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Pastor Brant Seacrist

November 4, 2018

"CHRISTIANITY AND CIVIL GOVERNMENT"

TEXT: ROMANS 13: 1-7
READING:  PSALM 149 & 150

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SUBJ: A proper understanding of the role of civil government for Christians, the divine appointment of rulers, and the function they serve for us under the hand of God.

AIM: That we might conduct ourselves as God’s children and in submission to both His salvation and His appointments.

INTR: One of the most difficult things for believers to contend with is the separation of human opinion and emotion from spiritual reality in both the providence of God and His active participation in the affairs of the world.
1. It is essential that we understand that the course of events in this world serves the purpose of God in redemption whether we understand it or not.
2. Having considered the necessity of brotherly love and love to our neighbor in general we come to a matter that just doesn’t seem to fit and yet it displays a special manner of divine love to us in that we are assured that He who is in final control does all things well.
3. The grace of God is in evidence in that we are relieved from the idea that we must judge in matters too high for us.

THESIS: It is well to claim submission to God as His dear children. It is more difficult to submit to some of things that His infinite wisdom has enforce on us – we are to see all power as under His control.

I. Embracing the Sovereignty of God (v. 1)
1. The sovereignty of God declares to us that He is, in the Trinity of His persons, supreme in power and authority and that He effectively reigns over all things.
1) Men in general either struggle to obtain power or resent and resist power that seems to direct them. In either event, there is resentment to the sovereignty of God.
2) To believers, the sovereignty of God is a most welcome and comforting revelation.
2. We normally see power in the hands of those wielding it, but not so with God – we see the avenues through which he exercises power and the instruments He uses. (We are reminded of Jesus before Pilate who told him that he had no power that was not given him).
3. We tend to see it as a matter of convenience:
1) In salvation we delight in the absolute confidence we have in the ability to save and rejoice as we see His purpose realized in Christ.
2) In the ability of God to overcome that which seems impossible for us.
4. That there is no power but of God is an absolute.

II. Embracing the ordinances of God (vv. 3-4)
1. We are even now amid a time of excessive political tensions
1) We express our desire and vote and even pray for what we think to be the best outcome.
2) The appearance of grace comes when we are able to humbly acknowledge the divine appointment.
2. We may talk of political loyalties and preferences (we all have them), but when the officials are seated, to oppose them is to oppose God – the scripture is clear on this.
3. We are reminded of men like Daniel and the three Hebrew children who stood strong for God and showed no disrespect to the heathen rulers. They refused the King’s meat; they refused to participate in pagan worship and refused to exalt the King above God. We rejoice at the outcome, but we are constrained to observe the behaviors.
4. It is for us to understand that civil government has a divinely appointed purpose and that God has called the rulers His ministers.
1) The notable example of Cyrus who was called by the Lord: 28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. 1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; Isaiah 44:28-45:1.
2) We note those in Paul’s day especially in Philippi. (They attempted to right their wrong at Philippi and restrained the Jews at Jerusalem.
3) Even Jesus submitted to Roman taxation.
5. Try to imagine a world without civil restraints (such is the case in many places) – all would rise to the level of hating and killing Christ Himself.
1) Our disobedience will provoke punishment.
2) See: If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:18
6. We are to esteem him as God’s servant to do you good!

III. Embracing subjection (vv. 5-7)
1. Note the language of verse 5: “ye needs be subject…”
2. So it is that we should cheerfully attend to the duties of a citizen in regard to such things as taxes and that under His direction:
1) They are God’s ministers
2) They are attending continually to the matters that serve our good (even without any consideration that they are serving either God or us).
3. We are to respect the office if not the man – When God places him in office, he is my senator, my governor, or my president. He is the one who God gave me for my good whether I understand it our not – his power is of God and is so directed.