Summary: We are to honor authority, relationships, and God. In return we will receive honor.
Romans 13:7 “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.”
Honor. I am not sure we understand the meaning of the word. A pastor visiting Korea for the first time asked for some guidelines from a world renowned traveler. He told him, “When you’re meeting someone for the first time, it’s proper to bow, but just a little. Don’t make a big, deep bow; just tilt yourself so that your head is slightly lower that the other person’s head. This conveys respect. And when you shake hands, use your free hand to grab your elbow or your forearm as you shake. This gesture is considered very polite, so it’s a pretty easy way to show honor.”
“It’s also honoring to bring gifts. And when you offer your gift, you extend it with both hands, and the person receiving it accepts it with both hands.”
“In Korea, as in most places in the world, you have to be careful not to show the soles of your shoes. You must never rest your feet upon a desk or table. This is considered extremely rude.”
Out of curiosity the pastor asked his friend what advice he would give someone coming to the US. He replied, “I wouldn’t tell them anything. Those things concerning honor and respect don’t really matter here.”
Come Tuesday, election day, many of you might have a real struggle with Romans 13:7. Whoever is our next president is to be given our respect and honor. This is not a suggestion. This is a mandate if you consider the Bible the true, inspired Word of God.
We are commanded to show honor. But what is honor?
The Greek word for honor is time (tee-MAY). It meant “to value, to respect, or to highly esteem.” It was usually associated with a way to assign value.
When Peyton was a baby, he had to wear a helmet to help his skull form a bit more. His parents were not very concerned about the every day wear and tear of the helmet. One day his grandmother painted the helmet to be a copy of the Carolina’s Panthers helmet. My son took him to the training camp for the Panthers and several players were more than pleased to sign it. (In fact, Steve Smith had his picture taken with him). Suddenly the helmet was assigned great value. More care was given to protect it from daily use. And as soon as it usefulness for my grandson was complete, it was placed in a place of honor due to its value.
Whoever becomes president this week is no longer a regular person. They are now the authority over us to govern. And we are to honor them, like it or not.
The Bible is very clear on this matter. Paul wrote in Romans
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted---”
God has allowed whoever wins this election to do so. It is for his purpose. It may be to punish the church from straying away from him and becoming to engross in the world. It may be to challenge the church to become united once again and overturn the wickedness of the nation. We don’t know. But according to God’s Word our next president was allowed to be placed there by him.
Now some of you may be thinking, “No way will I show honor to such a wicked terrible person.” The apostle Peter would challenge you on that when he wrote, “You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel.”
Unfortunately, we do not have the right as believers to determine whether we will show honor or not.
There is another position of authority that you are to show honor too. That is the position I hold.
1 Thessalonians 5:12 “Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance.”
I have been placed here as your pastor by the spiritual leaders of Foursquare International and by God. No one voted me into this position. I do work hard to give you spiritual guidance. My sermons are not thrown together on a Saturday night but rather prayed over, researched, and edited until I feel that the message is as clear as I can deliver it. I at one time believed that it was just my responsibility to give you the message and my hands were clean. However, I am convinced that I was in error.