Faithlife Sermons

Responsibilities of Christian Citizens

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We just celebrated Independence Day or July 4th. We live in the greatest nation ever but by no means are we perfect. We have a lot of good and some thing that need to be improved.
Good: hospitals, colleges, orphanages, Seminaries...
Bad:
People wonder about the relationship of patriotism and following Christ. Today I want us to look at what the Word of God says about Christian Citizenship. You can put people’s attitudes toward government participation in one of several categories.
First, Many people have dropped out of trying to be a good citizen. They don’t want anything to do with voting, government or any of it… They see being involved in government as being part of a social gospel, and quite frankly, many Christians have fallen for this.
Other’s have dropped out because they have given up hope. They feel like our country has gone too far towards sin to every come back so they drop out. They just hunker down and wait for Jesus to come back. They don’t believe anything will ever change the government so they drop out.
Then there are those who dropped out because they see politics and government as something wordly or dirty. They don’t want to contaminate themselves so they stay away. They may even look down on those in politics or who work for the government.
Then other Christians don’t want to get involved because they are intimidated. The ACLU and groups like them that make threats against Christians. They have been convinced that there is a separation between church and state. Forget that!
On the other hand, there are those who have jumped in with full force. These are those who believe they can use the government as a tool of the church to wage war against the lost and broken people in our culture. These are dangerous as well.
So where can we get perspective on citizenship and faith? From the WOG. We won’t get any answers from self serving politicians or the crazy media. We will only find the answers from the Word of God.
let’s look at Romans 13:1-7
Romans 13:1–7 NLT
1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. 6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.
Paul wrote this during a horrible government, the Roman Empire. He is saying that our government, and all the governments of the world have been put in place by God. God is the one who gives governments the authority they have… even when we have a president we like or don’t like… even when we have a parish president or a mayor… we don’t like. Paul had Nero. God has put them there.
Then he says that anyone who rebels against the government is rebelling against God. And they will be punished. Who punishes? Our police. They are put in place by God to enforce the decrees of the government.
Authorities and laws are put in place for our good. Police are put in place to enforce the law and they are needed.
Then he finishes this passage by telling us to pay our taxes.
Romans 13:1 NLT
1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.
Human government is ordained by the Lord. God sets up kings and brings them down. Even bad rulers are put there by God… I can’t explain it but they are.
Examples -
Nebuchadnezzar
Daniel 2:37 NLT
37 Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor.
Daniel told Neb that God had put him in place and would soon remove him.
Pharoah
Romans 9:17 NLT
17 For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.”
God told him I put you in and I will take you out.
Pilate
John 19:11 NLT
11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
All three of these are examples were bad guys, but God used them in mighty ways. Caesar was in power when Paul was writing this.
Why does God allow evil people to find places of authority? Well, we kind of get the government we deserve. Whatever kind of government is there it’s better than anarchy. It’s also better than most countries. my SA story about we will always be the USA.
So Paul tells us that if we resist authority, we resist God. Look at verse 2.
Romans 13:2 NLT
2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.

What are the reasons for human government?

1. God ordains government to restrain evil

Romans 13:3–4 NLT
3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.
How many times have I heard people say, You can’t legislate morality. Who has heard that? That’s true. There is not a law anywhere that can make you good… only God can make you good. You cannot legislate morality. You can only legislate against immorality.
Government is here to restrain evil.
There is not a law anywhere that can make you love me, so we make a law to keep you from killing me.
There is not a law on earth that will make you honest, so we legislate against stealing.
There is no law that can make you tell the truth, so we legislate against perjury.
There is no law you can pass that will get rid of prejudice and racism… you can legislate against treating people in the workforce and other places based on that, but to get rid of prejudice and racism will require a heart change that come not from protest or intimidation, but from the Lord changing people’s hearts.
You don’t legislate morality, you legislate against immorality.
Let me say a word about policeman. Policemen are the government’s arm to protect you and I. I am tired of hearing the media repeat the nonsense calling for defunding the police… for no one willing to stand up and say that not every police action is a bad one.
Someone wrote this years ago…
A policeman is many things—he is a son, a brother, a father, an uncle, and sometimes even a grandfather. He is a protector in time of need and a comforter in time of sorrow. His job calls for him to be a diplomat, a psychologist, a lawyer, a friend, and an inspiration. He suffers from an overdose of publicity about brutality and dishonesty. He suffers far more from the notoriety produced by unfounded charges. Too often, acts of heroism go unnoticed, and the truth is buried under all the criticism.
Kathy and I seeing the police help the black kids out of the street
The fact is that less than 1/2 of one percent of policemen ever discredit their uniform by doing something bad. That’s better than most clergy … or CEO’s or workers anywhere. Out of over 50,000,000 police -civilian interactions last year, app 1700 people were shot by police. That’s too many, but some of those were necessary. Police shootings account for 1.7% of the shooting deaths in America. We have to stop killing each other.
A policeman is a man or a woman just like you and I who is called on for extraordinary bravery. His job is boring until it is interrupted by something that may cause sheer terror. He is the man who will face down a crazed gunman, rescue a child, challenges a mob, risks his life more than any of you realize.
He/She deserves our thanks and our respect because he/she is who stands between the law abiding citizen and the law breaker. He is the reason your home is not burned down, your stuff is till in your house, your family isn’t abused, or your business looted.
Try to imagine what not having them around is like… Katrina… Seattle.
Next try to think of ways to make their job more rewarding. They need us to speak up in the community for them. Right here in our area, we have some fast food places with ignorant people working who are shorting our deputies of their meals… and possibly putting things in there food. How would you like to go to lunch tomorrow with the fear of something being wring with your food besides over or under cooked?
Let’s think of ways to thank them. I raised my children to know that if they got lost, they could find a policeman and he would help them… and they will.
Listen, the police, according to the WOG are ministers of God put here to restrain evil.
The second reason we have government is

2. God ordains government to encourage good.

Romans 13:3 NLT
3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you.
Do what is right and they will honor you. It can’t make us to do good, but it can reward us when we do.
Thats the reason for Government… to restrain evil and encourage good...

What are the requirements of Human government?

Romans 13:5–6 NLT
5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. 6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do.
We have responsibilities that over ride any other responsibility, but we do have a responsibility to human government.
Matthew 22:15–22 NLT
15 Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. 16 They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. 17 Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 18 But Jesus knew their evil motives. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? 19 Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, 20 he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” 22 His reply amazed them, and they went away.
This is a key passage as we figure out how we are to act as citizens of heaven and citizens of the USA. Jesus looked at the coin and said give to the government what is the government’s and give to God what is God’s.

Separation of Church and State

We hear a lot about the separation of church and state. That’s not in the constitution. Our founding fathers did not believe in the separation of God and government. It’s a good principle properly understood from the first amendment where is says. “Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
This doesn’t mean that we separate church and state. It means that the Congress cannot pass laws that establish a state church like most of Europe had at the time. It also means that the Congress cannot limit the church in doing what it does… The church is to be free to worship, teach and operate as it should… free from government limitations.
We have “In God We Trust” on Our money.
I believe it is the duty of all nations, as well as men, to own their dependence on the over ruling power of God… Abraham Lincoln
The declaration of Independence was also a statement of dependence upon God.
Congress opens in prayer. School children can’t but Congress does.
Ungodly people have tried and still try to separate God and government for years. They don’t want you to pray in public… don’t want you to hold political offices…
Here are five duties we have as Christians towards our government.

Five Duties as a Christian Citizen to Government

1. We are to pay for our government

Romans 13:6–7 NLT
6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.
Pay your taxes & fees. Income tax… property tax… sales tax… inventory tax… we even had a closet tax in NO once…
Jesus paid taxes… remember the story when he pulled the coin out of the mouth of the fish? Don’t you wish you could do that?
I am hoping for tax reductions… hope you are too. Raising taxes is never good. Our government doesn’t have a problem with having enough money, they have a problem of spending too much money.
The problem we have today is that a big chunk of Americans think they government should pay for them instead of them paying for the government.
A man from France once said,
France fell when people got the idea that the government was cow to be milked instead of a watchdog to be fed.
We are to pay for our government. Government doesn’t need unlimited amounts of money, but you cannot have government without taxes.

2. We are to pray for our government

If you don’t pray for your government… you lose the right to complain about your government.
1 Timothy 2:1–3 NLT
1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior,
We are to pray for our leaders… even the ones we don’t like. If they are a wicked person… pray all the more for them to be saved. God can change a ruler’s heart
Proverbs 21:1 NLT
1 The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases.
The greatest responsibility in America is not in the White House, but in the Church House. We are to pray for our leaders.
Joke - One time a man told a crooked politician that he was praying for him. The politician said that he was glad he was praying for those in authority. The man said that the Bible also said to pray for those who persecute…
We are to pray for our government.

3. We are to praise our government

Romans 13:7 NLT
7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.
We are to honor those in authority…
Patriotism is not bad. Being patriotic does not mean we think we don’t need to grow and improve as a nation.
Talk about I love America Day
There are people who don’t want you to wave a flag or love your country. When I love my country it doesn’t mean I don’t love other countries. I have been to several and love them, but this is my country where I live. Just because I love my family doesn’t mean I don’t care about yours…
Patriotism is not a bad thing. Honor those in authority I almost went to a book signing with Bill Clinton… why? because he is part of a small group of men called ex presidents… I would go to meet anyone of them.
1 Peter 2:17 NLT
17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.

4. We are to be a moral compass for our nation

We are to praise our country when it does right and preach to it when it does wrong. We cannot be silent. We do not identify with either political party.
Many people today think that Christians should shut up when it comes to public discourse. They think that we are supposed to go hide and be silent. NO, we are to come out of hiding and speak the truth of the Word of God. We must be free to tell both parties when they do wrong or right. We will be civil but we will not be silent. God wants everyone to repent and turn to him.
Nathan confronted David.
Elijah confronted Ahab
Eliazar confronted Jehoshaphat
Daniel confronted Nebuchadnezzar
Moses confronted Pharoah
John the Baptist confronted Herod
As long as we are murdering babies, we cannot be silent...
As long as we have poverty we cannot be silent or still.
As long as we have a government that has normalized sexual perversion, we cannot be silent.
As long as we are told we cannot pray we cannot be silent.
We must be a moral compass to our government.

5. We are to participate in our government.

What is Caesar today? It’s our government.
Our government is of the people, by the people and for the people and if you don’t participate in your government, you are not rendering to Caesar what is Caesars. For example. If you do not vote, you do not inform yourself, you have disobeyed the Lord.
It is inconceivable that God would have ordained government and then told His people to stay away from it.
We as Christians are to participate… not as members of a party, but for principle.
You may think that your one vote doesn’t count… it does. In 1645 one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control over all of England. In 1649 one vote executed Charles the III. In 1776 one vote gave America the English language instead of German. In 1845 one vote saved Andrew Jackson from impeachment. In 1876 one vote saved Rutherford B Hayes the presidency. In 1923 one vote gave Hitler the leadership of the Nazi party.
I might only be one vote, but I am one vote. I can’t do everything but I can do something. And what I can so I ought to do and I will do. I will pay for my government, pray for my government, praise my government, be a moral compass for my government, participate in my government .... and

6. We are to Persuade our Government

Our government is a republic… a representative rule by law. We don’t have to riot to get our way… we have elections. We have public opinion.
The only hope for America is not found in our government … the only hope for America is for followers of Jesus to change public opinion.
How do you change public opinion? Share the love of God in practical ways. Share the WOG. We can’t out argue people whose minds are set… whom the enemy of our soul has blinded their minds. The WOG given in a loving way will change their hearts and minds. They have to know Jesus. He will take it from there.
We are supposed to persuade people to follow Jesus.

What are the restraints of human government?

Romans 13:1 NLT
1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.
Government is important, but not as important as following Jesus. Government cannot command you to do something that God has told you not to do…
Submission is not the same as obedience. Our ultimate loyalty is to God. You will see as you read the Bible that all human government is limited. The apostles continue to preach when they were told they could not preach. The midwives spared Moses life when they were ordered to kill male children of Hebrew women. Daniel prayed when he was told he could not pray. Martin Niemoller was put into a Nazi concentration camp and ultimately killed but would not bow a knee to Hitler… He said his Fuhrer was Jesus.
All human authority is limited by God and we must obey God then human authority. We are to give to Caesar what is his. when a policeman gives you a lawful order, just do it and everything will be ok.
There is a limit to Governments authority
Conclusion
Our hope is not in the UN, the US Government, Our state government, our parish government… it’s in Jesus Christ.
In the early days of the church during the Roman Empire, the Romans would put 50,000 people in the Coliseum to watch Christians fight Gladiators and be killed. They would fill it up to watch Lions eat the Christians. It was an evil time, but under that Coliseum were something called catacombs… underground tunnels where Christians would meet to worship and pray. If you had been there as a news person, you would have said they has NO chance of surviving let alone changing the world.
Those people underground saying “Jesus is Lord” brought that whole thing down. They started a revival… a spiritual revolution that turned it around. They kept praying and sharing the Gospel until more and more Romans gave their lives to Christ and even the Roman Emperor became a Christian.
That’s where the power is… it’s not political influence we need… it’s the power of God that we need.
When we change Americans, we will change America then we will change the politics.
Prayer
Let’s pray for America right now. When you pray for America, you are praying for yourself, your family, your friends, your coworkers, your neighbors…
God Bless America. We deserve your judgement, but we ask for your mercy. Bring this nation back to you Lord. Lord let the things going on in our land, the virus, the protests, the pain of lost jobs and relationships bring us to our knees and back to you Lord. Lord we know that only you can change the hearts and minds of our nation… We need you Lord.
Salvation Prayer
If you are hearing my voice and you have not received Jesus Christ as your Savior… you have never experienced the refreshing forgiveness He gives when you turn your life to him, I want to give you a chance right now to receive him.
Just speak to him as I lead you in this prayer…
Dear God, I am a sinner and I deserve your judgement, but I need your mercy and grace. Jesus thank you for dying on a cross for my sins. Please forgive me and come into my heart Lord Jesus. Give me your power to live for you every single day… in Jesus name I pray.
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