Peter presents to us a very profound truth. Our dual citizenship is not contradictory. Although we worship and serve the King of kings, we still have responsibilities to our earthly kings, or presidents, or governors, or whatever our leaders may be called. Peter calls the believer to live in submission to every human institution and organization. The believer should not be characterized as a malcontent who constantly stirs up trouble. The believer should, as far as he may do so without violating his divine citizenship, submit himself to human organizations. If you take one application from this message, please take the following: Be a good citizen of both heaven and earth.
Having described the paradox of the difficult privilege of the pastoral office, let me encourage you to support those who are pastors. We will talk about the specific applications of that support as we move through the text. Quite simply put, the pastor is to be an example to the flock, which means that the flock should follow the pastor as he follows Christ. In other words, the pastor is not an ideal Christian to which the average church member can never reach. The pastor simply serves as a tangible role model for how every Christian should be living. We will see that the pastor should follow Christ with joy, enthusiasm, and thoughtfulness about his testimony. If you take one application, please take the following: Let us all serve Christ with joy, enthusiasm, and thoughtfulness.
If you are a Christian who passionately follows Christ, you have already experienced persecution. Your persecution may not have been as dramatic as what we read in Hebrews 11 where believers were stoned or sawn in two, but you have still faced some sort of persecution. As long as you profess Christ openly with your mouth, you will face persecution. Peter provides encouragement for us as we face the reality of persecution. In fact, Peter's instruction about persecution applies to any kind of problem we may face. If you take one application from this message, please take the following: Remain faithful to Christ in your problems because He is testing the depth of your faith.
Peter presents to us another vital truth concerning suffering. Our relationships hold immense value for us. In the previous paragraph, Peter gave his readers divine instruction concerning the preparation for suffering and persecution. We are commanded to arm ourselves with the mind of Christ in preparation for suffering. Christ's mind was to do the will of God. How did Christ do the will of God? Christ said it best when He said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” We must prepare ourselves for suffering with the mind of Christ, and we must also prepare ourselves for suffering through ministry to others. If you take one application from this message, please take the following: Build relationships with other Christians through ministry to them.
When we endure suffering for the sake of Christ, He will reward us. Like King William III, we will receive glory in place of suffering. What is our reward? When we have been judged according to the Gospel, we will stand before Christ as worthy to receive glory because we were faithful to Christ. As Peter wrote, he wrote with a now but not yet mindset. He addressed matters happening right now, but he always had an eye toward the future when God will finally set everything to right. Our text tells us that what we sacrifice in this life is nothing in comparison to the reward of glory. If you take one application from this message, please take the following: Expect and prepare for suffering, for it is the prelude to glory.
Peter presents to us the standard by which we should assess everything in this life, including suffering. Christ is the standard. Now, Christ is God; He is infinite. What about Christ should we use as our standard? Peter tells us to exalt Christ as Lord in our hearts. Christ's Lordship means His absolute sovereignty over all that exists. In other words, Christ has the authority and the ability to do all that He pleases and plans to do. He will accomplish every tiny detail of His plan, and He will do so perfectly. A God who can do such a thing is worthy to be worshiped, is worthy to be valued above all by us. We must assess our lives, our sufferings, our problems and persecutions by Christ's sovereignty. If you take one application from this message, please take the following: Exalt Christ in your heart so that you will endure your problems faithfully.