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The Christian Perspective on Government #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
August 30, 2023 12:00 am

The Christian Perspective on Government #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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August 30, 2023 12:00 am

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Submission in the midst of a hostile world is to be a defining mark of the way that we respond to the authorities that are over us. Paul tells Titus, you tell those Christians, I'm putting you under apostolic admonition to tell Christians that this is the way they are to live. Not many people are happy with government lately.

There are a lot of grievances voiced out there. But as Pastor Don Green will remind you on this edition of the Truth Pulpit, the Bible calls us to submit to the authorities he has placed over us. Hello, I'm Bill Wright. We're continuing our series, Titus, God's Glorious Plan of Grace. And today you'll hear part one of a message titled, The Christian Perspective on Government.

Don, what's ahead of us? You know, Bill, one of the things that I love about God's Word is the way that it anticipates the reality of daily life. God knew that government was going to play a strategic part in our lives. We feel it when we see a cop on the road who's checking the speed of our driving. We feel it when we pay taxes.

We see it in other ways played out as well. What's wonderfully encouraging to us as Christian is not only that God is sovereign over rulers and sovereign over whom he raises up, but he's also giving us clear, practical instruction in his Word into how we can live peaceably and as a godly Christian under the rule of government. Today's going to be a wonderful lesson for us as we study God's Word on the Truth Pulpit.

Have your Bible handy as we join Don Green right now. I invite you to turn to Titus chapter 3 as we start this week and next to consider the first two verses that are given for us. One of the things that I love about verse-by-verse preaching is that you simply deal with the text as it comes, and you just trust the Lord that this is the passage that he has for us at any given time. It's not driven by the whims of the preacher.

It's not driven by his personal preferences. We just take the text systematically and let God work in our lives through his Word that way. And that's what we've come to here in Titus chapter 3 in the first two verses this morning.

Look at them with me as I read them to begin our message. The apostle Paul says, writing under the inspiration of the Spirit to Titus, remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. You have in those two verses an overview of how Scripture tells us to live in the midst of an unsaved and a pagan world, an unbelieving world. In verse 1, it says how to respond to the government authorities that have authority over us. And in verse 2, you see more broadly speaking how it is that we are to conduct ourselves as we live in a fallen and a lost world that is hostile and antagonistic to the very things that we hold most dear in life. Now, what's fascinating to me is that Paul launches into the reality of living in a fallen, ungodly world and tells us this is what the implications of your redemption are.

This is the implications. This is what you are to draw out of the fact that you are a believer in Christ in a fallen world. Here's what you are to do. Paul is speaking to Titus in the second person singular, speaking to Titus in these two verses saying, Titus, here is what you are to be teaching them and reminding them of in the midst of these considerations of our great redemption.

What does he do? Where does he go from that place of the theological heights? What does he look out and command us to consider? This is what the Bible has for us. It's what God has for us. Paul tells Titus in no uncertain terms, he says, remind the Christians to submit to their rulers and to their authorities.

Submission, submission in the midst of a hostile world is to be a defining mark of the way that we respond to the authorities that are over us. This couldn't be any clearer, not only in this passage, but in what we're going to see later on. Paul tells Titus, you tell those Christians, I'm putting you under apostolic admonition to tell Christians that this is the way they are to live.

The verb tense here where it says remind them, it's a verb tense that indicates that this instruction was to be a regular part of Titus' teaching. It's to be a regular part of instruction in the Christian church to remind us of exactly this point. And so, if it's supposed to be a regular part, and this is something that we haven't addressed here from the Pulpit of Truth community yet, our church is still young, then there needs to be a breadth to this instruction, not a hurried passing reference to it. This is something that God intends to be continually, repeatedly brought to our minds. And so, we will honor that today and next week. Now, with that said, Paul says remind them to be subject to rulers.

Think with me here for just a moment. If Paul says remind them, that means that they had received prior instruction on this very point. They had been taught this, and now, at a later point, Paul comes back to Titus and says, I want you to remind them, call to their mind the things that they have been instructed about already.

And so, there's this reminding aspect. There is this recovery of things that have previously been taught that is the context of this command. Now, for those of us here today in the 21st century, we don't have that prior oral instruction that they had 2,000 years ago to look at.

That context isn't given here. But we do have scripture to inform our context. We do have the totality of the teaching of the Word of God to give us a perspective on why it is that we should be subject to rulers and to authorities and to be obedient as a defining mark of the way that we walk under the authority of civil leaders. And so, we need scripture to help us this morning. Beloved, you and I both need scripture to help us overcome our political prejudices so that we can respond to the Word of God in a proper way.

Let me remind you. Go back to verse 14 because this context is so very important. Look at verse 14 with me. Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed and to purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good deeds. Here in Titus 3, we are getting an aspect of what Christ purchased us to do, what he purchased us to be. This is part of being a person that belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ. We do not have the liberty to separate this instruction out as something that we find unacceptable. We take all of the scripture as a whole cloth and we say, put all of this robe of Christian character and Christian conduct over me, Lord.

I want to be the man, the woman, the boy, the girl that you spilled your blood in order to make me be. We must view everything in light of the cross. We must view even our response to civil authority in light of the cross, in light of the character and power of God, in light of what scripture says for us to be. And beloved, I say this entirely constructively, sympathetically, and with the desire that God would accomplish the fullness of the work that he intends in your soul. God did not save us to be angry people about the government around us.

He did not save us so that we would be fearful about what the future holds. We must take that to heart and find our way out of the trap that secular media sets for us. We've got to get out of that trap and examine what the Bible says about the Christian perspective on government. And see, we're going to start here with this basic premise. You and I cannot begin to think properly about the people who have civil authority over us unless we biblically understand how they got there.

How is it? How is it that these men and women have authority over our lives? How is it that they have authority to set laws and to regulate things in a way that impact our personal life? Well, you must think beyond the political process that is visible to us. We must think beyond the layers of government and things that we learned in government civics classes over the years and things like that. We as Christians have the blessed privilege and the important responsibility to look beyond that to see what Scripture says about the nature of civil authority and how it is that they got there.

Because if you are mindful of how they got there biblically speaking, it will totally transform your perspective on the way that you want to respond to them. So we're going to break this down in two steps here this morning. How has it ever been throughout the course of time that anyone had authority over other people? Well, point number one here this morning if you're taking notes.

You must start from this premise. God rules over rulers. God rules over rulers. Jesus Christ is the King of Kings. He is the King over every other king. He is the Lord over every other Lord.

Small L there at the end. And so we have to start at this biblical principle that is taught is a thread throughout all of... a prominent thread throughout all of Scripture. God rules over earthly rulers.

What does the Bible say about how human authorities got into the position that they have? That's all we care about right now. Because that's going to be the defining perspective from which we respond. Now, here's something that I like to do.

Don't get to do it as often as I would like. But I like to talk about the way that we think. We need to know how to think. We need to know how to approach an issue so that we will come to the right conclusion. Here in this issue.

Here in this issue. And in any manner of thinking, really. You start from the broadest, biggest biblical principles.

The most overarching ones. And then you establish that. And then you establish a framework and then you work into progressively smaller principles that all flow from that one great principle. And it drives you to conclusions that are unavoidable. If we simply started about trying to decide whether we like this law or that, we're going to go badly astray.

Because your desires and your thinking about that particular issue or that particular leader is going to define the way that you want to respond. You have to step away from all of that, beloved. And think about biblical principles that establish the context through which you interpret everything else. So, that's what we're going to try to do here.

Start broad, start working our way in. So that we understand the reason that we honor this command from Titus 3. God rules over rulers. I'm going to give you three sub-points here to shape our thinking so that we can respond to God's word properly here. God rules over rulers. Broadest principle of all is the sub-point of that.

Point number 1.1. God is sovereign over all. God rules over everything. Look at Psalm 103, verse 19. The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his sovereignty rules over all.

And so we respond to that in verse 20. Bless the Lord, you as angels, mighty in strength, who perform his word, obeying the voice of his word. Bless the Lord, all you hosts, you who serve him, doing his will. Bless the Lord, all you works of his, in all places of his dominion. And everywhere is the realm of his dominion, because his sovereignty rules over all.

Bless the Lord, O my soul. And so, when we say that God rules over rulers, we're simply making an application of the fact that God rules over everything, without exception, that the holy, righteous, gracious God of the Bible is the God who is sovereign over all. And nothing happens outside of the will that he intended. Nothing happens outside of what he prescribed the course of human history to be like. And his sovereignty is so great, it is so vast, it is so unlimited, that it even transcends the fact that men disobey his moral commands. He covers it all.

He directs it all. Joseph said in Genesis 50-20, you meant it for evil against me, but God meant it for good. And so we must have, if we are going to be Christians at all, with a biblical mindset at all, we must have this vast respect, this vast deference, that without qualification affirms that God is over all.

He's sovereign over everything. Turn to the book of Ephesians in the New Testament. Ephesians chapter 1.

And don't let the little three-letter words escape your attention. We must view the world from the perspective of Scripture, not according to the limited slice that we see in time and space of our own lives. Look at verse 11. Paul says, we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to his purpose, who, describing this great God of the Bible according to his purpose, who, who what?

What does he do? He works all things after the counsel of his will. God is working through everything that happens. He is working in everything that happens. He says, I know the end from the beginning. And the way that he can know the end from the beginning is because he's directing everything in between to accomplish his purposes. Beloved, we must have an exalted view of the sovereignty of God if we're going to begin to understand how we should live life here in this world. So that's the broadest perspective. God is sovereign over all. Well, okay, that means that we can probably make some personal, some applications of that to what we see going on around us.

We can. Scripture teaches us, secondly, that God is sovereign over the rise of leaders. God is sovereign over all. Secondly, God is sovereign over the rise of leaders.

Of course he is. If he's sovereign over all, then he's going to be sovereign under a smaller domain about who has authority in human government. Look at the book of Daniel chapter 2.

It could not be more clear. Daniel in the Old Testament just after the book of Ezekiel. We saw that the psalmist responded to the statement of the sovereignty of God over all. Bless the Lord. This is what the sovereignty of God does. It drives you to worship. It drives you to honor him. It drives you to fear him. Because when we contemplate the sovereignty of God, we're mindful of the fact that we're in the presence of a God who has power that transcends the wildest things that our imagination could ever design.

Even as we meet in this particular facility, we remember that week by week. We remember that he created the worlds out of nothing by the power of his spoken word. That's power. That's sovereignty.

That's absolute control. We honor that. We remember that in the way that we respond to life. And so we say God is sovereign over the rise of leaders. Verse 20 of Daniel chapter 2. Daniel said, Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to him. It is he who changes the times and the epics. He removes kings and he establishes kings. He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding.

There it is, beloved. He removes kings and he establishes them. He may not always put into power the people that we would personally choose, but to the Christian, that is irrelevant.

That doesn't matter because it is a subset of the greater reality that God is over all. Because he is sovereign, because the universe belongs to him, the world is his and all that it contains, it is his prerogative to establish in authority those that he chooses to put there. And whether it's by genealogical succession in some countries, whether it's by democratic elections in other places of the world, God is using those various means to establish precisely the authority that he wants over a given realm at a given time. He establishes rulers.

He removes kings and he establishes kings. Now, beloved, step back with me. I've preached in places where there was an open baptistry right behind the pulpit, and so I always had to be careful, and I still think of it from time to time. Step back with me.

I could only step back a little bit, and then, you know, disaster was just inches away. So I like to just physically step back, give us a little bit of a breather so that we're able to process what God's Word is saying to us. God is sovereign over all. He's in control.

He determines what happens. God is sovereign over the rise of human leaders. Whatever level of authority you want to think about, the highest level, the most local municipal level, that means something for us as we think about it.

As we look at the world around us, as we look at policies and politics and all of that, we must have this crucial thought in our mind. No one has obtained a position of human authority anywhere in the universe during the course of history, nor will they ever. No one has obtained a position of power apart from the guiding hand of the God of the Bible.

And once they get there, it brings us to a third point. God is sovereign over the hearts of leaders. Scripture is so clear on this. God is sovereign over the hearts of leaders. And notice what we're shaping up here.

Notice the way the context informs us. God is sovereign over all. God is sovereign over the rise of leaders.

Once they get there, once God establishes them, He doesn't surrender His authority. He doesn't surrender His dominion over them. Their hearts belong to Him, and He is able to direct them according to what He wants. Look at Proverbs chapter 21. When I say their hearts belong to Him, I'm not talking about in the sense that the hearts of Christians belong to Him out of loyalty and redemption.

They belong to Him in the sense that He is sovereign over them. He directs their hearts to accomplish His purposes. Proverbs chapter 21, verse 1.

Turn there with me. Proverbs 21, verse 1. The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord. He turns it wherever he wishes.

You turn on a faucet, you put your hand under it, you direct the water one way, you put your hand the other direction, it sends it the other way. That is exactly like the way that God directs the hearts of human leaders to achieve His purposes. They cannot operate outside of His sovereign work in their situation.

Now, this has been a very modest survey. Without much detail, I understand that. But God is sovereign over all. He's sovereign over the rise of human leaders.

He's sovereign over the direction of their hearts even. Sometimes, as with Pharaoh in the book of Exodus, He allows them to pursue a course of sin for the purpose of displaying His greater glory down the road. He lets hardened leaders oppose Him, only so that as they rise to the greatness of power, ultimately He displays His even greater power when He brings them down. We simply have to think about the course of world events from this great perspective.

God allows sin to go on for a time because He's going to achieve a greater purpose that will be displayed yet to come. He allows rulers who are unrighteous to have their position, sometimes simply because He's going to achieve greater things down the road. The end of history will show conclusively that at the final analysis, God reigned over all of it.

We get to deal in time with some of the ups and downs, the vicissitudes of that. But don't ever doubt, don't ever question that the God of the Bible, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, is sovereign over all of it. God rules over rulers, is sovereign over all, including the hearts of those in authority. Even ungodly rulers are part of His plan. Pastor Don Green has reminded us to be of good cheer.

Things will not spiral ultimately out of control. Well, next time Don will conclude the Christian perspective on government. So be sure to join us then here on The Truth Pulpit. And we do invite you to visit our website at truthpulpit.com, where you can download podcasts or find out how to receive CD copies of Don's radio messages for your personal study library. And then you'll also find the link Follow Don's Pulpit. That'll take you to Don's full-length weekly sermons that aren't subject to the time editing we need for radio broadcasts. And if you happen to be in the Cincinnati area, check out the service times for Truth Community Church, which is also on our website. We'd love to welcome you. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time for more from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-30 04:52:19 / 2023-08-30 05:01:16 / 9

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