Summary: The Christians responsibility in the Public Arena.
Citizenship: Christians in the Public Square
This is not all my own sermon, I want to give credit where it is due, H.B. London, and other known names but I ran across this and thought it is proper with election coming up this week, What God says about Government.
Many Christian people want nothing to do with public life because it seems corrupt and dirty. Yet, is it possible that political life has degenerated because people with strong moral standards have shunned it?
Ro 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God
Ro 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Ro 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Ro 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Ro 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
Ro 13:6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Ro 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Paul moves from stressing what our individuals responsibilities in chapter twelve to reminding us how we are to respond to the government.
Guy McGraw - For Paul the question is no can you be a Christian and involved in government but can you be a Christian and not be involved in government. We have been called out of this world but still live in it. Being citizens of heaven does not minimize our responsibilities here on earth but actually the Christian citizen out to be the best citizen.
But what if a government is bad? Paul was writing this statement under a new edict that made Christianity illegal, a new Caesar named Nero in power. Jesus had been crucified by this same government. Homosexuality was rampant among Rome¡¦s leaders.
I. Government and God’s View
A. God has established the civil authorities (Romans 13:1-7).
Thomas Jefferson -- Thomas Jefferson, 1781, third U.S. president and principal author of the Declaration of Independence. "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." (This quote contradicts those historical revisionists who contend that Jefferson wanted a "wall of separation" to protect the government from people of faith.) Cited in Saul K. Padover, ed., The Complete Jefferson, Query XVII (New York: Tudor Publishing, 943), p. 677.
Harold Berman "Politics and law are not a path to grace and faith. But are not grace and faith a path to right politics and right law?"-- Harold Berman, professor emeritus, Harvard University Law School.
a. Psalm 106:3 Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.
b. Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow
2. To establish order in society.
Benjamin Franklin "I’ve lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ’except the Lord build the house they labor in vain who build it.’ I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel."-- Benjamin Franklin, 1787. Cited in Gallard Hart and James Brown Scott, ed., The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 Which Framed the Constitution of the United States, reported by James Madison (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1970), p. 81.
3. To provide for the common good. (See "Social Service and Social Action" and quotes from Horace Greeley and Abraham Lincoln on the Fact Sheet.)
Horace Greeley "It is impossible to mentally or socially enslave a Bible-reading people." -- Horace Greeley, 1852. Cited in Tyron Edwards, D.D., ed., The New Dictionary of Thoughts: A Cyclopedia of Quotations (Garden City, N.Y.: Hanover House, 1852; The Standard Book Company, 1963), p. 48.