1. Human Government(authority) is Established by God.
1 Peter 2:13–17 13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Jeremiah 27:5–6 (ESV) 5 “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. 6 Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him.
Wisdom of Solomon 6:1–3 (NRSV) 6Listen therefore, O kings, and understand; learn, O judges of the ends of the earth. 2 Give ear, you that rule over multitudes, and boast of many nations. 3 For your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High; he will search out your works and inquire into your plans.
John 18:36 -37 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice."
Romans 13:1–7 (ESV) 13 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. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For 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,
4 for 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. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For 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.
Nero hated Christians, had them rounded up, dipped in tar, and lit as torches for his parties. He covered Christians in animal skins and threw them to wild dogs. He ordered Rome set on fire and then blamed the Christians, setting off the first wave of official persecution. We’ve largely forgotten how wicked pagan ancient Rome really was. Sorcery and black magic abounded, abortion flourished, homosexuality was accepted as normal, and the masses worshipped Caesar as Lord. Context
“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” vs. 1 -that includes USA. -What about our President? -Submit: It means to voluntarily follow the direction of those in authority over you.
Submission means believing that God is able to accomplish his will in my life through those he has placed in authority over me.
“No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another” Psalm 75:6-7 NIV
2. To Rebel Brings Punishment. 1. Human Government(authority) is Established by God. 2. To Rebel Brings Punishment.
“Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (v. 2).
Authorities: government officials -they are God’s servants(4) -are God’s servants(6)
A. To Punish the Wicked “For 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” (v. 3).
B. To Reward the Righteous “For 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” (v. 4).
3. How We Support the Government “For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 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” (vv. 6-7).
-taxes:Infernal Revenue Service Eternal Revenue Service -revenue -respect -honor
Submission Implies Obedience. But there are exceptions.
(1) If you’re asked to violate a command of God. Exceptions
Acts 4:19–20 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 5:29 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. Exceptions
(2) If you’re asked to commit an immoral or unethical act. Bible Example: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Example: Kill the innocent – abortion, the holocaust. Exceptions
(3) If you’re asked to go against your conscience. Example: Daniel and friends eating meat sacrificed to idols, or Daniel refusing to give up prayer to God. Exceptions
But when you resist authority be willing to accept the consequences. Submission is never easy and frequently there are grave ethical dilemmas. Even when refusing to obey, do so with a spirit of submission. Cautions
Should Christians be involved in social issues?
Christians have influenced governments positively throughout history. These changes have also facilitated the spread of the gospel. These changes include outlawing infanticide, child abandonment, and abortion in the Roman Empire; outlawing the gladiator battles in Rome; outlawing branding the faces of prisoners; instituting humane prison reforms; stopping human sacrifice; outlawing pedophilia; granting property rights and other protections to women; banning polygamy; prohibiting the burning alive of widows in India (due to William Carey’s influence); outlawing the crippling practice of binding women’s feet in China; advancing the idea of compulsory education for all children in Europe; and abolishing slavery.
Issues we are obligated as citizens of this world to address: -protection of life (abortion; euthanasia; capital punishment; self-defense and gun ownership); -marriage (including incest, adultery, homosexuality; polygamy; divorce; pornography); -the family (including child-rearing and education); -economics (including taxes; Social Security; health care); -the environment -national defense (including war; pacifism; homosexuals in the military); -foreign policy (including immigration); -freedom of speech; -freedom of religion;
Kingdom Attitude -The World’s Kingdom is transitive and temporal. God’s Kingdom never changes and is eternal. -The eternal Kingdom should be our model for living in this kingdom.
Pray for those in authority: Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
Richard Neuhaus was on his way to a speaking engagement in Pennsylvania. When he arrived at the airport, his host spent over an hour detailing everything that was wrong with our country, our society, our culture, our families, and our schools. When his host had finished his dreary litany of national ills, Pastor Neuhaus replied,
“These may be bad times, but they are the only times we are given. And we must remember that despair is a mortal sin.” Amen!