Summary: Though we may not agree with our elected officials, we have a duty to God to respect them, to honor them, to submit to their leadership, and obey them. God has ordained the governing authorities, and by respecting and honoring them, we show respect and honor to God.
Patriotic Christians #4
Respecting Our Leaders
Theme: Though we may not agree with our elected officials, we have a duty to God to respect them, to honor them, to submit to their leadership, and obey them. God has ordained the governing authorities, and by respecting and honoring them, we show respect and honor to God.
We are continuing today our thoughts about being a patriotic Christian.
Over the past few weeks, we have talked about praying for our country.
We have talked about praying for our leaders.
We have talked about having a love for our country.
This morning, let’s consider, for a few minutes, respect and submission.
Our country today seems to have forgotten what these two very important words mean.
People get in each other’s faces, cursing at them, yelling at each other. Remember the viral video from a high school field trip to the Lincoln Memorial last year of Nick Sandmann, a student from Covington Catholic High School, having a group of what were called Hebrew Israelites, a group of black men, taunting and abusing the students from the school. Then there was the encounter that Nick had with Omaha tribe elder Nathan Phillips.
Lawbreakers will get in the law enforcement officers’ faces and spit on them.
Our fellow citizens will shout obscenities and curses at anyone, whether they agree or not with them.
Respect for the law just doesn’t exist. People in our country will steal and call it entitlement.
It’s one thing to disagree. It’s something completely different to be disrespectful.
People disregard and disrespect other people’s property.
We have spent months watching videos of rioting and looting through many cities across our country. People destroying businesses, homes, and property of innocent people. No respect for what belongs to other people.
It’s one thing to protest and speak up. It’s something completely different to be disrespectful and vandalistic.
We have watched over and over lawbreakers running from law enforcement, acting like they are going to attack the officers, and unfortunate consequences transpiring. No submission to the authorities that are in place.
We have a serious problem in our country. No respect. No submission. No obedience.
A very different set of behaviors than the expectations that God has laid out for His people.
In Romans 13, Paul gives this direction to the Christians in Rome.
Rome of all places. Where Nero, the cruelest of all Roman emperors ruled. Where Christians were being persecuted. Where Christians were not respected. Where Christians were targeted by the government to be killed because of their faith.
Follow along to see what Paul says about the expectations of God’s children:
1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 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. (Romans 13, NLT)
<Barclay, William. The Letter to the Romans (The New Daily Study Bible) (p. 206). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition. >
William Barclay says in his commentary about this section that Paul saw in the government as an instrument in God’s hands — something that God was using to keep the world in order. Those who are running the government are playing a part in God’s master plan. “Whether they knew it or not, they were doing God’s work, and it was the duty of all Christians to help and not to hinder.”
The Apostle Peter echoes those same instructions for God’s children in 1 Peter 2:
13 For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.
15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king. (1 Peter 2, NLT)