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October 20, 2020 4:00 am
The one time we have a right to disobey the authority and the government is when the government commands us not to do something God commanded us to do when it invades that domain will not obey God rather than the apostle Paul who lived in that society say about the Roman government and how do his words apply to you today no matter what kind of government you live under. Consider that on Grace to you as John MacArthur continues his study titled the Christian and government. John is showing you why God created government in the first place, and helping you see how even bad rulers serve God's purposes and with that, here's today's lesson. Romans chapter 1307 verses we have outlined for us in reason pointed turners the Christian's responsibility to government the issue.
The Christian's relationship to government is a very important issue. It has been through all of the churches history. Christians have always had to face this issue and even to struggle with for the church has found itself in all kinds of places in all kinds of governments under all kinds of rulers with all kinds of perspectives and forms of leading in ruling so Christians have always had to deal with this matter of how do you respond to your government that will approach this message 1 More Way and I'm just setting up some pillars so that everything is going to come right together for you.
In Paul's day. This was a very critical issue a very critical issue and I want to give you little historical macros will understand why. In Paul's day was a critical issue not tell you what the Jews were notoriously zealous for their own identity, their own nation their own independence, their own freedom, their own God. Their own religions so the Jews constantly rebelled against Roman control. There were just little fires popping up everywhere and even though Roman domination was for the most part, beneficent in the Roman piece was for the most part easy to bear was not harsh and un-realistic. Still, the Jews did not like the idea that they were under the yoke of anyone. And when conversing with Jesus you remember in John eight they said we have never been in bondage to anyone which was a pretty ridiculous statement since they were that very time on the Roman domination and prior to that. One of the domination of the Greeks and prior to that run the domination of Medo Persian is a part of that word of the domination of the Babylonians and even earlier than that were under the domination of the Egyptians so that short memories, but what they were really saying was not, we were not under domination externally, but what they were saying was, we never been dominated in our hearts we have never accepted that kind of plan so they didn't like that tyranny. And even though they enjoyed exceptional privileges in the Roman Empire. In fact, the Roman Empire, which advocated Caesar worship and everybody was supposed to worship Caesar as a God allowed the Jews to worship their own God safeguard their right to worship the Roman safeguard the Sabbath day, the Sabbath laws the food laws. The prohibition of idols. The Romans made a law that no one could come into the city of Jerusalem inside the walls within the image of the Caesar because that violated the Jewish idle law. They did everything they could and when the Jews wanted to kill Gentiles who went into the inner court. The Romans upheld their right to do that even though that was nothing to do with Roman law, but only with religious law of the Jews, so they were very gracious and a sense of the Jews and still they chafed under their authority.
They hated the Roman domination. They questioned its legitimacy. They fought against it. In fact, remember in Matthew 22 they came to Jesus and said, look, you tell us you tell us. Do we pay our taxes or do we. This was constantly on their minds. They felt that it was an absolute crime for them to acknowledge Caesar and he said show me accordingly took out a coin with Caesar's image of a course that would be in their minds or what an idol and they despise that and Jesus said to them, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God's the things that are God what he was affirming was the fact that in spite of what they felt they were obligated to submit the government but they chafed so much under that you remember Mark 15 seven which accounts for Barabbas would let an insurrection. It wasn't the only insurrection.
There were a lot of insurrections. The Romans dealt with them continually. In fact, the Roman still like to keep the peace one time even football in prison because they thought that Paul would be the cause of the Jewish riots and Jewish riots could turn against them. They knew that and so they were very cautious in imprisoning Paul not only for his own protection but for the protection that they would gain from some kind of riot in acts 536 we read before those days rose up students boasting himself to be somebody to whom a number of men about 400 joined themselves it was slain, and all as many as obeyed him were scattered and brought to nothing after this man rose of Judas of Galilee in the days of the registration and drew away many people after him. He also parish and all as many as obeyed him were dispersed. The Romans were constantly breaking up these kinds of small revolutions were started by these would be Messiah were trying to overthrow the Roman yoke. The Jews took as the basis for their hatred of the Roman yoke and the Roman rulership. Deuteronomy 1715. Note that says thou shalt surely set him king over the evil the Lord thy God shall choose one from among thy brother, and shalt thou set king over the thou may not set a foreigner over the who is not thy brother, and so they said based on Deuteronomy chapter 17 verse 15 they were not going to have a king that was not a Jew and Herod was not a Jew and Caesar was not a Jew and Pilate was not a Jew and none of those who ruled them were Jews and so they use that passage as a defense for their attitude toward the government what they forgot was they were living under the terms of Deuteronomy anymore. They had so violated God's covenant that they were under judgment and those kinds of things had been set aside now.
Also among the Jews were a group of people known as the zealots remember the zealots they believed there was no king but God. And there should be no taxes paid to anyone but God.
So they defied the government every way they wouldn't submit and they wouldn't pay taxes they embarked the zealots did on violent action. They started groups. They were they became murderers and careers of murder and assassination. They were known as dagger bearers. They were fanatical nationalists sworn to terrorism all their lifelong and they had a great influence on the Jews.
That's why when Jesus came along in the Jews size power they wanted immediately to make him king. Why because they wanted the ultimate revolt.
The ultimate wards take place and they would fight and win against Rome, but Roman law, for the most part continued even during the life of Paul. In spite of all these things to be somewhat favorable to Christianity. They frankly saw Christianity as nothing more than a sort of offshoot of Judaism was sort of. Judy is the cult if you will, is an interesting incident in the 80 chapter of acts where the Corinthian Jews, accused Paul of propagating an illegal religion.
See the Romans didn't allow a lot of religion but they had legalized Judaism so they said Judaism is legal. So when Paul came along, preaching Christ, the Corinthian Jews want to get Paul in trouble with the Roman power so they said he is preaching and illegal religion, and so they called in the proconsul Galileo to tell him that this was an illegal religion and he paid absolutely no attention to their accusation at all, which indicates to us that he thought of Christianity is nothing more than a few Jews disputing with other Jews about some element of theology and because of that attitude that Christianity was a sort of an offshoot of Judaism.
It gave call freedom in the Roman Empire to continue to preach the gospel of Christ. Over the next 10 years. His ministry could continue due to this perception, and he was able to preach, even though Christianity truly, if understood was not a sanctioned religion but looking at it from another angle to Christianity was to be watched. Even though they tolerated it. I'm sure they knew that it needed to be watched.
After all, the Romans knew that the founder of Christianity was one Jesus one Jesus Christ and one reference is called Christus and that that founder was basically killed because as far as they knew he was claiming to be a king and offered our arrival to the Caesar. So they knew there was a potential within Christianity for trouble and so even though they tolerated it.
They watched it. There were some Christians no doubt in some places, who posed a threat to some Roman authorities some of them were thought to be subversive. Some of them were assumed to be real troublemakers.
In fact today. In acts 17 they said these that turn the world upside down or come here also, and they all do, contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king, one Jesus, so the idea that there founder was a rival king sort of followed them.
But even in spite of this, there was real tolerance for Christianity but Paul is very careful in what he says because he doesn't want any trouble.
It's possible that if they pushed a little too hard at their freedoms if they didn't know how to respond to the Roman government. They could really be in trouble. Romans were watching them even though they had some freedom.
The best thing for them to do was to continue to live peaceably and honorably as citizens in their society. They were not to be associated with the Jewish mentality of insurrection and rebellion, revolution, all of so he writes this to remind them of their duty as citizens to establish exemplary conduct by Christ had shown Christ to chip what the apostles and show like the believers in the earliest part of the church had shown they wanted to separate Christianity from insurrectionist Judaism. They want to affirm that Christians are good citizens, Christianity, and good citizenship goes together and good citizenship isn't just a question of not committing crimes. It's also a question of honoring and respecting and giving dignity to those in authority over us.
So the Lord then establishes the basic principle in verse one. It is this civil government in whatever form or under whatever ruler or rulers is to be obeyed and submitted to by Christian Christian has a duty to his nation, even if his ruler is a Nero or a Hitler say well this is this an isolated text.
No, I want you to look again as we continue to lay a foundation at first Peter chapter 2 first Peter chapter 2 and Peter situation he's writing to some believers who are right at the edge of a major persecution. He's encouraging them to be ready to face what they're going to face over in chapter 4 of first Peter verse 12 he says don't think it strange concerning the fiery trial to test you. Rejoice verse 13 and is much as you are partakers of Christ's suffering. Verse 14.
If you are reproached for the name of Christ.
Happy are you, verse 50. Don't suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or a busybody in other men's matters. But if you suffer for a Christian. Don't be ashamed. Appreciate so he says get ready to go suffer spirit of God gives them insight to know that the persecution it's already beginning on an individual level is going to become wholesale and so Peter is writing then to some saints who are living in a time of persecution. The wholesale persecution hasn't yet broken out, but there is some persecution. It's already started.
And they need to be ready to handle it. How do you handle first Peter 212 have your behavior honest among the heathen that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold glorify God in the day of visitation. In other words, they may speak of you is evil. But let it be a lie. I do that how you live in a society that wants to persecute you, so that they see your goodness. 13. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man. Same thing. Paul said in Romans 13 one.
Submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord say whether to the king is supreme or governors or them that are sent by them for the punishment of evildoers that would be the police for this is the will of God. Verse 15 that with your welldoing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men who is better looking for something to criticize in your lack of good citizenship and your lack of obedience to the civil authority will give them their reason.
In verse 16 says don't use your supposed freedom as a cloak for your maliciousness. So here is a persecuted group of people and Peter said to them, except and obey your authorities and we go back to Romans 13 and we see that Paul is basically saying the very same thing that Peter is saying we have a serious responsibility to live out our justification by grace through faith are self-sacrificing to the Lord is Romans 12:2 describes, it should make us model citizens of our nation.
We should not be known as protesters we should not be known as those who lambaste criticize and demean people in authority. We should speak against sin speak against injustice speak against evil, speak against immorality fearlessly and without hesitation, but give honor to those who are in authority over us.
This is a biblical pattern for every age in every nation and every Christian has nothing to do with America.
America didn't even exist when this was written obviously now the first principle given in verse one. Let's look at it and will just take a look at this principle and then will expand all the reasons for let every soul be subject unto the higher powers, there is the principal's unqualified its own limited its unconditional every soul is kind of a Hebrew-ism for every person. Everybody. The emphasis is on the individual. Every individual person. We each have a very precise duty. Let's be subject is the verb it's an imperative. Who Picasso it's a military term is the lineup to take your orders, let every one of us get in line in submission to those who are commanding us and who is that the higher powers literally means the authorities which are over us.
The authorities that have authority over us is kind of a kind of a double phrase asked Susie ice hoop Eric Susie ice authorities who have authority over us. The supreme ruling power. They're called in verse three rulers rulers. The text makes note estates between good rulers, bad rulers, fair laws, unfair laws.
In fact, it is the obedience of Christians to unfair laws.
The obedience of Christians to unjust rulers in the early years of the Roman Empire.
The obedience of Christians through the persecutions that brought tolerance and acceptance and finally Christianity to that same Empire. We are called then to submit and for us it isn't that difficult really because the laws for the most part are just they rightly raise that represent divine truth are changing fast. But we are to submit. We have to face this post-Christian America, if you will.
Although the nation has never been a Christian nation, are Christian nations, only Christian people.
You understand that though things are changing.
We still have the same duty first Timothy to remember that verse one and two.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks, be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior God our Savior wants us to do little life that is peaceable. We make these will make trouble.
We make peace we don't protest we make peace, and we live quiet peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty, we affect the society from the inside by changing the hearts, not the structure in Titus, Paul, again writing to the church put them in mind. Assisted Titus put to people all the people in mind to be subject to principalities and powers to obey magistrates to be ready to every good work to speak evil of no man to be no smaller but gentle showing all meekness unto all men set peaceable, loving, gentle me. It bothers me to see people in the name of Christ running around doing tirades on the leaders of our nation. No matter whether we feel there adequate inadequate just unjust, fair or unfair as a principal here and it's repeated in the Scripture. We saw Peter we saw in first Timothy we saw Titus received here and I say wait a minute you mean we are to submit to everything everything everything without limitation others. One limitation is one limitation in acts chapter 4 verse 13 says that the Jewish leaders heard the boldness of Peter and John and couldn't figure out how they could be so bold and so articulate when they were unlearned and ignorant men. They took note of them that they had been with Jesus that was evident because of their message and because they had seen them with him and so they are drawn into the Council and they have a little meeting. What are we going to do.
The result of the meeting.
Verse 16 what should we do these men.
A notable miracle has been done by them. That is manifest to all those who dwell in Jerusalem, we can't deny the miracle but that it spread no further among the people. Let us threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. So what Estella can't speak again.
They call them, commanded them not to speak at all, or teach in the name of Jesus.
Now this is the government.
This is the ruler. This is the authority, even though it's the religious authority, its authority, Peter and John said to them, you judge whether it's right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than on the God. Now we have a real conflict right God in the form of Jesus Christ said to them, going to all the world what we see gospel whom every creature. Now the authority says don't preach. Now you have cross commands so Peter says you you tell us who should we be you or God fairly obvious and it the one time we have a right to disobey the authority and the government is when the government commands us not to do something God commanded us to do or when the government commands us to do something God commanded us not to do okay when it invades that domain. Those are the only places where we have justification and you know what happened.
Rocha well verse 31. They had a prayer meeting and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the word of God with boldness that those who they decided to obey doesn't. They were quiet at all. Not at all.
Same thing happened in the second persecution. Chapter 5 they were told again to be quiet, to say nothing. Verse 28. Did we not strictly command you, that you should not teach in this name, and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine. They didn't obey it. They that accelerated their efforts and you intend to bring this man's blood on us. You know what part of their message was that the Jews were responsible for killing the Messiah. Peter said the same thing, along with the other apostles, we ought to obey God rather than men is the only time a Christian comes to the point of tension where he must violate his government was, there is no such thing as a Christian government. There is never been any such thing as a Christian government. So don't assume please will you that Paul is writing this with a Christian government in mind. Certainly the wrong one wasn't in there never has been one the only Christian government and B is the millennium the millennial kingdom, but until then, all governments are flawed.
We have been privileged in our country and I thank God for the privilege of living under the best one of the best of human governments in the past and we are grateful for the is a great privilege, but there's no Christian nation, and so we are called to submit. If our government changes its form as governments do to be model citizens who not only obey but you have a spirit of obedience and give honor to those who are in authority over us that the name of Christ might not be evil spoken and that the critics were looking for ways to condemn Christian if they're going to condemn us, please let it be for our faith not our political viewpoint. So we submit this is grace to you with John MacArthur.
Thanks for being with us.
John is our pastor, author and Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary's current study is titled the Christian and government will John. Both yesterday and today you are emphasizing the need for us as believers to obey those who are in authority in yesterday you said one of the signs of the meltdown of a culture is when the government's authority begins to weaken and they stop trying to put an end to evil and evildoers, and we see that in our culture as you said yesterday, but at the same time it seems like certain government policies and actions target believers, target churches, our Christian supposed to deal with, you know, the principle of Romans 13 in light of that, yes it's it could be a very confusing situation right now, but the bottom line is that as long as the government asks us to be a part of restraining evil and protecting the good people that is punishing the evil people and protecting the good people. Whatever the form of that government. Whether it's a dictatorship or a democracy. We respond to that when the government ceases to protect the good and to punish the evil it gets very, very confusing, but still we we need to fall on the side of being submissive and obedient. We need to be noble, good citizens, we don't need to be known as revolutionary as reactionaries we don't protest we don't we don't do damage to things we we accept that God has placed us where he's placed us.
We live quiet and peaceable lives before the government and we honor the king, and so forth. That's pretty clear, as that government begins to disintegrate and it inevitably will. They all do under the sheer weight of sin, they can't stay together mean America's been what 200+ years and finally now the entire democracy is beginning to completely disintegrate before our very eyes. As I said yesterday, we made hundreds of thousands if not millions of laws to try to restrain evil but eventually it's going to break down and now we face the reality that we as a church are going to be the target of an increasingly evil society and this is going to be when we say we obey God we obey God rather than men. We don't fight back.
We accept the consequences. Jesus said if my kingdoms of this world, my servants would fight, we don't fight but we obey God. And we do what he has commanded us to do when the government tells us we can't do what he's commanded us to do we do what he commands us to do and we take the consequences.
These are very challenging times I've written a new booklet called chaos, corruption, and the Christian response chaos corruption in the Christian response brand-new will send you a free copy.
If you just ask us.
Yes, a friend this practical booklet will show you how to live righteously and glorify the Lord even as the world and governments become more ungodly to get your copy of chaos, corruption, and the Christian response, contact us today. Call us at 855 grace or go to Jide TY.org chaos corruption in the Christian response looks at God's design for government wide being a good citizen is crucial for your Christian witness and whether the church should take an active role in politics. Again, this booklet is brand-new and will send it to you for free just request a copy of chaos, corruption in the Christian response when you call 855 grace or go to Jide TY.org if you'd like to download John's current series, the Christian government. You could do email@example.com and not just that series. But all John sermons 3500 total are free to download in audio or transcript format. So if you want teaching on the family. God's view on work how to study the Bible, building self-discipline, how to pray dealing with sin, you find all of that and a lot firstname.lastname@example.org now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson. Thanks for tuning in today. Invite a friend to join you tomorrow. As John continues his series on the Christian and government another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time wasting