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Summary: hristians should generally take a positive, constructive approach toward government (and authority in general) rather than nurture a cynical, rebellious attitude. We need government, like it or not. It is not man’s idea, but God’s. We should try to be

Getting Rid of That Attitude About Government’s Authority

(Romans 13:1-7)

1. It is easy to be negative about authority and government.

2. One of my favorite authors and theologians, John Piper, said this:

One of the crucial issues before the Church in America today is: Shall we be American with a pinch of religious flavoring? Or: Shall we be Christ’s people with a pinch of American flavoring?

3. Sometimes we confuse the cross and the flag. Although many times the two are in harmony, sometimes such may not be the case.

4. We are citizens of Two Kingdoms, and our heavenly kingdom is the most important of the two.

5. But that does not mean we isolate ourselves from our society, nor does that mean we should be anti-government.

6. A shepherd was tending his sheep when a man dressed in a suit walked by.

“If I can tell you the exact number of sheep you own, will you let me have one?”

“Sure,” the shepherd replied.

“OK. I think you have 675 sheep.”

“Well you are unbelievably right on target,” said the shepherd. Go ahead and choose one of the sheep. You want fair and square.”

A few moments later, the shepherd asked, “If I guess who you work for, can I have the sheep back?”

“Sure,” replied the man in the suit.

“The government,” stated the shepherd.

“You’re right. How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the shepherd, “when you went to get a sheep to throw over your shoulders, I noticed you took my dog.” (Source: Sermoncentral, modified)

7. Although there is nothing wrong with poking a little fun at government employees, government exists for reasons beyond giving us something to complain about. Government, in varying degrees, is meant to be a great blessing to we human beings.

Main Idea: Christians should generally take a positive, constructive approach toward government (and authority in general) rather than nurture a cynical, rebellious attitude.

We need government, like it or not. It is not man’s idea, but God’s. We should try to be positive toward government and encourage it to live up to its God’s given mandates.

I. God Has ESTABLISHED The Authority of Government (1-2)

1. We know God established marriage when He created EVE, but when did God establish Government? In Genesis 9:6, as part of the Covenant of NOAH.

· Marriage, church, and government are the three institutions God founded…

· When those three are healthy, a nation is at its best

2. God sets up kingdoms and takes them down, but it does not mean God approves of every RULER or every GOVERNMENT (1); yet He sovereignly controls who is in power:

Daniel 2:21, “He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”

Daniel 4:32, “You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes."

John 19:8-11, “When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"

Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."

3. Christians are not to be characterized by a REBELLIOUS attitude (2)

4. Paul wrote this while the Roman Empire was governing much of the world…

Eccl. 5:8, “If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still.”

We need government, like it or not. It is not man’s idea, but God’s. We should try to be positive toward government and encourage it to live up to its God’s given mandates.

II. Government’s Main Job is To PUNISH Evil Doers and To REWARD Those Who Benefit the Society By Doing Good (3-5)

1. The fear of justice reduces WRONG- doing (3a)

2. The recognition of community service ENCOURAGES kind and helpful acts (3b)

3. The government is to function on God’s BEHALF as an avenger & agent of wrath (4)

4. Note: the issue here is not so much reforming criminals as JUSTICE (4)

5. Christians have two motivations to be law abiding: FEAR of punishment and the desire for a clear CONSCIENCE.

6. Piper discusses the limits of governing authority:

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