Depending on your take on prophecy, we may be heading towards a day even in this country where what we're doing right now is viewed as illegal. In that point, it becomes fairly obvious what we're supposed to do. But in all these other areas that we like to nitpick different things, according to these scriptures, when you openly bash the government, that's wrong.
We've lost the bridge with David McGee. While we all think that our reasonings are rights, there really aren't that many reasons for being civilly disobedient. Find out more about this and why it's important to submit to even our government today as Pastor David continues in Romans 13 with submission.
Here's Pastor David. Romans chapter 13 verse 1 says, Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities, for 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 have praise from the same. Verse 4, 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 or God's servant, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Now, let's understand, we're talking about God-given authority, talking about God-given institutions. This life lesson here is a little long, but God established in his Bible, he established three institutions, home, which includes the marriage and family, two, the church, three, the government. God established those things in his word.
He not only established those things, but he also says, here's how it's supposed to work. With the home, he said, look, this is what a marriage is, and this is what a family is, and he says this is what a church is, here's the authority structures, elders, deacons, pastors, leaders, Ephesians 4, the five-fold ministry in Ephesians 4, and then he says the government. OK, so God established these things, OK? It's not up to us to come back and say, OK, well, God said that a family is this and a marriage is this. It's not up to us to say, well, OK, I don't care what God said. I don't care if God said it was a man and a woman.
I'm going to rewrite the thing in a man and a man and woman and woman, and that's OK. No, no, you're not God. God is the one who decided, and I want to be sensitive to those who might be struggling or coming out or maybe still in the midst of same-sex relationships, but you need to understand that is not the biblical picture. God gets to decide what marriage is because God's the one that came up with marriage. God gets to decide what the church is and how it should be governed because he came up with it, and the government. That doesn't mean that God is responsible for every evil that happens in a house, happens in a church, or happens in the government. It means God allowed that person to be in a position of power, and sometimes we may not be able to respect the person, but we should always respect the office. Because you know what, gang?
Here's the thing. You read the book of Revelation, you understand what's going to happen? God is going to place in power the world leader that we refer to as the antichrist.
He's not sneaking in the back door. God is allowing that. I think back to Saul and David and how David treated Saul, but let me bring you a New Testament, an amazing version that somehow Jesus submitted to Pilate in the execution and the crucifixion. Think this through with me. Could Jesus have kept Pilate from executing him?
Absolutely. He said in the garden, you know what, I could call like 150,000 angels right now. He didn't do that. We read in the Bible that one angel in the Hebrew scriptures wiped out 185,000 people in a day.
Imagine what over 150,000 angels could do. Now you may say, well, he hasn't really submitted to Pilate. Well, you could debate that.
We could discuss that. But one thing you can't, he was submitted to the will of his father. And he said, father, nevertheless, not what I want, not what I will, but what you will. In front of Pilate, John 19, verse 10, then Pilate said to him, are you not speaking to me? Do you not know that I have power to crucify you and power to release you? And Jesus answered, you could have no power at all against me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore, the one who delivered me to you has the greater sin.
Gang, look at this. Jesus right there is saying, God put you into a position of power, Pilate. Did God know what Pilate was going to do?
Absolutely. Jesus picked Judas knowing what he was going to do. Jesus put Judas in power knowing Judas was going to be a thief and Judas was going to betray.
Are ungodly people going to be in power? Yeah, sometimes. But you know, sometimes it's hard to tell.
Sometimes we assume we know and sometimes it's not so clear. Look at verse five. Therefore, you must be subject not only because of wrath, but also for conscience sake.
Well, what's he saying here? Well, Paul is saying that part of being subject is not only because you want to avoid the bad punishment, but also you don't want to do what's referred to in the Bible as seer your conscience. In other words, when you do something bad, you kind of put a little callous where that place of conviction is. And if you continue in behaviors that are unbiblical long enough, that callous can turn into a hard heart.
And rebellion, what he's saying here is if you rebel against those people who are in authority by God, you can begin to be hard hearted. Jesus submitted to Pilate. Paul submitted to Nero.
David submitted to Saul. I don't think anybody in here would argue whether Jesus was godly. Obviously, Jesus was godly. Paul was godly.
David was godly. But they submitted completely to some people who were to some degree ungodly. Titus 3, 1 says, remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities to obey, to be ready for every good work. 1 Peter 2, verse 13 says, for the Lord's sake, except all authority, the kind is head of state and the officials he has appointed for the king has sent them to punish all who do wrong and to honor those who do right. Couple of verses down, 2 Peter 19 says, for God is pleased with you when for the sake of your conscience, you patiently endure unfair treatment. Ecclesiastes chapter 8, verse 2, obey the king because you have vowed before God to do this. And maybe you didn't take a personal vow to be obedient to the president, but there's an understanding that as a citizen of this nation, that he is the ruler.
He's the ruler. And again, whenever we mention civil disobedience, gang, be careful and understanding that depending on your take on prophecy, that we may be heading towards a day even in this country where what we're doing right now is viewed as illegal. Teaching the Bible, proclaiming Jesus, calling sin, sin, saying that we need to be saved in order to go to heaven.
Perhaps those things become illegal. In that point, it becomes fairly obvious what we're supposed to do. But in all these other areas that we like to knit pick different things, guys, when you openly, according to these scriptures, when you openly bash and speak evil of the government, that's wrong. That's wrong. And I have to understand when I look at anybody, I'm looking at them through my perception.
And here's what I mean. Some people say when they look at Jesus, for example, they say, well, I think Jesus was a good teacher, but I don't think he was God. That's kind of interesting and obviously I don't agree with that.
But think about this with me. He's not their God. They are not submitted to his lordship. Now, the Bible tells us that everybody at one point will submit to his lordship, but they're saying he's not God and well, he's not their Lord. Other people say, well, I believe Jesus was a good teacher, but I don't think Jesus was the savior of the world.
Well, guess what? If you think that he's not your savior. So they're viewing it through their perception. So a lot of times, gang, we can find a reason not to submit to anybody.
Why? Because we're all sinners. Every president we will ever have is a sinner. Some will be saved by grace, some unsaved. Every pastor will be a sinner and some will be saved by grace. The reality is there's pastors out there that aren't saved at all. Are they still, have they been given God given authority?
Yeah, they have. Do I completely understand that? No, I don't. But guess what? I'm not God. God knows more than I do. God knows more than I do.
I should have made that a life lesson too. Say it with me. God knows more than I do. God knows more than I do. So when God does something, he's doing it with information you don't have, that I don't have. And I look at some of the decisions God does and I say, God, what are you doing? I don't understand that. Sometimes God is gracious enough to show me a scripture or explain himself. Not all the time. And that's where faith comes in. Look at verse six. For because of this, you also pay taxes for their God's ministers attending continually to this very thing.
Oh man, he's gone from preaching to meddling now, isn't he? Now again, if you want to sit here and go, well, I don't know about paying taxes. I don't agree with the IRS.
Well, isn't that convenient? You can save 20, 30, 40, 50% by disagreeing with the IRS. God has allowed that structure to be in place. Well, I don't agree with the way the government spends the money.
Welcome to the human race. I mean, every, every government that's ever existed, you could find something that you didn't agree with the way they spent money. Think, think about this is Nero's authority that he's talking about. You think Nero was taking money and building like hospitals and Christian schools?
No. And Paul says pay taxes. I don't know if you're aware that the system of publicans is what they were called is basically these jobs were for hire people with bribe Roman officials to become a tax official.
They would say, okay, you have to bring in 50,000 shekels a year and anything you bring in over 50,000 shekels, you get to keep. Well, guess what that led to tax men standing up both ends of a bridge saying, well, you got to pay a tax to go out on the bridge and they pay a tax to go out on the bridge. And then a guy on the other side of you got to pay a tax to get off the bridge. That's why tax collectors were so hated. Paul says here, pay your taxes. Jesus said, pay your taxes. Now Jesus had a kind of a unique way of paying his taxes, didn't he? I read the passage, Matthew 17, 24 says, when they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, does your teacher not pay the temple tax? Which was kind of a, uh, something on top of the tithe, but he said yes. And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him saying, what do you think Simon? From whom do the Kings of the earth take customs or taxes from their sons or from strangers? Peter said to him from strangers.
Jesus said to him, then the sons are free. Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money. Take that and give it to them for me and you.
So again, Jesus had a unique way of paying his taxes, but he paid the temple tax and he wants interesting. See a galley has a fish. It's called tilapia over there. They refer to it as St. Peter's fish. They have a unique thing that they do because you read this and go fish with a coin in his mouth.
That's just, come on now. This fish, when it has babies, does something very interesting. Whenever there's a threat in the area that the mother fish will scoop up all the babies in her mouth so that the baby fish know where she is. She finds things that are reflective and puts them in her mouth so that they see the shiny thing and in the murky water know where to swim.
Kind of interesting. We'll return to David's teaching in just a moment. First I want to tell you about a special booklet that would be the perfect gift for any man on your Christmas list this year. The booklet is entitled A Father's Blessing and within its pages David McGee discusses the power and responsibility a father has in caring for his family.
This booklet can help men who have had poor relationships with their own fathers as well as bless those who are just beginning their adventure into fatherhood. When you call today with a gift of any amount to cross the bridge, we'll send you A Father's Blessing as a thank you for your support of the ministry. Call today at 877-458-5508. That's 877-458-5508 or go online to crossthebridge.com. Experience the joy of biblical fatherhood with David McGee's A Father's Blessing.
Contact us today for your copy. Friend, do you have a heart for the lost? I invite you to send us the first names of your lost loved ones and we will have hundreds of people praying for them. Just go to crossthebridge.com and click on the prayer button and you'll enter their name and if you put your name and email address in there, I'll send you free resources to equip you to pray and teach you how to reach your lost loved ones.
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The whole book for the whole world. Now let's return to David McGee's verse by verse teaching in the book of Romans. Verse 7 says, render therefore to all that are due, taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. Man, do what you're supposed to do. These leaders and we may refer to them as ungodly, some of them may be ungodly but they are created in the image of God.
Jesus loves them and we're supposed to be like Jesus and somehow through our acts of submission, especially when it's very plain that we don't feel like submitting, we're glorifying God and we may gain the opportunity to give a witness of our faith. Taxes whom taxes, customs who customs. I was coming back from a missions trip in Newark or JFK, somewhere, you know, the first place in the United States, I'd go through customs and stuff so that, you know, they will go through your suitcases and stuff. And so the suitcase came out and customs was walking around, you know, they had little dogs and stuff and I was sitting there going, Oh, praise God. I'm not afraid of that anymore.
And, um, and so, you know, they were doing it in some kind of weird flash from the past. The dog lights on my suitcase and starts barking and stuff. I'm like, Oh man, you know, and then the customs person who's suitcases that and you know, standing with Nora, I mean, I knew it was my bag, so I stood up and I said, it's hers. I don't, I don't, I don't know what she's done. I'm concerned.
She's been acting strange officer. Um, no, I didn't. I said, it's mine and ended up, I had forgotten and there was an orange in my suitcase. I'd had a fruit basket and I'd pick that and they, and so they don't, they don't just search for drugs.
They search for any kind of agricultural products that were coming in. And so I had an orange and that's my story and I'm sticking to it. But the, um, no, it really was cause I was on a mission strip. But you know, I mean at that moment, guess what? I went from being okay to all of a sudden being afraid.
Why? Cause I was, I was like, well what happened? I thought, uh, I didn't, you know, I didn't even think about the orange until I opened the suitcase and these things, why do they do that? Why do they have these agricultural rules and regulations about what can go from country to country? Because you know, people have brought insects in that wiped out entire crops. Chestnut trees in North Carolina were almost completely wiped out. Well, I think they actually, they were wiped out about 75, 80 years ago. The mountains of North Carolina devastated, why? Insects that came in on crops. So God puts these parameters in place to guard us, to protect us.
Are they comfortable? Sometimes, sometimes not. Years ago we had these, uh, cockatiels and then we had these ferrets. Ferrets are not domesticated animals.
If anybody tells you that, they're lying. So we had these birds and these birds were in this cage because ferrets eat a lot of different things, right? Now I bet you those birds in that cage looked around more than once and thought, I don't want to be in this cage.
You're constraining my freedom. I really need to be free and fly around the condo or the apartment. There were ferrets in the apartment and one day I was moving furniture, wasn't really thinking about the ferrets and the bird cage and I, and I moved a chair over while I was doing something and I had to go do something, you know, in the back of the condo. And so, you know, I went in the back of condo all clang, clang, clang, clang, you know, heard all this commotion and walked back in there and the birds were out of the cage. The bottom of the cage had been torn away. I walked in the kitchen, the birds were on the counter going like this. I think I saw a putty tatter a ferret. And the ferrets had gone up the chair, had leapt at the bird cage evidently, torn the bottom off of it and the birds flew out and fortunately got on the counter. Now let me ask you a question. Do you think the birds perception of the cage changed after that day? It did.
Why? Because they understood the cage wasn't there to constrain them. The cage was there to protect them. And if I can grab the heart of this passage to you, authority is not there to constrain you.
It's there to protect you. And as you submit to that protection, God will lead you. And if you ever are in that position of, of considering civil disobedience, you need to really stop and ask yourself, you know what, what benefit do I derive out of being civilly disobedient?
If you derive any benefit at all, you better pause and think and pray because being civilly disobedient may, you may think is in your best interest, but it in fact may not be. There was a man, Richard Wurmbrand, a Jewish believer. He was held in communist Romania for like 14 years, tortured for being a believer. In all that he, he never spoke ill of the jailers or his torturers. He was being civilly obedient in the jail.
Even his, they were torturing him and yet he was submissive. Now when he got out, he began a ministry that smuggled Bibles into Romania. That was against the law. He was civilly disobedient for what? To spread God's word. Did he gain anything by being civilly disobedient and bringing those Bibles into Romania?
No, he didn't. He put himself at risk. And since he was putting himself at risk, he was probably pretty assured that he was walking in God's authority structure. To me, that's a beautiful picture of somebody being persecuted for Christ and having an incredible attitude about it. When you listen to Corey Ten Boom talk about the Nazi concentration camps and how they prayed for the Nazi guards, how convicting because we often look for ways to scoot around God's given authority structure in our lives. We look for something being wrong with our boss or our governor or our president thinking, well, if I can find something wrong or our pastor that causes me not to submit, gang, be careful.
God is doing this for your protection, not for your constrainment. Well, I have to confess, as I was preparing this and reading these verses, I was freshly convicted in fresh ways about different things, about submitting. And maybe you're here this morning and you've felt freshly convicted and I use convicted meaning convinced that you haven't done right and perhaps displayed attitudes and even actions that we're not honoring the Lord and his word.
Well, I think if we're honest, a lot of us when we look at these passages are, well, what do we do with that? Well, there is one that we're called to submit to that is not ungodly, that you can rest assured that not only is he good, but he has your wellbeing in mind, your forgiveness. Jesus died for your sins. Jesus died not just to see you born again or come into the kingdom the first time, but Jesus died for this moment right now. That as you look at your life and go, oh man, you know what? I haven't been submitted to my boss and I've had a horrible attitude or maybe some former pastor or maybe me or maybe the president or I don't know what your situation is, but if God is drawing you to ask him to forgive you, he also has the ability to forgive you. And this is not a place for perfect people.
This is a place where people can come and realize that, hey, you know, my life isn't completely lined up with what scripture says. My life isn't completely in line with the life of Jesus. I want to be more like Jesus.
Well gang, this is one of the ways you can be more like Jesus. Is it hard? Sometimes it may be. Sometimes it may be the hardest thing you've ever done, but this is what we're called to. Jesus died for your sins that you could be forgiven. Do you deserve to be forgiven?
No. God in his grace and his mercy desires to forgive you, but you have to submit to that. And what I mean by that is it meant that Jesus did die for your sins, that he was raised from the dead, that you could have a new life. Ask him to forgive you of your sins and begin to turn towards him and away from what you think is right to what he says is right. Everybody in here has done something wrong. Everybody in here stands guilty before a holy God, but Jesus, when he died upon the cross, made available to us that we could do something that we just did not dream possible. And that is to stand righteous before a holy and just God. That's the offer that he makes to each and every one of us today, that you can be forgiven of everything you've done. If you've been rebellious to your parents or to some authority structure, you can be forgiven. Maybe you're in here today and you've never asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins.
It can be a glorious day for you, friend, because if you ask him, he will. If you turn to him, he will receive you. The Bible says, if anybody comes to me, I won't turn away. That's what Jesus said. Jesus said, whoever calls on the name of Lord will be saved. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him. Now, God wants you to pray this prayer so much that he died to give you the opportunity and the ability to ask him to forgive you.
Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me, that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned, and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things.
Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name, amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. Jesus said he would not turn anybody away who comes to him.
And he came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend. You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If this was your first time praying that prayer with Pastor David, we would love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Jesus. Also, if you have been blessed by the ministry of Cross the Bridge and David McGee, would you consider supporting us with a financial gift? This month, when you give to Cross the Bridge, we will send David's powerful booklet on Biblical fatherhood entitled, A Father's Blessing. The number to call is 877-458-5508.
That's 877-458-5508. Or go online to crossthebridge.com. While you're there, make sure to sign up for David's email devotional and begin receiving daily inspiration in your inbox. That website again is crossthebridge.com. Thanks for listening today. We pray you will join us next time as we cross the bridge.
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