LESSON 11 13/11/2016
CHRISTIAN RELATIONSHIP WITH THE GOVERNMENT
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 33, 35
Devotional Reading: Rom. 13:1-7
Topic For Adults: Your Duty To The Government
Topic For Youths: Don’t Resist Authorities
Topic For Intermediates: Respect The Law
Scripture Lesson: Rom. 13:1-7; Mk. 12:16-17; 1 Tim. 2:1-4; 1 Pet. 2:13-14
Memory Verse: Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authorities except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God (Rom. 13:1) NKJV.
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Pray For Your Leaders
1 Tim. 2:1-4
The Bible enjoins Christians to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). This is to say that we should be praying continuously until something happens. We are not praying alone for ourselves, church, and family, members but we should pray for “kings and those in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:2). The responsibility of praying for our country should be taken serious. John Knox pray for Scotland in his time and his Country was transformed, we can do same thing for our country and Christ will reign in every nooks and cranny of our nation.
Point of Emphasis: Pray for kings and those in authority.
Prayer Point: I will not fail God in playing my responsibility of praying for the kings and those in authority in the name of Jesus.
Christians are in the world but not of the world and as such, they are admonished to respect the government of their temporary abode which by extension is the will of God also a way to show the world where they are temporary residents and sojourners how orderly their permanent abode in heaven is. This lesson is timely because of the many dirty reports emanating from the polity and the supposed leaders which continue to leave so many despondent and disappointed with no reason to follow or respect such institutions. This reminds of a conversation that once ensued between a father and his son, “My boy,” said a father to his son, “treat everybody with politeness, even those who are rude to you; remember, you show courtesy to others, not because they are gentlemen, but because you are one”. The word of God is still our standard, irrespective of the prevailing situation; there is never a good reason for doing a bad thing.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: BE SUBJECT TO THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES (ROM. 13:1-6)
This epistle of Paul was believed to have been written in 58AD, some four or five years after the edict of the Emperor Claudius which banished the Jews from Rome. The Apostle discusses the subject of the duty which Christians owe to civil government; a subject which is extremely important, and at the same time exceedingly difficult. There is no doubt that he had express reference to the peculiar situation of the Christians at Rome and more importantly by extension to all the Christians the world over. There seems to be a picture that looked like a republic amid other republic; Christians profess supreme allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord; He is the Lawgiver, the Sovereign, the Judge. It became, therefore, a question of great importance and difficulty, what kind of allegiance should be rendered to earthly authorities.
Both the Jews claiming to be special people who should have supreme rule everywhere and the Christians under the notion of being God’s peculiar people might be infected with the unruly and rebellious sentiments of insubordination to any rulership that is not Divine. This act grounded on native restlessness would have in several instances given a cause of suspicion to the Roman government who in turn would be glad to expel persons considered dangerous to the peace and security of the state.
The apostle had to come in to show the Christians that despite their honours and privileges as children of God, they are bound by the strongest obligations to be subject to the civil governing authorities for the following reasons:
First, there is no authority except from God, He is the Owner and origin of all powers, and the supreme Governor of the universe. Second, He delegates authority to whomsoever He wills; and though in many cases the governor himself may not be of God, i.e. may not be a Christian, yet civil government is of God; for without a government there could be no society, no security, no private property; all would be confusion and anarchy, and the habitable world would soon become disorderly and eventually uninhabited.
PART 2: THE CHRISTIAN AND DUES TO THE GOVERNMENT (ROM. 13:6-7; MK. 12:16-17)
The due the Apostles enjoins us to pay to the government as God’s minister includes taxes, customs, fear and honour. He appeals to our conscience as Christians and not only because of the repercussion that might follow, but most importantly because of how we are called and the high standard we are to set for the people of the world. The motive for civil obedience should come not only from a desire to avoid God’s wrath or that of the state but also the conscience that is instructed by divine revelation. The task of the government is divinely ordained and it requires financial support. The Christian is duty bound to pay his dues to the state because as a beneficiary of it, he owes it some payment in return.
Be rigidly just at the discharge of your dues; withhold not from the state, what the laws of God and your country require you to pay. Tribute to whom tribute; this word probably means such taxes as were levied on persons and estates. Custom to whom custom; this word probably means such duties as were laid upon goods, merchandise etc, on important and exports; what we commonly call custom. Treat all official characters with respect, and be obedient to your superiors.
Honour to whom honour. Never behave rudely to any person; but behave respectfully to men in authority: if you cannot even respect the man, for an important office may be filled by an unworthy person, respect the office, and the man on account of his office.
PART 3: THE CHURCH AND CIVIL GOVERNMENT (1 TIM. 2:1-4; 1 PET. 2:13-14)
The Church’s sphere of authority relates to the civil government at the level of morality. The church has the responsibility to comment on the morality of the governments and their policies on the basis of God’s word, but should not appropriate to itself the power to set such policies. The church should be the reference point and guide for the government when sensitive issues are to be considered, hence should steer clear and not rubbish itself. Every compromise the Christian or the church gets involved with make the same lose voice when it really matters. All God wants from us is to contact without contamination. We need to win the world over to the Lord Jesus, we need to influence our world but we must not let the world because of any reason turn the table against us.
Also Christians are to urge governments to fulfill their proper role. They are to pray for the government to be successful so that we can all live peaceably in all godliness and reverence, Christians are to obey and yet watch over civil governments, though sounds complex, to watch over and yet obey; by reminding the rulers that God ordained them to rule, protect and to keep order.
The subject of the duty which Christians owe to civil government; a subject which is extremely important, and at the same time exceedingly difficult is being considered today. There is no doubt that the Apostle Paul had express reference to the peculiar situation of the Christians at Rome; but the subject was of so much importance that he gave it a general bearing as Christianity is to extend to the uttermost part of the age as Jesus prophesied. Summarily, Christians are to submit to authorities and people in position of power. They are to respect the constitution, obey the law, pay their dues and above all, live as Ambassadors of Jesus who endured the cross and despised the shame for the joy that was set before Him. However, Christians are to take a stand when the laws interfere with the right of conscience; when they are commanded the worship of idols, or any moral wrong, then it is their duty to refuse submission.
- Why did Paul ask Christians to obey the state i.e. Government?
- Those who resist “The power are said to be what in Romans 13:2?
- Name the dues you are supposed to pay to the government. Do you have any justification for not paying any of them?
- A man or woman who finds himself or herself disrespecting official character will soon find himself or herself doing what?
5. Mention some of the duties Christians are to perform for the Government.