my sermon from last Sunday:
- Pray (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
- That we would be free to worship
- That we would be free to serve both God and man
- That all men, including our leaders, would be saved
- Submit (1 Peter 2:13-16)
- By obeying, putting yourself under control, subjecting yourself to
- By doing and encouraging the good
- By acting as free men
- By using your freedom for others’ good instead of your own
- It’s the will of God.
- To silence the ignorance of foolish men.
- Honor (1 Peter 2:17)
- Love the brotherhood.
- Honor the king, but fear God.
- i. “The honor is the recognition of the value of each man in his place as the creature of God.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)
How to Respond to the Election
- Pray for President Obama, Governor Christie, and all other elected officials and decision-makers more than you complain about them.
- Obey (in both attitude and action) all laws that do not contradict God’s commands.
- Do good to all men, and encourage all men to do good.
- Commit yourself to “speak evil ofno one” and “to avoid quarreling” about politics.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:1-4)
In his commentary on Romans 13:1, John Calvin writes that
There are indeed always some tumultuous spirits who believe that the kingdom of Christ cannot be sufficiently elevated, unless all earthly powers be abolished, and that they cannot enjoy the liberty given by him, except they shake off every yoke of human subjection. Continue reading How We Relate to Government
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:21-22)
A quick summary of the preceding context: a man asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life, Jesus told him to keep the commandments, and the man replied that he had kept all of them and asked what else he is lacking.
Jesus then tells him that if he wants to be perfect, he must sell everything he has and give it to the poor and then follow him. Whoa. Continue reading What Has Your Heart?
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:1-7)
In his pamphlet Common Sense, published in the midst of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine wrote that “government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.” I’m sure we can all think of examples that prove this to be true. We read of politicians using public buildings and funds to carry on extramarital affairs. We see local police departments using their authority to raise revenue rather than to keep the public safe. Our representatives pass laws that benefit powerful special interest groups but endanger freedom and fly in the face of biblical ideals. Our government gave $1.4 billion of aid last year to countries that own U.S. debt (basically we give free money to countries that lend it right back to us for interest). Continue reading Why We Submit to Government
“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:17-18, ESV)
The phrase that came to mind as I read this passage was “willful obedience”. For most of the verse, Jesus is making the point that his sacrificial death was completely voluntary. No one was forcing him to do it. He laid down his life by his own free will, insisting that he had the authority to do so. At the end of the passage, however, Jesus says that this was the “charge” he had received from the Father. The translation “charge” makes it seem as though it were just a responsibility he had, but the Greek word actually means commandment or order and was linked to the commandments in the Mosaic and Jewish law. How could Jesus lay down his life voluntarily when he was ordered to do so by God the Father? Continue reading Willful Obedience
As I read Exodus 34-36 today, it hit me that God wants three things from me. And it just so happens that as a 21st century American male, they are probably the 3 hardest things for me to give him: my unquestioned obedience, my undivided worship, and my unlimited offerings. Continue reading What It Means to Surrender