Here is the fourth of five parts of a transcribed sermon I did on politics.
4.) “Our Rights” 1st Peter2:11-25; ” Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 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. 13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 for this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20forwhat credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do well and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22“Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 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; 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. 25For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
What Peter address’s here is something we don’t get to deal with everyday, which is persecution for our faith. But let me draw your attention to something else here, other parts that maybe we don’t catch quite so easily. It would seem that what Peter is advocating here is the surrender of certain rights that we may have as citizens; verse’s 18 to 23 address’s that. That certainly goes against our grain doesn’t it? In America we are “rights crazy.” Everybody has a right to everything all the time; it’s all rights – right? That’s what this country seems to think – everybody has a right to do whatever they want – well – No they don’t!
As citizens we are beholden to a set of laws and punishments for transgressions of those same laws. If you break the law, you’re going to get punished; you don’t have a right to do anything that you want. But what Peter address’s here is that sometimes it’s actually better to be wronged. It’s better to have something wrong done against us. Maybe better is not the word, but a preferable situation as opposed to breaking the law yourself and suffering the just punishment. How do you square this with our understanding of the Word? Well – have we forgotten 1st Corinthians Chapter 6 verse 20? “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1st Corinthians 6:20 tells us that we were “bought at a price” – that we are not our own – so my question to you this morning is; to whom do you belong? Do you belong to yourself, do you belong to the State or do you belong to God this morning? Is God your Father, have you been born again by the Spirit of God, does Christ dwell in your heart by faith, have you received from Him the forgiveness of your sins the salvation of your soul, and the privilege of eternity with Him? Because the state can’t give ’em to you! Whom do you belong to? And then, from whom do you derive your rights? Do you derive your rights from the state or from God Himself? The state gives us certain laws to follow and certain rights to enjoy, but none has any eternal value or any power to transform us.
So here may be the dividing line; our “rights” must be measured against the advance of the Gospel and the preaching thereof by our lives, as well as our words. This may be the “nut” right here. It would seem that in these days, the politics of the Church has overshadowed the Gospel itself. The predicament is that our political views have effectively hindered the preaching of the Gospel and the reaching of the lost.
When the world knows all that we oppose and none of what we promote we have lost our influence, or it is the wrong kind of influence. Our testimony to the world should be on the basis of what Christ commanded, Who He is, what He has done and not what we may think is the most effective.
In John chapter 13 verse 35; Jesus gives us the first step or the first and most obvious testimony that we should have and show to the world. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Not our political positions on certain issues, but rather our love for one another amongst the Body of Christ, not by our protests, not by our boycotts, that is not to say those things don’t have their place – they do – but the testimony of the Church needs to be something other than those things. If the testimony of the Church is our protest and our boycott then we are wrong! We’re wrong because that is not what it’s supposed to be. Our rights must be measured against the preaching and advance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world. I may have the right to do something, but will my exercise of that right help or hinder someone from coming to Christ?