Summary: We, as Christians,have a dual citizenship, and we need to know our relationship to Civil Governments.
“I Pledge Allegiance”
Text: Romans, Chapter 13
A man drives up to a large sheep ranch and locates the owner out in the pasture with his sheep. He approaches the owner and asks, “If I can tell you exactly how many sheep you own, can I have one?”
The owner scratched his head and replied, “Yeah, if you can tell me exactly how many.”
The man says, “You own exactly 1,746 sheep.”
The owner was amazed, because the man was exactly right. So, he said, “O.K.”
The man selected one of the sheep, threw him over his shoulder, and started to walk off.
The owner calls out to the man and says, “If I can tell you exactly who you work for, can I have the sheep back?”
The man looks back at him and says, “Yeah, if you can tell me exactly who I work for.”
The sheep owner says, “You work for the government.”
The man was amazed, because the sheep owner was exactly right! The man asks, “How did you know that?”
To which, the sheep owner replied, “I’ll tell you—IF you put my DOG down off your shoulder!”
Boy—we sure talk a lot about the government these days, don’t we? We talk about people who work for the government and we talk about the politicians. And, sometimes, we talk about taxes and how we don’t like paying taxes because the government misuses our money.
A man was walking down a dark street. All of a sudden, a robber jumped out with a gun and said, “Give me all your money!”
The man replies, “Hey! You can’t do this to me! I’m a United States Congressman!”
The robber then says, “O.K. Then give me all my money!”
Now, the politicians have their own way of looking at this. There’s a story about a reporter asking a politician how he felt after losing a big election. The politician replied, “I feel like the preacher who went out to convert the cannibals. They listened very intently to him—and then they ate him!”
As most of our regular members know, before the holidays, we had been roaming around the Book of Romans for about 13 weeks. So, this morning, let’s go back to Paul and his letter to the Church in Rome. If you have your Bible with you, turn with me to Romans, Chapter 13.
We find the apostle Paul talking about governments, and he gives the Christians in Rome some very specific statements and instructions regarding their relationship with earthly governments. Paul also gives us some very specific statements about our relationship with the government.
We might find ourselves not liking some people who work for the government—we might not like some of the old politicians or some of the laws they pass or taxes they impose. But, maybe we should take a step back this morning and consider what Paul tells us about what our relationship should be with our governing authorities.
Some might say, “My relationship with which government? What government am I under?” You know, my whole like, I always knew which government I was dealing with. If the city council passed a city ordinance stating that I could only water my yard on odd numbered days (and I was watering every day), then I knew I was breaking the law.
If I was driving 80 mph up Hwy. 110 toward Tyler, and a car with flashing lights (now Richard calls them “Mr. Do-Rights”) pulls up behind me, I know exactly what government I live under.
We all do, don’t we? If we want to question which government, the apostle Paul is going to make that quite simple for us in Romans, Chapter 13.
Paul addressed a number of issues in the first 12 chapters of Romans. They included the gospel as God’s power unto salvation—and everybody needs the gospel. Paul talked about being held in the bondage of sin and that who we were physically would not save us! He talked about the fact that we could not earn salvation by works, no matter how hard we work—and we can never be good enough to deserve it.
Paul told us that salvation came only though accepting Christ and being obedient to the gospel. Then Paul talked about the way Christians should be living—and that was by being a living sacrifice that was not conformed to this world. Rather, it is by being transformed by the renewing of our minds. Now, in Chapter 13, Paul talks about the Christian’s relationship with the governing authorities.
Read Romans 13:1-7
Does it seem strange that the person writing these verses has suffered greatly at the hands of the government authorities? Paul had been beaten with whips, thrown into prison and chained, and eventually he will be imprisoned in the city of Rome.