Sunday, September 14, 2014

Paul's Epistles Part 31 – Honoring Authority

Paul's Epistles
Part 31 – Honoring Authority
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We are going to look at the Epistles of Paul in this series of sermons. Paul has explained in the last few verses that God's mercy is great, and He forgives all who call on the name of the Lord.

Last week we took a look at Paul explaining how, in light of God's mercy he has just explained, we should be Living Sacrifices.

This week we will take a look at Paul telling us to honor authority.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.2   Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

                   I.            NO POWER BUT GOD
a.      Government is established by God's hand
                                                                         i.      This refers to human Government

                                                                      ii.      God has ordained your Government

                                                                   iii.      Human Government is a permanent institution brought into being by God's hand for the regulation of human affairs.

                                                                     iv.      Therefore, Government should, and must be based upon the very teachings of God's Word, rather than man's word.

b.     Rebellion against just laws is rebellion against God
                                                                         i.      We are called to obey the just laws of the land.

                                                                      ii.      Paul told this same thing to Timothy in Titus 3:1 "Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, "

                                                                   iii.      In fact, Titus reads that we were created in order to do GOOD! To show others that we are saved by God's Grace, and that Christ has begun a work in us, we are to be examples of Good Citizens.

                                                                     iv.      When we rebel against just laws based on God's Word, we are rebelling against God.

                                                                        v.      However, this only refers to the laws which are right and good.
1.      i.e. the "laws" say abortion is OK, yet, this law is not based on scripture, or anything which is right or good.

c.      Breaking the law, you will be judged by the government
                                                                         i.      Even if the law is unjust.

                                                                      ii.      King Darius made the decree that everyone shall pray to him alone. This "law" is not based on scripture, nor is it right or good. Daniel still prayed to God, doing what is right and good regardless of the unrighteous law, and he was punished by the government.
1.      God preserved him.

                                                                   iii.      King Nebuchadnezzar built a gold idol and ordered all in the land to worship it. This "law" was not based on scripture, nor was it right or good. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to worship it, and were punished by the Government.
1.      God preserved them.

                                                                     iv.      In both case examples from scripture, God placed King's in authority with the responsibility of being a servant of God, leading the people in authority of what is right and good. In both cases, the leaders rebelled against God, and those who broke the laws of the land, although not right or good, were punished by the law of the land.

                                                                        v.      We are called to honor authority because God placed it there, and we are called to obey the laws of the land, unless they go against what is right and good.

               II.            WHAT GOVERNMENT IS CALLED TO DO
a.      Rules should hold no terror for those who do right
                                                                         i.      Because the Government is established by God

                                                                      ii.      Therefore, if you do what is "right", you should have no fear of the Government...that is, if the Government is serving God as they have been called to do.

b.     Do what is right, and you should have no fear
                                                                         i.      What is right?

                                                                      ii.      The scriptures teach us right and good behavior. If the government is properly serving God as they have been called to do, then the laws will be based on scripture. If we live according to scripture, walking in the Spirit, then we do not have to worry about breaking laws.

c.      However, do wrong, and you should fear.
                                                                         i.      If the laws are just, fear God's wrath, for you are living in accordance to your flesh, not your spirit.

                                                                      ii.      If the laws are not just, fear the Governments judgment for being a law breaker.

                                                                   iii.      If a Government which has been placed in authority by God's hand does not serve Him, it will be removed, and God will place another system in authority.

1.      Daniel 4:30-31 "The king reflected and said, 'Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?' 31"While the word was in the king's mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, 'King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you,"

                                                                     iv.      There was a time this great country was built upon the very foundations of Christianity.  Laws were based on scripture, the first year of every college was seminary, and the Bill of Rights was created, stating that these rights were given by God, not man, and that which is given by God, cannot be taken by man.

                                                                        v.      Even in the beginning of God establishing this great nation, there was an element of evil at work. The laws slowly reflected this evil as it worked to infiltrate the system God established, and laws which propagated evil began to emerge.

1.      Legalization of Slavery, is one from our past.

2.      How many are there today as the Government grows further and further from God's Word and truth?

a.      Killing of babies is legal as long as you pay someone who went to college to be a doctor.

b.     Homosexual marriage, not yet legal in all states, but getting there.

c.      God being removed from schools.

d.     God being removed from government buildings.

e.      God being removed from legal documents.

f.       The government is even trying to re-write the Constitution of the United States to "update it for our times", which will include removal of any reference to God or our freedoms ordained by Him.
                                                                                                                                                 i.      Remember, if God doesn't give us freedoms, then it comes from man...if man gives, man can take away.

g.      "Under God" removed from the pledge of allegiance at many events, including NBC in its lead up to the US open at the Congressional Country Club.

h.     Prayer is still done before Congress...but they allow many false religions to pray instead of praying to the one tru God who founded this nation. 

            III.            WHAT WE ARE CALLED TO DO
a.      We must submit to the authority God has established as a matter of conscience
                                                                         i.      What establishes our conscience?
                                                                      ii.      Scripture and the Holy Spirit.

b.     We must also fear punishment
                                                                         i.      But do not fear man.

c.      And yes, we must pay our taxes!
                                                                         i.      Full time government officials deserve pay if the authorities are God's Servants

                                                                      ii.      If you owe, then pay!

                                                                   iii.      Whether taxes, revenue, respect or honor.


Paul shows us that we are to be Good Citizens obeying the Right and Good laws which comes from the Government God has ordained and set in place.

What if the Government has turned away from God?

As it was with King Darius and Nebuchadnezzar, as the Government God places in authority turns away from Him, they will be allowed a time to repent.

 2 Chronicles 7:14 "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

If we do not...this scripture we love to quote continues as a warning, not just to Israel, but to all who are "called by His name"

19-22 if you[a] turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you[b]and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All[c] who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”

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