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Just What You Want to Hear: Pay Your Taxes

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Sermon shared by Aaron Burgess

April 2009
Summary: This is a sermon on Romans 13. I have been preaching verse by verse through Romans for a year now and this one deals with a Christian’s relationship to his/her government.
Series: Romans
Denomination: Independent/Bible
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
Pay Your Taxes
Romans 13:1-7
If you have your Bibles open them up to Romans 13:1-7. In today’s passage Paul is going to talk about government. I know the old saying is that we shouldn’t mix politics and religion but whoever said that didn’t read Romans 13.

A 2008 study by the Pew Forum indicates many conservatives have changed their position on churches speaking out on political issues. Four years ago, just 37 percent of conservatives felt the church should stay out of politics. Today, 51 percent share this view. This virtually matches the views of moderates and liberals (52 percent). People think the church should stay of politics.

The study also found that a growing number of people are uncomfortable with a candidate speaking personally about religion. In 2004, 40 percent of all respondents said they were uncomfortable with a candidate expressing his or her religious convictions. In 2008, the same study found that 46 percent were uncomfortable.

But today we must talk about government. We are going to read how a Christian is deal with government and part of this is going to make you angry because you are going to learn that you must pay taxes. Awesome stuff! All the IRS agents in the audience just said AMEN!

Romans 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

The word authority here is the Greek word “exousia,” which means “right” or “privilege.” An authority is anyone who has the right to make decisions that directly affect our life. All of us live in two relationships at the same time. We have authority and we are under authority.

You may be a teacher and thus you the authority in your classroom but you are under the authority of your principal who is under the authority of the school board. You may work in an office where certain people report to you while at the same time you report to someone over you. You are thus “in authority” and “under authority” at the same time.
Paul here is talking about a particular type of authority that all of us must be under which is human government. Human government is what theologians would call delegated authority. Delegated authority is authority that God has delegated to humanity. There are only two types of authority: divine authority and delegated authority.

And in this context Paul is not thinking about any one particular form of human government, such as democracy, aristocracy, oligarchy, monarchy, or socialism, communism or dictatorship. Paul is not saying that only democracy is ordained by God. He’s speaking in broad, general terms about all human government anywhere in the world. The institution of government comes from the hand of God.

Paul wrote these words while the most wicked and corrupt of rulers reigned in Rome. A wicked ruler named Nero, who hated Christians, had them rounded up, dipped in oil, tied to stakes and burned like candles in his garden. He ordered Rome set on fire and then blamed the Christians, setting off the first wave of official persecution.
We’ve largely forgotten how wicked and pagan ancient Rome really was. Abortion flourished, homosexuality
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