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August 6, 2021 7:05 am
In the gospel according to Matthew we find a wealth of wisdom from the lips of Jesus through stories, parables and pearls of wisdom.
Jesus provides insightful lessons on life.
There are moments, however, when his stories make us scratch our heads in confusion today on Insight for living Chuck Swindoll points to one of those puzzling moments when Jesus brought up the politically charged objects of death and taxes to unravel the mystery.
Turn with us to Matthew chapter 17 were looking at verses 22 through 27, Chuck titled his message death and taxes is confronted with the tax. Asked about Jesus paying taxes response Peter replied yes he does, he pays the fact the house before Peterkin opened his mouth, Jesus addresses him. He asked them to questions. First, he said Peter what do you think then he asks Chang tax their own people or the people they have conquered. When you have a king who rules over a country taxes own people to be taken one of two ways taxes own family could also mean does the tax those who were citizens in his country as opposed to those he has conquered and brought into his country who would be exempt when King's tax in these days. Peter's answer is in verse 26 they tax the people they have conquered. Peter replied, even were reference to the king's own family, his answer would be, they tax those who were not in the royal family would make sense for King to taxes own family. He taxes others he taxes those who were strangers in the land and have been wanting to live there will said Jesus the citizens are free in other words, if you're a part of the kingdom you're free here exempt or to use the other analogy. If you are a part of the family of the king.
If you're a member of the royal family. Your exempt your to pay taxes. Think about it, Peter. Going back to the temple tax, I'm the son of God. If anyone was to be worship Jesus is to be worshiped. So naturally, one would wonder why would he pay taxes. He's the Lord of the universe. All who would be a part of his family would be free and I'm sure Peter would think.
While I was close as your own family to you. In fact, we are like family. I could be exempt. Now the turning point you thought of the thought comes at the beginning of verse 27. However, we don't want to offend them. Even though I have every right to be exempt as you to be my close follower for let's face it, those who lived in the temple were not men of holy character, those who carried on the business within the temple were the very ones who were part of the betrayal they are the ones you hire Judas and page number 30 pieces of silver.
So these are evil men who run the temple. Nevertheless, so that we don't offend them.
We need to pay and we need to pay now. So we chose Peter to throw a line in the lake and the first fish he catches will have a coin in its mouth. Take the coin it will represent that for draw, but are required to take a coin and use it to pay the temple tax take it easy, is it the end pay the tax for both of us. It would equal twice what would be paid by one man, but the main reason he says this is that there not be an offense.
He saying that we are to fulfill our obligation regardless of the lack of character among those who take our taxes who spend those tax monies regardless of that, we are required to pay those taxes as a way to look at it. We are all possessors of dual citizenship if we know Christ first and foremost, we are citizens of heaven, he is our master, he is our Lord, we are obligated to obey him. We are expected to hold up his reputation and magnify his knee because we serve him. We are a part of his citizens review will we must never forget. We are also citizens of this planet of this government of this country. We are to honor that citizenship and not given offense by not obeying those rules and laws now. With that in mind turn back to Romans chapter 13 we are not only citizens of heaven. We are also citizens of this country. We are obligated to submit to governmental authorities. This includes paying taxes is were going to re-Romans 13 everyone must submit to governing authorities, for all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority had been placed there by God. How easy to forget that people often do forget it. Paul goes further. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished and the implication is that should be breaking the laws of the land. Punishment will occur not move ahead to verse six he says it directly pay your taxes for these same reasons for government workers need to be paid. They were serving God in what they do that give to everyone you owe what you owe them. Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them and give respect and honor to those who are in authority very clearly set forth honor to whom honor is due. Tax to taxes due now as difficult as it was to pay the temple taxes knowing the lifestyles of those who operated the temple.
Can you imagine how difficult it was to pay taxes to Caesar's household and to Caesar's rule you think of life in the temple was corrupt. Trust me life in Caesar's court was far more corrupt. Nevertheless, he makes the statement, we are not to refuse to pay those taxes render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, but render to God the things ever got. Let me address.
According to acts 419. There is a higher law and the law of the land and that's God's wall. Whatever the law of the land supersedes God's law.
We are to obey God and not man they did in the first century we are to do that in the 21st-century.
Clearly, the higher of the two is the living God, and he gets our first priority. They refuse to offer incense to Caesar they refuse to call Caesar their Lord.
They paid for some of them with their lives.
Great persecution came because they were held accountable for not worshiping Caesar.
How does all of this apply to us by fiberboard it down to several very pointed questions and I realize when I wrote the questions appointed Baylor.
They are so personal. I'm not able to answer them for you. Only you can answer for yourself there made to make you think, and ultimately to change for change is necessary. Therefore, first, are you a good citizen of this country or the country where you are a citizen.
Are you a good citizen of your country a part of the question or do you take secret delight in breaking some of its walls taking advantage of others without their knowing about it when I get even more specific. Do you drive the speed limit, you stop at the stop sign.
Do you drive carefully. Do you keep yourself under control. Do you mess with your handheld device you knew I get to that while you're driving like those who sit through a red light green light red light green light you want to run into the rear of the car you a good citizen, you behave as you should second do you willingly and appropriately pay your taxes. Admittedly, there are ways that you are immune from having to pay some of them and those are to be an art or to be observed. No question about that's part of the wall or do you do your best to hide the truth in various ways to find loopholes that would be offensive. In fact it legal if they became known. Do you willingly and appropriately pay your taxes as a good Christian is a good citizen is 1/3 that's a little broader. What is your understanding of freedom.
I don't know how often I've asked that the different individuals and how often I've heard in return means I could do whatever I please. Freedom never met that freedom does not mean that that's anarchy. Freedom means in the Christian world. I am now freed from the domination of sin, so that I can obey Christ and follow his teachings. When I'm lost. I can't because sin dominates my life.
I'm not free but when I'm free in Christ. I'm out from under the Mosaic law, but I'm now under the law of Christ. And I'm free to obey him. I would ask under the same question, do you push your freedom to far and then rationalize your way around the selfish lifestyle. Only you can answer that you call it freedom when it is in freedom. As Paul put it when I'm with the week.
I'm careful around the week.
I don't rub his nose in my freedom when I'm with those who don't march to the same drumbeat I'm careful to walk with the drumbeat so as not to given offense. In other words, I am the same in private that I am in public and on the same in public as I am in private final question ties into that is Christ the Lord only of your public life would others be shocked if they knew you were Christian.
Several years ago I came across a searching book titled the day America told the truth by James Patterson and Peter Kim is based on an extensive opinion survey which guaranteed the anonymity of those who participated in the survey. The truth was shocking to give you a brief sampling of what they found out only 13% of Americans see all 10 commandments is binding and relevant 91% of the Americans lie regularly both at work and at home by their own admission, most American workers. That is over half admit to goofing off for an average of seven hours. That's almost one whole day at work every week and 1/2 of our workforce admits they regularly call in sick when they feel perfectly well, but that wasn't the one that put the chilled on my back. It was this question that did. The question is asked in the book in the survey.
What are you willing to do for $10 million, 25% said they would immediately abandon their families. 23% said they would become a prostitute for a week, 7% would murder a stranger.
Did you hear that seven out of every 100 would take someone's life. They don't know before you feel smug inside your Christian cloak date will thank the Lord, child of God. I would never do such things everyday about another book.
This was even more convicting because it's written by two Christians, Doug Sherman and William Hendricks, son of the late Howie Hendrix.
The book is titled keeping your ethical edge, sharp, written by Christians about Christians so there survey was taken among Christians they discovered.
Listen to this, the general ethical conduct of Christians varies only slightly from non-Christians with some grant exceptions, of course, believers. They said are almost as likely as unbelievers to do such things as falsify their income tax returns steel from the workplace and selectively obey the laws of the land.
Non-Christians and Christians alike lie, cheat and steal. They break their marriage vows through unfaithful affairs, hideous sins, they participate in like gossip, prejudice, incest, idolatry, greed, slaw deception, abuse and manipulation. To make matters worse they are practiced under a hypocritical cloak of secrecy. Why, because in authenticity has become an art form in this generation is Christ the Lord only of your public life was going on in private. That would embarrass you if all the people in your family knew about it or those sitting around you in this place of worship. That's why I don't dodge passages like this. Just as a temple tax not being paid would be an offense.
The things I just named or terrible offenses carried out every day by those who cling to be Christian. Is it any wonder we have a difficult time getting the attention of those who are lost like you to bow your heads, please just sit right there. I realize I convicting this is I search my own heart. You need to come to terms with some things that have been drifting along too loosely. Have you fallen into habits that you rationalized around because after all your free in Christ. That freedom has nothing to do with doing what you please. It has to do with being free enough to do what Christ pleases the time to tighten up some things as a relates to your ethical life the way you pay your bills or don't pay your bills or handle your taxes. It just may be that you have thought all along. You belong to Christ, but realize you know I don't believe there's ever been a time when I invited Jesus Christ to take over my life. No wonder these things are out of control.
If that's true of you today this is the moment.
That's why you've come to this place of worship. Trust in the Lord Jesus. Let your life before him, he will forgive you.
He will give you a whole new start a brand-new sleet, a new beginning. He's a God of all grace, which is the foundation of his dying for you and for me if we can help you in that journey we're here for that purpose. Talk with us were available connect with us nor the silence of this place is deafening. Conviction is deep and we acknowledge that you have spoken and you've address specific areas that we realize we have no business trafficking in is you cut yourself short, bring us to the decisions that are necessary for there to be change permanent change so that we represent your son without surprising anyone and we do so free of offense. The glory of Christ and is in his name in PETERSON email.
This is insight for living you're listening to the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll to learn more about this ministry were to see what resources are available for today's topic, please visit us firstname.lastname@example.org just a moment ago you heard Chuck say that we want to help you succeed in your spiritual journey. We're here for you, and to that end, we encourage you to take advantage of the resources offered by Insight for living, for instance, today we are recommending an eye-opening book from Chuck called the grace awakening thousands of readers point to this classic is the turning point in their spiritual walk as they truly understood the depth and reality of God's glory and grace. And if you're prepared to shed the legalism that was first imposed by the Pharisees in Matthew's gospel, then we highly recommend this book from Chuck in the grace awakening he clearly describes what it means to embrace our freedom and liberty in Christ to purchase a copy go to Insight.org/offer or call us if you're listening in the US dial 1-800-772-8880. Recently we received a note from someone who is searching for grace. He said I found Insight for living. When I was 19 years old at the time I was just out of high school, working for the family business trying to find my footing when my family moved from Pennsylvania.
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