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The Government and the Believer - Life of Paul Part 67

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
February 10, 2021 7:00 am

The Government and the Believer - Life of Paul Part 67

So What? / Lon Solomon

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February 10, 2021 7:00 am

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Morning of the body that they welcome all you guys down and overflow were glad that you hear thanks for coming hate you bought a Bible about opening it with me to ask chapter 19 to be continuing our study the life of the great man. The apostle Paul and all you know most of us here. I think know George Roy Moore is but just in case you happen to be on the moon this summer. Let me refresh your memory judgment. Of course, is the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in August 2001 judgment secretly installed a 5300 pound monument of the 10 Commandments in the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court building will immediately lawsuits were filed to have it removed, claiming that it violated the separation between church and state, and this began a two-year legal battle that finally culminated this past summer with a federal court ruling that the monument be removed threatening to find the state of Alabama, $5000 a day until it was running our judgment was, I think we all know, refused to comply, and this gained national media attention. People traveled from all over the United States to come and stand with George born pray with George Moore. Finally, the other eight justices of the Supreme Court, Alabama overrode judgment or have the monument removed. They also suspended more charging him and I quote with judicial misconduct." Willfully failing to comply with a binding court order directed at him."

And if he is found guilty, the court can impose a variety of penalties on George Moore including stripping him of his judgeship suspending him from the bench of the Atty. Gen. of Alabama Bill Pryor was prosecuting more said and I quote the ruling means that no person, including the Chief Justice of Alabama is above the law" will earn response said and I quote, when a court departs from the law and tells you what you can think and who you can believe in.

George has overstepped his old and he can't do that. Judges simply don't have that power." George Moore course has appealed this to the United States Supreme Court, so will wait and see how it all turns out. Now the important point is for us to realize the judge's judgment or situation is not something new believers in Jesus Christ have struggled to figure out how to relate to secular human government ever since secular human government began. For example, there was Moses and the Egyptian government of the grantor there was God there was Daniel and his three friends and of course the Babylonian government. There was, there were the early disciples that in the New Testament of the Roman government. Even today, we have followers of Christ to live in communist countries live under Islamic regimes live in Israel and have to deal every day with their relationship with the hospital secular government is not just another country here in the United States.

Of course we have all Operation Rescue were followers of Christ, trespass, and abortion clinics when they get arrested, find it even serve jail sentences. In some cases, all because they believe that the secular government or a government of America had no right to legalize abortion and they have a civil duty to disobey. So what's the deal here. I mean, how are we as followers of Jesus Christ supposed to relate to human government will that's what we want to talk about today growing out of an incident in the life of the apostle Paul. So let's jump in little bit of background, remember hearing acts 19. The apostle Paul is on his third missionary journey in the city of Ephesus. He spent 2 1/2 years here, and the result is that the entire Roman province of Asia. Let's show you a map, everything green that you see the whole western side of modern-day Turkey was permeated in saturated with the message of Christ as a result of Paul's ministry now is getting ready to leave town. But as he does a huge riot breaks out in town. Remember that the temple of the goddess Diana. One of the seven wonders of the ancient world was here in Ephesus and people would come from all over the world to worship here to buy souvenirs here, and though there was a lucrative souvenir business in town and one of those one of the leaders of that business.

A fellow named Demetrius became worried that Paul was leaving so many people. Christ was an overt's business. So we organize his huge riot in town. Well, the people they couldn't find Paul dividers so the rabbit grabbed two of his associate missionaries Gaius and Dr. Aristarchus, and they dragged them down into the theater that's here in Ephesus. In verse 30 verse with a still picture theater data in verse 30 says that Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would levy even some of the AZ arts were friends of Paul sent a message begging him not to venture into the theater. That's what we been so let's pick up right now and see where we go in verse 32 and the assembly was in confusion summer shouting one thing and some another scene here was one of total pandemonium. Luke says in verse 32 continues most of the people didn't even know why they were there hey you know that there was a site has arrived in the theater. What you say. The clown check it out and any North or I was about. Is that what I found, domicile dumber than you following ambulances when they pull in your neighborhood to go see you sick is out of do that all yes you do. I've been in your neighborhood. I know what you and see is not your business either, but you're curious.

That's why they went down to the theater that you have a clue what was going on, but they join in the ride.

Anyway, I mean this is hysterical, it is biblical humor, which is why you're not laughing but this is now okay well does the Jews pushed verse 33 Alexander to the front and he motion for silence in order to make a defense in front of the people, but as soon as the crowd realize he was Jewish. They all shouted in unison for about two hours. Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

Apparently the Jewish community in town wanted to make sure that the crowd knew that they had nothing to do with Paul and the missionaries.

They wanted a clear line of separation so they appointed the spokesman Alexander to go up and present their position. But all he did is make the crowd better.

Well, verse 35 city clerk quieted the crowd and said men of Ephesus does in all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great goddess Diana and upper image which fell from heaven.

Her image was made out of a meteorite.

That's what he's talking about and the city clerk here.

We know we have copious archaeological information telling us there was such an office in Ephesus.

Let me tell you what he did. He was the liaison officer between the local government of Ephesus, like the government of Washington DC and the federal Roman government like the federal government today. He was the go-between guy who kept them all happy with each other and he stands up and says this ride is getting out of control. I need to do something. Verse 36 therefore he says since these facts that we are the guardians of the temple are undeniable. You want to be quiet and not do anything rash. He says you have brought these men, that is Gaius and Aristarchus Paul's friends here, even though they are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess not notice what the town clerk says to the mall.

He says hey everybody, Paul and his missionary associates. They are not lawbreakers. They haven't publicly blasphemed our goddess, which by the way, was that against the law in Ephesus nor have they rock temples. This was an idiom that was used in the Roman Empire to to talk about lawless behavior and criminal behavior. He says these these guys because of The law they have done anything wrong though many summarize the rest of the passage goes on to say to them if you got some charges against Paul were against his friends as a court system in town, but I don't know of anything, but if you know of something taken to court. Meanwhile, the Romans don't like riots and we deftly don't want the Roman army coming into this temple to pay us a visit. So go verse 41 and after he had said this, he dismissed the assembly now here friends is the cogent point that I want to get out of all of this and that is that. Have Paul had a habit of the finding of the government defined the authority of either the local government or the Roman government in any way during his stay in Ephesus. Certainly the city clerk would've known about, but as far as the city clerk was concerned when he said here. He said Paul and his associates are law-abiding citizens that they deserve the protection of the law. They deserve the due process of the law. Article of anything they've done wrong is what he says and remember back in verse 31 we saw that the AZ arts that many of them were friends of Paul. These were local Roman officials very high-ranking Roman officials and it's impossible to think that they would've allied themselves with Paul and publicly been friends with Paul. If Paul was an insurrectionist or causing trouble or lawbreaker is illogical. They wouldn't of done so, William Ramsey, the great expert on the life of Paul wrote road and I quote the speech of the town clerk directly negates the charges against Paul and his companions, namely that they were disrespectful in action or in language against the established institutions and laws of the Roman government. Moreover, he says the friendly policy displayed by the AZ arts towards Paul is proof that Roman imperial policy was not yet hostile to Christianity and that day as Roman officials did not regard Paul is dangerous or is carrying on any unlawful or subversive actions against the state." The point here friends is that when it became the relations with the government.

The apostle Paul was a model citizen here in Ephesus in 2 1/2 years. He hadn't even got a speeding ticket in his chariot. Nothing. He was a law-abiding model citizen and the clerk was able to stand up and say to the mob. Everybody knows that these people have not broken the law in any way not spark you want to go in the passage today because we got a question we need to address. So bada bing about whom you already go 123 right salon so what difference does it make them the one when we talk about how this relates to my life at all. I don't think adults well and I'm sorry I think you will I do think it goes and limits they want because friends we live in the most political town in the world. I mean, President Bush could could could sneeze in public in this town and it would somehow become a partisan political issue.

This town has the most unbelievable ability to make everything political and what that means is that as followers of Jesus Christ living in the city of Washington about followers of Christ living anywhere else we need to know what God tells us about how he wants us to relate to secular human government because we are living at the central point of secular human government for all of America. And besides this on a more spiritual level issue. How should Christians relate to politics and political action. This is one of the most divisive issues among evangelical Christians today. I seen followers of Christ say some of the nastiest meanness about one another over this issue. Political activism will: non-activist backsliders liberal compromisers political non-activist will call activism rebels and hotheads and and fanatics and so what is the Bible really say about this.

Let me know there any guidelines in the Bible at all about how we are to relate to secular human government will the answer is yes. I want to talk to you about Paul's just illustrated them for all Romans chapter 13 says this rulers hold no terror for those who do right to what is good and rulers will praise you for human government as a minister of God to you for the common good. But if you do what is evil. You should be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword in vain. Now here in these verses God reiterates to us reminds us of the three purposes of human secular government. Number one to encourage right doing in society.

That's why he says do what is right and rulers will praise you. Number two, to punish wrongdoing in society.

That's why he says that rulers do not bear the sword in vain. He's referring to the fact that rulers in the time of Paul would wear at a ceremonial sword every time they were in public, indicative of the authority they had to punish wrongdoers, even to the point of the death penalty is what he's talking about and finally human government as a purpose has to maintain order in society. That's why he says here that government is a minister of God for the common good, not in telling us this God is encouraging us to cherish human government to love human government without human government stable human society would be impossible no matter how bad a civil government may be, it's better than anarchy to have every man doing what's right in his own eyes is the worst possible condition for human society.

And what's more, it's important for us as followers of Christ to realize that stable human society has always been the kind of society in which the message of Jesus Christ has been able to spread and proliferate most successful. I want to ask you question I want everybody here to be brutally honest. Okay are you ready how many of you guys went to high school.

Most of argument when you went to high school dear member pox Romana CI member that that was a disease like smallpox, chickenpox, monkeypox no no no pox Romana is a Latin and it refers to the stability and the order that the Roman Empire brought to the entire Mediterranean basin for two or three centuries, and French historians agree that this was one of the key reasons why the message of Jesus was able to spread so rapidly and so pervasively in the New Testament times and in the two centuries after that because there was a stable, orderly political framework in which the message of Christ was able to do that and in light of this, God tells us as followers of Christ, that we have a duty. We have a responsibility to promote and maintain this kind of order in society, in whatever society we find ourselves.

Romans 13 verse one.

Let every person be in submission to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established in the authorities that exist have been established by God.

Therefore, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted the word here to be in submission is a military word it talks about ranking of officers under one another lieutenants on the captains and captains under majors majors on the Colonel's and what God is telling us here is just the way in the same way, a military officer submits to the orders and the authority of a superior, not because of the person in the office but because of the authority of the office in the same way. We may not respect the people that are in government above us, but we must respect the institutions and the authority that are invested in them, because God was the one who set them up. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Even dictatorships, even atheistic regimes salon hello hello talk I'm having a real problem with this because it do I understand you to say that God established a part-time one understand you to say that God supports amended the mandatory sterilization of women in China.

Do I understand you to say that the Bible teaches that God supports persecution of Christians in the sedan or the degradation of women in Iran is that what you're saying no friends. I'm not saying that all that's not Romans 13 is God doesn't support these chronic human rights violations in any way shape or form with Romans 13 is saying is that even if the government has simple policies. Even if the government has unrighteous policies, every government in place today on earth is there at the pleasure of Almighty God.

They exist in some way to advance God's plan for the ages, and when God is through with whatever purpose they been chosen to serve by him. He can and because like those governments out Psalm 75.

Look what God says. He says not from the East or from the West nor from the south comes exultation. God is the judge who puts one government down and listen on the government up in a local pilot said to Jesus, he said, don't you know that I have the power to crucify you and I have the power to let you go yellow with Jesus that he said pilot son, listen to me you don't have any power will except with been granted you by God and as soon as God wants to take it away from your son. It's going to go away. It's all about what God's chosen to give you at this moment friends are so important for us to realize that God has a global plan for the ages, and he often uses ungodly human governments to accomplish that planning to repeat what I just said God is a global plan for the ages, and he often uses ungodly human governments to get that plan done. I mean look at the government of King Saul. I mean I was not a righteous regime. And yet David refused to lift his hand against all he calls all God's anointed and refused to carry on any subversive activity.

Why because he understood God had a plan for the government and God was ready.

God would take the government down and God didn't summon him a lot like what I'm about to say that had it not been for the atrocities of Nazi Germany and for the joy, the sympathy that it generated worldwide for the Jewish people there probably would not be a modern state of Israel today and had it not been for the provocative actions in 1967, of Nasser in Egypt, Israel today would probably not control the whole city of Jerusalem as they do. So let me summarize what the Bible is telling us is as followers of Jesus Christ.

We ought to be the most law-abiding, the most respectful, most model citizens in any country has because we understand based on Romans 13 that God has the whole geopolitical situation completely under control and Jesus went this way, what'd he say render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and he paid his taxes of the apostle Paul lived this way, we just saw that 2 1/2 years not even a speeding ticket. And what about Peter. Peter said first Peter to submit yourself for the Lord say to every authority instituted among men is that I got to now long. I got I would wait for years to get you and I gotcha. Because here's how gotcha Peter just said that. Whatnot, the very same Peter who when the authorities in Jerusalem ask chapter 5, told him he couldn't preach in the name of Jesus. Whatnot, the very same guy who said to them, we must obey God rather than men and five government and went out and did exactly what they told you not to do, and God himself arrested.

Whatnot, the same Peter.

It was so you say well how in the world can you say both of those things you talk to talking out of both sides of your mouth you white men have forked tongue here.

You know what are you talking about long. Well let me let me respond that friends Romans chapter 13 we need to remember is giving us general usual guidelines for our relationship to human government. However, as we just saw from acts chapter 5 there are cases where even the writers of the Bible is in fact the Bible than themselves violated Romans 13 and defied civil authority not only two examples to instances when ever did this one is when human government forbid them to promote Jesus Christ. That's what Peter's issue was in acts chapter 5 that's what Judge Roy Moore's issue is in his own heart line is that this government is keeping me from spreading the message of God and that means I need to obey God rather than men and the other time that it's ever been done is when secular government was acting in a way that was so unrighteous so ungodly and so sensitive to God that believers felt they couldn't tolerate it and they needed to resist. For example, in the United States. This is happened with segregation with abortion, with prayer being taken out of schools with homosexual marriage, and though many people felt this way about the Vietnam War disabled on so okay what you really saying here what I'm saying is friends. There are two biblical principles here and they're both right.

There is a biblical principle. Romans 13 that says we must obey human authority because it's established by God and we should be model citizens and there's another biblical principle that says we must obey God rather than man. In instances where we feel our ability to promote Jesus Christ is being threatened or were we feel our government is engaging in stock that is so horrific and horrendous that we can't require you say will. So how do we know where the line is between those two well that's the Bible and tell us where the lines the Bible doesn't give us any firm guidelines to know where exactly we draw that line and as a result, down through the centuries, godly men and women have drawn the line at different places and disagree greatly with one another over where that line ought to be done in the same is true today. Let me tell you about three people, three men of God who all lived at the very same time in history who draw them through the line very differently. You recognize I think all three names. They all lived during the Reformation. The first name is Martin Luther, Martin Luther, he was living today. Here's what he would say he would say our job is to preach the message of Jesus Christ. Political action has no place in the church. God is in control of the secular governments of our world. And he doesn't need our help the way we can change the world is not by politics but by bringing people to a decision point for Christ. That was Luther's position not the same time there lived a man named John Calvin. Calvin believed in political activity by the church, but only lawfully disposition today would be the church should definitely get involved in political action. We should work within the system using our rights as citizens to bring our government to a more biblical position on issues and then there was 1/3 man living at the same time his name was Orrick Stingley.

He was a pastor and the leader of the Reformation in Switzerland and he believed the followers of Jesus Christ supposed through political action outside of the law, if that's what it took to bring righteousness to bear on the society.

In fact, Stingley die in 1531 on the battlefield with a sword in his hand and a helmet on his head, fighting the free Switzerland from the Catholic rule. He died on the battlefield as a pastor.

Now all in his position today would be this political righteousness is part of the church's mission. If we have to break the law and engage in open civil rebellion to bring about. Well them.

So the now all three of these guys lived at the same time all three of them believe the only way to get to heaven was to trust Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross was nothing we would call all three of these guys to date evangelical Christians. They were all three godly men and yet they had three vastly different approaches as to where they drew the line between these two biblical principle pay Luther today is model would be Billy Graham and he would be a member of the Plymouth brethren.

If Calvin were alive today is model would be James Dobson and Martin Luther King Jr. and he would be a member the Christian Coalition if he were alive today, and Stingley if he were here today is model would be Dietrich Bonner Hall for the German pastor who actually tried to kill Adolf Hitler in a bomb attack almost almost succeeded and end up getting killed himself by Hitler in a concentration camp that would be a zero and he be a member of Operation Rescue if he were here today is okay long understand that.

So here's my question as we close, which one of these three guys is correct. Will the answer is all three of us and I see the long you been living in Washington to no no no no, they all three are correct.

You can build a compelling biblical defense of all three of these positions you can and what this means. If you can do that is that where an individual follower of Christ draws this line between these two principles as a matter of conscience between that individual believer and the Lord, and if this is true, and it is that what this means is, as followers of Christ, we have to allow each other. Liberty in this area. We have to realize that other sincere believers may seek God on this issue and may come up with very different convictions.

Then we come up with my wife, Brenda and I we clash over this all the time because I'm Luther and she's Calvin on the outside and Stingley on the inside of my wife. We don't agree on this all to put it another way, if I come out of this be a Lutheran you come out of his being Stingley. It doesn't mean I'm backslidden, cowardly and liberally doesn't mean your nonbiblical rebel fanatic and not what he means is we both thought God and we came up with different places and on this issue. The Bible allows that liberty and the important point is for us to understand that we got administered grace to each other in the spirit we gotta be able to say well I don't see it exactly the way you do. But you know what this is an area where there is liberty and and and I respect your your the difference and I'm not going to judge her spirituality and brand you with anything because you came out on a different place than my chemo. Romans 14 54 who are you to judge somebody else to serve to his own master he stands or falls.

And he will stand for the Lord has accepted him and the Lord will seek to now that is the model of the Bible for us in this issue were God grants liberty.

God says you've got to grant liberty to your Christian brothers and sisters and if you have a sincere conviction wonderful. You pursuant is on the Lord. But if they have a sincere conviction you let them pursuant is on the Lord and you guys will judge each other. Don't print each other just embraced one. That's the position of the Bible on this and they said so long you know enclosing here so just tell us you know, our Lucy once what's really your opinion to judge Ward Morse situation will content can't be honest with you. Okay here's my opinion, Judge Roy Moore is probably going be the next governor Alabama A&M for Laura, thanks for talking to us today about well really a very hot and relevant topic in our world. We as followers of Christ listen to Christian radio.

We watch Christian television we hear people talking in the media and everybody's throwing all kinds of stuff that make us feel we ought to be on one side we ought to be on the other side and and it's very confusing and I pray that today would bring some clarity to all of that for all of us in a more free us from feeling like there's only 1 Right Way to see this, particularly if you file it. If we don't feel that when our heart teach us Lord that weather were Luther whether there were Calvin. The weather was Stingley as long as we sought you and that's our conviction that's okay and we would take a moment right now to pray for the United States to pray for our government want to pray for President Bush and his advisors want to pray for our Congress want to pray Lord for the government in Washington, and local governments around America that indeed we would see a movement back to a biblical position on issues and father we pray that we could be a small part of that by making an impact on this city that is so significant that the policymakers for America in this city would begin to turn this nation because they've come into contact and they've made a decision for Jesus Christ and we are pardoned. So, God help us do our job in the city and pray. We pray that the ramifications would affect all of America for the good and the godliness of this nation and we pray this in Jesus name, amen

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