Summary: This lesson delves into the Christian's relation to government and his obligation to make the world a better place. God rules in the kingdoms of men and we must trust Him. Ultimately, our citizenship is in heaven.
The Christian’s Vote
Intro: We start with the truth that we’ll end with. As a Christian, I am a citizen of the United States, but first and foremost, I am a citizen of heaven. Philippians 3:20 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” My allegiance to my heavenly country comes first, and it directs my behavior of a citizen of this country we call America. However, my heavenly allegiance will make me a responsible and conscientious citizen of my earthly nation.
I. Human Government is ordained of God, Romans 13:1-2
A. God ordains and empowers both positions and people
1. Daniel 2:21 “And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.”
2. When he was lifted up with pride, King Nebuchadnezzar got this message from heaven in Daniel 4:32 “And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”
3. John 19:10-11 Then Pilate said to Him, "Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?" 11 -- Jesus answered, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."
B. Therefore, as citizens of heaven, we owe the governing authorities on earth subjection, taxes, custom, fear, and honor.
1. Romans 13:1, 5-7
2. 1 Peter 2:13-17 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 -- or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 -- For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men 16 -- as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 -- Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
II. Human government can be improved by God’s people.
A. By evangelism
1. God’s people are not concerned with overthrowing government by radical movement or violence, Proverbs 24:21 My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those given to change;
2. But Jesus directs us to change people both in and out of government the power of God’s word
a. Mark 13:9 "But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.
b. Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
c. In Acts 13:6-12 a Roman proconsul named Sergius Paulus was converted by Paul
d. Paul tried his best to convert Herod Agrippa, Acts 26:28-29 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." And Paul said, "I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains."
e. With this approach we could effect much positive change. Psalm 119:46 “I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, And will not be ashamed.”
f. Imagine what a difference it would make just to have saints in the household of the President of governor? Philippians 4:22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar's household.
B. By encouraging righteousness, and opposing unrighteousness with our votes.
1. There are numerous references to the relationship between the character of leaders and the stability of a nation. There are in fact 3,343 references to kings in the Bible
a. Ecclesiastes 10:16-17 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning! (17) Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, And your princes feast at the proper time— For strength and not for drunkenness!
b. Proverbs 29:4 The king establishes the land by justice, But he who receives bribes overthrows it
2. Righteousness exalts a nation.
a. Righteousness in citizens. Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.
b. Righteousness in leaders. Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.