Skubalon
I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus and count them but rubbish.

Christianity and Government: Issue of Authority

Since this has been an heated election year and the focus on government has never been more pointed I thought I would post a sermon series I put together on what it means to be a Christian in this day and age and our relation to government. I enjoyed writing this sermon and so I hope all of you will enjoy reading it as well.

Couple of books I want to give some credit to as help as well:

Dave Stone, Friend or Foe

Jack Cottrell, The Bible Says…

Ill.: Today we begin a new series called, CHRISTIANITY & GOVERNMENT. This series began out of a conversation that took place on a Wednesday night several months ago between two ladies down in the basement.

 

During the discussion they talked about the fact that this was an election year and there were concerns expressed about the political climate of the times and the nations seemingly slide into darkness.

 

Listening to this conversation I was prodded to consider a series on the topic of government and how it relates to us as Christians.

 

Another thing that prodded me to do this series is I have spoken to several Christians who didn’t seem to have a firm grasp on how their Christian faith should impact their interaction with government. Many who are claiming to be Christians do not whether willingly or in ignorance vote or even consider their interaction with government based on what the Bible says.

 

But in an election year many will have questions that we will cover in this series…

 

  • How should I vote as a Christian?

 

  • What should I look for in the right candidate?

 

  • What happens if the candidate elected is morally unsound? What does the future hold?

 

  • What are the duties of government and how does that play into who gets my vote?
  • How far should I follow government and when is it ok to not follow?

 

  • What we will talk about today is…What is God’s hand in all this? What is God’s role or providence in government?

 

Ill.: Today we begin a new series called, CHRISTIANITY & GOVERNMENT. This series began out of a conversation that took place on a Wednesday night several months ago between two ladies down in the basement.

 

During the discussion they talked about the fact that this was an election year and there were concerns expressed about the political climate of the times and the nations seemingly slide into darkness.

 

Listening to this conversation I was prodded to consider a series on the topic of government and how it relates to us as Christians.

 

Another thing that prodded me to do this series is I have spoken to several Christians who didn’t seem to have a firm grasp on how their Christian faith should impact their interaction with government. Many who are claiming to be Christians do not whether willingly or in ignorance vote or even consider their interaction with government based on what the Bible says.

 

But in an election year many will have questions that we will cover in this series…

 

  • How should I vote as a Christian?

 

  • What should I look for in the right candidate?

 

  • What happens if the candidate elected is morally unsound? What does the future hold?

 

  • What are the duties of government and how does that play into who gets my vote?
  • How far should I follow government and when is it ok to not follow?

 

  • What we will talk about today is…What is God’s hand in all this? What is God’s role or providence in government?

 

So we begin today to talk about what it means to be a Christian and at the same time how that works within the realm of our citizenship.

 

For today we are looking at…THE ISSUE OF AUTHORITY.

 

I think before we can begin to talk about government and how we as Christians interact with our government as good citizens we must first understand who is in charge.

 

I hope that by doing so I can bring a certain level of relief to you in times that might seem less that appealing or hopeful.

 

(PAUSE)

 

I.         The Definition of Authority

 

Ill.: The definition of Authority is this: “The Power and Right to tell others what they ought to do, and the right to enforce the prescribed conduct through the use of power.”

 

Now the important word there is right. The right to be able to do something is very important.

 

After all the…

 

  • Robber has the power with his 9mm hand cannon to make you give the money over but does he have the right to do it.

 

·         The Rapists has the power to overpower the woman but does he have the right to do so.

 

This issue of who has the right is something that is hotly debated in our time b/c so many have become focused on their own wishes and wants.

 

Right becomes what they want and what feels good to them. B/C many do not understand the true definition of authority then there is chaos.

 

This is the reason why…

 

  • Women say, “Its my body I have a right to do away with this thing growing in me.”

 

  • People say, “Its my life I should be able to love whomever I want.”

 

So we have moved away from understanding what is right and why its right to a self-governed state based on the individual.

 

Ill.: In the Greek the word, “Autonomy” is a mixing of the words, autos, meaning “self” and nomos, meaning “law.” They want self-government. I can do what I want to do when I want to do it at the cost of what is right and harm to others.

 

It is frightening how many have decided to fling off the boundaries of what is just and true for their own desires.

 

But we know that there is one for which there is a right to tell us what is to be and not be.

 

This is the true Definition of Authority. To have both Power and Right and that right according to scripture belongs only to God.

 

He b/c he is holy and just being creator and judge has the right to establish what is the correct way the live and the power to enforce it.

 

Psalms 24:1-2 (NIV), The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.

 

God has the right based on who he is and what he has done to set up what is to be done and who is to do it.

 

And b/c he has this right he has chosen to delegate authority in three different areas…

 

1.      Family

 

Scripture speaks of the roles that family play in societal structure. There are things that fall into the authority of the Family.

 

  • Scripture tells us, “Children obey your parents b/c it is right and they will be blessed by doing so.”

 

God has given parents an earthly authority to care for their children.

 

2.      Church

 

·         Hebrews 13:17 tell us to listen to the instruction of the leaders. Follow them b/c the Lord has given them this role.

 

God gave the leadership within the church to do those things that were necessary to lead and grow spiritually the flock.

 

3.      Government

 

This is the focus for this series and it leads us to look at our second point for this sermon.

 

II.       God is the Ultimate Authorizer of Government

 

Specifically speaking of God and His Ultimate Authority with government scripture tells us…

 

Colossians 1:16 (NIV), For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

 

So scripture plainly reveals…

 

A.      God Created the Institution of Government.

 

The passage tells us…

 

1.      Government is created by Him.

 

·         Even from the beginning in the Garden of Eden God was giving out governing duties.

 

·         He told Adam that he was to have dominion over all things.

 

He was to govern them.

 

Later we see instances of God establishing forms of earthly governments.

 

2.      Government is created for Him.

 

We see that God has created government but also he did so to serve his own purpose.

 

To carry out His will here on earth and to carry out general duties that are prescribed.

 

He also uses them to carry out specific tasks to continue his divine will.

 

Even if they go against the prescribed duties laid out in scripture, God still uses them to carry out his ultimate spiritual purposes.

 

These duties we will get to next week when we look at the Duties of Government.

 

(PAUSE)

 

We also see that…

 

B.     God Places Governments in Power.

 

Scripture is full of instances when the hand of God worked to place government into power or to even removed them…

 

  • Moses is called from the dessert to go to Egypt and lead the people out.

 

  • Joshua is later called to Govern the people and lead them into the promise land.
  • God raises up Judges later to govern the people and help them in times of distress.

 

  • The people wanted a king and God gave them Saul but he was wicked and God removes him and replaces him with King David.

 

  • Later God raises pagan nations to come and take Isreal into captivity b/c of their unfaithfulness.

 

So God has either…

 

  • With His sovereign over powering will brought about the rise and Government for His purpose.

 

  • Or with His permissive will allowed Kings to rise for the intended outcome.

 

But the key understanding here is that God is in control.

 

Romans 13:1-2a (NIV), Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

 

Understand fully that there is no power or ever will be that is not of God’s control or plan.

 

God has established whom he has placed in power and there is a divine reason for this appointment.

 

Either directly by God or by His permissive will.

 

(PAUSE)

 

But with that fairly easy understanding I want to look at a third thought that I feel is important to hang onto especially during these seemingly times of uncertainty…

 

III. God is the Ultimate Comforter of the Fearful.

 

Ill.: I like the old story James Dobson tells. He said one night when his son was young he was sleeping in his crib beside Dobson’s bed and he woke up and feeling the darkness and uncertainty he said softly, “Daddy?” Dobson woke up and said, “Yes, son?” Dobson took his son’s hand and in less than a minute the boy was back to sleep with hand in his fathers hand. The darkness and fear dissipated in the knowledge that his father was there in control.

 

What I find interesting about this story is the understanding that the darkness did not go away but that the hand of comfort was real and assuring..

 

I know some of your fears that come from what you see around you…

 

·         You see many political figures seem to be moving away from moral standards.

 

·         You see many who are attempting to tear down the fabric of this nation’s moral structure.

 

·         You hear everyday of pain and suffering b/c of lack of focus on God.

 

·         You see War and Terror some of it even coming into your own neighborhood.

 

·         Your afraid of the future and even more so b/c it seems like the government itself is falling apart.

 

Ill.: That night when we were downstairs talking about it I did get a sense of worry that the future might not be as good as one would hope.

 

For many of you having looked around at the darkness that seems to be the climate of our country and government I want you to know that the father is beside you and gives comfort.

 

We are best comforted when we know God has the Ultimate Authority.

 

Even if this nation enters a dark time that God is still there to be of comfort to you.

 

And I want you to view this Ultimate Control which should comfort in two ways…

 

            A. The Authority of God cannot be Removed.

 

  • I take great comfort in the line, “for there are no authorities for whom God has not established.”

 

Ill.: I think sometimes people have this concept of God being a God who is totally hands off or perhaps a reactionary God.

 

The Reactionary God can only react to what is coming His way to control. In the end He is always on the defensive trying to bat away evil.

 

But God is so much more than that and His control so much Greater.

 

One man likened it to a Chess Pro playing a game with a five year old. Though free will exists God’s easily works around it for his own good.

 

God is always there and always at work even when the actions of the government seems bent on evil.

 

So that means that in our time if…

 

  • Candidates that may have some form of Muslim background and potential terrorist connections that if he is elected God is still in control.

 

  • If our borders are not secured the way we feel they should be and we are open to threats that we will survive b/c of God’s plan.

 

  • If the economy tanks b/c neither side has a solid pro-active solution to help us back up we will be fine b/c our life is not build on money but on God who has said he is in control.

 

Even though in times of uncertainty you feel as though surely God has lost control of the nations and things are careening toward an end He hasn’t.

Psalms 47:7-8 (NIV), For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.

(PAUSE)

Even greater than God’s control in times of uncertainty is the promise of salvation in what Christ has done.

 

Matthew 28:18 (NIV), Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

 

B/C of His willingness to be the sacrifice for us to give us ultimate spiritual assurance JC is given all authority over all things.

 

God has allowed JC to ascend to the throne where he will rule through His act of Salvation.

 

And that means finally…

 

            B. Wicked Nations will Face Judgment.

 

Not only does JC bring salvation but for the wicked he brings a sword and punishment.

 

The Bible promises that no wicked nation will go unpunished if it continues in sin.

 

No power or authority on earth will ever overcome what He will do in both…

 

                        1. Temporary Judgment.

 

That is that God punishes nations with physical temporal things.

 

Again either through His Divine Will or Permissive Will.

  • Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon “God removes kings, and sets up kings.” Proving it by bringing him down to the lowly state of living in a cave raving mad.

 

Daniel 4:31-32 (NIV), The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you.  You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.”

 

  • Fortunately for Nebuchadnezzar he came to his senses before his reign was over and was repentant and restored by God.

 

But for the nation that does not do the will of God there is a punishment that waits for them.

 

Psalms 115:5-6 (NIV), The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.

 

            2. Eternal Judgment.

 

Scripture speaks of nations facing an eternal judgment as well when the end comes.

 

God has promised that those who have hated Him and not taken His decree to govern rightly and seriously there will be a time of wrath.

 

Though the nations of evil will rise up in the end the very thing that lifts us up to salvation will cast them down.

 

The Power of the King JC…

 

Revelation 19:11-21 (NIV), I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.” Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

 

I know that is a lengthy passage but the word imagery there is very grim but just b/c the Lord will return for a final victory.

 

So this morning my encouragement is simple…

 

  • It does not matter how corrupt our nation becomes.

 

  • It does not matter how the elections turn out in November.

 

  • It does not matter the attacks of men or the depravity of their works.

 

  • Or the potential persecution that looms on the horizon.

 

·         Nor should we fear what can be done by those who have already been decreed defeated.

 

Our faith and hope rests in God to care for us even if it means the times ahead are uncomfortable or grievous.

Advertisements

No Responses to “Christianity and Government: Issue of Authority”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: