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I Am Not Ashamed: Obeying God by Obeying Caesar

I Am Not Ashamed  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Believer owes his or her highest allegiance to Jesus Christ, but we must also give forebearence to the state in temporal areas of life.

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Theme: The Believer owes his or her highest allegiance to Jesus Christ, but we must also give forebearence to the state in temporal areas of life.
Theme: The Believer owes his or her highest allegiance to Jesus Christ, but we must also give forebearence to the state in temporal areas of life.
Date: 04/02/17 File name: Romans_2016_38.wpd ID Number:
Date: 04/02/17 File name: Romans_2016_38.wpd ID Number:
Our text for this morning is a significant text. The question is: How is the Christian supposed to respond to governmental authority, and especially toward governmental authority that seems at odds with our faith? What part of our life belongs to Caesar and what part of our life belongs to Christ? Let me share with you three observations: Our Debt, Our Dilemma, and The Demand.
Our text for this morning is a significant text. The question is: How is the Christian supposed to respond to governmental authority, and especially toward governmental authority that seems at odds with our faith? What part of our life belongs to Caesar and what part of our life belongs to Christ? Let me share with you three observations: Our Debt, Our Dilemma, and The Demand.

I. OUR DEBT: Christians Enjoy the Benefits of Civil Bureaucracy

1. most of us have—more than likely—complained about our taxes or our government or our politicians (or all of the above), as Americans have become increasingly more suspicious and skeptical about government in general
our politicians (or all of the above), as Americans have become increasingly more suspicious and skeptical about government in general
ILLUS. Americans simply do not trust their government. Whether it is the Pew Research Center, Gallup, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, or FOX, survey after survey reveals that only about 19% of U.S. citizens believe that they can “trust government in Washington to do what is right”. Fully 80% of Americans don’t trust the Federal government to do what is in the best interests of the nation. That’s astounding! Fifty years ago it was just the opposite. In the early sixties, 75% of Americans trusted the Federal government to make decisions that were right and good. Other than a couple of spikes in 1991 and 2001 American’s trust in their government has been steadily eroded ever since. As trust in the federal government declines, anger has risen. Currently, 30% of Americans say they are angry at the government. 37% of American say they actually fear the Federal government, and 54% consider the federal government a threat to individual liberty rather than a protector. 67% view the federal government as a special interest group that looks out primarily for its own interests.
Center, Gallup, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, or FOX, survey after survey reveals that only about 19% of U.S. citizens believe that they can “trust government in Washington to do what is right”. Fully 80% of Americans don’t trust the Federal government to do what is in the best interests of the nation. That’s astounding! Fifty years ago it was just the opposite. In the early sixties, 75% of Americans trusted the Federal government to make decisions that were right and good. Other than a couple of spikes in 1991 and 2001 American’s trust in their government has been steadily eroded ever since.
As trust in the federal government declines, anger has risen. Currently, 30% of Americans say they are angry at the government. 37% of American say they actually fear the Federal government, and 54% consider the federal government a threat to individual liberty rather than a protector. 67% view the federal government as a special interest group that looks out primarily for its own interests.
a. I would submit to you this morning that skepticism about government is, in many respects, part of our national DNA
respects, part of our national DNA
b. Americans seem to love hating the Federal government, and we have virtually since its inception
its inception
2. the good news is that our local and state governments inspire more faith than the federal government
federal government
ILLUS. 45% of Americans confess they are confident in their state government and 54 percent express confidence in their local government
percent express confidence in their local government
3. though we may sometimes complain about it, the multi-tiered bureaucracy of local, state and national government, provide our society with order and stability
local, state and national government, provide our society with order and stability
a. society needs structure or it will eventually digress into a state of anarchy
b. in order to guarantee order in society, God established civil government as a divinely ordained institution
divinely ordained institution
4. in His simple statement “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s,” Jesus lays down the believer’s basic relationship to the state
God the things that are God’s,” Jesus lays down the believer’s basic relationship to the state
a. from Jesus’ statement and the Apostle Paul’s instructions, we arrive at two fundamental principles
fundamental principles

A. FIRST, CIVIL AUTHORITY IS AN EXTENSION OF GOD’S AUTHORITY

A. FIRST, CIVIL AUTHORITY IS AN EXTENSION OF GOD’S AUTHORITY
1. this does not mean that the State is divine, but it does means that political authority at every level is established of God and we are to submit to it
every level is established of God and we are to submit to it
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (, NIV)
a. when you think about it, that statement has huge worldview ramifications for believers
believers
b. it has implications war and peace, for dictators and democrats, for concentration camps and city jails, for political activism and civil disobedience, for elections and lobbying, for voting, speed limits, stop signs, and taxes
camps and city jails, for political activism and civil disobedience, for elections and lobbying, for voting, speed limits, stop signs, and taxes
1) this is no small passage
2. it is by God’s will that Kings, and Presidents, and Prim Ministers, and Sheiks, Congresses, and Parliaments, Dumas, and City Councils are appointed for the purpose of maintaining order, encouraging well-doing, and punishing wrong-doing
Congresses, and Parliaments, Dumas, and City Councils are appointed for the purpose of maintaining order, encouraging well-doing, and punishing wrong-doing
“For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” (, NIV)
for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” (, NIV)
a. government is meant to be good and beneficial
1) it is not good for a culture when everyone does what is right in their own eyes
2) the only thing worse than bad government is no government
3. most of you have heard the old adage, “You can’t legislate morality”
a. that’s true—you cannot use laws to legislate morality
b. but we can legislate against immorality and evil
ILLUS. Think about it this way. There is no law that can make you honest, but there are laws that can deter you from stealing my stuff because of the penalties attached to doing so if you are caught. There is no law that can make you love me, but there are laws that can deter you from assaulting me or killing me, because if you do the state will require your imprisonment or even your life. There is no law that can make you say nice things about me, but there are laws that can punish you if you slander me.
are laws that can deter you from stealing my stuff because of the penalties attached to doing so if you are caught. There is no law that can make you love me, but there are laws that can deter you from assaulting me or killing me, because if you do the state will require your imprisonment or even your life. There is no law that can make you say nice things about me, but there are laws that can punish you if you slander me.
4. this world is made up of sinful people—most of them have no relationship with God so they are slaves to their sinful nature
they are slaves to their sinful nature
a. by default, human beings are selfish, egotistical, prideful, and arrogant, and when you throw all that together in a community, you are going to have crime
you throw all that together in a community, you are going to have crime
b. to that end the Apostle Paul writes in that the government “bears the sword” and he does not bear it for nothing
sword” and he does not bear it for nothing
5. this is one of the benefits of common grace — government becomes an instrument in the hands of God for restraining evil in our culture — and thus is an extension of God’s authority
the hands of God for restraining evil in our culture — and thus is an extension of God’s authority

B. SECOND, OBEDIENCE TO THE STATE CARRIES WITH IT RESPONSIBILITIES OF CITIZENSHIP

B. SECOND, OBEDIENCE TO THE STATE CARRIES WITH IT RESPONSIBILITIES OF
CITIZENSHIP
1. one of the responsibilities of being a citizen an earthly nation is obeying the laws of the land
1. one of the responsibilities of being a citizen an earthly nation is obeying the laws of
the land
a. Paul maintains that if we are disobedient to civil authority it is as though we are being disobedient to God Himself
being disobedient to God Himself
“Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (, NIV)
1) consider that the next time your running 15 mph over the posted speed limit
2. secondly, we ought to be involved in the political process
a. render unto Caesar Jesus said
1) the word render means payment of an incurred obligation
2) it’s about more than merely paying our taxes
b. good government—particularly in a Republic such as ours—demands that citizens be involved in the political process of the state
be involved in the political process of the state
ILLUS. James Garfield, our 20th President spoke to this issue: “Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. ... If the next centennial [1976] does not find us a great nation ... it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”
before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. ... If the next centennial [1976] does not find us a great nation ... it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”
3. thirdly, we are to model humility and respect for those in authority over us
“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” (, NIV)
a. this instruction is in stark contrast to the angry rhetoric we hear coming from professing believers on different sides of the political spectrum
professing believers on different sides of the political spectrum
ILLUS. I must be honest, I was not a fan of the previous Presidential administration. My worldview thoroughly clashed with the worldview of President Obama. Still, he was my President, and the Scriptures obligated me to pray for him, and all in authority over me, and I did, and I did so gladly. Those professing Christians, who have bought into the NotMyPresident# movement are being disobedient to the Scriptures.
My worldview thoroughly clashed with the worldview of President Obama. Still, he was my President, and the Scriptures obligated me to pray for him, and all in authority over me, and I did, and I did so gladly. Those professing Christians, who have bought into the NotMyPresident# movement are being disobedient to the Scriptures.
b. if there is one thing Christians must seek to offer to the world around us, it is a more loving way to address others when we feel strongly about a position in which we disagree
more loving way to address others when we feel strongly about a position in which we disagree
1) slander no one ... be peaceable and considerate ... always be gentle toward everyone ... what part of that do you not get?
everyone ... what part of that do you not get?
4. fourthly, we have the responsibility to pay taxes for the services provided by the State
“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (, NIV)
a. government bureaucracy—as inefficient as it often is—provides us many, many benefits
benefits
1) I like having fire and police protection
2) I like having decent roads and safe water and sewers
3) I like having courts and judges where—more times than not—justice is fairly dispensed
dispensed
4) I like having some of the very best state and national parks in the world
5) I like having our military protect us and provide security from foreign enemies
5. the fifth responsibility of the Christian citizen is to keep all those in authority in our prayers
prayers
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (, NIV)
a. remember, this instruction was written when Nero was emperor, and he was, shall we say, not overly friendly toward Christians
we say, not overly friendly toward Christians
1) I believe we are to pray for their salvation
2) I believe we are to pray for their wisdom, teachability, and sense of accountability
accountability
3) I believe that we are to pray for a peaceable spirit toward those with whom we disagree
disagree
4) I believe we are to pray, above all, for God's intervention and protection from human error in matters of the nation's life and destiny
human error in matters of the nation's life and destiny
b. the Apostle writes that we submit to the governing authorities out of reverence for God — not reverence for the ruler
God — not reverence for the ruler
1) God has stripped rules of their final authority — they are not God; God is God
6. The Debt: Christians Enjoy the Benefits of Civil Bureaucracy

II. OUR DILEMMA: Christians Are Citizens of a More Significant Kingdom

1. the early Christians emphasized that their true citizenship was not on earth but in heaven
heaven
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household,” (, NIV)
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (, NIV)
• “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (, NIV)
a. these are not reference to our future state, but our present condition
b. in Hebrews, the apostle Paul tells us that Abraham was a pilgrim of faith who understood that his citizenship in this world was only temporary
understood that his citizenship in this world was only temporary
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (, NIV)
inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (, NIV)

A. HERE’S THE DILEMMA: OUR TRUE CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN, BUT WE ARE ALSO RESIDENTS OF EARTHLY NATIONS

A. HERE’S THE DILEMMA: OUR TRUE CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN, BUT WE ARE ALSO RESIDENTS OF EARTHLY NATIONS

ALSO RESIDENTS OF EARTHLY NATIONS

1. the question is: How do believers function in a lost and pagan society that is frequently hostile to the believer’s agenda?
frequently hostile to the believer’s agenda?
ILLUS. What does the 6th grader do, when the principle says you can’t say grace over your lunch? That happened in St. Louis, MO. What does a Middle School student do when her teacher snatches her bible away from her, throws it in the trash and tells her that the bible is “hate speech” that might offend other students? That happened in Houston, TX. What does a social worker do when his superior orders him to remove any items expressing faith from his office cubicle? That happened in Red Bluff, CA. What does a university professor do when asked to resign because she exposed an honors class to the scientific flaws in Darwinian Evolution? What do Christian Chaplains in the U.S. Military do when they are told not to pray, “In Jesus name”? because it might be offensive?
your lunch? That happened in St. Louis, MO. What does a Middle School student do when her teacher snatches her bible away from her, throws it in the trash and tells her that the bible is “hate speech” that might offend other students? That happened in Houston, TX. What does a social worker do when his superior orders him to remove any items expressing faith from his office cubicle? That happened in Red Bluff, CA. What does a university professor do when asked to resign because she exposed an honors class to the scientific flaws in Darwinian Evolution? What do Christian Chaplains in the U.S. Military do when they are told not to pray, “In Jesus name”? because it might be offensive?
2. these are all very real questions
a. Jesus implies and Paul expressly said that we are to be subject to the governing authorities in our lives
authorities in our lives
1) but what do we do when those governing authorities would command us to deny or hide, or abandon our faith?
or hide, or abandon our faith?
b. Jesus himself warned us of the world’s hostility toward us and our faith
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” (, NIV)
c. the Apostle Paul tells us that we are on a collision course with this world
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (, NIV)
d. so ... How do believers function in a lost and pagan society that is frequently hostile to the believer’s agenda?
to the believer’s agenda?
3. the growing secularization of our culture makes it all the more important that professing Christians reaffirm their allegiance to God and the things of God
professing Christians reaffirm their allegiance to God and the things of God
a. secularization is the process by which a society becomes more and more distant from its Christian roots
from its Christian roots
1) in America we are living in a time of outright moral reversal
2) increasingly, America no longer depends upon Christian symbols, morals, principles, or practices
principles, or practices
4. that’s our dilemma

B. WHEN FACED WITH CONFLICTING CHOICES BETWEEN THE STATE AND THE SAVIOR WE SHOULD HAVE NO DILEMMA

B. WHEN FACED WITH CONFLICTING CHOICES BETWEEN THE STATE AND THE

SAVIOR WE SHOULD HAVE NO DILEMMA

1. the question of submission to government authority takes a twist when the State demands an allegiance that rightfully belongs to God
demands an allegiance that rightfully belongs to God
2. this is the trap that the Jewish religious leaders set for Jesus
“Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. 17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.” (, NIV)
a. in this passage we find the only direct teaching Jesus left us concerning the state
Mark 12:13–17 ESV
And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.
b. one commentator I read stated that Jesus was admitting that the State does have certain claims upon the people of God, but that we should not give it one iota more than it deserves
b. one commentator I read stated that Jesus was admitting that the State does have
certain claims upon the people of God, but that we should not give it one iota more than it deserves
3. sometimes the state asks too much and when it does we must deny them
a. throughout the Scriptures we find God’s people defying the authorities when the state demanded from God’s people only that which belongs to God
state demanded from God’s people only that which belongs to God
b. examples: Daniel, Esther, the Hebrew midwives, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Peter and John, Paul and Silas and countless martyrs through the centuries
Peter and John, Paul and Silas and countless martyrs through the centuries
ILLUS. There is a painting that hangs on the wall of the President’s office at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. It is the story of Baptists and religious liberty told in a painting by George Caleb Bingham entitled, “Major Dean in Jail.” The painting depicts the Rev. A. H. Dean, a Baptist preacher from Harrisonville, Missouri sitting in a jail cell in Independence. His Bible is open on his lap and he is reading. His face is content despite his surroundings. A crumpled newspaper, the Baptist Journal, lies on the floor nearby. Why is Rev. Dean in jail? That is the story.
Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. It is the story of Baptists and religious liberty told in a painting by George Caleb Bingham entitled, “Major Dean in Jail.” The painting depicts the Rev. A. H. Dean, a Baptist preacher from Harrisonville, Missouri sitting in a jail cell in Independence. His Bible is open on his lap and he is reading. His face is content despite his surroundings. A crumpled newspaper, the Baptist Journal, lies on the floor nearby. Why is Rev. Dean in jail? That is the story.
He is there for preaching — for carrying out his ministry, and the call of God. The back-story is this: The Civil War had just ended and some angry politicians here in Missouri had rammed through a constitutional convention, adopting an new constitution for Missouri that was eventually declared unconstitutional. But in that new constitution, it stated that no one could minister, or teach, or practice law, or hold an elective office, be a judge, or have any position of responsibility if that person had ever, “Aided or abetted anyone who was in sympathy with rebellion.” That included most Missouri Baptists.
Now, Rev. Dean had been a Major in the Union Army — a Yankee. Out of conviction, he proudly wore the colors of his country and wrapped himself in Union Blue and marched under the Stars and Stripes. But, he was a minister of the gospel and many people under his care and the sound of his preaching were Southern sympathizers. Many were the wives and children of deceased Confederate soldiers. Major Dean considered the gospel to be for all people regardless of their side in that bitter conflict which turned family members and townspeople and even church members against each other in this border state. And in his compassion, he prayed with his people, ministered to them, served them, and sometimes fed and sheltered them in hard times. When it came to the Gospel, he was color blind to Blue or Gray because of his higher loyalty to the crimson blood of Jesus Christ. When the state told him that he could not preach unless he swore the test oath to the new constitution, declaring that he had never aided a Southern sympathizer, he responded, 1) he could not swear the oath, and 2) he would not stop preaching. They called him disloyal to the Union. He showed them his uniform and his insignia as a Union Major. Sunday came. He preached, and he was arrested and thrown in jail.
George Caleb Bingham, the great Missouri artist, asked to visit him in jail and paint his portrait there. And thus we have the record of this Missouri Baptist minister who would not compromise his dearly held biblical commitment to Savior over the State.
4. there may come a time when we must obey God instead of the State and be willing to suffer the consequences for it
suffer the consequences for it

III. GOD’S DEMAND: Christians Owe More to God than Any Earthly Institution

1. what do we owe to Christ?
a. we owe Him the totality of our being
b. in fact, we have a debt to our Lord that can never be paid in full
2. we owe God everything because He created us and then redeemed us
a. just as the coin given to Jesus bore the image of Caesar, so our lives are to bear the image of our Savior
the image of our Savior
b. we bear the stamp of His likeness on our being
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (, NIV)
3. our first and primary allegiance, therefore, is to Christ and his gospel
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (, NIV)
a. Jesus warned against serving two masters, but he also acknowledged the two kingdoms of which we are citizens — Caesar’s and God’s — with duties and allegiance to both
kingdoms of which we are citizens — Caesar’s and God’s — with duties and allegiance to both
b. we must be vigilant and not allow that State to co-opt or compromise our faith
4. we will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's, but under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s — our conscience, our faith, our worship, and our primary allegiance
circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s — our conscience, our faith, our worship, and our primary allegiance
a. Jesus is Lord ... not the State
In the end, the very best way to keep America a great nation is to serve our God who is Great. At a 1983 lecture, Alexander Solzhenitsyn told his audience: “More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’”
In the end, the very best way to keep America a great nation is to serve our God who is Great. At a 1983 lecture, Alexander Solzhenitsyn told his audience: More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’”
“Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval ... But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’”
... But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the
ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’”
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