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: Responsibilites of Citizenship

Here is the final one in which the responsibilites of the Citizens are discussed. There are duties that the Christian and any citizen for that matter can generally view and apply as they live at peace with the government.

Ronald Regan said, “Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure.

  

As we look around in this day and time we see remnants of those principles

 

But unfortunately at times it seems those principles have either become stifled or watered down.

 

I know that for many Christians there is this fear that the very fabric of this nation will soon be torn if not the fabric already rend in two.

 

But hope comes for the Christian when as we have seen in this series that…

 

  • God is in control be it currently by establishment of government.

 

  • Or in the end when God will ultimately take care of those governments that live in rebellion to His prescribed ordinances.

 

Last week we looked at the duties of government and what they should be doing…

 

  • That is protect the innocent and righteous and punish those who do evil

 

  • That a government who does not follow this order in many ways can become abusive to its people.

 

This week we finalize this series on Christianity and Government by turning our attention to the individual citizen to see what the responsibilities are to them.

 

How should they act and what makes a person a good citizen?

 

So we intend to answer the question of…

 

  • What does it mean to be obedient to the government?

 

  • What can I do to bring about change in a positive and respectful way?

 

  • What do I do if the leaders in power are not what I agree with?

Ronald Regan said, “Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure.

 

Those are three separate quotes from three different generations of Presidents, who understood fully that the foundation for government was founded on the principles of the God of the Bible.

 

As we look around in this day and time we see remnants of those principles

 

But unfortunately at times it seems those principles have either become stifled or watered down.

 

I know that for many Christians there is this fear that the very fabric of this nation will soon be torn if not the fabric already rend in two.

 

But hope comes for the Christian when as we have seen in this series that…

 

  • God is in control be it currently by establishment of government.

 

  • Or in the end when God will ultimately take care of those governments that live in rebellion to His prescribed ordinances.

 

Last week we looked at the duties of government and what they should be doing…

 

  • That is protect the innocent and righteous and punish those who do evil

 

  • That a government who does not follow this order in many ways can become abusive to its people.

 

This week we finalize this series on Christianity and Government by turning our attention to the individual citizen to see what the responsibilities are to them.

 

How should they act and what makes a person a good citizen?

 

So we intend to answer the question of…

 

  • What does it mean to be obedient to the government?

 

  • What can I do to bring about change in a positive and respectful way?

 

  • What do I do if the leaders in power are not what I agree with?

 

In the end I hope you will better understand what you can do as a citizen and what you ought to be.

 

I.               Godly Citizenship

 

I call this point Godly Citizenship b/c generally this is a Christian audience.

 

But I would recommend these guidelines to anyone who wants to be a devoted citizen.

 

As we have said one does not need to be a Christian to be a government leader nor does the citizen need to be a Christian to be a good citizen.

 

But these are biblical principles that can affect all areas of government and persons who seek to live a life of general peace.

 

Specifically for the Citizen our main passage says…

 

1 Peter 2:13-17 (NIV), Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

 

With this main passage I want you to see 1st

 

A.      Be an Obedient Citizen.

 

Again I have to mention the simplicity of these biblical commands.

 

  • Even JC himself said, “My teachings are not difficult.”

 

  • But he also said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

 

So as simple as it is it can often times be difficult to be an obedient citizen.

 

 For us as citizens we see there are motives that help us to do right…

 

1.      Wrath of God and Government.

 

  • Our Romans 13:4 passage from last weeks said, “[government] is an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.”

 

There should be a level of fear that is there for the citizen that tells them that if they choose to disobey the law, they will be punished.

 

But deeper than that is the bigger fear of the wrath of God. That to disobey government is to ultimately rebel against God.

 

  • From last week Romans 13:2 said, “And those who opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”

 

  • It is understood here that complete rebellion against government will bring about an eternal judgment upon the evildoer.

 

This is a severe edict laid out by God to man, that if you rebel against the ordinances of Government you are scoffing at the Law of God.

 

2.      For Conscience Sake.

 

Ill.: You have probably had children ask repetedly why they must obey and do as instructed. Kids needing answers want to know exactly why. So much so that at times even the final authority of God being invoked can be scoffed at. Kids do that.

 

But sometimes that is the only answer that can be given. B/C God has said so and it is right.

 

As a good citizen you should obey and do what is the right thing to do for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do.

 

Ultimately it is also done b/c this right action is also for the sake of God who is Himself Righteous.

 

  • Peter tells us in our main passage, “Submit yourself for the Lord’s sake…”

 

Ill.: Jack Cottrell wrote in his book, The Bible Says writes, “Obeying to escape punishment is for our sake, obeying b/c it is right is for God’s sake.”

 

(PAUSE)

 

I also want to tack onto the end of this point the admonition to take obedience seriously.

 

I make this statement especially in reference to the smaller laws we might overlook.

 

I would venture to say most of you are not murderers, bank robbers, abusers or some of what might be constituted big laws to break (at least I hope not.)

 

But how many of us don’t take seriously those smaller laws that seem unrealistic or innocent seriously?

 

Ill.: Now I know all of us have had a lapse moment. I was pulled over a few years ago for doing 45 in a 25. I was daydreaming and there I was caught. I told the officer he had me and he should do his duty.

 

I had hoped he would have pity on me but 10 minutes later he came back executing justice.

 

That aside how many of us say to ourselves…

 

  • I needed to j-walk I was too late to wait.

 

  • That law is stupid I am not going to do that.

 

  • The Police are not around I can run that stop sign.

 

But Peter doesn’t say…

 

  • OBEY THE LAW- except when it’s stupid.

 

  • OBEY THE LAW- except when it’s small.

 

  • OBEY THE LAW- except when it’s inconvenient.

 

  • OBEY THE LAW- except for when no one is looking.

 

Let everyone be in subjection to the governing authorities.

 

Obey even when it seems petty, inconvenient, when you are in a tight spot, or even if there is no one over your shoulder to see it.

Colossians 3:22 (NIV), Obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

 

B.     Respect Government Leaders.

 

One of the most difficult tasks of a Godly citizen to show respect, especially when that office has been abused.


But we are called to show respect to those who are in authority over us whether we agree with them in everyway or not.

 

  • Peter says, “Show respect to everyone: Honor the King.”

 

Though policies often times are not what we agree with or actions of said official are wrong we should respect them.

 

If not them then most certainly the position…

 

Ill.: A couple weeks ago I took the kids over to the Capital in Frankfort. (SEE PIC) While there we took the tour. It takes you to the governor’s receptionist’s office and his door is right beyond the office.

 

Even though I am completely against Governor Bashear’s push for Casino’s in Ky. b/c I think it will hurt Ky. and not help it there was still a sense of awe in the position and the person b/c of what he stood for.

 

(PAUSE)

 

With that in mind there are a few things that are very important in respecting our leaders…

 

1.      Pray for Leaders.

 

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (NIV), I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.

 

Most of us do not have direct control or chance to impact our leaders in a way that some might.

 

But we have a direct link to Him who does, which is God.

 

So Paul here says, “We should be praying for them in all things…”

 

  • Requesting they do what is right and be strong under political and social pressure.

 

  • That if they themselves are not persons of prayer that we intercede on their behalf to God so He might act.

 

  • Here is maybe the hard one: We should be thankful for them. We should be praying thanks that we have them. Even when we aren’t.

 

2.      Don’t Mock or Criticize.

 

If you are sincerely praying for your leaders it becomes increasingly hard to be overly critical.

 

Remember that in prayer for them our hearts can often be softened toward them.

 

When I say criticize or mock I am talking to extreme…

 

Ill.: I said that I do not agree with Governor Bashear’s policy to bring casino gambling to KY. I do not agree, but my opinion is done in a way that does not disrespect the position or the man.

 

That is I do not resort to animate name-calling or abusive criticism that would be disrespectful of him.

 

And in the same way don’t mock those in authority. Don’t make fun of them.

 

Now I know there are jokes out there about the government that are in good fun and we all laugh.

 

I used one last week to start my sermon and thankfully you all found it funny.

 

Ill.: TV has a lot of political satire that I enjoy. I remember how in the 2000 election both Bush and Gore appeared at the beginning of a late night show together in which Bush going by the script mispronounced several words and Gore was obnoxiously boastful.

 

Two characteristics both candidates dealt with in real life in the campaign. It was fun for us all b/c they were willing to laugh at their own shortcomings.

 

Small jesting aside some with the intent to put down or cause trouble will often mock and make fun of in such a way as to want to harm.

 

This does not bring respect to the person or the position God has established.

 

Ill.: A good example of this was during Vietnam when protestors cried out in front of the White House, “Hey, Hey LBJ how many kids did you kill today,” referring to the loss of innocent life in Vietnam.

 

The First Lady said he heard those cries and it hurt him deeply. Is war unfortunate and was lose of life sad? Of course but this kind of political attack was beyond responsible protest.

 

The position of government is one that is to be respected, not mocked even when we do not agree.

 

C.     Participate in the System.

 

Ill.: We here in America are in a very unique situation in which we are allowed to freely participate in the system of government. I feel it is such a blessing to be able to take an active role and have my voice be heard.

 

This is something the people in the NT did not have and so scripture does not give us clear indication of how we should handle democracy in a stricter sense.

 

 

But it does tell us something that I want you all to apply to this point…

\

·         Peter tells us, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.”

 

·         Peter is specifically speaking of freedom in Christ in the spiritual realm, but its application is applied here b/c Peter meant it to roll over into their lives as citizens.

 

·         He says, “In Christ spiritually you have many freedoms but don’t use those freedoms to do wrong.”

 

As Americans we have many freedoms but do not use those freedoms to be something God did not intend as a citizen.

 

But what does it mean in America to participate in the system but still follow God’s commands.

 

What is it that we can do as participants…

 

1.      Vote.

 

I know a lot of people have looked at the candidates for this election and said that they may not vote at all b/c the selection is not what they want.

 

They certainly have that right, but one of the best ways you can exercise your freedom and participate in the system is to vote.

 

It is an action that is ok’d by the government as your right as a citizen and so do so.

 

You have been given a freedom many people do not have and so I encourage you to get out and vote.

 

Its one of the simplest ways to show political action in the world.

 

(PAUSE)

 

But How do I vote? Who is the right candidate?

 

Let me make a few suggestions to you.

 

The right candidate is not

 

i.                     The person who will benefit you the most.

 

Now I know that is hard to accept. We look at rising gas and we want economic relief and you want to vote for the person who offers that.

 

Most people will go into that booth looking for the candidate who will make life easier for them and what will help them along.

 

·         That kind of mentality in a sense is not bad. Hey, I hate gas prices as much as you do, but is it Biblical to vote that way?

 

Can the right vote and you’re needs come together? Sure, but your needs should not be the primary reason to vote for someone.

 

ii.                   The person who advocates government being the love of JC.

 

At first glance our thoughts might be to see that as a positive. Who wouldn’t want to promote the love of JC?

 

But unfortunately it has become popular in some political arenas to suggest that government should love as JC loved.

 

Ill.: Government should, “love their neighbor as themselves,” or “do unto others as they would have them do unto them.”

 

There are two problems with this…

 

·         The love and actions JC promoted were never meant for an established government. They were commanded for individuals to carry out in their personal lives and for the church to carry out as a whole.

 

·         The other problem is that this love mantra makes government weak at times when it needs to be focused on justice and right action.

 

So to vote with this in mind is not the way to vote

 

Scripture makes it clear that the Church is to extend the love of JC and government is to carry out the duties of law and order keeping peace.

 

How should I vote…

 

i.                     The candidate that closest upholds the principles of Romans 13.

 

The candidate whether they are a Christian or not should be the one who will uphold that which God has prescribed as the purpose of government.

 

That is to protect the innocent, punish the wrong doers, and keep a general level of peace.

 

And I know that is too simple in a sense and so I encourage you to take a look at the candidates carefully and see which ones follow the command of God for government.

 

(PAUSE)

 

This will also help you with some of our hot topic issues of the day as well.

 

Ill.: Let me take for a moment a few examples…

 

Polygamists Cult: Are they doing right by taking away those young children who are in an environment in which cases of molestation and the marriage of under age children is taking place. I say, “yes,” b/c government has the duty to protect the innocent that is those young girls and punish those men who are promoting theses activities. The candidate that is for the protection of young ones like this is a candidate you should look at.

 

Abortion: Kills a child in the womb. An innocent child who cannot defend themselves and thus should be protected by government as someone who has the right to live and be at peace. If a candidate is pro-choice and thus does not protect the innocent child and in turn punish the parent/or parents who murder, then you must question if they follow the commands of God for government.

 

Capital Punishment: God has said to punish the evildoers. If so then Capital Punishment in the right circumstance is needed. And not a death row for 15 years situation either, but swift punishment. If a candidate is reluctant to punish wrong or twists justice you must think about whether or not they are the right candidates to carry out God’s plan.

 

Those are quick and not easily thought through but hopefully will get you started to thinking about your votes.

 

But let me make this clear, if a candidate does not uphold the outline of God’s purpose in scripture then you should not in good conscience vote for them.

 

Now as a person who has freedom to do so I cannot tell you whom you should vote for nor can I come into the booth with you.

 

Nor will even the best candidate of choice will be perfect in the areas mentioned, but you should take serious time to pray and think about who does what God has called them to do.

 

But secondly as participants…

 

2.      Responsible Socio-Political Action.

 

To be active in calls to your representative or to sign a petition or other kinds of non-violent or non-disrespectful action is a good thing.

 

We still live generally in a very conservative world and so when the conservative community of Christians rises up it is often heard.

 

Ill.: Remember it was just a few short years ago when many states had the issue of marriage on the docket to be voted on. Many Christians and Conservatives rose up and protested the redefining of marriage as something more than one man and one woman. They went out in mass the majority of states voted this redefining down.

 

It was not done violently or in a critical manner but in the end the views of the majority was understood.

 

Ill.: Groups like FOCUS ON THE FAMILY and THE FAMILY FOUNDATION who protest but in a peaceful and respectful manner are groups that are doing a good job exercising rights but doing so as God would want.

 

So protests are good and often helpful and your right but…

 

·         Critical attacks like that of what we hear often in the media are not good.

 

·         Extremism like bombing abortion clinics and other violent acts is wrong.

 

There are ways in which we can exercise our rights and be heard without harm or disrespect.

 

(PAUSE)

 

But understanding that I want you to know that the best way to change your world is not by political action on your part to change policy.

 

But by doing what God has ultimately called Christians to do. That is speaking the Gospel of JC.

 

Only through this will the world be altered. When more and more come to a saving knowledge of JC their whole mentality should change and thus we make an impact on the world.

 

·         You know as well as I do that JC did not come preaching social change, to stop Roman Slavery or Stop the Heavy Taxation of Caesar,  but a simple message, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

 

·         To us he also said, “Go into all the world and Preach the Gospel to everyone…making disciples of them.”

 

JC did not come for the political but for the spiritual that trumps all.

B/C when this world and its corrupt politicians, governments and strife is swallowed up all that will remain will be one thing…

 

·         Where will you spend eternity? With JC in Heaven or in eternal separation in hell?

 

That should be our focus and that should be our goal as Christians.

 

Not who are you going to vote for, will you sign this or that, but simply telling the Good News that the Savior has come to save them from the ultimate oppressor, “SIN.”

 

To fight any other fight can be distracting and futile and so I encourage you finally today to be focused as a Christian and that which matters most.

 

The Message of JC.

 

(PAUSE)

 

INV

 

PRAY

Advertisements

No Responses to “Christianity and Government: Responsibilites of Citizenship”

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: