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October 30, 2020 4:00 am
What does God require of the rulers of nations, one to know he serves divine purpose to to be humble, serious, diligent, or loyal to truth and justice.
To be sure that he maintained order with a just and firm commitment to law enforcement. For he must not seek his own welfare fine sympathize with the need for Scripture spells a very specific tax revenue to build better roads pay firemen and policemen improve the school system more protected citizens from foreign threats. But what about when politicians flat out waste your money or worse use it to fund abortions or conduct unethical medical research or wage unjust wars. What does that mean for you as a Christian and the taxpayer should you pay your taxes. If your government seems to take too much of your money and use it for evil purposes today on grace to you. John MacArthur brings biblical clarity to the often complicated issue of taxes.
As he continues his study from Romans 13 titled the Christian and government jobs going to show you what the apostle Paul who lived under anything but a godly government had to say about taxes.
With today's lesson. Here's John MacArthur. 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 part 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 to them in a sense they rule under him and so will you notice back in Romans 13 he says they are God's ministers attending continually upon this very thing.
What thing the service of ruling the service of leading people, protecting them, collecting their taxes doing their duty all civil matters for the public good therapy attending to that we need to do what we have a chance, and an opportunity to choose officials we need to choose those who are competent and committed to that.
If you find somebody who is in office who is unfaithful to that. It isn't continually attending to that but is continually attending to something else. Some of us have seen the absentee records of some of our congressmen and senators and we wonder what they do spend their time doing. We need to take stock of that we need to find people that are competent. It would be best if they were Christians. But sometimes we don't have that alternative. And so we choose someone is competent. If I was going to have heart surgery would be wonderful to get a heart surgeon who was a Christian, but if I had my choice between a nice Christian and a good unsaved heart surgeon I take a good unsaved heart surgeon, the Christian might mean well, but I'd rather survive and there may come a point in government, there may come a point in government where our choice is between a competent person and an incompetent person, there may be times, even when in the Christian is the incompetent person and unfaithful to what he should be doing. We have to be careful that we understand who is were selected. We want those people who do attend themselves continually to this matter. Who understand something of the dilemma of Moses in Exodus chapter 18 who couldn't get all the work done. He took a look at everything that he had to do in judging Israel and he just couldn't handle it.
And that's when his father-in-law came along to divide the responsibility out and he gave himself to his father's advice and selected people to handle all of the varying responsibilities divided up the load was able to do it do it well.
Government is called upon to do it.
It does well to attend itself continually to the responsibility of ruling and protecting its people and just to satisfy my own heart and mind II spent some time looking through the minor prophets, as well as the major prophets because they had so much to say to leaders. This text talks to us, but I think it only balanced as we look at the text to to kinda go the other direction. We've been saying we're going to be willing to submit in order to be willing to pay our taxes. That's our part and to be said what their part is first of all, to recognize that they are what they are because God is put them there and they need to know that they are delegated to that responsibility by divine authority, and they certainly should take stock of a divine standard in their function and they ought to be faithful, knowing their accountability is to God in that sense.
Furthermore, the Scripture is very very explicit about the kind of people they are to be who are in leadership in government, and if you read the prophets whether reading Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, or whether reading was agile. Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah and Emma Becky Zephaniah Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, whether reading all those profits you find as you read through those profits that they spoke not only to Israel but to all the nations around Israel. They were calling for leaders of all different nations to conform to a divine standard. It wasn't just Israel. Not all. For example, let's look at some of the profits go to Jeremiah chapter 1, I want to just give you some principles that we need to lay upon our leaders if they're going to be faithful to their part of the responsibility in Jeremiah chapter 1, I want you to notice verse nine and 10 then the Lord put forth his hand and touched my mouth. Jeremiah said, and the Lord said to me, behold, I have put my words in thy mouth, not listen to the next word. See, I have this day said the over Israel is out it says was it say the nations and all over the kingdoms to root out pulldown destroy throwdown building plan.
In other words, Jeremiah's message went far beyond just Israel. God required things of all national leaders, not just those in Israel, and it was so not only would Jeremiah but with many of the other prophets. What is God require of the rulers of nations. We give you little list first. He requires them to know that they serve a divine purpose. That's what I've been saying. He requires them to know that they serve a divine purpose.
It was God who said to Nebuchadnezzar, you are going to learn the hard way that God is the most high ruler who gives the kingdom to those he will and I believe any ruler from the Pres. down to a local assembly man needs to know that his responsibility as a God given privilege they need to know the secondly, the prophets made it very clear by the way, I only gave you one of several passages in which that same principle is reiterated the principle of God gives the came to whomsoever he will.
It's at least three or four times in Daniel it's repeated in Jeremiah so for the second thing that I believe the prophets call leadership to is to be humble, serious, diligent, loyal to truth and justice. In other words, it's a real commitment to the truth and to justice.
They are to be humble they are to be serious if they really know they serve a divine purpose they serve in a manner that reflects that knowledge. Let's look at a couple illustrations of that Isaiah chapter 13 is a very helpful one in here. Isaiah is giving prophecies against the nations all away from chapter 13 on into the late 20s of Isaiah and in Isaiah chapter 13 in verse nine behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the earth, desolate, and he shall destroy the sinners out of it. Verse 11. I will punish the world not just babbling. But even beyond for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity, and I will cause the arrogant see of the proud to cease, and I will lay low the haughtiness of the ruthless. In other words, God says I am going to judge those proud and haughty and evil leaders let those nations.
Daniel rebuke Nebuchadnezzar for his pride in Daniel four 2520 6B rebuke Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 427 for oppressing the poor. He pronounce judgment on Bill Shatzer for his pride and failure to glorify God. You see, God indicts the leaders beyond Israel, not what I'm saying is this, I believe what we submit to our rulers, our rulers are called to an accountability before God. Also, and I believe that while we're willing to submit. We also have to be willing to confront their evil, if indeed it needs to be confronted in a prophetic voice, so we are going to be faithful and we are going to be the right kind of citizens we are going to submit, but when it is a question of morality and evil and vice and wickedness, and self-seeking, and so forth. I believe we have to take a prophetic voice. There's 1/3 principle that the prophets bring to bear upon this matter of ruling and that is that the prophets teach that they should maintain order by a just and firm enforcement of the law. The prophets indict the nations for failing to enforce the law. In other words, letting people get away with crime without punishment and you see this particularly in Jeremiah's prophecy there some fascinating indications of it in Jeremiah. Perhaps we want it for the sake of time.
Look at Jeremiah chapter 34 in verse eight, and just briefly look at this. This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people who were at Jerusalem to claim liberty under them. Every man should let his manservant every man his maidservant being in Hebrew or a Hebrew Esco free that none should enslave them to wit a Jew, his brother other words, there was a covenant or decree made to free these people but verse 11 says afterwards a change of mind because the servants in the handmaid assume they let go to return brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaid now. The people respond to let their servants go they didn't. They took him back in the rest of the story chronicles the fact that there was no enforcement of the covenant. There was no enforcement of the law and because of that, because there was no enforcement because no one including the king ever said this is a right were going to make it right. God says in verse 16.
You polluted my name and I'm going to judge you in verse 22.
Our command says the Lord, and cause them to return to the city and fight against it and take it and burn it with fire and make the cities of Judah desolation without an one of the reasons for the terrible captivity. The came was because of the fact that they were not enforcing the law. They were not enforcing the covenants they had made. Leaders are responsible to enforce the law firmly and justly for thing that I see in the prophets, and we alluded to earlier, is the fact that leaders are not to seek their own welfare. They are not to be concerned and preoccupied with their own welfare their own position.
Jeremiah 2213 woe to the one who builds his house by unrighteousness in his chambers by wrong who uses his neighbor service without wages and gives not for his work. Who says I will build myself a wide house and large chambers and cut out windows and it is panel was cedar and painted with vermilion shout out rain, because thou closes thyself in cedar did not die father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness and that it was well with him. This is the message to the evil wicked Jehoiada, but thine eyes, and nine heart are not, but for thy covetousness in shedding innocent blood and oppression and violence. In other words, where you have a leader who is covetous and self-seeking and violent and oppressive.
The judgment of God falls there not to seek their own welfare at the expense of others. Their leaders around the world to do that they are under the condemnation of Scripture. Further, another thing the prophets make clear is that leaders are to sympathize with the needy. It should be a mark of those who are an official capacity that they care for people who have needs and you literally find this all throughout the message of the prophets a great concern with people in need. Isaiah 10 one woe to them will decree unrighteous decrees and who write grievous notes which they have prescribed to turn aside the needy from justice and take away the right from the poor of my people that widows may be their prey and they may rob the fatherless, Israel had leaders that work unbelievably brutal taking things away from people who had absolutely nothing depriving the poor and the needy, and so forth. Amos chapter 2 verse six or seven talks about same thing and so to some of the other minor prophets. So what we say. What is a faithful leader to do one to know he serves divine purpose to to be humble, serious, diligent, or loyal to truth and justice.
Three. To be sure that he maintains order with a just and firm commitment to law enforcement. For he must not seek its own welfare. Five he must sympathize with the needy six that we could add this very close to the last one must treat others with kindness. There should be a spirit and an attitude of basic decency toward people.
This of course is violated by the tyrants of the world. The despots, the murderous Idi Amin's and the ilk that come along in his path. Amos has so much to say about that that is expressed in verse 13 of Amos one. It's incredible. They ripped up the women with child and deleted. They found pregnant women and just ripped open their wounds. Horrible things not even basic decency. Seventh, they must speak truth. Leaders must speak truth. God hates lying lips and Amos chapter 2 verse four for three transgressions of Judah, and for four I will not turn away. It's punishment similar punished Judah. Why because they have despised the law, the Lord of not kept his commandments, their allies caused them to wear after which their fathers walked out.
Send a fire on Judah and devour the palaces of Jerusalem is particularly concerned with the darting leaders for their lying and lying turns in and one more, they must enforce public morality. Leaders who serve continually in a delegated authority from God in order to be faithful to the task must enforce a public morality and we see them failing to do that so much today, God sent Joan over to Nineveh and said cry against that city for its wickedness is great before me. God indicted that city and all of its leaders for tolerating wickedness and God came with the promise of devastating judgment had that city not repent, you look at Isaiah 13, 14, 15, all the way to chapter 23 I think it is and you'll find that entire section is a cry against the leaders for failure to call the people to a high moral standard. So Scripture spells out some very specific things that leaders are to do and be involved and that's a whole other study we could really get deeply involved in that, but I just suggested into those of the things that God demands of leaders. Let me just briefly review them. So you have them in my one to know they serve a divine purpose to to be humble, serious, diligent, loyal to truth and justice if they know their services rendered to God than the other ticket with great seriousness. Three. To maintain order by adjusting firm enforcement of the law did not seek their own welfare to sympathize with the needy, to treat others with kindness to always speak the truth and to enforce public morality. That's the responsible now will go back to Romans chapter 13 adjust very quickly wrap up our look at these two verses. These are they, of whom verse six says they continually attend or attend continually upon this very thing, and this is how there to do it. As we have seen outline for us in the prophets back in 1898 as a series of lectures called the Brampton lectures given by a man by the name of Robert Lawrence Otley.
He had some interesting things to say that relate to what we're looking at now. He said this, the Old Testament may be studied as an instructor in social righteousness. It exhibits the moral government of God, as attested in his dealings with nations rather than with individual and it was their consciousness of the action and presence of God in history that made the prophets preachers to the world at large. There is indeed significant in the fact that in spite of their ardent zeal for social reform. They did not, as a rule, take part in political life or demand political reforms they desired not better institutions but better men." I believe in our day the church and its preachers have to rise to the level not to seek political reform what to call for better men not to try to manipulate the system but to confront its evil and while I have said all along, and so to save this for the last, that we want to be submissive at the same time, we will not be silent when the role of leadership is abuse. So we support government by paying our taxes because we realize they are God's ministers called to attend continually on this if they don't attend continually on it. We are responsible to bring that to their attention but slick last of all, we saw the principal and the purposes of the particulars. In verse seven in this matter of paying your taxes. He just gives us some particulars first command in verse six is a general one. Pay your taxes, and now he sorta splits it out little bit to make sure we really understand the fullness of the obligation render is an interesting word is the word up a bit of me it means to give back something that you owe to get that that's what you do and you pay your taxes you owe that it is the gift you don't say dear Uncle Sam, I've just been so encouraged by what you're doing this year and I just like to send you a little gift no, no, you owe it. The word render is to pay back something that is a debt that is how the word is used particularly does Matthew use it that way.
Chapter 5 chapter 18 chapter 20 chapter 22 it means to pay back, render therefore to all their dues and the word dues all failing means a debt or an obligation to pay your debt we owe the government is just that simple. It's a moral obligation with verse eight says owe no man anything that includes a government is no real gap in thinking between verse seven and eight. Pay your debt and says render therefore to all their obligation all their debt. All of it taxes our debts owed, and if you don't pay your robber pulses owe no man anything for your debts and then you get specific tribute to whom tribute and that is as good a sort of give us some Brett here tribute is for Ruth's. It's a poll tax. It's a land tax, they had another kind of tax called Ken sauce I mentioned to you that was ahead tax. Every person paid that it was a set fee for every person that was the census every individual payday. I guess it was a flat rate then they had this poll tax which is like our income tax and assessment was what was made on your land on your property and your slaves, your capital and the taxable amount of your possessions was determined the tax rate then figured out and you were charged for certain tax that was in income tax sources paid at payer income tax custom to custom the word custom tell us how to do it revenue raised by merchandise or goods. In other words, this would be duty or sales tax anything attached to a commodity payer sales tax payer duty don't smuggle things in and out pay.
What's fair and you know what they did. Don't you they said tax collectors all the crossroads and when you were moving back and forth and that's what Matthew did sitting at the at the crossroads, collecting taxes, duties from people transferring goods here and there, pay that and then II love this fear to whom fear the word is fa boss which we get phobia from the word that can mean anything from respect to sheer terror. Depending on how it's used. In fact, I think in this very passage is used of the word terror where it says that rulers are a terror, not to those who do good, but to those who do evil. Back in verse three. It's the same word fa boss so it can mean anything from terror to respected means respect here. In other words, you have a healthy respect for the people to collect your tax healthy respect for your leaders and that healthy respect translates into giving them what you owe them realizing that they have a right to that for the service rendered.
First Peter 217 says honor all men love the brotherhood, fear God. Honor the king be subject to your masters and so for the soul and honor all men love the brotherhood, fear God and honor the King Saul respect for the position of authority that they possess, and then he comes to that last one honor to whom honor. And that's an interesting word to make it sometimes means money.
Give the money doing the money is due can mean what can be what it means. It can also mean respect again so it's perhaps best to see here that he has two words one is tax the other is duty income tax, duty, and then two words a demonstrate attitude pay your taxes pay your duty and have respect and show honor the honor here is an attitude attitude of respect an attitude that says this is the right thing. It implies the payment of money. Notice an illustration. That's perfect because he's the same word.
First Timothy five first Timothy five says that the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double to may say more double honor. I know the rules well is to be worthy of double honor. What is the double honor will first don't muzzle the Scripture says don't muzzle the ox the treads out the grain. In other words, if you expect an ox to tread the grain to better feed them right so it's saying first of all of you have an elder. The rules well pay them money and then verse 19 says, and against an elder receive not an accusation, and that means showing respect.
So the double honor is the money and the respect we give the money and the respect we are in a play favorites. In the case of first Timothy and as he goes on to say, if he does in rebuking before everybody went on about playing favorites but double honor would be respect and money. Give the money. One student give the respect so as Christians were called to pay our taxes, respect our leaders give them the honor that is due to them.
So we want to do the things that are right in terms of giving honor to whom honor is due in respect to whom the respect is due paying our taxes and our duty in living as Christians should live for the glory of our Lord, gracious father, thank you for the privilege of serving you representing you in this world we bless your name. Help us to be the kind of Christians that the world takes note of. Thank you for the privilege of Christ. Honor your government officials, but hold them accountable for their actions.
John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary showed you some practical biblical ways to do that today on grace to you as he wrapped up his look at the Christian and government as John is shown in this study. When we sin against civil authority. We really are sinning against God who is the one who put that authority in place and that I suppose.
John is the main point we've got to remember whatever government we live under.
We know that system was put there by God, and who will talk about this a little bit the other day but when you see the civilization begin to collapse you're going to hear cries to weaken the government defund the police get the authority outlet.
Let us do whatever we want to do this is the complete end of civilization government doesn't bear the will of God. At every point doesn't fulfill the will of God. At every point, and certainly not every ruler does what God would want him or her to do. But government as an entity is God's gift to mankind so he can survive in a civilized way. We have tried to make that clear. When Christians are to be the leading examples of submission to the government just like they are to God's order for the family and they are to be the number one supporters of the police those of the very agents the ministers of God. Romans 13 says to punish evildoers and protect those who do good to even looking at the Christian government based on Romans 13 of this series is available in six CDs CD album you can order only from grace. Do you or you can download the lessons on MP3 the grace to your website and I have to say this, wrapping up this whole thing will the world is looking at us they been looking at me as a preacher they've been looking at our church in a Christian people to see how we should respond.
Sadly, many Christian people have responded by being part of the problem rather than love and honoring the government and the authorities God's ordained they've gotten on the other side of this issue and it's harmed our witness list. Be faithful to be what God wants us to be. Even in our relationship to the government right and friend that is really the focus of this study, it will show you how to glorify and honor the Lord no matter what government you're under, or what direction it takes. It will also help you think biblically about taxation submitting to leaders, civil disobedience, major issues that are being debated today to order John series, the Christian and government contact us today. The six CD album is reasonably priced and shipping is free. You can order a copy when you call us at 855 grace or shop firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also download all six messages from the Christian and government free of charge in audio transcript email@example.com and remember, if you're benefiting from grace to you.
We would love to hear about it. Perhaps John study on the Christian and government calm some of your concerns about the upcoming election. Or maybe John's recent series on God's love helped you understand our Lord's grace and kindness in a whole new way. Let us know about that email us at firstname.lastname@example.org that's email@example.com or send your note to Grace to you.
Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 and now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson reminding you to watch grace to you television this Sunday and then be here next week when John helps you prepare for the upcoming Christmas season with some messages on the best part of Christmas Jesus Christ and the salvation he came to provide it's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Monday grace to