The below from 1 Peter 2:11-25 teaches us to submit for the Lord’s sake to human authorities. These free inductive notes are intended as supplement to your own study, not a replacement. Feel free to copy, print, or share them. These notes can be helpful for individual study of the Word or for small group Bible studies. We hope your understanding of God’s Word is deeper from them.

1 Peter 2:11-25 – Submit for the Lord’s Sake

Read Passage: 1 Peter 2:11-25 – Submit for the Lord’s sake.


In the first verse of this book Peter says that he is writing to “those who reside as aliens scattered throughout” much of the Roman Empire. And here in verse eleven he calls them “aliens and strangers.” Some of them were likely Jews who lived far from home. Others were believers who had been displaced and scattered because of persecution. Peter was reminding them that the place they resided was not their permanent home.

Heaven is.

But while they are still waiting their heavenly home, how should they live? How should they relate to the authorities they lived under? How should they relate to their earthly masters? These were some of the questions they would have been facing.

And these questions are very applicable to us today. Any aliens here today? Do you feel like an alien? Well, many of us are aliens in two senses. We live as foreigners in a country far from home. Many years ago I was with my two young sisters at a zoo and I found more people were watching my sisters than were watching the animals.

The second way we are aliens is because our citizenship is in heaven. Our worldview is completely different from most of the people we meet. So turn to your neighbor and say “I am a two headed alien.” You don’t actually have to say that if you don’t want to :)

So the question before us today is how shall we live as foreigners  and as aliens on this earth?

We will see that to keep a good testimony before others we must practice submission for the Lord’s sake.

Let’s pray.

I. Submit to governing authorities for the Lord’s sake

A. Keep a clear conscience before God and man (11-12) Acts 24:16 – So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

The very first thing Peter warns his readers about is the dangers of living in a foreign land is not something external, but internal. He tells them to “abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

Living in a foreign land brings about more temptations, especially sexual temptations. The same is true for us here in Guangzhou. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • You are far from home and your support structure. Your family members or brothers and sisters in Christ may help keep you accountable in your home country. They may ask questions like “where were you last night?” But when you first move to Guangzhou, you probably didn’t know anybody. In a sense, you are anonymous. Sin loves the dark; it loves secrecy. It is easier to fall into these sins when we think nobody will know.
  • Foreigners may attract extra attention by people with impure motives. For example when Joseph was a foreigner in Egypt his master’s wife targeted him to try to seduce him. Why Joseph, a slave? Well, he was a foreigner, and that is attractive to some people.

So what do we do about it?

Application: You must realize that you are in a war. Lusts wage war against your soul. And you must wage war against lust. Here are three simple ways you can proactively protect yourself from these types of temptations:

1. Get an accountability partner. {Share illustration of friend who called me on the phone before passing a spot he knew prostitutes might be hanging out.}

2. Be proactive in filling your time by serving the Lord. Someone once said “an idle mind is the devil’s playground.” If you spend a lot of time sitting around your apartment by yourself with nothing to do, nothing good is going to come from that.

3. Flee. If temptation comes, run the other way. Don’t flirt with it.

Keep a clear conscience before God and man.

We are called to be a light for Christ in front of the people around us. The believers of Peter’s day were under a microscope. Christianity was a new thing. Jews were openly hostile to the faith. Romans and Greeks were skeptical, treating believers with contempt and mocking. The people around them would study their lives looking for anything negative which they could accuse them about. Wild stories were circulated about believers. Many Romans believed that Christianity was an immoral cult and that Christians were incestuous cannibals who were highly immoral. Why would they think something so crazy?

Firstly, believers had regular love feasts which were basically a combo between taking the Lord’s Supper and a prayer service. But they were largely held in secret due to persecution. Rumors were spread that immoral things were going on during these “love feasts.” Believers also called each other “brother and sister,” which contributed to the false idea that they were incestuous. Finally, believers would “drink the blood of Christ” and “eat His body.” Thus rumors grew and stories spread that believers were cannibals. These and other terrible things were being said about believers.

So Peter tells them (read verse 12 – Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. ).

People may have many ideas about Christians here too. One of my friends became a believer and his parents were quite angry. It seemed that they thought Christians were idle and lazy and spent most of their time sitting around waiting for Jesus to come back instead of working. Eventually their sons diligent behavior won them over when they saw their ideas about him were false.

Application: As a two headed alien, every where you go you are under scrutiny. Some people are watching you out of curiosity. Others are watching because they want to find some sin to accuse you of. What will they see when they watch you?

We shared the gospel with one of our neighbors in America and he said “I know a Christian. She is evil. If Christians are like her I don’t want to be one.”

What about you? Will they observe your behavior and say “if a Christian is like… I don’t want to be one?”

Or will they look at your life and see the light of Christ? Will they see your joy and love and kindness and service and graciousness and say, “you know that Yudi, I want what he has.” “That James is so considerate of others. Why is he different?” “Richard is not like other teachers. He really cares for his students. I want that too.”

And some of you are new believers. When you return to visit your families they will observe you and see if you have really changed. I hope they will see your life is completely different than before. Perhaps before you just slept and watched TV and let your mom do all the work. What will you do now?

As a Christian and a foreigner, you are being watched. Will your behavior draw people to Christ or repel them away?

B. Submit to governing authorities (13-17)

Read verses 13-14 – Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority:whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

Naturally the believers in the Roman empire would want to know how they were to relate to the government. This government was pagan and its leaders worshiped idols. Tax money was used for unjust wars or for building temples to false gods. Christians were actively persecuted or killed. Should they actively revolt? Should they practice civil disobedience? Should they refuse to pay taxes to fund these evil projects? Should they all escape to some uninhabited region and set up a Christian nation?

Peter answers these questions and his answer is very simple, “submit.” Submit. Obey. If believers had been paying attention, this was not new information. Jesus told the Jews in Matthew 17: to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.”

I would like to do a very scientific survey here so please pay attention. I have a question to ask. Think about it for a moment. Are you very happy with your home country’s government? If you think you are very happy with your government in your home country, raise your hand. Don’t be shy. Anyone?

And yet God established governments for a reason. No matter how bad you think your government is, it is almost certainly better than no government at all. While authorities may be corrupt, they still generally enact good laws.

If time read Romans 13:1-7. Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Murder, theft, assault, and many more crimes are illegal. Infrastructure is built which makes life easier. Our lives are more stable and secure because God has seen fit to establish governments. So what is our role?

A. Submit. Obey. And we should do this…

B. Submit for the Lord’s sake. IE: Being a good citizen means being a good testimony. Verse 15 tells us that by doing good we can silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. People may claim that Christians are bad citizens, loners, not good for the economy, not good workers, or not good employees. We must live in such a way to prove them wrong. We must respect the laws and rules of our countries. And as we are foreign guests in another country, this is even more important here.

We should follow the visa regulations. We should follow traffic rules. We should register our businesses legally. We should pay our taxes. We should be good employees. Our actions can attract people to Christ or repel people from Christ.

Do you liv