WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THOSE IN AUTHORITY OVER US
INTRO: Let’s be honest, sometimes our identity gets wrapped up in the political arena. We stress about an upcoming election and its outcome. However, as Christ-followers, we need to remember that our identity is in who we are in Christ! Today, we’re going to look at what the Bible teaches us about government and how we are to treat those in authority over us.
I. God established the principle of human government, and they get their authority from Him (John 19:11; Romans 13).
> We belong to the kingdom of God; we do not belong to this earth.
- We can lose our identity when we identify with a political party because we lose it to politics.
- We need to realize that God established the principle of government.
- Government exists to protect us and to punish evildoers.
- It exists so that we have order.
- The government gets its authority from God.
- However, God does not agree with everyone in government.
II. God even uses evil governments to do His will (Jeremiah 25:8-9; Acts 4:27-28).
> Sometimes in our sinfulness, we deserve that which we tolerate.
- We say we didn’t vote for a particular person, but God will use evil people to judge us.
- God uses even evil people and governments.
- Christians are being martyred for following God.
- What is their prayer request?
- It is not “beam me up, Scottie.”
- They ask that they would remain strong under persecution.
- They ask for the strength to not renounce the Name of Jesus Christ.
- They pray that those who are persecuting them would come to Christ.
- In Acts, chapter four, the apostles Peter and John were arrested for preaching and healing in the name of Jesus.
- They ignored the order to stop preaching or even speaking the name of Jesus.
- As a church, we are not ashamed to proclaim the Word of God.
- We are not a club; this is a place where God’s Word is proclaimed.
III. We should pray for those who govern us (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
> It doesn’t matter who is in office; we need to pray for them.
- It is hard to hate someone for whom we are praying.
- We cannot imagine what it is like to be the President.
- Whether we like him or not, we need to pray for him and his office.
- Pray that he will have a spirit of humility.
- God commands us to pray for those in authority over us.
IV. We should honor and submit to those who govern us (Mark 12:17; Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-17).
> Jesus said to render unto Caesar that which belongs to him (Matthew 22:21).
- Pay your taxes; give what you owe as a good witness.
- Remember to also give to God what is His.
- “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God” (Romans 13:1).
- Live as servants of God; honor the emperor (the President).
> What is the exception?
- Do we blindly follow?
- We should disobey every law that contradicts the commands of God.
- If we are told we cannot say the Name of Jesus, we need to ignore that command.
- We do not disobey other laws, only the ones that are against God’s commands.
- We cannot fight against the authorities if we are arrested.
- If we take a biblical stand, there will come a day when we will be arrested.
- We do not fight against it; we follow Jesus’ example.
- We still operate in the love of Jesus.
- We will have an opportunity to witness to them.
- We must obey God rather than man.
- We need to know God’s Word so we will know what is required of us.
V. All human governments will eventually come to an end, and Jesus will reign forever (Isaiah 9:6; Revelation 19:11, 15-16).
> Jesus will reign; every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11).
- Everyone will recognize that Jesus is Lord over all.
- Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.”
- Revelation 19:11: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war.”
- He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
CONCLUSION: As Christ-followers, we are to live as good citizens of our nation because we are citizens of Jesus’ kingdom and represent Him here on earth. However, when government requires something contrary to God’s Word, we are to obey God. When we choose to break a law requiring us to disobey God's Word, we must also submit willingly to any punishment the law decrees. In doing so, we will honor our cause and show godly respect for the government that He instituted.