by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
I. How you perceive something often depends on your approach.
A. Let me illustrate:
A business man was interviewing applicants for the position of divisional manager. He asked each applicant the simple question, “What is two and two?”
The first interviewee was a journalist. His answer was “twenty-two.”
The second interviewee was an engineer. He pulled out a calculator and showed the interviewer that the answer was between 3.999 and 4.001.
The next person was a lawyer. He stated that in the case of Jenkins v. the Commissioner of Stamp Duties, two and two was proven to be four.
The last applicant was an accountant. The business man asked him, “How much is two and two?” The accountant got up from his chair, went over to the door, closed it, then came back and sat down. He leaned across the desk and said in a low voice, “How much do you want it to be?”
B. When it comes to Bible study, people approach its truth in similar ways.
1. The journalist looks beyond the obvious. Others assumed the question is a mathematical problem but not the journalist. He seeks out an answer that is different from all others and admires his ability to find truth which others cannot see.
2. The engineer prides himself in exactness. The answer must be analyzed to its most rudimentary level.
3. The lawyer appeals to the laws of men as a standard for his answer. He sees only the wisdom of men; a wisdom by which he judges everyone and everything.
4. The accountant views public opinion as the determining factor. His answer depends on present circumstances. As times change, answers to questions must also change
C. The point of view we bring to Bible study will color how we interpret a given passage.
1. Yet, there is only one Truth - Eph 4:4-6
2. It is each student’s responsibility to overcome their personal prejudices so that the simple truth may shine.
D. Some topics are difficult to tackle, not because the teachings in the Bible are unclear, but because people have developed deeply ingrained prejudices. If the answer does not match current beliefs, well then we need to look at things differently.
1. We are not here to justify ourselves.
2. We are here to learn and live the truth that God has given us.
II. There is a small word which sends shudders through many women. It is the word submission or subjection.
A. The Greek word is hupotasso, which means to place or rank under, to subject, to obey.
1. It covers both voluntary and involuntary submission
B. The women’s movement in this century has made the concept of submission something evil.
C. It is also amazing the number of misconceptions about what submission is and how it is practiced. It is not for lack of Scriptures, Peter and Paul both spend a great deal of space teaching the concept.
III. Jesus Christ is our great example of submission - I Pet 2:21-25
A. You might wonder what this passage has to do with submission. This passage is found in the middle of an extensive discussion on relationships and submission. Peter says Jesus is our example of how to be submissive.
B. Jesus has authority
1. Angels, authorities, and powers have been made subject to him - I Pet 3:22
2. All things are in subject to Christ - Heb 2:5-8
C. Yet, there is one to whom Jesus is subject to - I Cor 15:27-28
1. Jesus did the will of his Father - John 6:37-38
2. Jesus humbled himself - Phil 2:5-11
D. Was Jesus’ submission “fun” or “easy”? Yet he trusted the one he subjected himself to.
1. Did he only followed so long as he was treated fairly?
2. Jesus’s submission was unconditional!
IV. But let us back up in Peter’s letter to see what Jesus’ submission illustrated in our frail human lives. The master - slave relationship - I Peter 2:18-20
A. Slaves worked for masters in an involuntary relationship. Though some hired themselves out as bond-servants to gain some large purchase or to work off an indebtedness.
B. Yet, slaves were to submit to their masters, whether it was voluntary or involuntary!
1. They are to submit to their master’s will so no disrespect is reflect on the Gospel - I Tim 6:1-2
2. Was it limited to only those masters who were gentle and treated them fairly? No, it included those who were harsh and unreasonable.
3. This is to a person’s credit, because it shows he is conscious of God
a. In other words, a rebellious servant isn’t keeping God in mind!
b. He makes the teachings of God attractive to others - Titus 2:9-10
4. Quietly enduring mistreatment for what is right is something that God takes note of.
C. Masters are not the ultimate rulers of their domain. They too are in subjection to one who is greater. - Eph 6:9
D. It doesn’t matter if the master is good or bad. The properly submissive servant recognizes that he is submitting to his master’s master - Eph 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-25
1. The master will answer to Christ for his actions, regardless of how his servant behaves
2. The servant will answer to Christ for his actions, regardless of how his master behaves.
E. In this country, involuntary service (slavery) is illegal. Yet do you think these principles do not apply?
1. True, if you don’t like an employer, you are free to seek other employment.
2. However, our actions must remain respectful to whomever we have placed ourselves into subjection.
F. But what if our employer wants us to do something that violates God’s law?
1. Remember you are serving your master’s master. God and His law always comes first.
2. However, violation in one area is not permission to be rebellious in all other things.
G. What if an employer is violating God’s law in his treatment of us?
1. Then that person will give an account to his master.
2. Remember what Peter said in I Peter 2:18-20
3. Hagar ran away when Sara mistreated her, but God told her to return - Gen 16:9
4. You may decide it is time to seek employment elsewhere, but until the time you leave, you owe your employer good, respectful service.
5. We never repay evil with evil - Rom 12:14, 17-21
V. However, this is not the only relationship that requires submission on the Christian’s part. Prior to discussing the master - slave relationship, Peter talked about our relationship to the government - I Peter 2:13-17
A. Submission to the government is an involuntary action. Most of us do not have opportunities to chose which government we wish to live under. Even with choice, we will always be under some government.
1. Submission to rulers is not optional - Tit 3:1-2
B. Our submission to the government reflects upon God and his word.
C. Governments are not independent. They are subject to God, from whom they derive their authority. Rom 13:1-7
1. We, as citizens, are actually serving God through our service to these worldly authorities.
2. If they require us to violate God’s will, then we must remain submissive to the king’s king. - Acts 5:29
3. Daniel’s service to his king was exemplary. - Dan. 6:3-4
a. So his enemies attacked in an area where Daniel would not compromise, in his service to God - Dan 6:7
b. It was only 30 days, but Daniel did not vary from his routine - Dan 6:10
c. He was taken and thrown into the lions’ den, but notice who the king favored - Dan 6:14,16
d. How did Daniel win the king? Through his service to God and the king!!
D. But what if I disagree with the law?
1. The only exception is if the government requires you to violate God’s law. You serve God first. - Rom 13:2
2. You can work within the government’s rules to request a change, but you are not in control, you are in submission!!
a. As Esther did to get the law modified to save her people.
E. What if the government violates God’s laws?
1. Then the rulers will answer to God, from whom they derive their authority.
2. However, their evil is not permission for Christians to rebel.
3. So long as they do not require us to violate God’s law, then we must remain in submission to them whether they are good or bad.
4. The government Paul and Peter wrote Christians to submit to was the one which persecuted Christians, murdering them for their faith. Yet no Christian led an armed rebellion against their government.
a. They allowed themselves to be mistreated.
b. They remained in submission.
VI. I hope you are beginning to see what submission is all about, because after Peter talked about submission to government, masters, and how Christ gave us an example of submission under adverse conditions, Peter discusses family relationships - I Peter 3:1-7
A. I want you to notice how this section starts out: “In the same way, . . .”
B. The submission of a wife to her husband is no different from the submission of a citizen to the government or a slave to a master, or Christ to God’s will.
1. Like the citizen or the slave, a wife’s submission reflects upon God and His Word. - Tit 2:5
2. The only difference is that this submission is usually voluntary. You chose your husband.
C. Husbands are not the ultimate authority. Christ is the head of every man - I Cor 11:3
1. A wife serves Christ through her husband - Eph 5:22-24.
2. She is serving her husband, but it actually her service to Christ. - Col 3:18
3. As with the slave or the citizen, this means that service to Christ comes first, period.
D. What if my husband wants me to do something that violates God’s law?
1. Then God’s will comes first as the higher authority.
2. However, his rebellion against God is not an excuse for you to rebel against your husband in other matters.
E. What if my husband doesn’t do his part in giving me honor?
1. Then he will answer to God for his sins.
2. But you cannot use the sin of another as an excuse to sin.
3. Each will answer to God solely for what they alone did.
4. Similarly husbands, just because you may have a rebellious wife is no excuse not to give her love and honor as you have been commanded.
F. In the same way, children must be in subjection to their parents - Eph 6:1-4
1. Jesus, again led with his own example. The creator of the universe submitted to his earthly parents - Luke 2:51
2. It doesn’t matter that this submission is not voluntary.
3. It doesn’t matter if you have good or bad parents.
4. However, notice that phrase “in the Lord.” Your parents are not the ultimate authority.
a. If they require you to violate their Father’s will, then you must remain faithful to your father’s Father.
b. Similarly, if they do want you to do wrong, it doesn’t mean you can disobey them in other things as well.
c. You will answer to God for your obedience to His Will first, and your parents’ will second.
d. They will answer for their actions to God regardless of how good of a child you are.
VII. We have one more relationship to examine. It is probably as difficult to accept as the husband - wife relationship – perhaps even more so. It is the relationship between men and women in general - I Cor. 11:2-3
A. In this land where everyone wants equal rights, the Lord teaches we are not equal in authority.
B. I Tim 2:11-15 - This passage grates on the ears of every feminist.
1. It is hard for them because of its clarity.
2. Notice the reasons:
a. The right of birth order. The firstborn leads the family. Man, as the firstborn, leads.
b. The consequence of sin. Woman first sinned, being deceived.
3. A woman cannot teach men, but it doesn’t mean they do not teach.
a. She will be saved through child-bearing if they (the children) continue in faith and love and sanctity self-restraint.
b. She brings salvation to her children by teaching them and thereby saves herself.
c. Older women teach younger women - Tit 2:3-5
C. Since women cannot teach men, then they cannot occupy teaching positions in the church where men are present. - I Cor 14:34-38
1. This is not a suggestion, but a firm commandment from the Lord.