Sunday was Independence Day. What better day, we thought, to both (a) celebrate the blessings of God upon the United States & (b) reflect on the responsibilities that God has given to every one of His followers in their relationship to the government.
Our thesis for the day came from a comment Jesus made in Matthew 22:21. People were trying to thrust Jesus into the middle of a hot political topic of the day, & the relationship between faith & government, and Jesus responded this way — "Render
therefore to Caesar [the government] the things that are Caesar’s [the government's], and to God the things
that are God's."
In other words, Jesus recognized:
- The role of government — "the things that are Caesar's"
- The limitations of government — "the things that are God's"
- Our duties toward government — "Render therefore to Caesar"
Here are some bonus thoughts.
- WDJS (What Did Jesus Say?) — We kicked off the day with a quick survey of statements Jesus made to the politically-minded people of His day. Jesus was able to cut to the heart of so many people who either (1) supported the unjust Roman government strictly because of the political power they shared, or (2) wanted to overthrow the Roman government as the solution to all their moral & political ills. Jesus, on the other hand, pointed out:
- God grants all governmental power temporarily (John 19:11)
- God will retake all governmental power someday (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)
- Jesus' kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36)
- Jesus' kingdom was an internal, spiritual kingdom (Luke 17:21)
- WSWD (What Should We Do?) — We discovered 6 God-given responsibilities we have toward the government: 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1-2, Acts 4:17-19
- WVOM (Which Verse Offended More?) — I'm not sure which point offended people more.
- Giving Thanks — 1 Timothy 2:1-4 which tells us to thank God for our President and government for whatever safety, security, & freedom they do provide
- Giving Respect — Titus 3:1-2 which tells us not to speak evil of our governmental leaders (but it's OK to condemn their policies & practices all day!)
- Wrong Priorities — As I said yesterday, I encourage everyone to be passionate about politics. But the moment you become more passionate about the kingdoms of this world (i.e. politics) than the kingdom of God (i.e. Jesus, the Bible, & the souls of men), something is DESPERATELY wrong! You, my friend, have lost touch with God's heart & priorities.
- Other Resources — Here are some other
Here's some notes I received over the last day:
- From Isabelle —
message on "Faith and Government"
was GREAT! Something we ALL needed to
hear...Steve enjoyed your sermon from home on Sunday (he
was sick). Just wanted you to know he
particularly liked the part where you said that the IRS workers were God's
ministers. 🙂 As an IRS worker and me a
dental hygienist, we're both pretty unpopular. Maybe you could make mention of
hygienists as God's ministers in a future sermon? :)"
- From Claire —
"Appreciated the topic. God wants us to love our neighbors no matter
their party! 😉 I have always prayed for
our leaders and their decisions, but not thanked God for them."
- From Doug — "I am so proud to be a member of Grace…I am
growing everyday…In case I did not say it enough, [the services] were awesome
Next weekend is going to be really special. We're going GLOBAL as we devote the entire service to hearing from some of our members and missionary partners serving the Lord around the world. You don't want to miss it!