Faithlife Sermons

Church vs. Government

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Three Institutions - “Spheres”

Family, Government, Church

Family = husband and wife, eventually children
Government = authority figure, citizens
Church = pastor, members
TRINITY = Father, Son, Holy Spirit
Each has clearly defined roles within each sphere
Each sphere is distinct, separate, and designed to have God’s authority integrated - problem when one oversteps into another

The Commands

Romans 13:1 (but we need to look at entire passage)

Romans 13:1 NASB95
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Many say we are to “obey” government and those in authority
Not the word here - hypotasso is the word
Ephesians 5:22 - command for wives relating to husbands, he is given authority over her - does this mean the same as “obey?”
The command is to “be in subjection to” - because God placed them there
To carry out part of His divine will
Q: Does our government know, and agree, that they have been placed there by God? We tend to know this better than they do. Based on Go’d Word, we understand more of how govt. should act than they do.
LOOK at verses 2-3
(for the believer) To resist this authority is to oppose God’s ordinance, bringing condemnation, because....(v.3)
Rulers are to be a cause for fear of evil
LOOK at verse 4
If you do what is evil, be afraid (and we define good and evil based on God’s ideals)
Abortion - good or evil? Does our government punish or reward it?
Immorality legalized in marriage - good or evil? Does our government punish or reward it?
Government is a minister of God - an AVENGER bringing wrath on one practicing evil - accountable to God
The clear assumption is that government is going to follow a moral code that mirrors God
All, even unbelievers, are ruled by this government, and Christians are to live as good citizens - even when secular rules apply (speed limits, contracts, etc.)
OK, but does this mean that since government is not following God, that we can lead anarchy and overthrow it?

The Context

Practice doing what is right (following God), and this is the bring the approval of secular society, and its leaders
We make for good citizens when we present a good testimony
Church in Rome was under Roman rule, not exactly the most comfortable situation for a believer

Comparisons

Where does “obey” come in?

Acts 5:29 NASB95
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.
peitharcheo - God IS the ultimate authority, ultimately
Ephesians 6:1 NASB95
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
hypokouo - obey, with clear assumption that parents are “in the Lord,” that they are doing their part following
Hebrews 13:17 NASB95
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
peitho and hypeikete - spiritual obedience, and a pastor must know boundaries, lead by example, and know that he is accountable to God
SUMMARY OF COMPARISON, Obey vs Submit:
When we are told to obey, the directive is toward God, as he is the ultimate authority
There is no gray area - we are to obey God
If we think it is not possible, we are deceived
When we are told to submit, we are to be subordinate to an authority under God, following God’s divine law, and that authority recognizes their position beneath God.
What if a pastor strays from following the Lord? Do you submit?
What if a husband strays from following the Lord? Do you submit?
What if a ruler strays from following the Lord? Do you submit?
A church member may find it impossible to comply with every demand of a pastor (the spiritual leader)
A wife may find it impossible to comply with every demand of her husband (the spiritual leader)
A citizen my find it impossible to comply with every demand of his government (the leader as established by God)

Application

BIG QUESTION: Is our government overstepping?

What if govt. outlawed homeschooling? I’d say they are intruding in the family
Govt. may say, fine, but you need a state diploma from an approved school - I then have to decide
What if church said show me your income taxes, I want to make sure you are giving enough? I’d say the church is intruding into the spiritual realm of family, and is overstepping
Church may stick with it, and then I have a choice, do I stay or not/

Is the government telling us not to meet, or telling us how we are “allowed to meet?”

Guidelines or rules?
We’ve already let God establish, HIS WORD, that we do not OBEY government, but rather submit to its authority as a minister of God

Is this a time when believers find it impossible to comply?

Is following society violating my higher allegiance and loyalty to God? If so, then I must act outside the law?
Is following society violating my higher allegiance and loyalty to God? If so, then I must act outside the law?
If the ruler is beyond its proper domain (established by God), then I’ll find it impossible to obey the ruler
If Christian conviction, based on Word, does not permit compliance, then the Christian will also accept the consequence of refusal to comply.
BUT...How are we to act
Be desirable, honorable
Not be cavalier
Not demonstrate poor testimony
Showing disrespect for those in authority (e.g. I use the title “Governor, President, etc.), regardless if whether or not I agree personally
Social media, even if personal, points to God, for people in and out of the church who know you
Display unity - Not quarrel among ourselves
Not all in the church will agree - this does not make anyone less of a Christian
PRAY for these leaders
To come to Christ! To follow Godly wisdom!
1 Timothy 2:1–2 NASB95
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
People do evil, because it is legal - unfortunately
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