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Expound: Romans 13-14:13 - Part A

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July 12, 2022 6:00 am

Expound: Romans 13-14:13 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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July 12, 2022 6:00 am

A lot of people have questions when it comes to how Christians should respond to government. In this message, Skip dives into this complex topic, sharing important biblical guidance with you.

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You see, when Paul wrote this, there wasn't a Democrat or a Republican sitting in Rome.

There was not a Democrat. There was an autocrat, Nero, a tyrant, a despotic ruler. And yet, Paul says, let every soul be subject to governing authorities. How Christians respond to governing authorities is a complex topic, but God gives clear commands in His Word.

Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares what your relationship as a believer should be with the government. Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that will help you unlock the riches and mysteries in God's Word. Guinness World Records has again confirmed that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time.

Research puts the number at up to 7 billion, and portions of Scripture have been translated into nearly 3,500 different languages. But there's a big difference between having access to God's Word and allowing it to change your life. Listen to this about practical Bible study from Skip Heitzig.

Observation must lead to interpretation, which must lead to application. As somebody once put it, if you want the meat, it's in the street. It's where you take the Bible truths and you put shoe leather on them.

It's where the rubber meets the road. You do what Jesus said. We want to increase the effectiveness of your personal Bible study with Skip Heitzig's book, How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It. This practical guide is our way of thanking you when you give $25 or more to help keep this Bible teaching ministry on the air. Get your copy today and take the mystery out of studying Scripture.

Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Now, we're in Romans chapter 13 as we join Skip Heitzig for today's message. So the book of Romans is Paul's incredible letter to a group of Roman believers. He longed to go to Rome. He finally went to Rome, not the way he thought he would go to Rome.

But he wrote this letter. And in the letter, after his introductory remarks, Paul begins speaking in chapter 1 verse 18 all the way to chapter 3 verse 20 about the wrath of God revealed from heaven. Then from chapter 3 verse 21 all the way through to chapter 8 verse 39 is the next section where he speaks about the grace of God. He sets the wrath of God out first so that we can appreciate the second great section, the grace of God, undeserved, unmerited favor. Then beginning in chapter 9 verse 1 to chapter 11 verse 36 is the third great section, the plan of God. Then chapter 12 verse 1 to the end of the book, chapter 16 is finally the will of God.

That's the section we are in. And as we get into chapter 13, we get to a, for some, difficult little section of Scripture because Paul tells us our relationship, the relationship of the Christian to the government. And what our attitude is to be toward governing authorities. And automatically when we hear that, when Christians, especially in America hear that, you know, we're sort of founded in this country with a hands-off attitude when it comes to the government, a separation clause that we have in our Constitution. But he begins by saying, let every soul be subject to the governing authority.

When I was a kid, the motto in my culture, the motto in my brother's culture, I was a kid, they were teenagers, but I remember when the motto, question authority, became kind of the standard fare. What do you do with authority? Well, you don't believe it, you question it. You fight against it.

You do your own thing. You challenge authority. Here the apostle said, let every soul, your soul, my soul, our souls, be subject to governing authority. The difficulty is when you have a governmental structure that is not godly, which is most of the time. You see, when Paul wrote this, there wasn't a Democrat or a Republican sitting in Rome.

There was not a Democrat, there was an autocrat, hero, a tyrant, a despotic ruler. And yet, Paul says, let every soul be subject to governing authorities. That government authority that Paul has in his mind sitting in Rome is the very one who will eventually take Paul's head off with an axe.

Paul will be beheaded at the hands of Caesar Nero eventually. The New Testament has as its background that kind of tyrannical social structure. When Jesus was born, he was born into that structure. Not just Caesar in Rome, but Herod in Israel. The Herod family, they ruled as tyrants, they ruled as despots, they ruled hand and glove with the Roman government.

It was Herod the Great who, in hearing that a king of the Jews was going to be born or was born in Bethlehem, that he ordered all the children two years of age and younger to be exterminated, all the male children to be decimated, to be murdered. Jesus was born into that kind of governmental structure. Now when people discovered his claim, the reality that he was the Messiah, they had been anticipating the Messiah, but Jesus was not the Messiah they were expecting. They were expecting a political ruler, a political rebel, somebody who would overthrow the Roman government, overthrow the social structure, set up the kingdom of God by force upon the earth.

So Jesus comes on the scene. He is not what they expect. He doesn't come to bring social reform. He doesn't come to bring political reform.

He does not meet their expectations. There was one occasion when the Pharisees and the Herodians came together. They both hated each other, but they came together to trap Jesus. The Herodians were loyal to Herod. They believed in supporting the Roman government. They believed in paying taxes to support that structure. They were very loyal to that Roman governmental structure. The Pharisees did not believe in paying taxes, hated the Romans, hated the Herodians, and yet on one occasion they got together and they were both on the same side because the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

So the Herodians, the Pharisees came together to trap Jesus and they said, we'd like to know the answer to this question. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? They thought they had him because if he said, no, don't pay taxes. It's a tyrannical government. Then they say tax evasion.

He's not obeying the laws. The Romans and the Herodians, as their proxies, would be not in favor of that and would want to arrest him and kill him based on that. If they said, yes, you should pay taxes to Caesar and you should do whatever Herod says to do, then the Pharisees would have a case against him. So they came to Jesus asking him the question and he answered it masterfully, so much so they dared not ask him any more questions. He said, show me a coin. He looked at a coin and he said, well, whose mug is on this coin?

Whose face is on here? Whose inscription? And they said Caesar's. He came the coin back and said, good, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God. That's how he answered that question.

So wisely, but again, he was not what they expected. Let every soul be subject to governing authorities for, here's why, there is no authority except from God and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Well, we have trouble with that. It means that the policeman who wrote you a ticket last week because you were speeding was sent there by God. The governor, the president, the congress, the house, the prime ministers of a country, the kings, are put there ultimately by a sovereign God.

Now, we have to rest in that as much as we may not like it. Go back to, not literally, but go back in your mind to the book of Daniel. In the book of Daniel, we are told that Nebuchadnezzar came and attacked Jerusalem, and it says in verse 2 of chapter 1, the Lord gave Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. Ultimately, God assumes responsibility for the plunder, takeover, and burning of the city of Jerusalem, which he predicted through his prophets because of the falling away, the apostasy, as we have been discussing on weekends, of the nation of Israel.

When Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon, and he put a statue in the plain of Dura and commanded that everybody bow down to it, and three of the Hebrew children did not do it, we are told also that during that era that Nebuchadnezzar walked around his palace, and he looked over Babylon, and he said, Is this not the great Babylon which I have built? And something happened to him. He started growing his nails out like claws. His hair started growing out.

He started eating grass like an animal, started going crazy, living out on the field, the dew of heaven for seven seasons passed over him. And Daniel came to him and said, Until you realize that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men and places over it whomever he chooses. And in the book of Daniel it says, God puts over them the basest of men, the worst sort of politician. So when you go, Mag, I hate that politician. The Lord might use him to put him over you.

I know it's a bitter pill to swallow. But again, keep in mind that when Paul wrote this, Caesar Nero, Herod the Great, those were the bad actors, but they were in place as governmental authorities. And Paul says, There really 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. Now to be subject, he uses a very important word. He uses a military word, hupitasso. It means in a military context you get underneath in your ranking before your commanding officer. In a non-military context, it suggests the bearing of a burden or the voluntary caring of a load.

So I think the idea is this. Understanding the ultimate sovereignty of God, get in line under his jurisdiction, and show support with your heart right before God to governmental authorities. Therefore, whoever resists the authority, resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. Four, 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 have praise from the same.

And here's a phrase I do have problems with, but I believe it. Any that is the ruler, the Herod's, the Caesar Nero's, you can fill in the blank. I'm not going to do that, but you can put in any politician, modern or present or past. He is God's minister.

Wow. The word Paul uses, diakonos, we get the word deacon from, servant from, God's servant, God's minister, is the same word that the apostles use in describing an officer of the church. A minister, a servant. He is God's minister to you for good, but if you do evil, be afraid.

Be afraid, be very afraid. For he does not bear the sword in vain. That is, he is weaponized for a purpose. He is God's minister, an avenger, to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore, you must be subject not only because of wrath, but also for conscience sake. Now, shortly after the flood, right around Genesis chapter 9, is when most Bible scholars will say God established, God began to institute human government. After the flood, God gave the mandate that whoever sheds man's blood by him, blood must be shed.

Or you shed that man's blood by whoever shed that blood is guilty, and a capital punishment would be the consequence. So, human government is considered by theologians to be what's called common grace. Common grace. Common grace is a term that refers to God's blessing or grace or favor on humanity that is not purely salvific, that is not for salvation purposes. Breathing air is a common blessing, a common grace. The beautiful rain, the ability to appreciate nature, common grace. Jesus put it this way, the sun shines on the just and the unjust. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. That's common grace.

We commonly enjoy it together, whether you're saved or not. Government, though it can be a burden, is given, is seen as a common grace because it has a twofold purpose. Number one, to protect the community, and number two, to punish criminals. So, next time you get pulled over by a police officer and they notice that you've been doing 25 miles over the speed limit the last few miles and they're going to write you a ticket, no warning, a ticket. You really should thank them. You should thank the officer because the officer is writing you a ticket, pulled you over because he is there to protect your life. He understands.

Obviously, you don't. You and I, when we get pulled over, we're too dumb to protect ourselves, so that's why we hire it out. And the police, whom we hire, are there to protect your life. So thank the officer for stopping you and writing the ticket and watching over the community.

They're part of the common grace, the common blessing. You know what's worse than a bad cop? No cop. If you were to defund the police, as some propose you should, we should, you probably wouldn't make it. If there were no police on the streets, you probably wouldn't make it home from church. Eventually, that would be the case. There would be total anarchy without laws and without those to uphold those laws and force those laws. It's part of common grace, common blessing.

God's minister. Now, I will say this. When I was younger, I did not think this way. We had, where I lived right down the street from us, a couple of police officers, CHPs, California Highway Patrols, who just loved their job a little too much, loved the authority it brought and, in particular, did not like motorcyclists. Well, my brother Bob and I were riding motorcycles up and down the street every day for months, for years, not always abiding by the law. We were kids.

So at age 13, 14, 15, I'm already riding a motorcycle in California on the streets. The officer would pull us over. We felt unduly hassle us. That began a very uneasy relationship that I had with law enforcement.

It wasn't good. To this day, because of all those altercations I had, to this day, whenever I see a black and white, a police officer, a sheriff, a state trooper, I white-knuckle the steering wheel. I grab. It's instinctive. I may be doing under, and I look down and go, I'm doing the speed limit.

Now, that's not always, not even often, but when that happens, it's like, ah, right? The first time I got pulled over in a car, I was 15. I had my learner's permit, didn't have a license.

I was pulled over by California Highway Patrol in San Bernardino, California. And he said, can I see your license? I didn't have a license. Again, I had a learner's permit. So he said, and now that was illegal, what I was doing, right? He pulled me over and he said, can I see your license? I said, officer, I forgot my license at home. He said, are you of age?

Do you have a license? I said, yes, sir. Now, I'm unregenerate at the time. I'm unsaved. So give me a little bit of a break.

Do you expect an unsaved person to act unsaved? And I acted very unsaved. So I lied. I said, I have a license. He goes, okay, what's your address? I told him my correct address, my parents' phone number, very confidently. And he said, okay, I'm going to check. I'm going to check our records. If you're lying and you don't have a license, you're in big trouble. I said, sure, no problem.

Go ahead. Call my folks. Now, I was hoping, dare I say even praying, that that wouldn't happen, which it did not happen. But here was the kicker for me at the time. I got pulled over and he said, do you know how fast you were doing? I said, sir, I was doing the speed limit.

He goes, that was a problem. He said, you're impeding traffic. In other words, he said, and he explained this to me, you need to go the flow of traffic. If you are in this left lane and you are slowing down, you're slowing the flow of traffic, that's dangerous. We call that impeding traffic. Now, probably only in the state of California do you get a ticket for going too slow, because I notice a lot of people in New Mexico impede traffic all day long, and it seems to be sort of the fare. But there was a problem here.

If you do the opposite, you'll get a ticket. I don't know why I even share that. It has nothing to do at all with this message, except I'm confessing my sin to you, that I had an uneasy relationship with police officers, and now I thank God every time I see them. Therefore, verse 5, you must be subject, not only because of wrath, not only because you get in trouble, not only because you might get a citation, not only because you might go to jail to commit a severe enough infraction, but also for the sake of your conscience. For because of this, you also pay taxes. Ooh, now Paul, now you're getting really close to home here. Because of this, you also pay taxes for they, that is those government tax collectors, they are God's ministers.

Now it's really difficult to swallow. Now he's saying the IRS are God's ministers. For they are God's ministers, and notice, attending continually to this very thing. That I agree with. They do attend continually to this very thing. There's no end to the creative ways they come up with to tax us.

Render therefore to all their due, taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, so pay your taxes, don't try to sneak anything over when you fly somewhere in your suitcase, pay the custom, pay the tribute, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from the series Expound Romans. Now, we want to tell you about an exciting opportunity you have to take your knowledge of God's word even deeper. Think taking classes in biblical studies can't fit your life? Here's Calvary College student, Cresta. After years of wanting training in ministry, I found Calvary College. Now I can deepen my walk with the Lord, and I can go as little or as often as my schedule allows.

The classes are great, and the schedule definitely works around my work and family life. Learn more about God and the Bible on your schedule with Calvary College. Apply today at CalvaryChurchCollege.com. Thank you for joining us today. Connect with Skip Heitzig exists to connect listeners like you to God's truth, strengthening your walk with him, and bringing more people into his family. That's why these teachings are available to you and so many others on air and online.

If they've inspired you to keep living for Jesus, please consider giving a gift today to encourage others like you in the same way. Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888. Or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate.

Thank you. Come back tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares how you can live honorably, both as a believer and a citizen. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-25 20:25:29 / 2023-03-25 20:34:14 / 9

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