Date: 1 June, 2014
Text: Romans 13:1-7
Title: Big Brother and Me
Reading this to my campers on the Monday of each camp week.
1 ¶ Let every soul (campers) be subject unto the higher powers (counselors). For there is no power (counselor) but of God: the powers (counselors) that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power (counselors), resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers (counselors) 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.
Obviously this passage has application to ALL authority but it is specifically written to believers about how to respond to CIVIL AUTHORITY (GOVERNMENT.)
hymn: "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue."
exp. That is true as the author of Hebrews said about the great men and women of the faith.
Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
And yet as strangers and pilgrims, we fall under the oversight of earthly governments. We have a great responsability to respond correctly to their authority.
How do you respond to government?
I. Humbly submit to government.
1. No matter who you are.
1 ¶ Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.
exp. You may be rich or poor, male or female, young or old, wise or foolish, smart or not as smart but you MUST be subject to your authorities.
ill. On many things I don't agree with Prime Minister David Cameron, deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Mayor Boris Johnson, Labour Leader Ed Miliband, First Minister Alec Salmond, etc. But, I am to be subject to them. Christians ought not be anti goverment or resist government.
ill. I remember hearing many Christians be disrespectful of President Bill Clinton when he embarrassed our country with his infidelity. But, as believers we never have a right to speak with disrespect of our earthly authorities.
II Peter 2:10-12 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
app. We need to be careful as believers in how we voice our disagreement with those who are in civil authority and RESPECT the authority of government.
2. No matter who is in authority.
For there is no power but of God:
exp. The power that is over you is only over you by God's allowance.
ill. Jesus had no problem with Pilate's authority to judge him. He knew that the authority Pilate possessed was from God. note: even though Pilate did not believe that.
Joh 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above:
app. Every authority in our lives- not just civil- is only there in the wise providence of God. When Scotland implements their State appointed guardian for every child, we must understand that the individual is only empowered by God.
3. Because of WHO God is.
the powers that be are ordained of God.
exp. God isn't worried in Heaven because leaders have crept into authority outside of His plans for this world. He is in complete control.
ill. Nebuchadnezar was proud but God revealed to mankind that authority was God given. (He would become a beast for 7 years until his pride was broken.)
Daniel 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
note: Paul is writing this in the days of Nero. Nero was discpicable.
"As Roman emperor, Nero’s reign was lavish and tyrannical. He killed his mother, persecuted Christians and is said to have "fiddled while Rome burned."
Nero was born in 37 A.D., the nephew of the emperor. After his father’s death, his mother married his uncle and persuaded him to name Nero his successor. Nero took the throne at 17, rebuffed his mother’s attempts to control him, and had her killed. He spent lavishly and behaved inappropriately. He began executing opponents and Christians. In 68, he committed suicide when the empire revolted." - biography.com
exp. God providentially works through both good and bad. But, there is no authority, which is in authority outside of God's control.
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
app. Our submission to earthly authority is submission to God. He has put them in authority for His purposes and His ways are best.
II. Wilfully accept government.
note: This passage assumes that government is not demanding that you violate God'sWord.
· The Apostles would not submit to civil authority that demanded that they disobey God. Acts 4:18-20 18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
· ill. Daniel prayed even though the command had been given to not pray.
· The three Hebrew children would not bow to the idol even though the command had been given to bow.
note: But, WE DON'T LIKE IT, DON'T THINK IT IS FAIR, DON'T AGREE WITH IT, is not valid reason for violating this principle of willful acceptance of governmental authority.
1. Some WILL resist government.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power,
exp. Every society has a segment which refuses to submit to governmental authority. They could be criminals. They could be traitors. They could be activists promoting their cause by rebellion. FOR WHATEVER REASON THEY RESIST AND WILL NOT ACCEPT GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY.
2. They ARE breaking God's law.
resisteth the ordinance of God:
exp. It's a shame that our current government has forgotten that they have God's authority behind them. But, having forgotten that, they still have His authority. Those who break civil laws break God's law.
3. They WILL face civil judgment.
and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
exp. This is "crime" and "punishment." This isn't damnation to hell. This is earthly judgment from a civil authority.
ill. "Crime doesn't pay." I used to do jail ministry and I saw the results of those who thought otherwise. They resisted the government and they are suffering for it.
app. Christians, we have been called by God to willfully submit to our civil authority lest we break God's law.
III. Wisely please government.
exp. Paul has been teaching them to get along in the world. Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
exp. God hasn't called us to be activists against the government. There is a time to speak out in disagreement with policy when it violates God's Word. But, we ought also to realize that there is a good (God given) purpose for government.
1. Their purpose is to keep the peace.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.
question: Have you ever noticed that you see a lot of brake lights near speed cameras. My GPS beeps when there is a camera coming. Do I need to be terrified of speed cameras if I am not speeding?
ill. You've probably noticed that a lot of stores have security guards to keep people from shoplifting. (Some even have cardboard cut out security guards like shop lifting scare crows.) Have you ever had a security guard confront you outside the shop saying, "I saw what you did. You paid for those good. Come with me."
app. Honest people have no terror of civil authority because they know that their purpose is to confront those who break the peace.
2. Their purpose is to praise peace.
Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
ill. David Wilkenson was praised by the police for breaking up gangs in NYC with the Gospel. George Minseck, former mafia member, had his record burnt in a public ceremony honoring him for his life change.
app. Those whose lives change will be praised by those whom in their former disobedience they feared.
3. Their purpose is to promote peace.
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good.
ill. Walking between all the policeman at the funeral and hearing the guys behind me saying, "This is kind of unnerving. The last time I saw this many police was when I was in prison."
I praise the Lord for civil servants who really desire to make a difference.
ill. I've met many police and I deeply respect them for their service for the good or our communities.
app. We ought to wisely fear government.
IV. Fearfully honor government.
1. Peace breakers ought to fear.
But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid;
exp. Sadly there is a lot of disobedience by those who do not fear civil authority.
ill. Stolen bicycle - Monday 10:00 , broken windows, shop lifters - loanhead 2x's - Fort Kinnaird, drunkards, brawlers, thieves, shoplifters, etc.
ill. Doing door to door with a pastor in Alabama. We were wearing sports coats and knocked on a man's door. He opened it and saw our suits and started to quickly close the door until we said, "We're not police."
app. The disobedient ought to fear civil authority.
2. He is armed by God.
for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God,
ill. Benson noticed at the funeral that many of the police had tazors on their belts.
exp. Why do our police have weapons and that power to arrest? Because God has given them that authority.
app. We would be foolish to disarm our police and take away their ability to confront law breakers. They don't just wear those weapons for decoration/ vanity they have a purpose.
3. He is to enforce the peace.
a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
exp. There is no doubt that God is in favor of strong law enforcement.
ill. In many courtrooms there used to be 10 commandments on the wall. This verse should have been put behind each magistrate. "A revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."
app. We ought to support the judicial system and welcome their power to oversee the administration of justice. God has given them that authority. We should fearfully honor government.
V. Sincerely obey government.
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
question: If someone said, "Why should I obey government?" The answer would be, "Punishment and purity." You don't want to suffer because of your disobedience with discipline or have a soiled conscience for your foolishness.
ill. I've spent time in prison but not as a prisoner. Many men don't just wish they hadn't been caught but wish they didn't have their crime on their conscience.
app. We only have one shot at life. Live with a clear conscience towards your authority. Sincerely obey them.
VI. Honestly pay government.
exp. We ought to pay our taxes. Jesus did.
Mark 12: 14 And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?
15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.
16 And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s.
17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.
A. They have a RIGHT to a portion of your income.
6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
exp. We complain about taxes but without them we have no police, judges, road maintenance, water treatment, waste removal, etc.
app. God has given government a right to ask payment for services provided.
B. Give them what is due them.
7 ¶ Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
exp. Careful Christian we are to give governement finance, fear and honor when appropriate.
conclusion: Are you right towards government? I read this passage to my campers to help them to have a good week. God's given it to us to help us have a good life. We are believers who are citizens of Heaven. We ought to be model citizens on earth. To do that we must be rightly related to our government.
Are you humbly submitted to government? (As God ordained)
Do you wilfully submit to goverment? (As God empowered)
Do you wisely please government? (As God's goodness to you.)
Do you fearfully honor governement? (They have a sword for a reason.)
Do you sincerely obey government? (Is your conscience clear?)
Is your income declared and tax paid?
God's Word is incredibly practical. If we aren't right towards government which He ordained and empowered. We can't be right to Him.
God helping us. We can be right towards our "big brother."