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October 29, 2020 4:00 am
Government is ordained by God for the preservation of life and property and those who serve in it do so as ministers of God. Now that isn't to say that all Christians, that is to say they all do everything you do is to say that in the design of a servant of mine a timely focus in light of next week's big election in the United States. The series is titled the Christian and government what we hope today's lesson will encourage you and maybe even answer a question that you've had as you've studied with us for the past few days, and speaking of encouragement John, you have a letter in front of you that will be particularly encouraging. I think to listeners who have supported our efforts on radio. Well we we love these letters because they they encourage us so much. Here's a letter from Keenan.
I'm a structural engineer living in Oregon. I have a wife and three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter couple of years ago I was searching for joy and couldn't find it I became increasingly sinful in my attempts to satisfy my desires. I became almost sick with myself. So much so that for one week. I commuted to work in complete silence. I thought to taking a break from explicit rap music would help me think clearly about my next attempt at happiness. Then an idea came to me. I know what's missing in my life politics, so I did something I had never done before. I tuned the radio to the a.m. setting, and click the scan button in the hope of finding a political talk show.
Instead, something caught my attention. It was Grace to you.
You were describing Jesus in the garden when he awakened his disciples.
I quickly stop the scanner and listened each day that week I woke up extra early, got in my car and drove to work or I could sit in the parking lot and listen to the next message in the series I had found what I was searching for the gospel.
I forsook the sin in my life and found a true joy that only comes through obedience to God. I listen to six sermons a day, four of them by you for nearly 2 years I could not get enough of God's word. I now serve in the local church and will be attending seminary this fall. My family and I thank you pastor John from the bottom of our hearts for your faithful service. God bless you and the staff of grace to you. Sign Keenan love stories like that while even with the multiple ways that people have today to connect with grace to use Bible teaching radio is still valuable is not to do this because you can all of a sudden find your there and you didn't know you were looking for that while the Lord used grace to you to touch Keenan's heart family transform his life. So were here working in partnership with the station operators and our supporters to keep the programs coming to your car, your house, your office wherever you hear Grace to you and when you give grace to you. You're making an eternal difference in the lives of people just like Keenan. So thank you for standing with us and friend if you'd like to partner with us, you can make a email@example.com and I will pass along all of our contact information after the lesson, but right now, stay here as John continues his series, the Christian and government were looking at Romans chapter 13 verses one through seven.
A section of Scripture that we've entitled the Christian's responsibility to government, and particularly looking at verses six and seven, which deal with the Christian's responsibility to pay taxes to prepare our hearts to look at this text. Let me just remind us of some things that were already fairly aware of. We agree.
I'm sure that our world is in terrible condition. We are face-to-face with every day reading the local newspaper is rather distressing and discouraging experience are all aware of the conflicts in the revolutions and the wars in the crime and the distress that goes on all over the place all the time in our world seems to be an unending conflict that conflict rages on every level.
It rages in the heart of an individual. We have people today who can't cope with life. I think that to the degree that never in human history have we experience it seems as though mental illness and the inability to cope is at an all-time high. It starts with an individual can't get along with himself and then he can get along with a spouse that he can't get along with his family and his neighbors in his country in his world and on and on it goes. Very often we hear people offering solutions to this they mean well most of them think the reasons for our problems are political or the reasons are economic bad economics, unwise leadership, certain inequities in society, social injustice, ideologies, and various philosophies that if all of these things could somehow be altered and we could sort of clean up our perspectives on life. We would therefore be able to deal with our problems and find ourselves in a happier condition, but the truth of the matter is, all of our problems stem basically from two things. One is sin into his Satan.
The Bible is very clear about this man is hopelessly engulfed in sinful mass and it is because of his sinfulness that he does the things he does.
It is because he is bound to fallenness a depravity that has reached the very base part of his existence, the deepest, profoundest part of his humanness that he is what is seen is the problem and that we would add also that Satan is a problem for Satan, as it were, provokes sin. He has a way of exciting the senses by design in the world because man to step in descendents.
What Ephesians 2 says when it says that men are victims of the prince of the power the year of the spirit that works in the children of disobedience. The problems in our world that are related to sin and to Satan because man is a sinner, he finds himself in the domain of Satan. And in that domain. His sin is excited by everything that Satan can do to excite that sinful. He then is an incorrigible rebel. He basically is a an inveterate criminal because Satan dominates the world of man. The problem is not just human but it is supernaturally intensified man is a product of fallenness and satanic activity, and if we look through the pages of Scripture.
We are very much aware of the fact that Satan is in control in our world. For example, we go back in the Gospel of Matthew to chapter 4 we see Satan taking Jesus aside and saying to him these words. All these things and he is just shown him the kingdoms of the world. It says in verse eight, he showed them all the kingdoms of the world and he says all these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me. That's very interesting to me that Satan said that because it indicates to me that Satan possessed the various kingdoms of the world. How else could he say he would give them to Jesus the kingdoms of the world are in the possession of Satan. First John five says it this way the whole world lies in the lap of the wicked one in Luke four is Luke is giving his account of the temptation of Christ. It says the devil said to him, all this authority will I give you, and the glory of them. That is, the kingdoms of the world, for that is delivered unto me and whomsoever I will I give it. Satan you see is in charge of the kingdoms of the world and has the prerogative to give them to whomever he will. That's a very important perception in John's Gospel chapter 12 and I think it's verse 31, or about their yes Satan is called the Prince of this world. Jesus is now is the judgment of this world now shall the prince of this will be cast out.
And Jesus with his own mouth affirms the monarchy in a sense, that Satan has over this world is in some sense his world. In John 1430. Again, it says the prince of this world comes but has nothing on me again. Satan is called the prince of this world. In John 1611 Jesus again calls him the prince of this world and says he will be judged.
Now we want to keep this in mind because it is an important balancing point to over learn in Romans chapter 13.
Satan is the one who basically is in charge of the kingdoms of the world and he has the right by his own testimony to give them to whomever he chooses. Now here's the paradox that I'm bringing us to national governments while they are ordained by God. Romans 13 one.
The powers that be are ordained of God.
National governments by while they are ordained of God are nonetheless expressive and infiltrated by Satan's system of influence and activity. They are filled with demonic activity now is kept in bounds by those governments. And yet, in a sense, the governments themselves are under some controls of Satan as well. It is an interesting paradox. God has ordained government for the preservation of man, but because man is basically evil and everything about man is evil is government is evil as well and Satan is active and aggressive in human government and yet he is limited by God who has set the boundaries of government to maintain a preserving influence in human society so the nations of the world and why we say they are ordained by God as to government.
We are not saying that they are necessarily being run by God or are reflective of God's will. Since man has unlimited potential for evil, incited by the world and the flesh government is an essential restraint in God is ordained it to restrain the inherent satanic activity that is within a national group of people.
So God ordained government and what is you call us to do.
Remember back in verse one.
First thing is to be subject we are to submit the second thing is we are to support verses six and seven we submit to government because it is ordained of God.
That doesn't mean that it isn't satanic that doesn't mean that it reflects the will of God. It simply means that God has ordained it to hold and check the rather limitless evil of Satan's demons and men as well. So we are called then in verse one to submit to those that are in authority for there is no power but of God.
The powers that be are ordained of God that we've been learning that then we are to submit the first five verses and then in verses six and seven that we are to support the government we submit we support both are very essential to principally remember in verse six, four for this cause payee tribute. Also, the principle is pay your taxes. It is an unqualified command. Last time we considered a rather wide range of biblical teaching that supports that command gives fullness to our understanding of it, both in the old and New Testament sanctified citizenship involves paying your taxes and that, as a result of justification the great theme of justification beginning in chapter 3, ending in Chapter 11 the great section of dedication in chapter 12 leads us to good citizenship as Christians in that involves paying our taxes now. The principal then was in verse six. Pay your taxes, the purpose please notice it in verse six again. For this reason and what is the reason for they that is they who collect it are God's ministers attending continually on this very thing.
So we are to pay our taxes for the reason the purpose that these who collect it are God's will minister this takes us right back to where we were, doesn't verses 1 to 5, you remember it, it says in verse four, for he is the minister of God to the for good and later on, it says he is a minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon them. It does evil. In other words, those who are in authority are either ministers of God, for good or ministers of God for wrath, depending on how you handle them. How you respond to them what they are ministers of God, and it is a beautiful word used here in verse six minister. It is the word lay to Argos and we get the word liturgy from it is a word that speaks of religious service of service to God is used in, for example, Hebrews chapter 1 of the service of angels. Hebrews 1 it says in verse seven of the angels.
He says who makes his angels spirits and his letter glass. A flame of fire angels.
There are called ministers in the sense of the liturgical ministry to God. Verse 14 it says angels are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to get uses the same word and there are different words for ministry but is the chosen word that refers to a ministry specifically to God.
A religious service and so what we learned in verses 1 to 5 is that public servants who exercise authority in a national government are in a very unique sense serving God is an active religious service of sorts. That is because government is ordained by God and resistance to government that is resistance to God. So we are to support government in paying our taxes because they are serving God government is ordained by God for the preservation of life and property and those who serve in it to collect our taxes to keep the government going do so as ministers of God. Now that isn't to say they're all Christians. That isn't to say they all do everything he ought to do is to say that in the design of government. They serve a divine purpose and Robert Culver, who has written a very very helpful book basically a book on civil government.
According to the Scripture is correct when he says this where theistic religion grows week.
That is where religion related to God grows weak.
Justice will weaken crimes that are defined as antisocial activity, which in turn then is merely what the majority says it is, then punishments seem to be the result of the majorities ganging up on the minority. This in turn seems inconsistent with Democratic feelings. The result is a decline in uniform application of penalties for crime result in miscarriages of justice trampling on the rights of law-abiding people, together with an increase in what ought to be called crime" is right. It's a very clear presentation as soon as possible.
Government is soonest the principles of government are detached from God and it is not seen as a reflection of the divine mind, then justice weakens and were seeing in our society are we seeing justice weaken crimes are defined.
Not anymore as crimes what is antisocial behavior, and now it is a question is not a question are you guilty. It is a question of were you psychologically sound when you did it. The Bible knows nothing of that. Absolutely nothing of that.
You commit a crime, you pay a penalty whether or not you are psychologically sound is not an issue but it is an issue now because we see crime as antisocial behavior rather than a reaction against the holy law, because we have no longer a holy's standard. We have no longer a God behind our law and as a result, justice Culver says punishment seems to be the result of the majority ganging up on the minority and that everybody wants to fight for the rights of the criminal and all of a sudden there are miscarriages of justice and an increase in crime where living in the day when it's happening all around us.
You see, every principle of justice and every principle of social order must be based on a creed on a foundational rock band of righteousness. And when that foundation of what is right and wrong is gone and removed and all you've got is majority opinion. The result is a loss of justice and everything goes amuck so government really should be government not only as a service to God. But government by the standards that God has established.
Because of this divine purpose behind government we ought to do all we can to maintain a godly standard and that's why we take issue with the morality of our time when it said what it begins to decline because we lose our foundation, but the fact of the matter is, even when government abandons the divine and biblical foundation. Our orders are the same and they are to submit and support with our taxes so the apostle Paul. You see is pulling Christianity right out of the insurrectionist Judy is stick attitude that says were going to rebel against the government, and it shows that Christians are bound together by a common commitment to be models of order and peace and they were in the early church in spite of hostile governments and persecuting governments. The Christians maintain a marvelous testimony of integrity and submitting to the government in paying their taxes was a man lived in about 100 to 163 A.D. by the name of Justin Martyr is well well-known and and well read among theologians and energy a particular thing that he wrote which is called his apology.
He said this everywhere we and he was speaking as a Christian, more radically than all men endeavor to pay to those appointed by you both the taxes ordinary and extraordinary as we have been taught by Jesus we worship only God but in other things.
We will gladly serve you. Acknowledging US kings and rulers of men and praying that with your kingly power you may be found to possess also sound judgment." No, that's the Christians at we give our worship to God, but will support our government also Tertullian who was a Carthaginian theologian who lived in 162, about 230 A.D., wrote this without ceasing. For all our emperors.
We offer prayer we pray for life prolonged for security to the Empire for protection for the imperial house for brave armies for a faithful Senate of virtuous people the world at rest. Whatever as man or Caesar, our Emperor would wish the Emperor is called by the Lord to his office.
What Annette even in a time when the Empire was hostile toward Christians. Now this is the spirit that Paul is after in the spirit did reside in these leaders of the early centuries of the church and should reside in us as well.
Paul says what Jesus taught.
We are to respect the government and Paul ads because they are the ministers of God. Now we have to keep in mind that all authority held by anybody in government of any kind is delegated from the Lord. Right. That's the point, and it is important for us to remind our leaders of that that they have a divine trust that they are great at what they are granted because God has granted it to them.
In a sense they rule under him. Turn in your Bible for a moment to Psalm 92, and there's a most interesting section in the Psalms, it really runs from 92 to 99 and there is a recurring theme through the Psalms 92 through 99 testifying to the nations, testifying to the world that God is the only true sovereign that God is the one true King and all other authority is simply delegated from him. For example, and we could look at a lot of verses but just a few. In Psalm 92 verse eight but thou, Lord, art most high.
For evermore, 93, the couple verses of the beginning, the Lord reigns, he is clothed with majesty. The Lord is clothed with strength where with each he has girded himself the world also is established that it cannot be moved to thy throne is established of all thou art from everlasting. Psalm 94, oh Lord God, to whom vengeance belongs old God, to whom vengeance belongs, show thyself, lift up thy self-doubt judge of the earth. Psalm 94. Given these verse 10 he who chastises the nation, shall he not correct, he who teaches man knowledge, shall he not know. Again, God is always exalted as the sovereign in the 95th Psalm verse three the Lord is a great God and the great King above all gods in his hand are the deep places of the earth. The strength of the hills as his. Also, the sea is his, and he made it his hands formed the dry land, O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Psalm 96 follows the same theme.
Beginning in verse three declare his glory among the nations, his wonders among all peoples for the Lord is great and greatly to be praised. He is to be feared. Above all gods for all the gods of the nations or idols, but the Lord made the heavens, honor and majesty are before him strength and beauty are in his sanctuary given to the Lord all you kindreds of the people give out of the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due his name, bring an offering, and come into his courts to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness fear before him all the earth say among the nations that the Lord Marina is this current theme right here in this section of Psalms that affirms the sovereignty of God.
Psalm 97 is the same verse one the Lord reigns what the earth rejoice. Verse five the hills melt like wax of the presence of the Lord of the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. He is the Lord of the whole earth, the heavens, verse six declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. Psalm 98. It's the same thing again. Verse two the Lord is made known his salvation, his righteousness has he shown in the sight of the nations openly verse six follows the same thing.
Verse nine says he comes to judge the earth.
And that's that's the essence of that whole section of the Psalms to affirm to the world that God is the ultimate sovereign. We could even backup. From there I just remembered I was reading this week. The 83rd Psalm and it's basically the same thing. It it affirms again that God is the sovereign keep not now silent, so God hold not thy peace.
And be not still owe God follow thine enemies make it to mold they that hate the have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against side people consult against the hidden ones.
They have said, and let us cut them off from being a nation that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance for their consulted together with one consent. They are Confederate against the pure, all the nations lining it up against Israel and God the Tabernacles of Edom and the Israelites Moab the hag Marines gave all Eminem elect the Philistines, a heaven's attire goes on naming all of them and then in verse 13 oh my God, make them like a wheel like the stubble before the wind, why let them be troubled. Verse 17 let them be ashamed in parish that men may know that thou whose name alone is the Lord, are the most high. Overall, your is God.
It was the ultimate sovereign, you reminded.
Also, when you think of that verse in Psalm 83 of the marvelous prophecy of Daniel where Daniel comes to Nebuchadnezzar.
In chapter 4 verse 32 and says your to be driven from men here dwelling is gonna be with the beast of the field.
You can eat grass like oxen. Seven. Time shall pass over you and you will know that the most high rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomsoever he will see Nebuchadnezzar thought he was invincible. He thought he got his own kingdom by his own power and wisdom, and he was going to learn the lesson by being a raving maniac living like an animal. His his hair growing like a bird's feathers in his claws, his fingernails like Eagles claws he would learn that God gives and takes the kingdom. According to his will.
It appears again in chapter 5 in verse 21 until he know that the most high God rules in the kingdom of men and appoints over it.
Whomsoever he will if a person is in a position of authority. It is by God, having delegated that right to him, and it is a divine privilege and it is a divine occupation.
They need to know that that's a heavy responsibility. This is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us.
John is titled our current study from Romans chapter 13 the Christian and government, and friend.
I want to highlight again. The letter John read before the lesson. It was from a man named Keenan who said he wanted nothing to do with the Lord and found joy in his sin. But one day Keenan stumbled onto Grace to you and couldn't stop listening. God used the teaching of his word on grace to you.
To transform this man's life and that was made possible because people like you made verse by verse teaching available on the radio. Thank you for faithfully supporting John's Bible teaching to partner with us. Get in touch today. You can donate firstname.lastname@example.org or when you call 855 grace or send your tax-deductible gift to Grace to you.
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Remember, you can download any of John's messages when you heard today free of charge in audio or transcript format now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson encouraging you to be here tomorrow when John shows you the kind of leader God blesses as John continues his study from Romans 13 titled the Christian and government. Don't miss the next half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to