September 16, 2007 - PENTECOST 16 -

Romans 13:1-10

INTRO: What do you think of when you hear the word: Law? Or how about the Ten Commandments? Very often these words do not cause a positive reaction. It is true that the law, Godís commandments, show us our sins. No one really wants to be reminded of his or her sinfulness. Looking further we also see come to understand and see that without the law there is absolutely no use at all for the gospel. We realize that the law is part of Godís word meant for our good. Today we will examine what it means that love is the fulfillment of the law. Love, which is in a believerís heart, by faith, fulfills Godís law. Where there is love, especially and really only Godís love, there will be, can be and is joy. "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy"(1 PETER 1:8).

Todayís text reminds and reveals to us that with joy we fulfill Godís law of love in two ways.

I. We obey Godís established government.
II. We honor our neighbors above ourselves.


A. Paul reminds the believers in Rome of their Christian life of obedience to the government.
1. Look at verses 1, 2a. Three times it is mentioned: the government is established by God.
2. Looking beyond the earthly authorities these believers would see God in control, always.

B. Verse 2 reminds the believers that rebelling will bring judgment from those in authority.
1. Rebelling against the authorities would mean a life of fear, verse 3a.
2. There is a reason for fear coupled with rebellion and disobedience in verse 4.
3. The government stands as Godís agent of wrath to bring punishment. This can be terrifying.

C. Living in fear is no way to live. These believers would and could obey because of faith, verse 5.
1. Verses 6, 7 list what is owed to the government and then to all. It is a debt of Christian love.
2. All this would be challenging for the believers. Their government was not friendly.
a. Nero would soon be in power.
b. Nero put Christians to death for entertainment.

D. Even today we may not always consider it a joy to pay taxes or revenue or honor or respect to our government. But in comparison we are truly, really blessed beyond all imagination. Our country has freedom for everyone. We are not ruled by an evil dictator. Ours is a democracy that provides peaceful blessings. We may not always agree with how our taxes are spent. We may not always agree with the philosophies of the politicians in power. But we do know that the governing authorities have been established by God. Our love in obeying the government is the fulfillment of Godís law. "Slaves, (here we can easily include the word people or believers for the word slaves) obey your earthly