reign of Queen Victoria (1838-1901), the Punjab province of
India came under the control of England.
The young Maharajah from that region, who was just a
boy, sent a gift to his new monarch.
It was the beautiful 186 carat Kohinoor diamond;
Kohinoor means “mountain of light”.
The stone was placed with the other crown jewels in
the Tower of London.
Several years later when the prince had grown to
manhood, he came to England and visited the Queen.
After paying honor to her, he asked if he could see
the Kohinoor, which had been re-cut.
The Queen was surprised at his request but ordered
that the diamond be brought by armed guard to Buckingham
Maharajah took the priceless jewel, stepped over to the
window, and examined it with great care.
Then, as the court looked on, he walked back with it
clasped in his hands and knelt at the feet of the Queen.
His voice choked with emotion as he said, ‘Your
Majesty, I gave you this jewel when I was young.
Now I want to present it in the fullness of my
strength with all my heart and affection and gratitude, now
and forever, fully realizing all that I do’” (Acheson).
This story beautifully illustrates the act of
is act of yielding to the power or control of another.
It is certainly not being promoted in our century.
The cries we here today are: “Demand you rights!
Do you own thing!
Get what you deserve!”
You know, when you try to be spiritual, you are going
to be going against the grain.
Someone made an interesting observation that simple
living goes against our culture’s call for wealth, and
solitude goes against our culture’s call for noise, and
fasting goes against our culture’s call for consumption.
You can do any of these things, and people with
probably think of you as being a little strange.
But when we try to explain living a life of
submission, many people will think you’re not only crazy but
also just flat wrong (Wilkins).
So let’s look this morning at biblical submission.
We’ll quickly examine four aspects: some examples,
some limits, some areas, and some benefits.
Now, here are some examples.
Let’s go all the way back to Genesis 16, which gives us the
story of Hagar.
You remember that Hagar was an Egyptian slave of Sarah.
And when Sarah was not having any children, she
decided to let Abraham try though her slave.
“And when Hagar was able to birth a child for
Abraham, she began to get an inflated idea about her
began to rub her motherhood in the face of her mistress,
understandably, this upset Sarah” (Mennon).
And after Hagar continued to chide her for her
barrenness, Sarah just had it, so she really begins to rake
Hagar over the coals.
So Hagar decides to abandon ship and runs away out
into the dessert.
God knows what has happened, so He sends an angel to
Hagar with this message found in verse 9: “Return to your
mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.”
So Hagar takes this advice and serves Sarah for
another 13 years.
Hagar’s example shows that submission often involves
putting ourselves under another’s rule.
Now let’s look at a second example over in 1
In this chapter, we find the inauguration of David’s son
an enormous sacrifice and a big celebration, verses 23-24
state: “Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as
king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all
Israel obeyed him.
All the leaders and the mighty men, and also all the
sons of David, submitted themselves to King Solomon.”
This example shows that submission often involves
recognizing and respecting someone who has legitimate
governmental power and authority.
The last example is that found in our reading from
the New Testament in John 19 where Jesus is standing before
asks Jesus a question, but Jesus does not respond.
So then, Pilate says: “‘Are You not speaking to
me? Do you know
that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?’
Jesus answered: ‘You could have no power at all
against Me unless it had been given you from above’” (John
Isn’t this amazing?
“Pilate, this limited governor of a backwater
province in the Roman Empire, has the Creator of the
universe standing before him in human form, and Jesus
submits Himself before this man” (Wilkins)!
This example shows us that submission can sometimes
flow out of great strength!
Jesus could have called 72,000 angels to His aid
(Matthew 26:53), but His primary submission was to God’s
will! So, Hagar,
Solomon’s court, and Jesus provide three good examples of
submission, which show us putting oneself under another’s
rule, respecting governmental authority, and submitting to
God’s will above all.
Now let’s look at some limits of submission.
Those who practice submission are equated with weakness by
the world’s standards, but
nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, “living in submission to God and other
people takes a whole lot of backbone and courage.
It’s not easy, but it is rewarding. … God created us
in such a way that we usually find ourselves lifted up when
we serve others and brought down when we serve ourselves”
sometimes, there can be limits to submission.
For example, there can be a greater power who
requires obedience than a lesser power who demands
classic example of this is found in Acts 4.
At verse 18, we see the Jewish Supreme Court, the
Sanhedrin, ordering the apostles not to speak any more about
apostles respond in this inspired way: “Whether it is
right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God,
you judge. For
we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and
to God, a greater power, is more righteous than submission
to a lesser power, the Jewish Supreme Court.
So, the apostles kept right on preaching about Jesus,
and God blessed their efforts.
Another time when one might not submit is when sin
might be promoted.
A classic example of this is found in 2 Samuel
13:13-14 where Amnon tries to seduce Tamar.
Tamar gives this reply in verse 13-14: “No, my
brother, do not force me, for no such thing should be done
in Israel. Do
not do this disgraceful thing!
And I, where could I take my shame?
And as for you, you would be like one of the fools in
there, please speak to the king; for he will not withhold me
Notice how Tamar rightfully does not submit to fulfill
Amnon’s abusive lusts.
She tires to reason with him that there are other
legitimate options available to maintain righteousness.
So, there are few limits to submission.
sees what the Scriptures have to say with regards to areas
With God being the most powerful being with the
highest authority, we should expect the Bible to
teach submission to Him.
In fact, the Scriptures are very clear about
submitting to God.
James 4:6-7 says: “But He [God] gives more grace.
Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives
grace to the humble.’
Therefore, submit to God.”
We see here that “God sets Himself against those who
do not set themselves under His authority, …” (Roberts).
A similar passage is found in Hebrews 12:9-10:
“Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us,
and we paid them respect.
Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to
the Father of spirits and live?
For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed
best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be
partakers of His holiness.”
We submitted to imperfect earthly fathers, so how
much more should we submit to our Heavenly Father who always
has our best interest and divine holiness at heart?
Failing to submit to God means that we turn away from
real living, and so often, we begin to trust in ourselves or
in earthly matters (Hughes).
So, we should submit to God.
Next, we should
submit to Christ.
Paul explains this about the Jews in Romans 10:3-4:
“For they [the Jews] being ignorant of God’s
righteousness, and seeking to establish their own
righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of
God. For Christ
is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who
Paul explains that God has a new means for providing
righteousness, but the Jews have been ignorant of what God
has done. So
they continue to keep the law and fail to submit or put
themselves under God new means of righteousness.
Paul then says that Christ is what the law has been
pointing to all along.
If the Jews would submit to Him by putting their
trust in Him as the living Lord and reigning Messiah, they
will be made righteous in God’s eyes!
That same grace is extended to us this morning! None
of us can earn our way to heaven by trying to keep the law’s
demands, but if we will submit ourselves under God’s new
means, put our trust in Christ and let ourselves be immersed
in His name, then we too can be made righteous in God’s
eyes! Paul also
states in Galatians 3:26-27: “For you are all sons of God
through faith in Christ Jesus.
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have
put on Christ.”
If you have never submitted to God’s new means of
righteousness which comes through trust in Jesus and baptism
in His name, please don’t hesitate and make this important
step today! This
is the only way that we can be made righteous in God’s eyes.
Let’s submit to Christ!
Next, we are to submit to church leaders.
Let’s look quickly at a passage in Hebrews 13:17:
“Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they
watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.
Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that
would be unprofitable for you.”
When one becomes a Christian, he is added to the
Lord’s church, and the church does have servant leaders who
watch out for the spiritual welfare of every member.
Submission to such leaders is reasonable “since they
bear a solemn responsibility.
[So, all members] should be willing to put forth
every effort to cooperate with [their] acknowledged elders.
[They] should seek to lessen the pain of leadership,
and not add to it” (Lightfoot).
We should live obediently and submissively so that
when they give an account, when they give their report about
us before God on the Judgment Day, that account should be in
our favor, and not against us!
Let’s submit to our elders so that their reports can
be joyous ones!
should submit to church members.
The apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 5:5:
“Likewise, you younger people, submit yourselves to your
elders. Yes, all
of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with
humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the
Not only younger people, but all of us need to practice
submission to one another.
The verb “clothed” refers to an apron which a servant
would often tie over his own robe as he went about his
duties. None of
us is putting on any airs here; we are not looking at
members because of their economic status, their business
status, their educational status, or anything else by which
the world might try to rank us.
We are all slaves of God, and that common bond causes
us to serve one another in humility knowing that God does
not bless those who act arrogantly.
Let’s submit to all our brothers and sisters in this
Next, we are
to submit to governing authorities.
Notice was Paul writes in Titus 3:1-2: “Remind
them [the Christians] to be subject to rulers and
authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to
speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing
humility to all men.”
When we think of fact that Paul had been mistreated
on several occasions by Roman authorities, that he had been
beaten unjustly, and that he had been imprisoned and
detained by them, it is somewhat amazing that he desires
Christians at Crete, an island known for its rebellion, to
be submissive to Roman officials (Coffman),
“regardless of the character of the administrator”
(Spain). And we
see how Paul expands Peter's showing humility to other
members to showing it towards all people!
Governing authorities could also be our employers.
Paul admonishes slaves to work for their masters as
if they were working for the Lord, and he commands masters
to treat their slaves with fairness while constantly aware
that they too have a Heavenly Master! These instructions are
seen in Col. 3:22-4:1.
Let's submit to governing authorities!
Next, we should submit to
Wives are instructed to be as submissive to their husbands
as they are to the Lord.
Husbands are instructed to love and cherish their
wives, just as Christ deeply loves and cares for the church.
Children are instructed to obey their parents, and
fathers are instructed to be kind, to teach, and to
encourage their children (Ephesians 5:22-6:4).
We should always be making allowances for each other
in our families, which includes submitting the time to
listen, to play together, to worship together, to discuss,
to forgive, to apologize, to serve one another, to
discipline, and to practice mutual respect.
Someone made this good observation: “I believe that
God gives us families to practice love on, because if we can
love them, we can love anybody, and if we can submit to
them, we can submit to anybody” (Wilkins).
Learning submission starts in the home, doesn't it?
Let's submit to family members as God's Word teaches.
We have learned that areas of submission include:
God, Christ, church leaders, church members, governing
authorities, and our family members.
The world may not think so, but we see in the
Scriptures that submission is an often repeated admonition,
for our own good!
Now let's think for just a few minutes about some of the benefits of submission.
First of all, it exalts God's will.
God wants us to be submissive people.
1 Pet. 3:1-6 not only admonishes wives to be
submissive, but it also provides an interest motivation in
verses 3-4 when it says that women should adorn themselves
with “the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet
spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
God is the author of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33), and
His wisdom from above is characterized as pure, peaceable,
gentle, and willing to yield (James 3:17).
With such a disposition, we can see how those who
promote peace through submission are imitating God and His
submissive exalts God's will for peace.
of being submissive is that it personifies Jesus' nature.
We see Jesus' submission in two well-known passages.
We see Him submitting to God when He prays,
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me;
nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
He voluntarily places Himself God's control, despite
the horrible suffering and persecution that must be endured.
Jesus submits to His disciples when He puts on the
apron of humility by taking up a towel and washing His
We are then instructed to serve with such submission as well
We see that Jesus' nature was one of submission both to God
and to others. Whenever we are submissive, Jesus' nature is
once again made alive before others.
Stephen’s death did this for the apostle Paul (Acts
submissive provides a wonderful visual aid to others about
A third benefit
of being submissive is that it promotes God's kingdom.
Peter says in 1 Peter 4:14-16: “If you are
reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the
Spirit and glory of God rests upon you.
On their part, He is blasphemed, but on your part, He
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an
evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be
ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”
Just as God used the cross to become a magnet to draw
all nations to Himself, so God uses our submission in
suffering as a way to promote His kingdom.
One Roman historian tells that when the Christians
were being ruthlessly persecuted by Nero, the populous of
Rome saw Nero's cruelty and began to be more sympathetic
towards the Christians' beliefs (Tacitus).
Submission during persecutions for righteousness'
sake is the leaven that quietly advances God's kingdom in
all kinds of cultures.
A fourth benefit of being submissive is that it produces social order.
Paul tells us in Romans 13:1 to submit to governing
Such submission causes no fear because we are doing what
rulers are asking of us.
But if we are rebellious and do evil, then Paul says
we should be afraid because the authorities do not bear the
sword in vain.
The same is true on other levels.
Without submission, all sports would have lost their
regulations, all driving would become dangerous, all
business transactions would become chaotic, and our
environment would become very unsafe.
We may not like submission, but we see very clearly
that it does produce social order.
A fifth benefit of
being submissive is that it brings personal freedom.
Someone wrote this interesting idea: “What freedom
corresponds to submission?
It is the ability to lay down the terrible burden of
always needing to get our own way.
The obsession to demand that things go the way we
want them to go is one of the greatest bondages in human
People will spend weeks, months, even years in a perpetual
stew because some little thing did not go as they wished,
they will fuss and fume.
They will get mad about it.
They will act as if their very life hangs on the
issue. They may
even get an ulcer over it.
[Through] submission, we are released to drop the
matter, to forget it.
Frankly, most things in life are not nearly as
important as we think they are.
Our lives will not come to an end [nor will the world
stop spinning] if this or that will not happen” (Foster).
Luke tells us that Jesus steadfastly set His face to
go to Jerusalem, knowing full well that the cross would be
the ultimate climax of His journey.
But He was devoted to doing God's will, so He teaches
us in Mark 8:34 that we too must learn to deny ourselves and
take up our crosses.
“Deny yourself” certainly goes against our culture's
call to pamper and to promote ourselves, and a crucifying
our desires certainly is never easy.
On one occasion, some Christians tried to talk Paul
out of making trip to Jerusalem.
When Paul would not concede, they then said, “The
will of the Lord be done” (Acts 21:14).
They submitted themselves to letting God take care of
They did not have to win the argument at all costs; they
would turn the matter over to God.
Maybe imitating them would be good us too!
Being submissive brings personal freedom!
So we have seen at least five benefits of submission: it
exalts God's will; it personifies Jesus' nature; it promotes
God's kingdom; it produces social order; it brings personal
meaningfully submitted his great gift to Queen Victoria.
Today, Jesus stands before you.
He is asking you to submit your life to His control,
to His rule, to His teachings, to God's will, and to the
He is not asking the impossible, but it will be
challenging, and sometimes even painful.
But it can be done; just imitate His submission.
Follow Him in baptism if you are not a Christian or
ask Him to help you to be more submissive if you have been
the gift of your heart to Him!