16th Sun. aft. Pentecost
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
September 15, 1996
WE FREQUENTLY QUESTION THE AUTHORITY OF GOVERNMENT IN OUR LIVES.
Christians are quick to acknowledge our subordinate position to God, even if actually submitting to Him is another matter!
There simply is no question about God's superiority.
His is the Creator and we are His creatures.
God is so vastly beyond us, we are truly constrained to recognize our need to submit to Him.
There is no question about God's trustworthiness.
His is holy: His decisions/judgments are beyond our questioning.
He is motivated by His great love for us and desires only the best for our lives.
He has demonstrated His kind intent toward us at the cross and has been consistently faithful throughout the ages.
Many of us, however, demonstrate a strong disdain for a submissive attitude toward the government.
Our government is often seen as unresponsive, uncaring, unlistening, corrupt, and self-protecting.
That sounds strangely like us human beings, doesn't it?
We frequently demand perfection from other people or the government without having that quality within us.
We do question the government's superiority:
We mistakenly believe that government is man's invention.
We're pretty certain that we could do a better job than they do, but frequently we won't run for office and, sadly, often do not vote.
We wonder about the sincerity of government that is, "...of the people, by the people, and for the people."
We've seen the inequities, we lived with the results of bad government decisions.
We seen the government make ungodly decisions and want to rebel against their authority.
WE ARE CALLED BY GOD TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE AUTHORITY HE HAS GIVEN THE GOVERNMENT.
Since we have spurned the direct governance of God, He has established government for our good.
The anarchy brought about by sin necessitated the establishment of an authoritative government to keep us from destroying ourselves.
The murder of Cain caused God's intervention of rules and order.
Israel's rejection of the judges, resulted in God's appointment of a king for the Jews.
God still appoints governments to keep order and bring blessings on humanity. (v. 1)
Any blessing God gives can be used properly or abused.
Bad government leaders are held accountable to God and He will judge them.
We are called to be obedient citizens because we love Christ, not because we fear the government.
Government is ordained by God so that life is ordered and protected.
Separation of church and state was never God's idea.
It is true that the more closely a government conforms itself to the will of God, the stronger that nation will be.
It is true also, that the farther away from the will of God, then the weaker and more corrupt that nation will be.
Our text intimately ties the authority given to government to seeking the welfare of our neighbor.
The purpose of godly government is to protect the welfare of the people.
The injunction to "love one another as you would have them love you.", serves as the foundation of good government.
Marriage: Somewhat regulated by the state, but as Christians we understand the more comprehensive protection granted by the Sixth Commandment.
Murder: Punishable by the state, but the Christian seeks the removal of hate from life.
Stealing: Is prohibited by the state, but the commandment against coveting what belongs to others speaks to causes and not merely results.
We have a need to continue to grow in our understanding of all human relationships, included our relationship to the government.
Just as God has much to teach us about marriage...
Just as God has much to teach us about parent/child relationships...
Just so does God have much to teach us about government/citizen relationships...Bible study is critical to such growth!
The loving authority of God is most clearly seen on the cross of Christ.
The cross deals with the most critical relationship of all: The relationship between our Creator and His creatures.
If this relationship is not right, neither will any other relationship be right! (Psalm 111:10)
It is from our relationship with God, through Christ, that all other relationships flow.
The foundation of this most basic of all relationships is love.
God's love for a lost and condemned human race.
God's love for us in the amazing grace of the cross.
Our love given in grateful response to His love...It is His godliness shining though His people that brings joy to every human relationship and institution.
Yes, all relationships can only be properly understood from the ground of God love. His design is one of God-given authority for the purpose of service to others, and willing submission to Him as we seek the good of our neighbor. Let us remember to give thanks to God for His gift of Himself, His gift of order and His good gift of government. In Jesus' name. Amen.
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