Summary: We owe God to keep his commands because we owe him our very lives.
A Messiah's View of Taxes
Text: Matt. 22:15-22
1. Read Matt. 22:15-22
2. Illustration: "As a taxpayer, you are required to be fully in compliance with the United States Tax Code, which is currently the size and weight of the Budweiser Clydesdales" (Unknown).
3. One day, representatives of two unusual groups come and ask Jesus a question that they intended to use to get rid of him.
a. The two groups were the Pharisees and the Herodians.
b. They rarely agreed with one another, and certainly didn't like one another.
c. But the one thing they did agree on is that they had to do something about Jesus.
4. The question they chose to ask him had to do with paying taxes. They asked him, "should we pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
a. There were 3 general taxes that were paid by the Jews to the Roman government in the time of Jesus:
b. The Land Tax (money or land),
c. The Toll Tax (in ports or cities), and
d. The Poll Tax (kind of a capital gains tax). It is the Poll tax that is in question here.
5. Jesus saw through they flattery and sweet talk. In fact, he called them hypocrites. So he tells them to give him a coin used to pay the tax.
a. It was a silver coin, minted expressly by the emperor, who alone had the authority to issue coins in silver or gold.
b. All such coins, including the denarius, bore an engraving of the emperor on one side and an identifying inscription on the other.
c. The side with the inscription said, "Tiberius Caesar, son of the divine Augustus" (Horton, 477).
d. The coin itself infuriated the Jews because the inscription claims that the emperor was divine, and any image was forbidden because it was considered an idol.
e. Both were in direct opposition to the Ten Commandments.
6. After holding up the coin Jesus asked them, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”
a. This statement is so profound that it is often missed because of its simplicity. Apodidōmi (render) means to pay or give back, implying a debt.
b. It carries the idea of obligation and responsibility for something that is not optional.
c. The implication would be that if what is due the emperor was the coin bearing his image, what is due God is yourself as a person bearing the image of God (France, 833).
d. Jesus answer to their question has two ramifications for them in their day, and to us today.
e. Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
f. Give to God what belongs to God.
Transition: Here are....
I. Five Things We Owe Caesar (21a).
A. Pay Our Taxes
1. Romans 13:6-7 (NLT)
6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do.
7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.
2. We are starting here not because it is the most important, but rather because it is the most apparent to our text.
3. As citizens of the United States of America we are obligated to pay our taxes.
4. If we fail to meet that obligation we open ourselves up to problems of our own making.
5. Illustration: It reminds me of the old Fram air filter commercial, "You can pay me now, or you can pay me later!"
6. However, not only should we pay our taxes because the government tells us to, but also because the Word of God tells us to.
B. Pray For the Nation
1. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
2. The first thing that we need to notice about this verse is that it says "my people."
3. God's people; Christians!
4. Illustration: Martin Luther said, "As it is the job of the cobbler to mend shoes, so it is the Christians job to pray."
5. God is asking his people to pray for our nation, and in doing so recognizing that we are totally dependent upon God.
6. This goes against the grain of our personality as a nation. We are a proud and independent people and think that we do not anybody's help.
7. However, we need to humble ourselves and realize that without God's help we can't do anything.