“This Is Thankworthy” – 1 Peter 2:18- 20
Introduction: These verses are connected to the next few (down through verse 25) which show that the illustration Peter uses here (the master/slave relationship) is an aid to the believers to whom he was writing of the broader teaching of enduring the consequences of living a Godly Christian life. The next part of this paragraph gives the greatest illustration of suffering wrongfully – that being the price Jesus paid for no fault of His own. If He gave us that illustration as an example, then it is safe to conclude that the illustration given here is of utmost importance.
How these believers reacted to their masters was critical to their testimony. It would have been natural for them to take up arms against them and fight them, knowing what was coming. But Peter tells them to suffer through the trial – giving the example of Jesus for them to follow.
By application today, although we’re not slaves, we are bound by this, as well as other texts of Scripture which teach master/slave relations, in the same way as employees in the work place. Consider this – if you work a full-time job you are more likely to spend more time with those you work with than you do your family. You will have more opportunity to impact those you work with than anyone else you deal with. That’s why this point Peter is making is so important. If we are a good testimony for Christ in the workplace then those we work with will have more of an opportunity to be saved.
I. Recognize position – vs. 18
A. It is vital that we recognize our position in the workplace
B. The first phrase points to this particular point – “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear”
Eph 6:5-9 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 9And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
Col 3:22-25 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
1Ti 6:1-3 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. 2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. 3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
Tit 2:9-10 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
The word for “servants” here is different than what is used in Ephesians 6:5-9 – there is it’s the word for “slave” – here it is a word that means “domestic” – that is, a resident of the house, or, any employee, whether an owned slave or simply a hired hand
The word “subject” means to “place under in an orderly fashion” – has to do with the servant knowing his place and subordinating himself to the will of his master or boss – this is a willful act on the part of the servant/employee
“With all fear” – that, again, points to the position we hold – we need to do our job the best we can according to the mandates given to us with the understanding they can get someone else to do it, as well as with the respect that the boss is due for his position
C. The verse then points out that it doesn’t matter what kind of boss they are either – whether “good and gentle” (which, if we’re the boss that’s what we’re supposed to be) or “froward”
The word “froward” literally means crooked, bent or warped (as wood when it dries)
Figuratively, speaking of people, it means they have a warped sense of right and wrong
The word is often used in Greek writings for someone who is perverse, crooked in their dealings or simply wicked Php 2:14-16 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
II. Right perspective – vs. 19
A. We must keep the right perspective in view of why we do our job
B. The perspective is given clearly here – “for conscience toward God”
C. The verse begins with the text for the title of this message – “this is thankworthy”
The word “this” is pointing back to the previous verse and our understanding our position in the work place, as well as to what follows in relation to why we do a good job for our boss
The word “thankworthy” is pointing to the next verse and how we react to the grief we will inevitably suffer in the work place
That word “thankworthy” is not saying we will be thanked or even should be thanked for doing our job – doing our job right and to the best of our ability is thanks enough (that’s what this is saying)
The word “thankworthy” comes from the same word we get the word “grace” from – one author said that “thankworthy” is “a fruit and effect of grace, an instance of it, in which it shows itself” (John Gill)
D. The reason we do the job we are supposed to do is not for the thanks or praise of man but because of our “conscience toward God”
Not a conscience OF God as some say
This is pointing to the reason we do, having that right perspective in mind when we go to work – it’s because of a desire to have a clear conscience toward God that we endure all the grief we have at work properly Mat 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Rom 13:1-5 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 2Ti 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
III. React properly – vs. 20
A. This verse gives a simple analogy – we have nothing to “brag” about (nothing to glory in) if we are “buffeted” for something we did wrong – but if we suffer even while doing good (or suffer for doing good) then that is acceptable to God
B. Our reaction to the “abuse” we take on the job is what will separate us from the rest
C. The key word in this verse is “patiently” – this is how we are to react
The word “patiently” here means to remain under, to persevere, to bear up under
This indicates that we may not get out of the trouble, and maybe we aren’t supposed to try and get out of it – this points to the truth that sometimes we are in a bad situation at work because God wants us to be a testimony there – so we are to persevere even under the most severe circumstances
D. If we endure the trouble with the right attitude then “this is acceptable to God” – that is to be our motivation
The word “acceptable” is the same Greek word as “thankworthy”
What is “thankworthy” or “acceptable” to Him – what He wants us to do as His children is to do right no matter what happens
The word is used in a couple other places in this sense that may help us comprehend more fully what God is saying through Peter to the believers Col 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 1Ti 2:1-4 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
Conclusion: This is a very specific illustration of how we are to live as a Christian. What kind of employee are we?
One other thing to consider – this can be applied to church as well. The Bible says that we are to “obey them that have the rule over us” (Heb. 13:17) – this is speaking of the Pastor. What kind of church “employee” are we in obeying the direction from the “boss?”