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1Peter 2:18-25

Sunday Morning Bible Study

December 8, 2019

Video:  September 2019 Mexico Trip


From Rome, the apostle Peter writes this letter to the Jew and Gentile believers that are living throughout the province known as Asia Minor, or, modern Turkey.

It is AD 64.  Caesar Nero is beginning to unleash his persecution of Christians back in Rome, where Peter is.

The believers in Rome faced torture, being burned alive, and death by animals in the Coliseum.

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The main themes that we will see woven through this tapestry of difficulty are:

Suffering -

Submission – an unusual response to suffering, learning to “yield” to God rather than “fight” the problem.

Relational Evangelism – the way we go through our difficulties and yet still cling to God can be a light to those who are going through dark times of their own.

Three weeks ago Daniel Grant introduced us to that ugly theme of “submission”.

Today we take “submission” to work and school…

When it comes to work and school, sometimes we can relate to that great philosopher, Dilbert:


Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days the statue.
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, because you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.

So what does Peter have to say to the church when confronted with idiots and dragons?

Does he tell the church to buy swords, organize an army, and fight back?

2:18-25 Submission to Masters

:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.

:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters

servantsοἰκέτης oiketes – one who lives in the same house as another, spoken of all who are under the authority of one and the same householder

Though this word is used practically the same as δοῦλος (slave), this has an emphasis on being in the same household as the master.
Don’t make too much of Peter using oiketes as opposed to doulos, Paul uses doulos in Col. 3:22-25 and Eph. 6:5-7.

Some of you may wonder why I’m suggesting we apply these verses at work and school when Peter is talking to “slaves”.

I have a video of ancient slaves that proves that it was just like your workplace, or perhaps your school…
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mastersδεσπότης despotes – a master, Lord.

We get the English word “despot” from this word.
The dictionary defines “despot” as “a ruler who holds absolute power, typically in a cruel or oppressive way”
Does it sound like your “boss”?

submissiveὑποτάσσω hupotasso – to arrange under; to submit to one’s control, admonition or advice; to obey.

It was a Greek military term that described the arrangement of troops under the command of a leader.
present passive participle
It seems the participle is being used as an imperative.

fearphobos – fear, dread, terror

The fact that Peter is even addressing “servants” is quite unusual.

Slaves in the Roman Empire didn’t have rights as people.  They were considered property.

Isn’t it a bit odd that Peter is telling servants to “submit” when that’s what have to do by law?

He’s showing that healthy submission is a choice.
Submission doesn’t have to be something forced on you, it can be a choice you make.

Submission is something every follower of Jesus needs to learn.

(Matthew 16:24 NKJV) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Denying yourself is at the heart of submission.

:18 not only to the good … but also the harsh

goodἀγαθός agathos – of good constitution or nature; good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy; excellent, distinguished; upright, honorable

gentleἐπιεικής epieikes – seeming, suitable; equitable, fair, mild, gentle

harshσκολιός skolios – crooked, curved; perverse, wicked; unfair


Submission isn’t earned

Some of us have the idea that we’ll “submit”, as long as we agree with the boss or teacher, or as long as he’s nice to us.
Peter would disagree with you.
Peter is telling us to learn to submit even to the boss or teacher that’s unfair.
A secretary, a paralegal, and a partner in a big law firm are walking through a park on their way to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke. The Genie says, “I usually only grant three wishes, so I’ll give each of you just one.” “Me first! Me first!” says the secretary. “I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.” Poof! She’s gone. “Me next! Me next!” says the paralegal. “I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of exotic foods, and the love of my life.” Poof! He’s gone. “You’re next,” the Genie says to the partner. The partner says, “I want those two back in the office right after lunch.”
It’s when we learn to submit under difficult circumstances that the real impact of submission comes out.
People all around us will see that we are different when submit in difficult circumstances, not when it’s easy.
This is when people will ask us why we are different?  This is when the door for the gospel opens.
Peter has already told us that if we live a life that is honorable, even when we’re suffering, that unbelievers all around us will stand up and pay attention (1Pet. 2:12)

(1 Peter 2:12 NKJV) having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Learning submission to people is a step towards learning submission to God.
There are going to be times in your life when God may want to ask you to do something that is uncomfortable or unpleasant to you.  Are you going to pick and choose which things you’re going to obey when God commands you?  We need to learn to do uncomfortable things when those in authority over us ask us.
Is there ever a time when we don’t “submit”?
The one general rule is when the person in authority is pushing you to disobey God.
Peter himself disobeyed men in authority over him.

He and John had been arrested by the Jewish leaders for preaching about Jesus (Acts 4).  They were beaten, told to never do it again, and released.

Yet they went right back and started preaching about Jesus.

When they were arrested a second time, Peter explained why he disobeyed their orders:

(Acts 5:29 NKJV) But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.

If your boss or teacher is asking you to do something against God’s laws (i.e. lie, steal, hurt others), then you should disobey.

This is not always black and white.

Was it okay for the Christians in Holland to disobey the Nazis and hide the Jews?

That one is pretty clear. Since when does God condone the murder of innocent people?

Was it okay for the American colonies to rebel against the English king and refuse to pay their taxes?

That one is not too clear.  You could make a point that they were stepping all over Peter’s exhortations to pay taxes and submit to governing authorities.

But otherwise, we should submit.

:19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.

Note: In vs. 19&20, the word “commendable” is χάρις, “grace”

:19 commendable … suffering wrongfully

commendableχάρις charis – grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness

(NAS) For this finds favor.
It’s a good thing when we submit the way God wants us to.

consciencesuneidesis – the consciousness of anything; the soul as distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, prompting to do the former and shun the latter, commending one, condemning the other; the conscience

endureshupophero – to bear by being under, bear up (a thing placed on one’s shoulders); to bear patiently, to endure

present active indicative

grieflupe – sorrow, pain, grief, annoyance, affliction

sufferingpascho – to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo; in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight

present active participle

wrongfullyadikos – unjustly, undeserved, without fault

(1 Pet 2:19 NLT)  For God is pleased with you when, for the sake of your conscience, you patiently endure unfair treatment.

I’m not saying that when you work for a bad boss or a bad company that there isn’t a time when you need to think about moving on.

Just don’t be too quick to leave.
Don’t miss out on the “grace” (the word “commendable”), the blessing that comes from enduring hardship.

:20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.

:20 when you do good and suffer

creditkleos – rumor, report; glory, praise

faultshamartano – sin.  to be without a share in; to miss the mark; to err, be mistaken; to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong; to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin

present active participle

you are beatenkolaphizo – to strike with the fist, give one a blow with the fist; to maltreat, treat with violence and contumely

present passive participle

take it patientlyhupomeno – to remain; to tarry behind; to remain i.e. abide, not recede or flee; to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ; to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill treatments

future active indicative (both times)

you do goodagathopoieo – to do good, do something which profits others; to be a good help to someone; to do someone a favor; to benefit; to do well, do right

sufferpascho – to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo; in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight

commendablecharis – grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favor. 

This is the same word translated “commendable” in verse 19.


Enduring difficult people

If you break the rules or do a bad job at work or school, and you are written up, you don’t get any brownie points from God.
You deserve what you get.
But if you are doing everything right at work or school, you get yelled at, and you “take it patiently”, then you find favor (“grace”) with God. It is “commendable”
It’s because you are beginning to look a lot like Jesus.
Missionary to India Amy Carmichael in expressing her desire to become like the Lord Jesus said this:
“If in dealing with one who does not respond, I weary of the strain, and slip from under the burden, then I know nothing of Calvary Love. 
If I have not the patience of my Savior with souls who grow slowly; if I know little of travail till Christ be fully formed in them, then I know nothing of Calvary Love. 
If I avoid being ‘ploughed under’ with all that such ploughing entails of rough handling, isolation, uncongenial situations, strange test, then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”

:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

you were calledkaleo – to call; to call aloud, utter in a loud voice; to invite

aorist passive indicative

:21 because Christ also suffered for us

Peter is going to remind us of the example that Jesus has left for us.

You may struggle with where we are going with this today because you know what a jerk your boss is.

What did Jesus say to the people crucifying Him as He hung on the cross?
(Luke 23:34 NKJV) Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

sufferedpascho – to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight

aorist active indicative

:21 an example, that you should follow His steps:

leavinghupolimpano – to leave, leave behind

present active participle

exampleὑπογραμμός hupogrammos (“under” + “writing”) – an example of writing given to beginners as an aid in learning to draw them

This is like your first grader’s writing homework.  The teacher hands out a page with letters at the top of the page and your child learns to write the letters by copying what’s written at the top.

followepakoloutheo – to follow (close) upon; to tread in one’s footsteps

aorist active subjunctive
Subjunctive is the mood of “possibility”.

Jesus didn’t leave us an example so that we definitely WILL follow His steps.

It’s up to us.  It’s possible, but it’s our choice to make.

stepsichnos – a footprint, track, footstep; in the NT, metaph. of imitating the example of any one


Follow the Leader

We usually think of “Follow the Leader” as a children’s game.
When our boys were young, we’d play “follow the leader” at the beach and you had to walk in the leader’s footprints.
Video:  Peter Pan – Following the Leader
For believers, “Follow the Leader” isn’t a game.  It’s a way of life.
Jesus’ suffering is the lesson on the “top of the page” that we’re supposed to copy.  Jesus has suffered.  He has left huge footprints for us.  We are to follow after Him.
This verse impacted a writer named Charles Sheldon about a hundred years ago, and he wrote a fictional book entitled, “In His Steps”.  In the book he took a small town full of people who were challenged by one of the pastors to ask themselves the question “What would Jesus do?” every time they faced a decision.
People’s lives where changed when they began to look for the footprints of Jesus, to follow His example.
This is where those letters “WWJD” come from.
But this verse is not just about making decisions, it’s about learning to suffer.
Do we suffer in the same manner that Jesus did?


In His Mother’s Steps
Davida Dalton writes:
It was a busy day in our Costa Mesa, California home. But then, with 10 children and one on the way, every day was a bit hectic. On this particular day, however, I was having trouble doing even routine chores-all because of one little boy.
Len, who was three at the time, was on my heels no matter where I went. Whenever I stopped to do something and turned back around, I would trip over him. Several times, I patiently suggested fun activities to keep him occupied. “Wouldn’t you like to play on the swing set?” I asked again.
But he simply smiled an innocent smile and said, “Oh, that’s all right, Mommy. I’d rather be in here with you.” Then he continued to bounce happily along behind me.
After stepping on his toes for the fifth time, I began to lose my patience and insisted that he go outside and play with the other children. When I asked him why he was acting this way, he looked up at me with sweet green eves and said, “Well, Mommy, in preschool my teacher told me to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. But I can’t see him, so I’m walking in yours.”


Stuart Briscoe ("Handling Your Insecurities," Preaching Today, Tape No. 119.)writes,
When I was in the marines, the training for commandos included cliff assaults. The theory was that a commando raid should be a surprise, done as quickly and as silently as possible on the area with the lightest defenses. The lightest defense is at the point where attack is least expected. More often than not, it was the cliffs.
We would come close to the cliff in our small boats and fire one rocket up through the darkness. Attached to the rocket was a grapnel. Attached to the grapnel was a light rope. When the rocket landed on top of the cliff, the grapnel would lie on the grass. We would then pull it back gently until it caught on something. We hoped it caught on something secure.
We had expert climbers. Those guys were like spiders. They would get out of the little boat onto the seaweed-strewn rocks, and scale those cliffs in the dark hanging onto this thin, little rope that was on the end of a grapnel they hoped was hanging onto something secure.
A bigger rope trailed behind them. Below, we held onto that rope. When the climber got on the top, he would secure the rope he'd taken up and then give two little tugs on it. The minute the two little tugs came, we jumped out of our boats, cold and wet on the waves and rocks. We would scale the cliffs. It was a hairy experience, except we had utter confidence in the one who'd gone before us. We had utter confidence in the security of the rope he had fastened for us.

Jesus has secured that rope for us.  He’s left us an example to follow.

Jesus’ example involved how He suffered.
We are going to look at some difficult things that Jesus would like us to do, but remember this – He has already paved the trail ahead of us.

So, just what do these footsteps look like?

:22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;

:22 “Who committed no sin

Through the rest of the paragraph, Peter will be quoting heavily from Isaiah 53.

Here he is drawing from Isaiah 53:9

(Isaiah 53:9 NKJV) And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
In the Septuagint, “violence” translates anomia, or “lawlessness” instead of hamartia.

The point here is that when Jesus suffered, it wasn’t because He had done something wrong and deserved it (“committed no sin”), and it wasn’t because He was some sort of charlatan (“deceit”).  He suffered unfairly.

So how did Jesus handle it when He was mistreated unfairly?

sinhamartia – to be without a share in; to miss the mark; to err, be mistaken; to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honor, to do or go wrong

deceitdolos – craft, deceit, guile.  This is the third time Peter has used this word (or a close form of it).

(1 Peter 2:1 NKJV) Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,

(1 Peter 2:2 NKJV) as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

:23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

:23 did not revile in return

Peter is pulling ideas from Isaiah 53:7.

(Isaiah 53:7 NKJV) He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

he was reviledloidoreo – to reproach, rail at, revile, heap abuse upon

present passive participle

revile in returnantiloidoreo – to revile in turn, to retort railing

imperfect active indicative

“Revile” means to be verbally abusive to someone.

Jesus did not get into a shouting match with His enemies.  He didn’t get into a name calling contest.

:23 He did not threaten

threatenedapeileo – to threaten, menace

When Jesus was being arrested in the Garden, He told Peter that if He wanted to, He could request thousands of angels to help (Mat. 26:53). 

Jesus had power.

(Matthew 26:53 NKJV) Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?

In the Avengers’ movie “Infinity War”, the evil Thanos (whose name means “Death” in Greek) had the magic glove, snapped his fingers and half the universe disappeared into dust.  In the last movie, “End Game”, there’s one last “finger snap”…

Video:  Avengers End Game – I am Ironman
I like the picture that when Iron Man snaps his finger, and all his friends come back to life and his enemies are dust… (kind of like Jesus)

When Jesus returns the second time, He won’t snap His fingers, He will just speak a Word…

(Revelation 19:15 NKJV) Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations…
I have this idea that He’s going to simply speak a word, and all His enemies will be put to death.

Can you imagine the kinds of things Jesus could have threatened those who were beating Him at His first coming?

Jesus is the most powerful being in the universe, but when He was reviled, He didn’t return with threats.
If you are silent when challenged, it may not be because you are weak.  It might be because you are trusting God.

:23 committed Himself to Him who judges righteously

committedparadidomi – to give into the hands (of another); to give over into (one’s) power or use; to deliver to one something to keep, use, take care of, manage; to deliver up one to custody, to be judged, condemned, punished, scourged, tormented, put to death

Jesus knew He could trust the Father with what was happening to Him.

He knew that ultimately God would make sure that everyone who needed to be judged would be.

Do you believe that?
Do you believe that every person who causes you grief will one day be judged by God correctly and fairly?
In Isaiah 49, God says,
(Isaiah 49:25c NKJV) …For I will contend with him who contends with you…
I suggest we learn to quote that great theologian, Mr. T., in reminding us of what our attitude should be when people come against us.

Video: Rocky III – Pity the Fool

We ought to “pity the fool” who comes against us unfairly because God will take care of it.

God will one day judge each person correctly.

In the next two verses, Peter is quoting from Isaiah 53:5,6

(Isaiah 53:5 NKJV) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

(Isaiah 53:6 NKJV) All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

:24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

being deadapogenomenos (“apart” + “to become”) – to be removed from, depart; to die, to die to anything

aorist middle participle

:25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

going astrayplanao – to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way; to go astray, wander, roam about

returnedepistrepho – transitively; to turn to; to the worship of the true God; to cause to return, to bring back

Overseerepiskopos – an overseer; a guardian,

:24 bore our sins in His own body


The blessings of submission

Jesus lived a life of submission, not just to authorities, but to God Himself.
Jesus’ submission in the face of the suffering He endured, resulted in blessing for us.

v. 24 – He bore our sins

v. 24 – We can live to righteousness

v. 24 – We are healed

v. 25 – We return to God

Jesus’ submission to the Father (“Your will be done”) lead to our salvation.
He died so we might be forgiven.
Do you think there is a benefit when you are treated unfairly by someone in authority over you, and you choose to still submit?
Last week Caleb shared the story behind the song “I have decided to follow Jesus”.
A Welsh missionary had been in India and as a result, a family in a small village got saved.

The father of the family took up the mantle of reaching people for Jesus when the missionary went home.

The village chief wanted to put an end to this Christian nonsense and slowly one-by-one he killed the family, trying to get the father to renounce Jesus.

Finally the father was killed.

It was that final act that broke the chief, and he became a Christian.

The first martyr of the early church was a fiery young preacher named Stephen.

He was arrested by the Sanhedrin and condemned to death by stoning.

He gave a brilliant witness about Jesus before he died.

In fact, Stephen even sounded a little like Jesus with his final words (as if he was following Jesus’ example).

(Acts 7:60 NKJV) Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”

There was quite a crowd there watching this happen…

(Acts 7:58 NKJV) …And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Many of us think that the dying witness of Stephen played a big part on the day that Saul turned his life over to Jesus, and would become known as Paul the apostle.

You may not be aware of it, but people are watching you.
Will they see Jesus in the example you leave?