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April 19, 2021 8:00 am
Everyone knows that the topics of faith and politics make forward complicated and potentially controversial conversation. Scripture says that as Christians we are to be in the world but not of it.
But how do we balance our allegiance to earthly authorities with obedience to our heavenly father tuning and find out how Jesus answers that question on this week's broadcast of the Bible study our welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.
Let's listen in together will find out how Jesus responds to those with malicious intent to trick and frame him for treason. Well, the die is cast. Jesus made his claims perfectly clear to the people of Jerusalem, particularly to the religious leaders had rejected his claims and now they were seeking for a way to kill them do that out right. Of course I would be murder. So they did while authorities often delay seeking for a way to trap him.
Perhaps I could get him to say something that could be regarded as blasphemy because blasphemy was a capital offense. This is what's behind the three attempts to trap them refines and Matthew 22 I came to him with a question about taxes is a right to pay taxes to Caesar or not. I have a question about the resurrection. How can any rational person believe in anything like a physical resurrection is an absurd and then finally I had a question about the law. What is the greatest of all the commandments interesting thing about Jesus response in each of these areas was that he did merely answer their question is all he was concerned about was getting off the hook. What was obviously trick in an attempt to trap him on the contrary is the occasion to answer the questions in such a way that he laid down profound thinking that is guided lay reflections on Christian people in these areas down through the ages of church history when the question was asked about taxes.
Jesus established the legitimacy of the state has the right to collect taxes, but at the same time he also talked about the limitations of the states authority. So in the very short space of every terse but brilliant reply when he was answering the question about the resurrection. He didn't merely teach that there was a resurrection he went on to show the problem that they were having with it had to do with their attitude of the Scriptures and understand the Scriptures, and they didn't understand the power of God working in them. And so Jesus taught a great deal about the Bible and then finally when the question was asking about the greatest of all the commandments, Jesus gave what has been recognized ever since is a brilliant summary of the law, which is on the one hand, summary of our obligations to God and to our all human beings but also a condemnation of us in our sin because none of us even come close to obeying it looks like is one of the time, personally, have this question about taxes. This was the result of an unholy alliance between the Pharisees and the Herodian's Pharisees were the conservatives submit our day.
We would probably call them evangelicals of the fundamentalists. The Herodian's were a political party they got their name from Herod and they existed because it was their concern to support the Herodian dynasty. Herod, for his part was propped up by Rome so the Herodian's were very pro-Rome and Pharisees obviously less so under normal circumstances, the Pharisees and the Herodian's would never have gotten together or anything on this occasion. So great was their hatred of Jesus in their fear of them as well. They got together with this trick question about taxes.
Maybe they were presenting it as a contrast between their two points of view. The Herodian's obviously would support the tax question.
Perhaps the Pharisees, at least in some cases were against it. I asked the question, is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not is easy to understand how that was a trick because of Jesus answered it in the affirmative, saying yes course you have to pay taxes, then he would lose favor with the people because paying taxes is always unpopular. But above all your paying taxes to occupying foreign government so they could say to the people in all this talk about religion than the law on mercy and goodness of all of that.
Actually he's just a lackey for the Roman government the other hand, if he said no don't pay taxes catch it that way to. And indeed, that having more trouble than because I go to the Roman authorities and say luck you got an insurrectionist on your hand or somebody who pretends to be just a rabbi and a religious figure, but is actually trying to stir up trouble get arrested the story so well-known we hardly need to tell it. Jesus simply asked him for calling. They produce the T held it out to them that his picture is that his inscription on the answer, of course, was Caesar's so he said to Caesar what is Caesar's doing that he was laying down the principle that has to do with legitimate authority of a secular government. It's very thing that the apostle Paul picked up on the 13th chapter of Romans when he said give everyone what you owe them if you owe taxes, pay taxes, Peter is part picked it up.
If I did in his first letter, submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men, whether the king is the supreme authority, or to governors who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right important thing your saving especially for Christian people down through the ages always been people who think that way you deny the authority of the secular power at all, but so far that's fairly obvious that profound part comes in and what Jesus did. I think although it doesn't say explicitly that he must've flip the coin over because of the other side it would have been the picture of a Roman god or goddess in continued his staying, having said give to Caesar what is Caesar's, he continued, but the God things that are God. Caesar tells you to worship Roman god or goddess, you mustn't obey Caesar because the authority of the state doesn't extend that far. That was very profound.
I'm often pointed out the Jesus answer to the question about taxes provides us with four options which it's not difficult to find as you look at how this is unfolded in history. On the one hand, would God and Caesar together. There is the option God alone and we deny they authority of Caesar altogether or we might say Caesar alone and by the authority of God altogether or we might say God I am Caesar, but Caesar in the dominant position that we might say God and Caesar. But with God in the dominant position distinctness through first of all, you have the option God alone. Caesar has no authority at all. I call that option monasticism because it was the kind of thinking that led to the monastic movement in the early days of the church, the Roman state governments in various areas of the world were so corrupt that Christian people, some of them said the only way you can actually live a holy life is to escape from it and so they moved out into the desert and first establish communities themselves and then afterwards I grew up in two monastic communities. The first examples of that when the anchor rights.
Now some justification for that you can say that in periods of history.
Sometimes things have been so bad, that is the only way people can survive say something like that today.
And Christians who set up Christian schools because it's the best option that I have enough declining secular environment like our own. And yet that's not the best option.
Certainly not what is held out before us as Christian people. We've had times in history when Christian people that withdrawn and all sorts of ways that separated themselves from the world they had refused to participate at all and the surrounding culture. They don't vote in elections they have only Christian friends and in some cases, I only work for the Christian company that not what Jesus was talking about when he says I've left you in the world beyond the world, but you are to be in the world's Christians, but that's the first option second option is the inverse society Caesar alone, and the authority of God denied. In other words, we live in a secular environment is the world's culture. We have to put any thought of God out of the picture. As long as were here trying to function as what they Jewish leaders actually did at the time of Christ. Trial very strange thing they would've done it. Of course they were the great heirs of the Old Testament religion with the knowledge of the true God in Scripture and yet when the challenge came at the time of the trial.
They said the pilot we have no king but Caesar course. Having rejected the true King.
That's what they got. They got Caesar, and when they rebelled against Caesar.
Some years later Roman government came in and destroyed the city's most dangerous of the four options Caesar. Along with the authority of God denied because we need to check on Caesar and that we push God out of the picture. Ultimately we have no check. We recognize that in the American government because we have developed system of government is unique in the history of governments, which we call a system of checks and balances. In other words, we set up three branches of government. We have the executive branch legislative branch of the judicial branch and each one has certain powers that are intended to balance often control the others president can appoint the Supreme Court justices, for example. But if the president gets out of line. The Congress can initiate impeachment proceedings.
Congress can advance laws, but the Supreme Court can declare them unconstitutional. The president can launch programs and Congress passed the fundamental law of the three branches of government. The one that we protect the most is the Supreme Court. Out of respect for our laws. We want to say we claim to be a nation governed by laws, not by man, but the court can initiate legislation passed on legislation would come from the Congress.
In any case, the president has the power to appoint the justices. Now we call that a system of checks and balances in the habit because we recognize the people in positions of power are not trustworthy. Power tends to corrupt, and certainly happens in our government as well is in any other government. But if that is true on the human level. How much more true is that on the cosmic level human rulers rebel against God. Second song talks about it.
So if we turn our backs on God. We are at the mercy of our governors. The third option is the authority of God I am Caesar, but was Caesar in the dominant position now I call the first of these four options on the loan with the authority of Caesar denied monasticism. The second Caesar alone with the authority of God denied secularism. What is this option on and Caesar. Caesar in the dominant position that's the position of tolerance because of God is in the position of all these in the picture at all. Obviously has to be dominant by definition. God is supreme so we make Caesar supreme rather than God. The only reason for would be because were afraid of Caesar more than were afraid of God, that's exactly what pilot did the time of the trial of Christ he knew he was innocent as a matter fact he pronounced that he was innocent three times why did he give in that because the leaders of the people came and threatened them with reports of a negative nature to Caesar was that if you let this man go.
You're no friend of Caesar's was a veiled threat. The words of you know, crucify this man we want to get rid of her to go to Caesar and tell them that you're supporting insurrectionist you get in trouble and pilot wanted to be a friend of Caesar more than anything else. So we went against conscience and justice and had Jesus Christ crucified. The ironic thing of course is that he failed to secure Caesar's friendship. Anyway, little while later he was deposed from his office and was banished to France where he died. Which brings us to the fourth officer in the authority of God and Caesar. But with God in the dominant position on that last option the only valid one because we do have Caesar. We certainly have God and God by definition has to be supreme. This is the position that Jesus was articulating when he said to the Pharisees and Herodian's Caesar what is Caesar's lot to God what is God's. That means for Christians as a Christian should be the very best of citizens one hand, we should obey the state supported in all areas of its legitimate authority, we should pay our taxes, we should obey the speed limits should vote in elections, we should support worthy civic endeavors. We should speak well of our rulers, we should pray for them on. Calvin expressed that say we should do that even if our rulers are unaware that he said this, we are not only subject to the authority of princes who perform their office toward us up rightly and faithfully as they ought also to the authority of all who by whatever means of got control of affairs, even though they perform not a wit of the princes office is another way in which Christian should be the best of citizens. That is, we should oppose the states verbally by acts of noncompliance whenever the government strays from its legitimate God-given functions or violates the moral law of God were to do this chiefly by words because the power of the sword as physical violence has been committed to the state, not to the church.
However, we must resist and disobey the state where necessary. If the state forbids us to evangelize we have to evangelize because that's a command of the Lord Jesus Christ, the state violates the moral law of God and requires us to do the same.
We have to rebel against great changes, and governments because Christian people up and willing to stand up against immoral actions and if necessary pay the price so much what Jesus taught us in response to the first of these three trick questions when there's a second wellness was put to Jesus by the Sadducees, they were the theological liberals of the day and the significance of their question is that they didn't believe in the resurrection backdate with the materialists of their time. I didn't believe in anything spiritual. Acts 23 eight reports that they believed neither in the resurrection, nor angels, nor spirits are also great rationalists words a trusted reason, rather than Revelation. Although they tips their half to the early books of the Old Testament. Really they trusted their own ability to reason things out the way most people are today. So they came to Jesus with this hypothetical situation in the law. There was a provision by which property was kept in the family is much as possible. Very important principle of Jewish law, and so if a man died, having been married, but without an error rather than have the property passed to another family was a provision by which his widow would marry his brother brother was available and willing in and would raise up an heir to the dead brother solely property would stay in that particular line how the Sadducees came to Jesus with the question build on that legal maximum I said here's a case we had woman whose husband died, she married the brother he died. The brother's brother. He died there were seven of them altogether. In the end, and that any children of all in the K-1 marriage being more valid than another, and then finally, last of all the woman died not tell us of the resurrection whose wife will she be because they were all married to her ha ha they thought that silly thing. First of all, are undoubtedly never was a case like that, they were just making it up for the more they didn't understand anything about the nature of the resurrection. That's the way Jesus handled it. He replied by saying you don't know either the Scriptures of the power of God and he said look to you. Remember this verse course they did every Jew understood this verse is when God appeared to Moses at the burning bush Exodus 36 what did God say God said I am the God of your father the God of Abraham, God of Isaac and the God of Jacob and the words God was saying to Moses, I am the God of the patriarchs using the present tense.
All of those patriarchs of died by the time of Moses. God didn't say I was the God of Abraham, when he was living was the God of Isaac when he was living that I am Abraham's glioma. Isaac Scott M. Jacobs God. So Jesus was teaching the truth of the resurrection after life on the basis of the tense of the single Hebrew verb that says an awful lot about the Bible you say only that is authoritative because Jesus always appeal to the Bible and questions like this, but also that it's an errant down even to the tense of the verb's as he set on another occasion, John Tittle law will pass and everything is fulfilled is worth thinking about, because we go back even today to teachings like that from the lips of our Lord for our view of the Bible's authority. We don't establish authority of the Bible on rationalistic grounds. We believe it because Jesus believed it and he's our authority in the top it was from God. It was absolutely reliable. It was authority in all matters in the history of the Christian church really only have been three views about the Scriptures side of the Bible is the word of God is authoritative and infallible because it's from God or secondly Bible. Essentially the words of human beings and their/not necessarily authoritative but certainly not binding upon anyone or third.
The Bible is both the words of God in the words of man in the sense that somehow their mingled the first he was the classic evangelical view of the church is what everybody believed in the relatively modern times.
Even the heretics believed heretics about things in the Bible that they misread. So the church had to get together and hold councils work through claims and answer them scripturally and sometimes I heretics got so rigorous in their objections that they weeded out parts of the Bible and said let's not really the Bible Bible only department that has and that the doctrines that I agree with but in theory they all believe that the Bible was the word of God. When we say the classic evangelical view of the churches of the Bible is the word of God. We don't mean to say by that that it is not also at the same time, the words of man in the sense the God work through man as writers to record what he wanted to be written down. We acknowledge that we deny that sometimes Christians are fallen into the idea that what we have in the Bible is something that God is dictated and if that's the case well and we had difficulty explaining how you have different styles of the Bible. Obviously, these writers are writing according to their own knowledge according to their experience in style and so forth. But evangelical view is that God oversaw all of that guided in such a way that was written down, excuse word, though it's expressed in human words and as a result of that, it can be absolutely trusted on the second day of the Bible is not really the word of God is rather the words of men about God's view of liberalism and through a parallel with a somewhat lesser extent the view of the orthodoxy liberalism just that the Bible is a human book that's all there is to it is a lot of truth in it. We can be helped by hand and so forth but is simply human. The orthodoxy said the same thing but with a somewhat fuzzy qualification. I said God does reveal himself, but he doesn't nonverbally revealed himself to the holy writers but what they have written down our their own words which is in some sense a response to what God is revealed in this nonverbal flash.
Essentially we have there is that words of mere man. The third view is that it combines the two not in the sense that I explained a moment ago God guided the minds and hearts of the human writers of the what they wrote was exactly what God intended to be written, but rather this kind of you people of sativa in our own lifetime.
And sadly, even in some evangelical seminaries. What we have in the Bible is a combination of God's words and man's words, some things are from God or absolutely true. They can be trusted, but other things are obviously and only from man. Therefore they can't be trusted. We have to weeded out picking what's good wheat from the chaff. Problem with that of course is who's going to do that and we know two answers one is you do-it-yourself the basis of your own subjective impressions and you know your own heart you know that doesn't work because you always pick what you prefer. Leave the rest out or leave it up to the scholars to tell us what's from God and weed out what's from man, and in that particular area. I trust the scholars even less when I do the subjective feelings of the people of God.
Scholars have their biases as well. It doesn't work valid answer truth is that God has given us his word is authoritative because God is given its Sadducees Adonis fallen to the air, thinking of it as mere human words. Therefore any doctor like the resurrection is foolish once the second of these three trick questions. The third seems to of been more serious first or were really silly. Anybody knew the Bible even the Pharisees should've been able answer the first two, but the last really seems to be serious and we would treat it as an honest question of it work for the fact that Matthew ends the words one of them, an expert in the law, tested, and with this question is after the Sadducees had been bested by juices.
The Pharisees seem to have gotten together again held a little conference and said look, let's go back and ask him something about the law what they were going to ask. It was this teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law was hard to guess what they had in mind because as I say that's an honest question. They had been debating it themselves as matter fact, although not at this time, but somewhat later in the history of this kind of discussion.
In Judaism they had distinguished 613 separate Commandments in the Old Testament Scriptures 248 of these were positive and 365 were negative. That's what they were doing ranking them was a legitimate question which are most important, subordinate, and so on. That's the kind of thing they were asking, but apparently they weren't asking. And honestly, all we can think is that they were hoping to catch up on something that would appear unorthodox they could accuse him and say well it's a false teacher is really not upholding the law of God.
Now again, we know Jesus answered, it was brilliant and directs and with all the insight that only God himself would have the one who'd given the law. Jesus said without any hesitation at all. This is the first and greatest of all the commandments love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, all your mind and ask them about the second buddies and I give you the second one to our rabbit and the second one is this love your neighbor as yourself. On the first of those was a quotation of Deuteronomy 65.
The second was a quotation from Leviticus 1918 interesting thing is that it seems to have produced a favorable reaction of the lawyer would ask it because Mark records that he said you are right again.
According to Mark's account of the same incident. Jesus replied by telling them you're not far from the kingdom of God.
While not far but it wasn't there yet. Pharisees and Sadducees of Herodian's. The others were behind this question were not even close. And as a matter fact they were heading in the opposite direction as quickly as they were able see Jesus said you want to know what God requires success of the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind all your soul all your strength, your neighbor as yourself. The point of it all is that we do none of the above. We certainly do not love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. What we actually love us ourselves but we love ourselves in a perverted way, which means we even hate ourselves.
John Gerstner spoke at one of our reformed theology conferences some years ago and he said God tells us to love him. First of all, our neighbor as ourselves and what we actually do in our sinful state is take God we would kill them if we could. We murder our neighbors when we can and we commit spiritual suicide every day of our lives. Here Jesus said love the Lord your God with all your heart, and he was gone. He was standing right in front of them what was going on inside was that surging cauldron of hatred which eventually led to his crucifixion. You need to look into your heart and say what is my attitude toward Lord God Almighty you be surprised if you can say well I love him greatly. When I are sinners and sinners. Sin is a barrier between ourselves and God and what it means is because were sinners really blessed God does a supernatural work in our hearts ringing love out of hate, hate him and others because we always put ourselves first ourselves. Ultimately, because what we do in our sinful state really means her own condemnation. What we need is a work of grace is an atonement we need is a Savior we need is the Holy Spirit, open our hearts to the God of all mercy that we might find mercy were alone.
It can be found that is in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross on our behalf. These men were doing everything they could think of that will eliminate the Lord Jesus Christ. From their lives question for you is are you doing that would be far wiser to learn from Jesus and commit yourself to as a Savior and the Lord of your life much brighter father. We do thank you for this teaching of our Lord so simple and yet so profound dealing with all these weighty questions. Above all question of our relationship to you.
The question of love and contagion matters spiritual brother. You are the source of love and if we are to learn to love you in Jesus Christ our Savior. It must be because you teach us what that means and created in our hearts, we ask you to do that soon.
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