Summary: How should believers relate to the government.
The Believer’s Relationship to the Government
* An Idaho sheep rancher was approached one day by a stranger in a suit. The stranger said, “If I can guess how many sheep you’ve got, may I have one?” Thinking this to be impossible the rancher agreed. “You have 1,795 sheep.” Stunned by the correct answer the rancher told him to choose his sheep. The man selected an animal and slung it over his shoulder and started to walk away. The rancher said, “Hey, if I can tell you who you work for, can I have that animal back?” The stranger nodded his approval. “OK, you work for the government.” Now the stranger was amazed and so he asked, “How did you figure that out?” The rancher spit on the ground and said, “Well, put my dog down and I will tell you.”
* In any honest attempt to study, learn, and understand the principles in the Bible, we will come to those days which are decidedly messages to believers. That is, a message to those who know and have an intimate walk with Christ. As we have read our text, today is one of those days.
* So let’s begin this way. In 2 Peter 3:9 we read, “The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” It is the desire of God that all of us find forgiveness of our sin which leads to life. The Bible tells us that by our sin we are separated from God and have no hope of eternal life because the wages of sin is death. However, the GIFT of God is eternal life, don’t you like that? But God gift of eternal life is only available through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Here is what this means. In Acts 16 the Philippians jailer asked the most direct question of anyone in the Bible. His words, “What must I do to be saved?” The parallel question is this, “What must I do to have my sin forgiven, abundant life here, and eternal life is heaven?” Here is the answer; believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved! With your mouth you can pray to ask for forgiveness and for Jesus to save you. If you have never done this, why not take a moment right now and pray. (PRAY)
* Tuesday night I arrived home shortly after President Obama began his remarks which led up to some sharp questioning from the press. As the problems were outlined once again, the question in my mind was this; is the US government about to implode? This country has some real problems. In an old movie Michael Douglas portrayed the president of the US and said these words, “We have some serious problems and we need serious people to tackle these problems.” For my two cents worth, these words have never been more true than today.
* For me, it is no accident that in preaching through the Roman letter, we find ourselves in chapter 13 today. The serious nature of our national problems have caused even the most patriotic to ask questions?
* The questions which come to our minds are many. Why should I support this government if it’s giving away money which is seemingly squandered? As a believer do I have to respect it and respond to it? As a citizen of both heaven and the USA, which one should require my first allegiance?
* From our text today let’s answer 3 questions about Government.
1. The Reasons For it – Why is government necessary? Where did the concept come from? It would seem there are at least 3 reasons.
a. It is an Institution from God. – From our early days most of us have been taught about the institutions of God; the home, the church, and the state (or government). The Bible teaches us that all authority is from God. The sobering thing about this is the thought that every ruler, president, magistrate, and leader is a minister. Candidly, in the politics which we know in this country, it is difficult to believe this truth, yet, if God is sovereign (and He is) then leaders are ministers who have a divine responsibility for which they will answer one day.
* Please consider one truth about the government of the USA. This form of government is the first of its kind, considered the great experiment, and has survived for over 200 years. For the first time the citizens have a say in the government. This was unheard of in days past. As a Constitutional Republic, we are more blessed than any other people who have ever lived. The government of, by, and for the people is from God.