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So, if God is our one true King, do we need to obey the earthly authorities?

So, if God is our one true King, do we need to obey the earthly authorities?

Sermon Notes

Main Verses: Romans 13:1-10

Key Thought: Paul led believers to see the government as an agent of God to promote good and keep evil at bay. Wrangling with these authorities can lead to punishment (and thus, set back the work of the Gospel), but it could also upset the very systems God has put into place for an ordered society. Paul did not lead believers to subvert the governing authorities but work alongside them. He gives clear instructions to work in partnership with their government to return to the more important work of the kingdom- loving people.

Supporting Points:

  1. We are to submit (13:1-5)
    • God has all authority
    • And He sets them up
    • This is for your benefit
    • Submission is needed
  2. Practically speaking, this means a few things (13:6-7)
    • Pay your appropriate fees
    • Give the appropriate honor
  3. Keep loving people (13:8-10)

Question: Hold up. Are we to roll over and obey anything that has become a law?

Two Answers:

1. The slow way- change the laws

2. The faster way- deal with it

When man’s law violates God’s law, then

  • we must follow God (we show trust in His Laws).
  • We must accept the consequences (we show trust in His providence)
  • We must trust God with the outcome (we show trust in His plans)

Once you bypass man’s authority and claim God’s authority, you must also trust in God’s authority to care for you. (as we see in Acts 4:18-20)

  • Obedience
  • Integrity
  • Steadfastness

Two Different Expectations:

  • In the modern world (in the West), Christians expect personal freedoms to be preserved
  • In the first century world, Christians expected to be persecuted

Here’s the difference: only one leads to Christ’s likeness.

If your political opinion is louder than your faith in Christ, you are at odds with New Testament Christianity.

Application:

Follow God by:

  • Follow the Law
  • Pay your taxes
  • Love your neighbors by not harming them

Discussion Questions

Main Verses: Romans 13:1-10

TALK IT OUT:

  1. Pastor Rusty shares from verse 1 that we must submit to government authorities because God has established them. In verse 2, we learn that rebelling against the authorities equals rebelling against God. Explain Paul’s progression of thought.
  2. The Apostle Paul points out that “the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.” Even though no leader is perfect, God wants us to treat our leaders with respect. How can we show respect to government leaders even when we do not agree with all their decisions?
  3. In verses 6-7, we discover that God wants us to pay our taxes and other fees and show our governing leaders respect and honor. How can we do this when some leaders are not honorable?
  4. Pastor Rusty asks, “are we to roll over and obey anything that has become law?”
    1. He says sometimes the answer occurs slowly, and we must work to change the laws. What laws might God want us to work to change?
    1. He also says that sometimes, the answer is more immediate. When man’s laws violate God’s laws, we must 1) follow God’s laws, 2) accept the consequences as we trust in God’s providence, and 3) trust God for the proper outcome. Which of these steps is most difficult for you?
  5. Once we bypass human authority and claim God’s authority, we must trust God’s authority to care for us, as demonstrated in Acts 4:18-20. Pastor Rusty suggests our godly response will entail 1) Obedience, 2) Integrity, and 3) Steadfastness. Why are integrity and steadfastness necessary in this process?
  6. Pastor Rusty observes the expectations of Christians in the West who expect their freedoms to be preserved and the different expectations of early Christians who expected to be persecuted. He points out that if our political opinion is louder than our faith in Christ, we are at odds with the New Testament. Are you?

LIVE IT OUT

  • We need to follow God by obeying the law. Are there laws you are not following? If so, commit to obeying the laws you have been ignoring.
  • Are you honestly paying your taxes? If not, confess that sin to God and make the needed changes to pay your future taxes properly.
  • Do you love your neighbors as you should by not harming them? If not, make a list of specific steps to love your neighbors in the future better.
  • Take each of the commitments above and ask God to help you put them into practice from this point forward.