Summary: Through out history we have wrestled with those in authority over us. Nations go to war because their authority is challenged. People argue and fight because we do not always agree with those who are in charge. This makes it very confusing for the Chris
Authority in Question
1Kings 3:16-38 Matt 10:16-18
Today our scripture passages remind us that God is the one who makes Kings, rulers and authorities and God our Father also equips us to deal with them.
Sometimes we reach out to authority figures like in 1 Kings and the story of the baby and the sword. Other times we try to avoid authorities like the Tax Man and maybe even our boss or for those of you who are retired - our wives.
The bible tells us that God has given us authorities to rule over us and that they are here for our benefit. Rom 13
We sometimes poke fun at people who are representatives of authority.
The Reverend Billy Graham tells of a time early in his ministry when he arrived in a small town to preach a sermon. Wanting to mail a letter, he asked a young boy where the post office was. When the boy had told him, Dr. Graham thanked him and said, "If you will come to the Church this evening, you can hear me telling everyone how to get to Heaven."
"I do not think I will be there," the boy said. "You dont even know your way to the post office."
Through out history we have wrestled with those in authority over us. Nations go to war because their authority is challenged. People argue and fight because we do not always agree with those who are in charge.
This makes it very confusing for the Christian to know how to deal with the question of authority.
We have a great resource for us in Gods word. I find the best place to start with the question of authority is in the Ten Commandments. It is the first commandment that really spells out what authority is about and to whom we should be subject to.
Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other gods before me.
God - our Father wants to make things clear in that He is the only god we are to serve, acknowledge and obey.
The only authority that is truly over us in this world is the Living God. Every other kind is a lesser authority.
For us as Christians it is not a hard concept to grasp but here on earth not everyone is a Christian and not every society acknowledges the Living God. This is where the problems begin for me and you.
When Jesus walked the earth He confronted authorities of every stripe, religious, civil, military and spiritual. They were all dealt with a measure of contempt and ridicule yet even Jesus respected the laws of the land and the limits it put on his person.
Mark 12:17 NIV
Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesars and to God what is Gods." And they were amazed at him.
Jesus was able to challenge and question the moral authority of the society while still obeying the civil authority of the laws. I learned long ago that not all laws are just laws and not all servants of the law are honorable in carrying out their duty under the law.
Can we as Christians serve the state and God and still avoid sin?
It is a difficult thing to accomplish but the short answer is yes.
There are three prevailing views: The Life Application Bible pg. 2433 (abbreviated)
"Some Christians believe that the state is so corrupt that we should have as little to do with it as possible. They think they should try to be good citizens but not work for the government, vote in elections or serve in the military.
Others believe that God has given the state authority in certain areas and the church authority in others. Christians can be loyal to both and can work for either. They should not however, confuse the two. In this view church and state are separate but compliment each other but do not work together.
Still others believe that Christians have a responsibility to make the state better. They can do this politically, by electing Christian or other high principled leaders. They can also do this morally by serving as an influence for good in society.
None of these views advocate rebelling against or refusing to obey the governments laws or regulations unless those laws clearly require you to violate the moral standards revealed by God. Wherever we find ourselves we must be responsible Christians as well as responsible citizens."
Our second scripture reference was a warning that also serves as an instruction given to us by Jesus. It was given to the 12 Disciples who went out as Christs representatives to the Jewish people. Matthew 10:16-18
16 "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.