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Christian Citizenship

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
March 25, 2019 11:57 am

Christian Citizenship

The Verdict / John Munro

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March 25, 2019 11:57 am

Dr. John H. Munro March 24, 2019 Romans 13:1-7

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I think you'll agree with me that all of us value our individuality. We enjoy our freedoms that we enjoy our choices and why much of that is very good. The flip side of it is that most of us don't like being told what to do. We don't like to be under authority. We like to be our own boss to make your own rules to do our own thing and we often feel as we go through life that we know better.

We know better than their parents. Certainly, when, where the dangers worked with on that thing we know better than our boss students think they know better.

As teachers if you're part of a housing Association.

You know you know better than them was the color of dog you can paint I we think we know better than the police, the IRS and certainly we know better than Congress and the president or the Scripture say on this. In the New Testament that are that are at least four authority structures supremely and fundamentally, we must submit to the authority and the rule of Jesus Christ. That's really what it means to be a Christian.

He is, after all, sovereign Lord overall and as we follow Jesus. We are to obey him totally, supremely and instantly and that is difficult for us is in the that of course flows from committing our life to Jesus Christ.

As we saw few few weeks ago. In Romans chapter 12 anomic boxes that Paul is making a tremendous challenge challenge that we dedicate all of our lives to Christ that we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, not just part of our existence not just Sunday as it were, not just what we prefer to hand over to God, not just the crisis of our life, but that all of life, every going mention of our existence is laid at the feet of Jesus Christ. After all, is not only Jesus, which makes Sager is the Lord Jesus. Nothing is good that it affected him as the Lord Jesus. That means he is Lord he is master of all I'm not my own. Paul says you been bought with a price.

So I asked if you surrendered everything to Jesus Christ like me. I think you like.

Do your own thing you like making your own rules, but following Jesus means that you surrender everything to him that. Secondly, there's also an authority in the home and family. We saw that today as I let these couples and dedicating the children that God gives us the family and then the family there is an order is all right and one of the 10 Commandments that is the statement on her. Your father and mother as we drop that sometimes is difficult for us.

We say what we do on the perfect parents and if her parents know were not perfect parents, but Paul writes in the New Testament in Ephesians 6 verse one children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right that requires humility and that is the structure of the home and then of course that is the structure in the church. The church and its leaders and another authority structure in which the Christian lives supremely.

Jesus Christ is the head of the church discharge, church doesn't belong to me. Doesn't belong to the leaders doesn't belong to the congregation belongs to Jesus Christ. He is the head what he says must go your wishes and mine, largely irrelevant is what Christ says in the under Jesus Christ. Through the Bible calls the chief Shepherd, a beautiful description of his care and his love for us. He delegate some of his authority. Day to a group called elders or pastors and Bible says Hebrews 13 verse 17 obey your leaders and submit to them so that leaders in the church must be honored and respected.

The fourth authority structure and one were thinking of this morning is a difficult one for us is that we are to be in submission to the governing authorities use a really yes we are. This is part of presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice to Jesus Christ. This is the will of God for you and it is good that you do that. That is followers of Jesus to be exemplary citizens were not to be rebellious. We are to be exemplary citizens.

This total commitment that Paul apologize. I injured my hand on the pew. There sure who I stood talking about authority structure so I can't help thinking as a lawyer.

Sometimes, and there's a nail in the pew there. Thank you brother for pointing it out.

No been nice if you done that before and so you may have seen me as I was told these babies and some of them in beautiful wife. I had this in my hand to stop my hand bleeding.

So there we are totally irrelevant.

Identify and mentioned that, but it does bother me. Where was I guess. Romans 1301 through seven is the classic passage on our civic responsibilities. We are to live in such a way in a society, irrespective of the government that this is difficult for us because most of us, myself included strong views on governments. But when Paul was writing he was writing to Christians who had a pagan ruler and Emperor called Nero who is not a Christian, far from it. It was a very nice and put in a tall, and so that is the contacts that were going to read. First of all that is going to be the principal regarding our responsibilities. Then Paul is going to give three reasons and then a conclusion we stand with me and read Romans chapter 13 verses one through seven here we have it let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever restricts the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not tattered to good conduct, but to buy. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority then do what is good and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.

Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to provide God's Ron but also for the sake of conscience for because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God attending to this very thing paid to all what is owed to them taxes to whom taxes are owed revenue to revenue resort respect to whom respect is owed, honored, to whom honor is all. Amen. Please be seated about the principal clearly stated submit to the governing authorities. Followers of Jesus are not to be rebels against the authority but to submit to them that if any of you here in a position of authority, whether it is at the local level or state level or national level. This passage explains the responsibilities government officials should observe we're looking at from the point of view of submitting but some of you may be in a position of authority and this tells us what the government should be doing. This is what God expects from human government. We must submit to the government tended your Bibles to first Peter chapter 2 first Peter chapter 2 and that will lead to thoughts. Peter says there first Peter two verse 13 the subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme Arctic governors are sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good for this is the will of God, that by doing good. You should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Incidentally, not only that we can submit but we are to do good, and then a few pages back in Titus Titus chapter 3 verses one and two, Titus three, verse one.

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities that it is again to be a mage and to be ready for every good work.

For this is not just a passive submission but we are to do good verse two to speak evil of no one to hear that speak evil of no one to avoid quarreling to be Gentile, gentle, and to show traffic to say toward all people we saw that a few weeks ago.

As we looked earlier in Romans chapter 12 the life of the Christian then is one of submission. All levels of government that included the submission to the governing authorities will include the president, the governor, the mayor, the legislature, the courts, the police customs the IRS, the state and its official representatives, followers of Jesus are not to break the law.

Remember when I was practicing law.

A man tried to say to me. He was a professed follower of Jesus that as he was a Christian was under God's law, but not on their minds. Law, why was he saying that Willie was a fisherman and there are regulations in Scotland regarding her fish are caught not meant to poach.

There's a certain type of net your 270 years, and that he had caught this beautiful large salmon from the sea as it was going along the sea, getting ready to go up the river and it was a beauty of a of a fish and I said to him you know is that there is a commandment saying though shalt not steal." Shane is a form of theft in the said to me well. He said I he said the only commandment I'm really concerned about is the 11th commandment.

I said my Bible is only 10. He said, as was the 11th commandment is as though shalt not get caught. So that was the philosophy of his life, but that is not the way of the Christian we don't follow the law only when it suits us out if we feel we wouldn't get caught we can break it no this is done as part of our submission to the Lord and that the time Romans is being written. Nero is the governor, as was the case when first Peter was written and after the writing of Rome Romans Nero is going to persecute some of these Christians is going to put skins of wild beasts on them so that their torn by dogs is going to crucify some of them is going to put some of them on fire structures to provide light.

This cruel Emperor Nero.

So this passage written by Paul under the inspiration of the Scripture. The Holy Spirit is an acknowledgment also that submitting to the governing authorities is not always easy. The government may be a K a president or prime minister of a dictator. The government may be Republican or Democrat or independent, we must submit to these authorities as God puts them in a place of authority over us not remember this. I think sometimes as followers of Jesus we were gutters and some Christians got themselves into a tremendous model of the time of the of an election as if the tests and they depended on the particular Parkdale president coming into part that really is quite foolish for the Christian, the government, for that is good and bad doesn't determine how we live our lives as Christians, we are first and foremost in submission to God. Yes, you have your preferences yes I have mine, but whether the government is Republican or Democrat or with any of our Prime Minister Laura King on a dictator as many countries have. We are still to live our lives to the glory of God.

He is my supreme master my life is in his hands on you Gladstone on the hands of the government's on a particular part of a particular individual know why are we to submit to the governing authorities.

Paul gives us. Here are three reasons. First of all, very importantly, God has established human government.

Look at the text, Romans 13 verse one. Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God is appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment that is God's in his sovereign will and the sovereign purposes delegates authority to the human governing authorities listen to the writer in Proverbs Proverbs chapter 8 will be very interesting couple of verses.

Proverbs 815 by me that the Lord King's reign and rumors decree. What is just by me princes real and nobles all who govern justly.

God is in charge again in Daniel. Daniel chapter 4, Daniel four verse 17 towards the end of the verse that the living may know that the most high God the most high rules. The kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sense over it. The lowliest of men who appoints the government is irrelevant. We live in a democracy or supported democracy. We live in a Republic and we the voters determine who gets into power.

Yes, in one way that's true, but behind it all is the sovereign hands of God. We may not always appreciate the quality of the government, whether it's national or state or local but it is ordained by God. Here's the point. Human government is derived from God's authority recalled when Jesus was in front of pilots compiling the same week I got started I can do. I want with you and Jesus says in John 19 verse 11, you would have no authority over me et al. and Lassiter had been given you from above, so the purposes of God. God allows pagan governor about governor pilots to be the very judge who is going to rule over Jesus and Jesus is reminding pilot listen, you have no authority. Apart from that which is given to you from God. We need government and the abuse of power by rulers does not invalidate the institution of government policy. Here in verse two to oppose governments is to oppose God because God appointed government so don't bad my the government done but bad. My those who rule over you, whether it's the here in Charlotte and the city of Charlotte order states are governor or president or politicians don't bad mouth them. Remember years ago when there was a different president. I read I received it and in aspirate letter from a well-known Christian leader. Many of you would recognize his name and then the letter he was very, very unhappy with her than presidents. Not only was very unhappy with them but he made. I thought some outlandish statements against them which were very derogatory and I didn't think reflected the spirit of Christ, and I don't normally write such letters, but I wrote to this man Christian leader, and I challenge the and I said I for one, I didn't appreciate your comments regarding our president who is ordained by God.

And I reminded him of the incident in acts chapter 23 when Paul is in front of the high priest and Paul doesn't realize is the high priest of the time and the faster the high priest as you quite washed wall and then Paul understands who is talking about." From the Old Testament. You shall not speak evil of the ruler of your people. Yes, you can criticize.

Yes, you are entitled to disagree. That's appropriate, but don't bad mouth don't make personal attacks on the person who is there ruling that appointed by God. You shall not speak evil of the ruler of your people is he doing the will of God means abandoning the government. Don't be a rebel to oppose the government verse two can result in judgments God's judgment and human judgment. God has given us the government all is under the sovereign hand of God.

Policy God is in control for your trust on the political party that's foolish or in a particular government, not even on the particular form of government through your trust in God. That's fundamental as a follower of Christ that my destiny my well-being isn't primarily dictated by the government. I am to respect the government and to submit to the government, but my trust my confident is in God, who is in control. So don't panic if your choice of a president or a governor or a politician is not elected, I listen to some Christians and you think it was the end of the world because some particular politician is not elected or is going to be elected and can I say stop, always complaining about the government is a will there's plenty to complain about. I understand that, but notice what Paul says in verse one. There is no authority except from God, it seems to me that some Christians are more passionate about the political party, or by the policy of the government there more passionate about that. In the gospel. What does Paul write about here in Romans is writing to the Romans, yes he gives him instructions here in this classic passage on civic responsibility for the seven verses what this passion is passion is of the whole world will hear the gospel that the world will be turned upside down as they come to know the power of God unto salvation revealed in the gospel.

Pray for the leaders.

Paul tells us in first Timothy chapter 2. So the first reason why we are to submit to the governing authorities is that God has established human government. Secondly, courting diversity, human governments protect and promote the good of society during governments protect talking generally protect and promote the good of society. Verse three for rulers are not a tattered to good conduct, but to bad.

Would you have no fear of the one who is an authority then do what is good and you will receive his approval. The general principle drive the world wars laws are moral and good they condemn their they condemn assault they condemn fast we have this common morality of the laws were written on our hearts. Governments are there to support the common good and if you do good. Your noggin have a problem you good citizen, law-abiding to followers of Christ are not just to submit. We are to do good in our society and wonder here in Charlotte or North Carolina or South Carolina when those in governments. Think of the people of Calvary church did think of us as people who do good is the mayor think that the governor, the county commissioners or politicians law enforcement officers or teachers or professors.

They should know the people of calibrated. They should know authentic followers of Christ as people who are not always criticizing the government, but rather are doing good we do good events for human rulers.

The terror and punish the evil verse four for he is God's servants using for the man is a pagan gas, but he still used by God's either.

The king is in the hands of the Lord, you can turn it when he he he wishes proverb says, for he is God's servant for your good.

But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrong doer government provides all the in society. That's why we have please that's why we have the coaches say they're not perfect. John the make mistakes. I understand that but the government's generally brings wrongdoers to justice and imprisoned criminals is a welder not always just I agree with you but generally speaking, this is what government does and therefore as we saw last week.

We've not to pursue personal vengeance where to leave that to the law enforcement the civil government has the responsibility of punishing evildoers and implementing justice refers to the sort and speak the sword as a symbol of those who break the law and may indicate something that there's capital punishment for murderers, but whether you agree with that or not.

What is true is that God sets up an authority in our society.

We have courts we have law enforcement who are there to protect us and to bring those who violate the law to justice. No notice here in verse four something I think that those in government often forget those in government exist for the good of the people, not the rulers, self-serving rulers, self enriching politicians are contrary to the teaching of Scripture.

Sometimes it seems that an individual gets into power, perhaps in politics and their great goal is to continue in power. That's wrong there. There, if you're in a position of authority somewhere you're there not to self serve not to make money for yourself not to promote yourself.

You are there for the good of society would be wonderful if all those in authority remembered that there is 1/3 reason why you submit to the governing authorities first. God has established human government speculation government protects and promotes the good of society. Third, submit to the governing authorities because of your conscience.

It's a right thing to do. Verse five.

Therefore, one must be in subjection rise to the governing authorities, not only to avoid God's wrath, because I don't want to be imprisoned because I I assault someone no but also for the sake of conscience as followers of Jesus is a very good test but isn't it to submit to authority is to John in my office. I got this really obnoxious boss and is very difficult. I understand.

But that's part of being full of Christ to exhibit humility to be kind to do your work well. I understand their people in authority who are corrupt those corrupt politicians this corrupt police officers. There's there's corrupt judges that is true. We live in a fallen world.

But as far as we can. We are to do good and is a tremendous blocks on the testimony of Christ. When followers of Christ are charged with crimes of fraud and tax evasion, and so on.

No we keep the law, not just because of the fear of detection. Like my friend who said I just trying to be the 11th commandment, I suddenly got caught.

No, that's not the primary reason why we submit to the law, we do it because it's the right thing to do for the sake of conscience easily. Government has nothing to do with my conscience. The government can judge my action but as a follower of Jesus I want have a good conscience before God that when we come into the presence of God. We have this soft conscience before him is the right thing to do now having to bring the principal and then the few reasons Paul never gives a conclusion in verses six and seven and this conclusion is very popular one is in his this is a couple of verses that you wish were not in the Bible but here they are for the same reason you also pay taxes from after-tax time listening for the authorities are ministers of God.

Different words or servants of God are ministers of God attending to this very thing.

Verse seven PHL all what is owed to them taxes to whom taxes are all revenue to whom revenue is old respect to whom respect is old honor to whom honor is owed submit to the government this very practical way to waste policy pay your taxes, and respect and honor those in authority. First of all pay taxes when the taxis in my accountant called me this week about my taxes and of course I wanted to say getting some money or am I paying and that was bad news so that you are your taxes fill in the forms mask you honest would you be embarrassed if your details of your taxes will work were known to your to your fellow Christians is about only paying taxes. Of course not, who enjoys paying taxes generally think of that you pay your taxes because it is a demonstration of your submission to this idea of accepting the challenge of total commitment to Jesus Christ is a very practical and very easy to sit there in the pew and to talk about loving Jesus and say I surrender all this a good thing to do in our worship.

But God is pleased as an act of worship that when I do my taxes that I do them honestly and fairly. As an act of submission to the governing authorities because that is the will of God. There taxes on persons DirectX Asian on her income. There's indirect taxes on goods.

This would involve playing custom duties you go through customs I had Christians boast that they got something past customs giving us right the Clearview goods. A customs is what Paul is saying you think that's foolish. The chances I would get through.

But remember some of your conscience doing it as an act of worship before God and trusting God. God is well well able to take care of you financially if you do things his way, this is a matter of trust. This is a matter of living by faith.

It is essential than that followers of Christ pay lawful taxes on their income on the property. Don't fiddle the IRS followers of Jesus should never ever be involved in tax evasion is a tax avoidance tax evasion avoidance is legal. We are entitled to certain deductions and so on. And that is transferred is no need to pay more taxes and you should pay but evading taxes is fraudulent is covering up putting in deceitful entries. What does Jesus say on this question render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, Caesar says you have to pay your taxes, federal taxes, state taxes, indirect taxes if you want to house a property tax I renewed. I renewed a good maze. The state of the car inspection. The state inspection of the car this week and then I go on the computer and under one more money from me taxes on a car, even Britain, we don't have that and joy. Yes I. As an act of worship. Part of my commitment to Jesus Christ ever think of it like that and then verse then the verse seven respect. Respect.

Respect the president respect the Congress irrespective of your politics. Respect the police respect law enforcement respect government agencies speak respectfully have them and to them a few weeks ago. I'm coming to to church quiet neighborhood. There is no one in sight. It's early in the morning and the I'm driving mind my own business I think and there's that blue light behind metal with that guy come from, and here is whenever police officers and he draws me over. I give my insurance car registration takes it away back and they said do you know why I stopped your big idea and they said you didn't make a complete stop at the stop sign yeah you're right right and them. He said you know he said there's a lot of the children in this area and I did save her mother that tie in the morning but he was very gracious not imagine if I said no you're stopping me officer July many mergers harness in the city. Why don't you go after the real criminals and leave me alone. All I did was I slowed down and there's no cars coming there's no one inside them and where were you hiding up her treatment was going on I didn't I didn't say that number reasons. Number one, and wanted to call the police officer writes he was very professional very Curtis I said yeah I think you're right, I said over. Make sure stop next time and that he said I cannot give you a ticket. I said thank you you're very very gracious and I drove off very easy, isn't it, to start berating a police officer. The man is doing his job. The fact is in that part of road just front running from our house. There are people who speed and presumably people were complaining in the brainless police officer to do his job and I'm thankful to say I spoke with him with respect and thanked him for his grace as well because if you give me a ticket.

I deserved it. Don't belittle those in authority. They sometimes do a difficult job respect for them on their them respect to whom respect is owed on the to honor is all followers of Jesus are to be outstanding citizens in the will of God for you and for me involves submitting to authority using what should our response be to unjust and un-biblical laws and can I say that we can become more and more obvious in our country we were headed. What do we do as followers of Jesus to a law which is contrary to the word of God. Jesus render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's perfect answer is so when Caesar, the government infringes on God's domain followers of Jesus are to obey God rather than Caesar. Example, here are three young man in Babylon and the commanded to worship the image of Nebuchadnezzar and they say no and he says listen unless you bow down, I'm going to throw you in the fiery furnace that will teach you and they say no were still not going to bow down to you, Nebuchadnezzar. I we believe that God will deliver us from the fire department but even if he doesn't wish still not been a good bow down, because that is contrary to the 10 Commandments, and so they don't buy that. And you know the story, God delivers them from the fiery furnace. Daniel himself is commanded not to pray. But Scripture tells us to pray. Daniel continues to pray is thrown into the lines then and God shuts the most of the lines of what is a nurse or doctor to do who is told they must perform an abortion. For example, to say no is it I get 55 with a mind to do as a minister of the gospel that the government tells me that I must officiate at same-sex marriage and that is the law of the land where my going to do and that is a no is about the mind imprisoned him like was done, Richardson might do that but we cannot go against the law of God law. God's law. In other words submission to the governing authorities, whatever that is is not an absolute one, but my submission to the word of God is an absolute one, and we don't submit to the governing authorities when obedience to that authority would result in disobeying God. Our highest allegiance is to Jesus Christ, not to the government not to state not to a king, not the president not to the Supreme Court or anyone else absolute allegiance is first dictating Jesus can give you little lesson in Scottish history is a no-no again wanted. This is very very instructive. It's 1596 you think were the first ones at work dealt with these issues.

Of course not.

In 1596 Andrew Malvo is one of the reformers brilliant scholar educated in Scotland friends and Switzerland and he is standing against the king who is King James VI of Scotland is going to become.

Also, King James I in the union of the kinds in 1603. This is 1596 and King James is a sad thing that the crown and the king is supreme over the church, the Scottish cart and Andrew Malvo, a great scholar very godly man resist the cane and says no you have no authority in the church we take this in America we take this for granted. Don't we could imagine the government coming in telling us what prayerbook to use or what under service or what message demonstrates is unthinkable, but that was true. Notice what K Andrew Malvo says to King James Sir, we will always humbly reverence your Majesty in public. But since we have this occasion to be with your Majesty in private. We must discharge her Judy or else we traders both the Christ and to you therefore serve a diverse times I've told you so. Now again I must tell you that are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland. There is King James, the Lord of the Commonwealth and that is Christ Jesus the King of the church, but you love that Jesus Christ the King of the church whose subject James VI is that the college in the antifreeze kingdom is not occurring nor the Lord not I had.

We will yield to your place and give you all do obedience. But again I say you are not the head of the church cannot give us that eternal life that we seek. But even in this world and you cannot deprive us of that as well so that's brilliant, isn't it. But you wish you could have said that to the king, and of course the king that banished them.

At one point but that is true when Caesar are the king of the government of the president of the Congress of the Supreme Court infringe on God's domain followers of Jesus, we must obey Christ rather than the state rather than the government rather than someone who's above your state does not control the church. Apostles are going to say the governing authorities and in their day when they were told not to preach the gospel. He said no, we must obey God rather than man. You're telling us not to preach the gospel but King Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples of all the nations, and you can do that, you can tell us you can imprison us in doing want to ask, but we're going to continue to preach the gospel and the turn the world upside down and so the Christian faith grew throughout the world is under by men and women who understood yes there going to be subject to the governing authorities, but where there is conflict between the two religions is to Christ with her me to do with the render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and with the render to God the things that are God's way render to the Christ was to table begins as I receive is my Savior. I then entered into the kingdom of God. I then submit to the rain in my life of King Jesus. And if it's wrong to rebel against the government if it is wrong to hold back taxes lawfully due to the government and that is how much worse it is to rebel against God, and to hold back what is due to God know that will do nothing but surrender all to Jesus Christ of you than that to know Christ as your Savior to submit to his Lordship to trust him for all of your life that everything you everything you have belongs to him surrender it all to him kick nothing back. Give everything you are and you have the God because he is given us in King Jesus, this magnificent and eternal salvation which will last for all of eternity. We thank you father and the God that you're in charge of his hitter sometimes frustrated with rulers and all kinds of levels but upsets her boss. Perhaps it's a politician or a party, help us not to fret father, help us to remember that we are followers of Jesus Christ I pray for those who have never tasted of the salvation who cannot say in their hearts. The Lord is my salvation open their hearts. Father made the surrender to him. For those of us who are following Jesus, help us day by day to acknowledge that he is Lord that he is King, and we ask in the name of the Lord Jesus

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