. After the flood, God instituted Government. We find this in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” This is the basis of our capital punishment laws. Human life is to be protected by the State.

There are three basic institutions that God has ordained to make life blessed: The FAMILY, the GOVERNMENT and the CHURCH. Everyone of these institution is maintained by authority and order. Families have fathers, Governments have kings and such, and the church has pastors. God leads these ordained institutions through these ordained leaders. You must understand that technically speaking Christ is the head of all three but He leads familes through the father, governments through the kings, presidents or whatever and church through the pastors.

The QUESTION before us tonight: does there come a time when legally and morally, we have a right to rebel against these God ordained authorities? Are we to blindly obey our leaders?

First of all tonight: let’s talk about the things we know for sure…

  1. We know that God has called us to suffer {v.21}…For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. [1] Suffering enhances our witness [2] The key component in our sanctification.
  2. We know that God ordained Authority for the good of mankind. Anarchy is brutal; we do not want anarchy. Anything beats anarchy. {v.14} For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. 
  3. We also know that rebellion is most instances is evil. The devil is a rebel. We know for sure, we do not want to rebel against God.
  4. We know that God is not honored when we clammor constantly about our “Rights.” God doesn’t want us to be selfish and always looking our for our best interest. He wants us to deny our personal rights for the benefit of others. God is pleased when we suffer for others sake.

NOW, LET’S ASK THE HARD QUESTIONS

  1. Can a husband/father become an abusive bully?
  2. Can a king/govenment become a tyrant? One who enslaves and punishes the righteous.
  3. Can a pastor become a dictator?
  4. Can authority be abused and misused? If so, what are we to do?

NOW, LETS LOOK AT THESE QUESTION IN LIGHT OF OUR PRESENT CULTURE

  1. Paul told the Thessalonians that before Christ returned, there would be an age of REBELLION and sometimes I wonder if we are in it. {II Thes. 23} During this age, there will be a “spirit of lawlessness,” which will produce horror. I don’t think there is any doubt that we see this “spirit of lawlessness” at work today.
  2. Paige Patterson is under attack for telling about a woman he counseled years ago. He advised her to stay with an abusive husband, which she did, and to my knowledge the story had a happy ending, but the press got wind of the story and now Patterson is catching so much heat from the left that he has canceled his speaking engagements.
  3. We know that God doesn’t want us to imulate the spirit of rebellion or to act in the likeness of the antichrist or devil but does this scripture imply that Christians are to take all manor of abuse. Are we do become the doormats of society?
  4. Thomas Jefferson and all our founding father spent hours discussing the tyranny of King George. They understood the gravity of the moment and gave lots of thought and prayer to their decison to revolt. Jefferson said, The two enemies of the people are Criminals and Government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so that the second will not become a legalized version of the first.
  5. These men studied the bible carefully and the last thing they wanted was to rebel against God. Could they rebel against King George without rebelling against God?
  6. They believed that God ordained government in lieu of anarchy: they firmly believed that God opposes anarchy, rebellion, lawlessness and wickedness and that He ordained government to be a terror to the evil doer but a protector of the righteous. So they made a distinction between government and it’s leaders.
  7. How could these men have formed the greatest Republic in the history of mankind had they been anti-government?
  8. They cited scriptual models to support their belief: Moses, Gideon, Ehud, Jepthah, Samson and Deborah…They believed that tyranny can be opposed without one being opposed to government.
  9. The Founding Fathers, all of which were students of scripture clearly believed that they were not in rebellion against God but they were standing up to tyranny and protecting their individual lives and liberty. The bible has always granted man the right to defend himself and his property.
  10. They believed…Rebellion to Tyrants was obedience to God. Of course to the British, we are rebels just as we are referred to as rebels by our catholic friends. You will not hear an old school Catholic use the term Reformation, they will always use the word Rebellion.

CONCLUSION

So how do we conclude. Jesus gave his life voluntarily but He gave protection to His disciples at the same time. He even told them to arm themselves {Luke 22:36}…And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. If you have the grace to suffer redemptively and you choose to do so, I have no problem, only admiration. My problem comes when we do not give protection to those around us and for those who do not have the stamina to endure abuse without it destroying their soul.

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Lostness

Scripture: Luke 15:1-10, NLT

1 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 
2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! 
3 So Jesus told them this story: 
4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 
5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 
6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 
7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! 
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 
9 And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ 
10 In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” 

INTRODUCTION

The Key to understanding Luke 15 is found in the first two verses: Jesus loved sinners, He even ate with them and this infuriated the Jewish Religious Establishment. These Jewish Religious Leaders believed that God hated sinners and could not wait to punish them. Jesus was God and yet He loved sinners; He came to seek and to save the LOST [Luke 19:10]. To reinforce this truth, that God loves sinners and wants to save them, not condemn them, Jesus told three stories. 

Transition

Today we are going to look at what these stories have in common. There are four things that each story has in common:
  1. In each story, something or someone is LOST. [Sheep, Coin, Son]
  2. In each story, that which is lost has VALUE. [Livestock, Money, Person]
  3. In each story, there is someone who CARES about the lost. [Shepherd, Woman, Father]
  4. In each story, there is a CELEBRATION once the lost are recovered.

We will cover number 4 in a later message: today we are going to focus on the first three AND we are going to combine 2-3 which means our sermon has two major points

I. IN EACH STORY SOMETHING IS LOST

  1. First, there is a lost SHEEP.
    • How did the sheep get lost? {Sheep wandered or just took its focus off of the shepherd. The sheep went astray {Isaiah 56:3}
    • What did it mean for the sheep to be lost? The sheep was more than disoriented, more than separated from the shepherd and flock, the sheep was in a POSITION OF PERIL or extreme danger. {Hell and Judgment}
  2. There is the lost COIN.
    • How did the coin get lost? It is an inantimate object, it could not lose itself. It was lost due to human carelessness, human error.
    • The coin did nothing to get lost. {David in Psalm 51:5, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. NLT,  I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 
    • What do you have to do to be lost? Nothing, it is our default setting. We are lost due to human errror, the error of our grandparents Adam and Eve.
  3. The Lost SON. The Sheep probably wandered, the coin was a victim of human error but the Son was lost because he chose to be lost.
    • There are those who are like the sheep: they know they are lost but they have no idea how to be found. They feel afraid and helpless. They long for the Shepherd to find them.
    • There are some like the coin, they don’t even know they are lost. They need a revelation, a light.
    • There are those like the Son, they are lost, they know they are lost and they have no intention of repenting because they are dead set in living life their way even if that means living in rebellion against God.

II. IN EACH STORY, THE LOST HAS VALUE TO SOMEONE IS PARTICULAR

  1. The lost Sheep has a caring Shepherd. I’m sure you may have noticed the progression: livestock, money, people. The sheep was probably worth about $20, the coin $100 and the Son of course priceless. The sheep might not be that valuable to some but to the shepherd, he was highly valued. {My daddy and his cows}
  2. Coins have little value today but in ancient times, all money was in coins. Even we in America once had valuable coins like a $20 gold piece. So we are not talking about a quarter or a dime. Think of it as a hundred dollar bill. How many of you womem, would turn on the lights and search for a $100 bill?
  3. Then there is the lost Son. Now we are talking about a human being created in God’s image. You cannot put a price tag on a human. This story has a strange twist to it, the FATHER, who we loved the son more than the Shepherd loved the sheep or the woman the coin, did not go in search of His Son. Why? Did he not care? We can coherse fear, we can make someone fear us but we cannot make another human being love us. The Father allowed his son to rebel, to show disrespect, to go to a far country. But he was always at home, waiting, praying, watching for his son’s return.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter why you are lost or who’s fault it is: what matter is that you be found. Since you are a human being, you have to decide for yourself, you have to repent and turn from your selfish ways just like the prodigal. God is the LOVING FATHER who waits for your return.

We know that God is holy, He revealed Himself to Moses as the Holy God, A consuming fire and in CHRIST we have a greater revelation: God is LOVE. You may think He cannot be both but He is can and is: He hates sin but He loves sinners. THIS IS THE GOSPEL TRUTH.

I want to close with a story about Beth. She was a little 8 year old girl in our WEE Care program and she was acting out to the point that all the worker were frustrated and exasperated. They brought Beth to me to see if I could help; she was one strike away from being expelled. It took me a while to get Beth to open up but finally she told me about the fear she had and I am sure this fear was the motivation of her misbehavior. Beth father had abandoned them when she was six; leaving her, her 4 year old brother and her mom. Beth got up one morning and he was there and she had not seen him since. Her mom was very young; she had children before she was mature enough to be a parent. She was also lonely and she had been inviting male friends to their trailor. Beth was horrified by the prospects. She told me, “I’m afraid me and my brother will wake up one morning and mom will be gone just like dad.” Beth was a beautiful little girl but she acted like a beast and no one wanted to be around her: what was I to tell this 8 year old child. I tried to reassure Beth of her Mothers love but then I told Beth–“I can guarantee you that you are loved unconditionally by Jesus and He will never abandon you.” I wish I could have guaranteed her Mother’s love but I couldn’t but I could guarantee the love of Jesus. He loves you, He died for you and He longs to be your best friend. Would you repent of your sin today and trust Him as your Savior.