Friday, July 7, 2017

Christian Obligation to the State

Touchstone verse:  Luke 12:48 (much given = much required)
Past weeks = "Christian obligation" to spouse, family, neighbor

Today:  The Christian Obligation to the State
Rom. 13:1-7     1 Pet. 2:13-17 - the writers of these epistles were not naive as to what was coming in the way of regulations, persecutions, oppression, etc.  They lived in hard times.
We have been blessed here in the USA - BIG time - freedoms, monetary blessings, etc.

In that Scriptural view - the Christian obligation that comes with the blessings  (to the state) includes:

I.  Submit - yourselves to authorities.
Augustine (4th century) - "government is a necessary evil";  "government is necessary because of evil"

ie:  Government is necessary to 1) combat evil, and,  2)  to enforce good.
Therefore government was instituted by God FOR good!  Rom. 13:2  He knows man's need.

On one hand, the state is NOT Lord, therefore there IS a point of necessary Civil Disobedience.  (is a point where might have to say, will disobey the state in order to obey the Lord)
However, the weight of scripture stresses CIVIL OBEDIENCE!!  There are always, "yeah buts.." but most will not bear up under scripture.

Why??  1) fear of punishment - Rom. 13:4
             2)  for conscience' sake - Rom. 13:5 - IF Jesus is LORD, AND He says "obey", then we should OBEY!!  Com. Eph. 5:21  (out of "reverence") (because I've asked you to)

             3)  for the sake of Christian witness - 1 Pet. 2:13, 15
God's will = A) we be model citizens
                   B) that we advertise His grace by our behavior, our response to the state.
                  C)  for the sake of the Kingdom!!!

Therefore I - "Submit"

II.  Do What is Right.  Rom. 13:3  1 Pet. 2:14
*for the Christian, this is more than what's legal  (prescribed by law).  As Christians, we are to go beyond obedience.
Example:  Matt. 17:24-27 with Matt. 5:41 - so not to offend

For the Christian = 1)obey   2) go beyond obey  3) disobey only when absolutely necessary!!! 
State:  "do not injure your neighbor"
Christ:  "love your neighbor"           Matt. 5:43-48

III.  Pay your dues - Rom. 13:6-7
Compare  Matt. 22:17, 19-21 with Rom. 13:8 - go beyond the basic requirements

IV.  Pray for those in authority over you.  - whether they are in your political camp or not.
1 Tim. 2:1-3, 4
(question:  what if Christians prayed as much as complained???)

V.  Seek the good of the nation - compare Jer. 28:1, 4-7
Example:  Daniel served in a pagan land as an exile for 50+ years.

USA = democracy - therefore we have the privilege of "standing against".  Let's give equal time to "standing for" something as well.

Phil. 3:17-21 - focus = vs. 20 - our citizenship is in heaven!!  The increases our obligation to the state!!

We must decide if we will obey self or obey Scripture.
Now, vs. 20 with Phil. 4:1

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