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July 23, 2020 2:00 am
There has always been a tension between God's people and human government. In the message "The Christian and Government," Skip shares several principles that form a practical theology for believers in relationship to secular government.
This teaching is from the series Heart & Soul: A Study Through Romans.Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
I have an earthly address.
I live in this country that I have a heavenly address a spiritual address. I am in Christ Jesus which means I have an eventual address in the kingdom of heaven.
So, since we are residents of Rome. We should learn to live responsibly. Citizenship is Christian heavenly one and an earthly one connect with Skip Hunter today and she shares with relationship to the government should look like Jesus. Then stay tuned after the message Skip and his wife Linda talk about how God can work through any kind of government leadership. I think Christians are to be good citizens until being a good citizen that if I can't be a good citizen Christian, to compromise my Christianity that I have to draw the line and dissent were not agreed to follow their laws. Thank you, Skip and Manya, be sure to stay with us after today's message to hear the full discussion right now want to tell you about a resource that will help you pray with more boldness and Derek can take your faith to another level.
Ready to radically upgrade your prayer life still stuck in blessing mode, you have come to the right place you are ready for dangerous prayers really start playing three new players will warn you. These are not easy. Prayers does not say prayers benign prayer, recalling the dangerous prayers with her dangerous in a good way and that is my opinion. Most people I know in this part of the world most people's prayers way to say that Craig Rochelle from his book dangerous prayers. And this is our summer resource offer. You are ready to get out of your comfort zone was some prayers are not safe. No going into the when you pray this prayer to really ask God to do something that will take you out of your comfort zone or potential with Craig Rochelle's book dangerous prayers as our gift to you when you give $35 or more today to help keep this ministry on the air. Request your copy when you get online securely connectwithskip.com/offer or you can call 892 1888 another clip from Craig's book dangerous prayers talk about what God is prayer but the last thing and it was one of the other side of brokenness is what God cannot get any other way will have enough encouraging books yet one that will grab you by the throat and get her attention. Replace send me what I want to do you like contract basically whatever however whatever you want to do. My life is yours and connectwithskip.com/offer or you can call 800 9218 chapter hear what I heard. I even for my parents never discuss religion and politics in polite company or in public. However, you want to spend your heart up before I was kind of a common maxim. If that's true, I'm in a world of hurt because the text before us is Romans chapter 13, the theme of the first section of Romans 13 is the relationship of the Christian to the state or to the government. It outlines our responsibility to civil authority, which some people have great difficulty doing JC O'Neill even wrote these seven verses have caused more unhappiness and misery in the Christian East and West than any other seven verses in the New Testament that may be an overstatement, but certainly the issue of how a Christian operates in a secular environment, especially in terms of the government, and government authority can be challenging. Here's the bottom line. As believers we have dual citizenship. We are citizens of Earth and its governing realm, but we are also citizens of heaven. Philippians 320, Paul said, our citizenship is in heaven. So I have an earthly address.
I live in this country, but I have a heavenly address a spiritual address. I am in Christ Jesus which means I have an eventual address in the kingdom of heaven.
So, since we are residents of two realms. We should learn to live responsibly in both. We cannot be cloistered. We are not to be uninvolved or uninformed, but learning how to balance our allegiance to both realms.
I came to know Jesus Christ in 1973.
Some of you weren't even born at that time. During that period known as the Jesus movement that's a real thing is real. If spiritual history our country a lot of people coming to Christ. There was a lot of excitement that Jesus was going to return. Which by the way, I still believe in believers connect he's going to come soon sooner than we think. Perhaps. But there was such an anticipation and excitement that Jesus was going to return. I mean people not like he's coming next week so that excitement for the return of the Lord became in some cases, your responsibility, why bother getting involved in our culture. Why bother getting involved in any political structure. Why bother getting involved in all, after all, Jesus is coming next week and I even had friends are to think not get a credit card I can kind of others get all sorts of charges rung up and Jesus is gonna come back and I'm in a get rapture. I won't have to make any payments.
I even had a friend come to me and say why are you bothered what you bother going to college I announce I am except the UCLA amicable program and the guys are why would you ever go to college.
Don't you know Jesus will return before you graduate and I so well if he does he'll find me in a classroom because last time I checked, colleges need Christians last time I checked colleges in our country are not bastions of righteousness.
I think they need involvement.
A believer just like political structures do. Jesus said occupy till I come.
That is, stay busy until I come back.
Jesus even prayed in a great high priestly prayer of John 17 when he prayed to his father privately. He prayed for his disciples and he said this. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world that you keep them from the evil one. Our Lord never intended that we live in caves or monasteries, or other high vernacular means that cloister us away from responsibility. In fact, Jesus even put it this way. Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves know if I met a brand-new sheep following that Shepherd that doesn't sound comforting communal sheep.
I'm glad you're following me. Now I'm to send you out in the midst of all, thanks a lot. You must not let me know. I actually love them so much that by sending sheep out into the midst of wolves. My hope is that some of those roles will become sheep that is his plan that is where the interface comes in. So one of our struggles as believers is balancing the responsibility as believers with God and state, but since we carry both passports, one in this world and one in the next we need to discover what our obligations are. We have that outline for us in the first seven chapters of Romans 13 let's get a sense of let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For the there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority do what is good and you will appraise from the same for he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is God's minister and avenger to execute Rapp and him who practices evil. Therefore, you must be subject not only because of wrath but also for conscience sake, or because of this you also pay taxes now is getting personal.
For they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing, render therefore to all their due taxes doing taxes are due customs to whom customs fear to whom fear honor to whom honor before we jump in and unpack those verses let me take you back to the governmental structure of the New Testament can I do that go back to the time when Paul was writing this letter in fact a little bit before that when Jesus lived in Israel at the time of the New Testament. You need to know that the political background of the New Testament was not a democracy.
It was an autocracy. There was only one governmental structure in power in most of the world at that time Lisa world were dealing with and that is the Roman Empire. The Rome had been a Republic. Rome had quickly become now at a monarchy.
If you will, and autocracy were all of the power was invested in one single individual named Caesar he had unilateral authority if you wanted to and he did. He couldn't take a census of the known world and tax it in the New Testament, even records that Caesar in Rome, though he had ascended around him. Caesar in Rome was considered at one point in Roman history to be a God that demanded respect and worship and loyalty so that every year the citizens of Rome scattered throughout the world and all of their communities had to publicly swear allegiance saying Caesar is Lord and they were given a little like Belus or little certificate that announced here's a loyal citizen the portal. The political power in Rome, though vested in one individual also had around in a Roman Senate, but if you know your history. The Roman Senate was easy access for wealthy patricians, but not so easy for the lower class plebeians so it was it was very off kilter off-center power was really all in one person. We also know that Israel was conquered by Rome was part of the Roman government and to rule Israel Rome use governors so you know some of them like Pontius Pilate or Felix and Festus in the book of acts, but they also had proxies that is Rome was benevolent enough to let you keep your language in your customs and even up to a point a certain form of government so Israel was allowed to have a guy by the name of Herod as their king. A king under Rome, but a king.
Nonetheless, an inherited was called the King of the Jews. He was the king of Judea, but he had so much power that he was a tyrant. He had unilateral power. He could make a mandate that every male child two years and younger could be slaughtered in one section of Judeo, which he did without any repercussions at all. He could be impeached, he could be voted out. He couldn't be put in prison. What he said was law. Now add another layer to that slavery abounded, slavery was an epidemic in Rome. One person said there are three slaves for every one free person. The actual statistic is between one third and one half depending on what era between one third and one half of the entire Roman population were slaves. Add to that and oppressive form of taxation to keep that Roman machinery operating and you have a little bit of understanding of what the governmental structure was like at the time Jesus lived in at the time Paul wrote. With that in mind we approach Romans 13. Once again, and I want to show you out of this quickly, but definitely five elements that formed the relationship of the Christian to human government ready first element is our role. What is our role with government to be be summed up in one word in verse one the word subject's is let every soul. I think I would include yours since you are a living person right every soul was everyone of us. So let every soul, including yours and mine be subject to the governing authorities not you might automatically have a problem with that and maybe you even think you will maybe really does mean what it says it means so in case you're thinking that look at verse five because he says it again. Therefore, you must be subject that is an imperative. It is a command. What is that mean subject of Peter took the same word and translated it submit the Greek word is a familiar word hoopoe tossed so some of you heard that before hoopoe toss comes from two words hoopoe means under tossed so means to line up it means to line up under it was used in a military sense to arrange troops in formation under a leader when it was used in a nonmilitary sense. It met a voluntary attitude of cooperation was even translated to help carry a burden so than the basic role of citizens, including Christian citizens is to help carry the burden of government by submitting to.
So in a nutshell, believers are not to be subversive not to be rebellious not to be troublemakers, but in fact model citizens. Why was this important why did Paul include this because at the time he wrote and it would get far worse from this point forward, but at the time Paul wrote Christians were already being viewed very suspiciously in the Roman Empire. That is because their conduct was so different they had their own private meetings that that is the got together for fellowship. They did not worship the Roman Emperor as Lord and so their actions were already being scrutinized. So Paul thought it was important that they be seen as good citizens without compromising their faith and here's what what you need to know.
Besides what I told you about the background of the government.
What you need to know when Paul said let every soul be subject to governing authorities. You need to know who was the governing authority at the time in Rome when he wrote this was a Caesar by the name of anybody know Nero, Caesar, Nero, infamous Caesar, Nero would be the very Caesar who took Paul's head off his body.
He will be the one responsible eventually for Paul's death. Paul that guy writes about that guy saying let every soul be subject to governing authorities. Now we believe Paul wrote the book of Romans around A.D. 58 which means within six years by 8064, an event will happen during that year which some of you know your history you know about the great fire of Rome.
There was a fire that broke out in A.D. 64 in Rome that decimated a lot of the city decimated the Palatine Hill lot of the buildings you just destroyed a lot of that great city. The rumor was the belief was and it was spreading across Rome that the fire was set by none other than Caesar, Nero, that he started well when that was becoming public knowledge Caesar Nero was thinking quick and he thought I gotta find a scapegoat.
I gotta blame this on somebody so who did he blame Christians.
He said it's those Christians, they let the fire now him saying that perpetrated a series of persecutions that were unbelievable. There's even a story that halfway through his reign, Caesar, Nero got the idea that he was a great chariot racer. He wasn't, but he thought he was.
So he had a track built in Rome, where he could race his chariots and he liked it so much he wanted to do it not just during the day but at night. The only problem is, Thomas Edison wasn't around when the lightbulb forum, so there were no electric lights. There was no Benjamin Franklin with a kite so to fix the problem so he could race his chariots at night on that newly constructed track.
He ordered his army to round up Christians impale them on poles or tie them to polls covered them with pitch and light them ablaze to light up his racetrack at night. That's the Caesar in power when Paul says let every soul be subject to governing authority which means we have a problem. The problem is what you do when the world you live in is filled with Caesar Nero's are out of Hitler's war by Shar al-Assad's or Sula Manes or whatever would you do hold that thought to get backů That's our basic role with government be subject, let me move on out to the second of the five elements and that is the rule of government.
Let's see how far-reaching.
Paul says this authority goes. Look at verse one again.
But the second sentence in that verse four. There is no authority except from home. God and the authorities that exist are appointed by God while therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God and those who resist will bring judgment on them. Cell is a very difficult statement, it's difficult. But Paul begins where you want to begin, and that is with the sovereignty of God hears his point power has only one source and that source is God, no matter how well no matter how poorly that power is used all power comes from God. If you have trouble with that you need understand Jesus had no trouble with Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, the very man who would demand the execution of Jesus on the cross and at one point, as they were meeting together a pilot questioned him and Jesus gave no answer had nothing at all to say to him. So Pilate said to Jesus, are you not speaking to me.
Do you not know that I have the power to crucify you and the power to release you. Jesus answered, you could have no power at all against me unless it had been given to you from above.
Did you hear his answer pilot. The only reason you have power is my father in heaven put you in power. That's Jesus saying that to the guy who's going to send him to death as another example, Pharaoh was he a tyrant in the Old Testament.
Yeah, he butchered God's people persecuted God's people, but in Exodus chapter 9 verse 16 the Lord said to Pharaoh. For this reason I have raised you up that I might show my power in you, who raised him up, God raised.
That's good place with a message for you from his series.
Now you Skip as they talk about how God kind of government leadership today develops traffic for Christians relationship to government. Christopher believes to be good citizens in order to honor the Lord but Skip sometimes God appoints leaders who are very so what can we do how can God show us to do his works. Despite a bad leader will fortunately in the Scriptures, we are left with some great examples of exactly what to do. Just look at the life of Daniel.
Danny was surrounded by an ungodly government a polytheistic government, a pluralistic society.
I want one that was bent on eradicating Judaism and it it's ideology in the minds of these young men and you. Daniel was able to serve the Lord with integrity in that culture. Another example is Paul with Caesar Nero.
Paul stood before the Emperor of his day in Rome, a very unsympathetic toward the Christian because eventually Paul lost his head.
He was beheaded at the hands of Caesar, Nero and and yet he managed to honor the government and command Christians of his day under that leadership to also honor the government and not be subversive not be the ones who lead riots etc. etc. there are notable exceptions, like acts four and five were they say luck you've crossed the line and we must obey God rather than man. So there's always a balance that we obey the laws of the land and we see that is sovereignly placed there by God. Good or bad, and yet in some cases, we have to be if if the line is crossed obey God and not man. So here's the general rule I think Christians are to be good citizens until being a good citizen means being a bad Christian said okay if I can't be a good citizen and be a good Christian if I'm in a compromise, my Christianity will then I have to draw the line and dissent were not agreed to follow their laws Thanksgiving my hand this conversation in society. To keep pursuing Christ to help do the same thing for others who may be struggling to today will help keep these teachings even joy on their make it possible to help more listeners like you grow stronger in their faith. Please consider giving a gift to help others discount 892 8819 to you tune into my Skip I think explains more practical ways you can honor the Lord in response to the Skip presentation of connection communications changing truth