This is the message for Sunday, March 14th, 2010.

Practical Christianity part 6

The proper attitude toward government.

Romans 13:1-7.

Romans 13:1-7 ESV – 1Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

INTRODUCTION

This is the 6th sermon in our series, “Practical Christianity.”  We are looking at some important teachings that the Apostle Paul gives found in Romans 12:1-15:13.

Last time we looked at what I called the Roman Beatitudes in Romans 12:14-21. In that passage Paul addresses some things very similar to what Jesus did in Matthew 5. We continued in that sermon with the genuine love theme we also had in part 4.

Now we are going to look into an issue that divides many people; our response to government and those in leadership.  If you are like me, you have some type of opinion when it comes to government.  If you want to start trouble, state your political opinion and run the opposing opinion down.

I get many an email from friends, family, and others that seem to at times state a political opinion, or run down our government.  I for one get tired of these things quite frankly.

Well Paul says some important practical things in Romans 13:1-7 that we’d be wise to listen too and adhere.  Let’s look into what our text provides as our proper attitude concerning government and our leaders.

God is the one who has established both our government and those who lead.

Romans 13:1 ESV – Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

When Paul wrote this, he and his audience were under Roman tyrannical rule.  The Roman culture and government was a pagan society and very sinful and lust-filled.  During the time of this writing the Roman government was in the beginning stages of trying to stop this new movement called Christianity with persecution.

Paul does not suggest town hall meetings or tea parties where people can yell and scream and feel good about themselves; he starts with a command inspired by the Holy Spirit: be subject, or obedient to the governing authorities.  Why?  Well, God raised them up and gave them the power and ability to govern.

Like it or not, those in authority over us was established by God.

Let’s look a couple of passages of Scripture that speak on this.

Psalm 75:7 ESV – but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.

Daniel 2:21 ESV – He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;

Now, I do believe that the only time that God allows disobedience to government is if government tries to oppose the Gospel message and the full counsel of God’s Word; if this happens, then it is better to obey God than man and suffer the consequence for your obedience to God.

Let’s now look at the warning Paul gives.

A warning for those who refuse to submit to governing authorities.

Romans 13:2-5 ESV – 2Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

Quite frankly, if you resist the authorities that God has established (whether they are good or evil) you are in danger of incurring God’s wrath; not the wrath that Christ suffered for us, but wrath in the sense of punishment for disobedience.  The Reformation Study Bible says, “Rebellion against the authority implies rebellion against God’s ordinance.”

Paul says that one reason we are to not rebel or resist is for sake of conscience.  Ultimately, your conscience will be clear before God if you do not resist but realize that God is the one who has ordain and established those in authority over us.

In Ephesians, Paul has some great advice for slaves that can be applied to our relationship and attitude toward government here.

Ephesians 6:5-8 ESV – 5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

Apply Ephesians 6:5-8:

  • Obey governing authorities with fear and trembling.
  • Let your obedience be from sincere heart as unto Christ.
  • Not to please people, or even the authorities, but to please God.

Concerning taxes, respect, and honor.

Romans 13:6-7 ESV – 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

I know a few Christians that have quit paying taxes because they say they don’t want to support our evil government; well, that is unbiblical!  It doesn’t say “pay taxes if the government is Christian,” just pay taxes.

Why?  Well Paul answers and it is amazing: “For the authorities are ministers of God.”

Not only are we to pay taxes, but we are also to give those in government respect and honor.  I know many a people who won’t call our current President their President because they didn’t vote for Him.  Honestly, that does not matter – He is your President because God put him there, so show proper respect and honor.

Finally, pray for those in leadership.

Proverbs 21:1 ESV – The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.

What to pray:

  • Pray for salvation.
  • Pray for wisdom.
  • In prayer realize that it is God that has raised our leaders up; so if your leaders are evil, it is because we deserve to be ruled by them.  So repent and pray for our nation to repent of its sins and seek the face of God.

CONCLUSION

I want to close with a passage of Scripture this morning.  May it be our prayer.

2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV – if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Advertisements