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Taking Care of Business. 2. 10'12'08

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Taking Care of Business Part 2

Romans 13:1-7

Sunday October 12, 2008

How did work go for you this week? Any changes?

Work – a four letter word? Passion? Something to put up with? We look at our work differently than God does. He wants to change our perspective.

We: where we work; what we do; how much we are paid.

God: how we do our work.

Today: authority. How do we respond to it? One of the first things that we realize when we work is that there is someone there telling us what to do! Not when we love our boss, our government, but when things don’t go our way. When they make decisions that we just don’t get. When they don’t do what we want them to do!

The thing is, we will deal with authority our whole lives. Did you hear about the student who was tired of being “bossed around” by his teachers and his parents so said “I am going to go out on my own!” And, he joined the Marines / Navy?’

How many of you are smarter than your boss / your authority? That’s what I thought.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Romans 13:1-7

Anyone want to tear that page out of your Bible? Thought so. Context: letter was written to Roman Christians. The emperor at the time? Nero; ever hear of him? This letter was written before the persecution began, but it wasn’t far off. Not a perfect government!

1.  God expects me to submit to authority.  

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

“Everyone” just like last week “whatever you do”. It doesn’t say “everyone who has a great boss; everyone who gets to call their own shots” everyone, no wiggle room. Last week “whatever you do / now!” not when you get it the way that you want it.

God is the ultimate authority in this universe! When we work against the authority he has put in place, we work against God.

We all have authority over us.

Children – parents                   Workers – boss, supervisor

Citizens – government (Even if you own your own business)

So when they come up with an idea that you don’t like you have a choice; depending on your personality:

  • Grumble, complain.
  • Say you agree, but don’t follow thru.
  • Do it half-heartedly so when it flops you can say “Told you so!”
  • Say you’ll do it, but don’t. blow it off, ignore their idea; do your own thing. Rebel.

All of these responses are incorrect!

When working under authority we ask the wrong question. We think of “what”. “What are they asking me to do? What is their idea? It’s dumb, it won’t work, it isn’t the way I would do it!”

KEY: The issue is not “what am I asked to do? Do I agree with that, do I like that, do I feel like that, is it a good idea?”

The issue, in God’s eyes is: “Who is asking me to do it?” If it is an authority that I have placed in your life, you don’t have to like it, feel like it, agree with it – you obey the authorities I have placed in your life! Not the “what” but the “who”!

“Hold on! Nobody does that! Are you kidding me?” Christian: different, higher standard + the help of the Holy Spirit!

“for there is no authority except that which God has established.”   Caveat: if you are told to sin, don’t do it, as God’s authority trumps all other authority.

Authority is God’s gift to us. A world without authority is a world in utter chaos. It would be survival of the fittest, law of the jungle.

My positive response toward authority qualifies me to have authority!         God uses us where we are to prepare us for what is next! We need to learn how to respond well to the authority that is over us. Bless-able!

Pastor Bill, Paul are now senior pastors and they can expect God’s blessing for their attitude as associate pastors here in Oak Harbor! The authority of our church board is there to protect me. The authority of the AG is over me.

2.  God establishes and works through authority!  

“for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”  :1b-2 He said it twice, so we wouldn’t miss it!

God establishes AND works thru authority in our lives! Don’t miss this – it isn’t just “good” authority! The authority may not even realize or actively co-operate with God – but God is using them – maybe even your boss! If you were to ask them “are you being used by God?” they would say “No way!” But God is greater, and is able to use tools that are imperfect and even hostile to him.

They can be evil, unwilling, unaware – but God can and does use them. God is so wise – he can use pagan, ungodly authorities for his own glory!

Some Old Testament examples: In Egypt! The children of Israel: Where is God? Pharoah said “I’m right here!” God was building them into a nation, getting them ready for some of the greatest miracles in history! God used this evil nation and a wicked leader for his people at that time.

The cross! God allowed Roman soldiers, the Roman government to hold his Son down and nail him to a cross. God used their authority (no one else could crucify Jesus) to bring us the greatest gift in history!

That boss you have; that parent who didn’t treat you right; the government can rule against you and God can still use that in your life for good. God is wise enough to use anything in your life to shape you into the image that he wants you to bear!

God works thru authority, and we bail out too soon because we don’t know what he is up to! We go to work and we have a bad attitude, we cause trouble, we grumble and complain – and we are working against God! We can’t see what he is doing at the time, but he is at work. Which is bigger? What I can see with my eyes, my mind – or what God is up to? God can use wicked authority, ignorant authority, unfair authority – any type in our lives if we allow him to! We can’t see what he is up to at the time!

Again, not the what – the who! You are responsible to be under the authority of the government. “I am not going to pay my taxes because I don’t agree with how the government will spend my money.” You are so wrong! It is the authority that God has placed over us, not because we agree with everything they do.

But you don’t know my boss! You don’t know my supervisor, my authority, my situation! No, I don’t. But God can work thru any authority.

Parents have authority over their children (they may hate this message) – but parents are under authority too!

“Why should we give Rome money to build pagan temples? Why should we give Rome money to finance our own persecution? (Would come soon)” It wasn’t just that they didn’t want to pay taxes – a good chunk of their tax dollars were going for an ungodly project! Paul says: Pay your taxes; not because you agree with how the money is being spent, but because Rome asked for it. “But that’s not fair!” God says: the issue is not what they ask, but who is asking.

Now, we live in a democracy and we can work to get laws changed if we want to; and we should. But at the end of the day, we are citizens of this country, and we are to see our government as an authority that God has placed over our lives.

:7         In an election season. Honor! Respect! People who are running for office deserve our respect. We can disagree without being disrespectful! Not the “what” but the “who”! Namecalling, ugly comments, you don’t have to agree with their policies, but you do owe them honor and respect! That is your Christian duty.

If the person you don’t vote for wins the office – guess what? They are the servant of God that he has placed over you; whether you voted for them or not!

3.    Rebellion against authority is rebellion against God!

:4, :6, your authority is called “God’s servant”. Wait a second! Satan’s servant maybe, but not God’s! Your boss, your supervisor, your parent = God’s servant. Not because they are perfect, but because God can use them in your life.

Rebellion is a cultural virtue. Rock and roll.

:3-4  “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good.”

How do we react when we see a Hwy patrol man alongside the freeway with his radar gun out? “How fast am I going?” If you are doing the speed limit, you have nothing to worry about! Obey the law, and you have nothing to fear! If you are going to fast . . . “I hope he didn’t see me, hope I slowed down in time, hope he won’t pull me over – you have reason to be afraid of his authority!

God can use any authority in your life for his purposes! The person or government does not have to be godly, willing or even aware that they are being used by God!

God never blesses rebellion! You don’t know what God is up to in your life! The issue isn’t “what” but “who”. Easy to say, but not always easy to do.

Obeying the God-given authority over you gives you protection. It protects you from judgment.

We saw this demonstrated in the life of David as he submitted himself to King Saul and even though Saul was doing everything wrong and treating David so unjustly, was trying to kill him because of jealousy, still David honored Saul as “the Lord’s anointed.”

“So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.

8 Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of my spear; I won’t strike him twice.”

9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.” 1 Samuel 26:7-11

21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have erred greatly.”

22 “Here is the king’s spear,” David answered. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. 23 The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness. The Lord delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. 24 As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliver me from all trouble.”

25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, my son David; you will do great things and surely triumph.”

So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.” :21-25

When someone tells me what to do,

the issue is not what but who!

(thanks to Andy Stanley)

If the source is the authority that God has placed over me at this time, I must be very careful about my response! We don’t know what God is up to thru them! New perspective; no accidents with God!

“A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes

will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.” Pr. 29:1

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