Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: There is not a law in our state that says you are to love me but there is a law against you killing me.

Our position to the powers that be.

Rom. 13:1 -- 7. 10/05/03

There was this sheep farmer who lived in the hills of Idaho. Everyday, a man would go to a ridge and watch the sheep farmer tending his sheep. He decided he would count the sheep and pull a fast one on the farmer. So, he spent on a couple of days counting the farmer’s sheep. Then he went down to the farmer and said, if I tell you how many sheep you have, will you give me one? The farmer thought, this is impossible, so he agreed he would. You have 1840 sheep the man said. The farmer was stunned by the correct answer, but he said, choose your sheep. The man selected an animal slung it over his shoulder and started to walk away. The sheep farmer said, if I can tell you where you work can I have the sheep back? The man said that is a deal. OK, the farmer said, you work for the government. The man said how did you know that? The farmer said put my dog down and I will tell you.

Paul ends up chapter 12 telling his readers about how his Christian life is to relate to the lost neighbor, employers, and others. In this chapter, he talks about the Christians position to the powers that be, the government.

He talks about in verse 1, THE GOVERNMENT’S ORIGINATION. The powers that be are ordained of God.

Now that doesn’t mean that God appointed a Saddam Hussein, a Hitler, and used them as puppets on a string but it means that God has established the principal that a government is to be in charge of a society. Keep in mind, Paul is writing to the Roman believers. The powers that be in Rome at that time were either there by birth, connection, wealth or just plain ruthlessness. The masses of people in Rome had no power. Their best strategy was to live peaceably among the government in order for its protection. Even though Rome was godless the Christian was not to rebel because there were laws against the lawless to protect the believers as citizens.

There is not a law in our state that says you are to love me but there is a law against you killing me.

We see not only the government’s origination but also THE BELIEVERS OBLIGATION. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.” Read to verse 7.

I think we all understand these verses tell us that we are to live at peace with the state as long as the state allows us to live by our Christian convictions. There are at least three ideas of how we are to do this.

Some people believe that the state is so corrupt that believers should have as little as possible to do with the state. They believe they should not work for the government, vote in the elections are serve in the military.

Others believe the government has given authority to the state in some areas and the church authority in other areas. That Christians can be loyal to both and work for either. The church, of course is concerned with the spiritual while the government with the physical. They can complement each other but not work together.

Still others believe their calling as a Christian is to better the state. They feel they can do this politically by electing other Christians or run for office of the government. They feel that the church and state can work together for the good of all.

Notice none of these views rebel against or refuse to obey laws and regulations set by the government.

Finally, THE BIBLICAL OBSERVATION. Are there are times when we should not submit to the government? Paul doesn’t address this question in our text but other passages of scripture give us guidelines and examples.

The government has the right to expect obedience to the laws, the paying of taxes and honor from its citizens. But if a government makes demands that forces us to disobey God, then our loyalty is to follow God, the higher calling.

When the law demanded that the nation only pray to the statute of King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel prayed to God. When Peter and James were ordered not to preach in the name of Jesus, they said are we to obey man’s law or God’s? They kept on preaching in the name of Jesus.

Verse 7, says, “render therefore to all their dues.” Go to a policeman and say thank you. Go to a serviceman are a veteran and say God bless you. A fireman, thank you, an EMS, thank you.

Honor and praise are to go to Jesus who paid the ultimate price for our salvation in the giving of his life for our sin.

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