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February 21, 2022 12:00 am
Those in authority are gifts from God that we'd probably give back if we could. Whether it's a boss or a policeman, a church leader or a family member, there is probably someone in your life you find it hard to submit to. In this series 'Remarkable Christianity,' Stephen shows us from Paul's letter to Titus why submission to authority is a testimony the world finds hard to ignore.
A growing movement of isolation among believers. I'm even hearing Christian leaders following millions of people suggesting, maybe it's time we just kind of abandon culture altogether is all for the hell does it ever occur to you. The reason Jesus Christ not take us immediately to heaven upon our salvation was because he wants us to live in the city of man demonstrating the reality of the city of God. God calls Jesus Christ our lives to demonstrate the fact that the gospel has changed us quite simply, Christians are to live differently from how the world loves but were not called to isolate ourselves from the people in our culture we live as fellow citizens in our society, we just live by a set of biblical principles. Today Stephen baby begins a series called remarkable Christianity will be exploring what it means to live as Christians in the midst of our culture. Today's lesson is called living in the city of man planet Earth is home to very real worlds in the Christian happens to be in contact with both of them, Augustine referred to them as the city of man in the city of God, the city of man is the physical world around us and we engage in it with our senses of sight and touch and taste, and hearing them spelling, but at the same time, the Christian is very aware of another world. Just as real an invisible world. In fact, it is eternal. It's a world that we connect to not by means of sentences, but by means of the spirit the designer and the creator of both worlds is the same person. Our creator God. Most of the world would agree with every thing I said until I got to that last point they believe in something out there beyond the city of man. Just don't talk about a designer or sovereign creator William Irwin Thompson likens our unbelieving world to flies crawling across the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, blissfully unaware of the magnificent shapes and forms and colors and design that surround them. So true, oblivious to spiritual reality. They even might deny it exists. Certainly the sweep of evolution is gain the majority opinion in our culture that there is no designer in the creative painting that surrounds us all. Some even take the time to study the complexity of the patterns of the painting. Then they deny that it ever had a painter that someone outside the world of flies and insects actually designed and painted this incredibly beautiful miracle. Educators are busy washing off the walls of history and science.
Any reference to him. The politically incorrect crime of our generation is to state with any sense of certainty that that he's even around much less responsible for the painting and if you really want to shake things up mentioned that he not only painted but he owns the ceiling. He owns the chapel. He owns the ground upon which it stands.
He owns the earth and by the way, it's his universe to we watched over the last several decades, especially concerted efforts of our world to remove the signature of the painter from the mural of his universe. I just read this past week of one more case this one brought before the US Court of Appeals just a couple of months ago. The court ruled against the little town in New York for opening its town Council meetings with prayer and you automatically think by this time will certainly there's no surprise there. We knew they had that coming awake. What makes this ruling so strange is that the town had already tried to be politically correct by inviting a variety of religious leaders to open in prayer that they even brought an atheist in the even invited all a Wiccan priestess to pray, but the court wrote in its conclusion and I quote the town's prayer practice has the effect of affiliating the town with Christianity." Even the concept of prayers just to Christian so we got to abandon our God. Somewhere along the line here. I'd I'd start putting stuff in the clouds.
You know like well, excuse me something you know rain pink this morning are since skittles cascading down so that people had to admit somebody up there.
God evidently isn't intimidated by unbelief. He evidently isn't intimidated by being ignored or disrespected, but we are fact we can become frustrated and resentful and bitter.
As we watched his signature being raised. One author wrote in reaction to the rapid and pervasive escalation of immorality ungodliness in our generation believers of become both saddened and angered hostility among some of them has even intensified still further, when they learn of their taxes are being used to fund ideas and practices that only a generation ago was condemned even by most secularists. They fear now for their children, and even more for their grandchildren because of the kind of world into which they will be born educated and have lived, and I would agree there is a growing antagonism in the Christian community, the government is a growing pessimism if not frustration toward institutional authority, there's a there's a growing movement of isolation among believers. I'm even hearing Christian leaders with following millions of people suggesting, maybe it's time we stop paying taxes. Maybe it's time we just kind of abandon culture altogether and is all I have for the hell's sort of the attitude of, you know that the city of man is going to all and so I just to give all my attention and money at interest and thought to go to the city of God is ever occur to you.
The reason Jesus Christ not take us immediately to heaven upon our salvation was because he wants us to live in the city of man demonstrating the reality of the city of God, and the greater the difference between those two cities. The more remarkable our demonstration become by the way the world and you might be growing to resent you might become angry with is not your enemy is your mission field and is not really doing anything. We shouldn't be expecting it to do so. What we do about it. How do we live in the city of man. While we wait for the city of God with the believers living in the first century. Certainly asked the question, and they would be asking the question about this time in the letter of Paul to Titus. Okay what we do now, Mimi told us how to act in church.
In Titus chapter 1, you told us how to relate to each other in the church primarily in chapter 2 is that it is at the end of our obligations and our responsibilities while living temporarily in the city of man will hang onto your hat because Paul is about to inform them that Christianity does not remove the Christian from society. It makes the Christian a productive member of society.
Christianity does not call for you to become an isolated citizen. It makes you a better citizen for the right reasons he Christianity does not relieve any of us of civic duty. It actually enforces the Syrians will want to get ready their flock. In fact, I've simply entitled the series to chapter 3 remarkable Christianity because were going to discover that Christianity should make every one of us remarkable standouts in the city of man as we ultimately represent the city of God in the first area were Christians show remarkable distinction is in their attitude toward those in authority their attitude and the response to rulers you notice now verse one of Titus chapter 3 Titus is saying effectively. Remind them to be subject to rulers to authorities to be obedient of the opening verb is in the present tense by the voice of the Paul was telling Titus remind them and remind them again and reminded again and keep on reminding them to be subject to rulers to authorities to be obedient in the first reminder here is in the response of respect to their civil authorities. If you travel back in time to the island of Crete in the first century you would have.
As I have found in my own research discovered a people who had earned sort of an empire wide reputation for being disgruntled.
To satisfy ornery people that they were always involved in some kind of plotting some kind of conflict and they hated Roman rule that Plutarch the first century historian who lived during the time of Titus ministry on the island of Crete wrote that cretins were always on the verge of revolting I mean that a chip on their shoulder. You try to knock it off and were ready to revolt. Give us a reason. Give us an excuse will tell you what we think about authority and of course the large Jewish population there would not have hesitated to lend a hand in any kind of revolt against Rome. Add to that I didn't keep in mind as we've already learned. Previous studies that the island of Crete had for generations. But I haven for pirates. This is a this is an island that reveled in an a in a swashbuckling self-serving style of independence that the answer to nobody cretins had become a byword, a nickname for liars, evil beasts and noisy gluttons. Titus chapter 1 verse 12 to Titus. Remind these believers you come out of this culture, but don't act now like your forefathers.
They may have pirated blood in their veins, but you're a new creature in Christ and you get a standout.
Remarkably different in your respect to authority in the original language. Here Paul uses to infinitives and to now squishes them together so that he can really be subject to be obedient to rulers to authorities. And here's a radical thought Christians are not above the law, we can say like we belong to the city of God so fully all you people living in the city of man were above you were beyond that, the quite effective. You went over and I'll just briefly mention we live time, but if you go over and explore Paul's broader explanation of this issue and Romans Chapter 13, you discover several mind altering principles related to the issue of secular government. The first thing you discover both in Romans and inherent Titus is that obedience to governmental rulers and authorities is not an option but a command.
Paul is not suggesting this. He's commanding this Titus. Remind them this is a command from the breath of God, you are to respond to your your authority, so, so what that means is we don't have to pray over whether or not you pay her taxes. You not to put that on your prayer list.
Would you help me pray about that. I'm not quite sure, so would you that you know I don't think so. You have to pray about meeting city codes for your building process.
Do you know how challenging it is the campus the size to just meet those codes say wait a second, we belong to the city of God, you're living in the city of man respond to you. You're supposed to pay an honest wage and there is a minimum wage. According to the government hi respond, you gotta get your car inspected you pay the registration fee to understand and outline the D&B forever and ever and ever and never an end and they don't seem very happy to see you showing up as I don't understand what they Christians don't get a free pass. Paul also informs us, implies inherent Titus, he makes it clear I was 13 of the institution of government is the creation of God's idea. He wrote to the Romans, for there is no authority except from God, ultimately ends those on the planet which exist are actually established by God's every civil and political power has actually been appointed by God.
The apostle Peter wrote of this, we submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors notice as sent by him. Keep in mind it's as if they have been sent by God, even though they deny or maybe believe in it doesn't matter the have been appointed by so we engage in the due process is citizens of our beloved country and the freedoms that we now enjoy. We gladly vote. We gladly speak our conscience. We declare our virtues and we don't just talk about values we can rest at the same time with complete confidence that God's purposes will not be thwarted, he has every office and every officer under his control. Every judge is a minister of his providential direction in the hearts of every king is in the palm of his hand. No reason for Christians to panic or get angry, fear and resentment about the culture around us may be an indicator that the church thinks that God is not keeping up that is letting things slip out of control and one of the world must he be thinking he's AWOL to give out my some land somewhere to go away cream a little community and disappear know if we understand these implications. Maybe you're supposed to run for office. Maybe you're supposed to be judge or an attorney. Maybe you want to write a gracious informative letter to the maybe you want to serve on the education board. Perhaps you want to volunteer in some kind of capacity in the community. Take your candle out there and shine the light in the city of man and demonstrate remarkable Christianity as you ultimately represent the city of God in the way that you act and respect and treat authority, which lets us uncover one more principle in our response to rulers and that is the Christian is to obey authority. Regardless of that authorities attitude toward the gospel and forget that when Paul's writing this letter nears on a rampage. He's on the throne societies depraved as ever.
No sexual norms at this time heterosexuality was considered prudish by the elite Roman society. The Emperor was bisexual pedophilia, adultery, idolatry, abortion, prostitution and drug addiction were not only Empire why they were legal and openly acceptable. And this was the century in which Jesus Christ planted the living church and the church exploded into existence. Why among among other reasons, because Christians were so remarkably different in this new thing called the church than their culture that they had respect for authority these children.
Pirates could care last year you got around authority, even when authority hated the very ground.
The Christians walked upon effect room will eventually demand the Christians expressed their allegiance to the city of man by actually offering a pinch of incense in the clearing. Caesar is Lord. And Christians will die as martyrs rather than attempt to overthrow the Emperor simply refused to deny the Christ along with lots was it ever right to disobey the law absolutely. Whenever whenever the will of the law demands that you violate the word of God stand with the apostles and say we will obey God rather than man rather than mountain insurrection or instigate a plot to overthrow Nero.
Paul is actually delivering rather shocking news that they are to respect and pay taxes to Nero the authority of the land to keep the law of the land unless it causes them to violate the word of God and at that point they are willing to lay down their lives and die, and the Christians did what they did that and they sang on their way to their execution and serve the city of man as bright lights and they knew now they were about to enter the city of God according to the will, providence and direction purpose of God in the world and could only shake his head in wonder at those remarkable people so friendly. This lets practically apply them a few ways and when he gets to convicting a move on what your attitude toward the authority in your life. We were all under the authority of somebody. Everyone in this auditorium is what your attitude toward the authority of your parents. Man I can't wait to get out of the house. What your attitude toward the authority of your teachers, your supervisors, your pastors, elders, the town Council the IRS as you fill out those forms when you meet your hunting or fishing quota. When you write out your check for property taxes, which are attitude when the police officer pulls you over. I really don't want to go there so we can keep moving on fairly quickly about what you do in a red light at 1 AM when nobody else is on the street, wondering was he there that I see wasn't there. I just pulled out of the year awards when television shows up your young children in kindergarten when the time is part of an experiment, how to respond to the authority were put in a room with toys and a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and they were told they could play the toys, but they couldn't eat any of the cookies until the teacher came back in the room and then the teacher left than the tape begin to roll the agony was terrible.
Some kids immediately walked over the plate just stared at the cookies just stared and stared.
Some started talking to themselves. Don't eat the cookies don't eat the cookies to the cookies. One kid went over the corner just banged his head against the truth is the cameras rolling. People are probably watching. But even if they are, what is your spirits. What is your attitude what is it communicating to you as a relates to authority anything remarkable there okay on knuckle under. You know the Bible is clear I need to get within obey the law and it's great but I warn you, the apostle Paul is just getting started.
You'll notice the knowing of something to say about how we relate to rulers. He has five commands about how we relate to others, give them to you as we work through this quickly. The first thing he says effectively and relating to others is to go the extra mile is the last part of verse one. Be ready for every good deed is eagerness and that phrase be ready, it's on your mark get set and you're ready you're ready to go your way to serve your community leaders, its citizens as you live in the city of man with the truth.
You represent our salt and light.
Be ready for good deeds. That means that Christianity does not give us a free pass from society and this attitude can be remarkably different from the status quo. The Jewish community on the island of Crete.
In fact, throughout the Roman Empire urged separation from local culture and the authors, huddled together the first century Jews lived outside of Israel form tightknit communities where nobody got in and nobody went out the story and say they were slow and reluctant to submit to local laws and authorities if they were above it. One author wrote that they work that they treated the people around them with a thinly veiled disdain rather than live among the people and demonstrate the glory and character got the captain themselves did nothing at all in what they would've defined as secular society.
So now they come to faith in Jesus Christ, we will. We want a sterile community center at each other.
He does not does not in any way be touched by secular society, which means you can't touch it when you post on the church to do that to each other will certainly but the biblical principle deletion six is good to all people, especially those of the household of God absolutely should be emphasized above everything here but Paul is just talking about us.
In fact, you'll notice he ends his statement here with the clarification were to do these things to all men not just believers so so what is my heart communicate about this idea of going the extra mile.
What would my hands communicate my feet.
My spirit is it somebody else do that or I'm ready. I'm on ready seat. Any moment on this occupied island. A Christian could feel the touch of the flat of a Roman spirit on his shoulder and he knew he was immediately by law, compelled to carry that soldiers gear for 1 mile everybody despise the practice, people of Crete. The Jewish community, especially no doubt believers.
Why would you want to interrupt your schedule and walk a mile out of the way. Roman mile was considered a thousand steps, and it's not too much of a stretch of the imagination to imagine that that that person then picks up that gear that backpack and they begin.
He begins to walk and he counts 1 to 3, 4 inches, the attitude noise counts five, six, 997, 998 999, 1000.
There's your gear here Jesus Christ prepares the way for the church and the preaching of these distinctives only back in Matthew chapter 5 and he says whoever compels you to go 1 mile, go with him to get the phrase going the extra mile.
Can you imagine the surprise of a Roman soldier if you were to say listen, I know I counted out a thousand steps, but I'm willing because of my obedience to Jesus Christ as Savior to carry your year one you want to demonstrate ready to go the extra mile. There's more that God wants us to learn from this passage, but we need to wait till next time. This is the first lesson in a series called remarkable Christianity. This message is called living in the city of man I want to remind you that we have a free resource available for you this month. The belief that salvation can be lost is an error into which many Christians fall instead of living fruitful lives they live fretful ones. Stephen has a booklet called blessed assurance that e-book is free right now you can go to our website wisdom online.org the links of this free resource is posted right on our homepage. Follow the instructions and download that e-book if you need the print version, we can help you with that if you call us today our number is 86 648 Bible. Our ministry is on social media and that's a great way to stay informed and to interact with us.
Sure, and like our Facebook page so that you get updates you can follow us on Twitter, and Instagram. We post a daily Bible message to our YouTube channel so you can subscribe to that as well. We did enjoy interacting with you. Thanks again for joining us today. I hope will be with us for our next Bible right here on this