Summary: Christians are both citizens of this world and members of a new kingdom.
THE CHRISTIAN CITIZEN
INTRO: In recent years, we Americans have elected a president and celebrated our constitution. During the same time, as members of a church, we have shared in special occasions and ongoing efforts to fulfill our church’s mission.
Christians are both citizens of this world and members of a new kingdom. In Romans 13 Paul discussed how we fulfill this dual alignment. The Christian citizen is:
I. RESPONSIBLE TO GOVERNMENT (vv. 1-7).
Because government is ordained of God, we are to respect its place in human affairs. A responsible government helps provide order and justice.
ILLUS: A Baptist minister was speeding toward an important appointment when he was stopped by a highway patrol officer. The pastor thought an explanation would be sufficient. He informed the officer that he was a minister and on his way to an important engagement. The officer smiled and referred to Romans 13:4. He explained that he, too, was a minister involved in an important work.
The Christian citizen supports government by recognizing its role and by paying taxes. Jesus affirmed this responsibility during His ministry (Matt. 22:21).
II. LOVING TO OTHERS (vv. 11-14).
This may be more difficult than being responsible to government. A community or a nation can function well if people treat others rightly. Christians must be diligent in paying their debts and in seeking the good of others.
ILLUS: At least three steps are involved in keeping the commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” 1. To love or care for others, you need to know their needs. 2. A second way is through action. Good intentions or warm thoughts fall short. 3. Perseverance is the third step. Finding steady, persistent ways to express concern is important.
By continually seeking to love others, the Christian honors God and helps build a better world.
III. OBEDIENT TO CHRIST (vv. 11-14).
The Christian citizen controls wants and desires by “putting on” the Lord Jesus Christ. This phrase suggests an intimacy with Christ that shapes our life-style.
Walking in obedience to Jesus Christ as Lord strengthens and steadies us as we confront the uncontrolled living of others apart from Christ.
CONC: In an address to a state Sunday School convention, Dwight L. Moody said, “Be kind--conquer by love. If a man has his heart full of love and a little common sense, he will succeed.