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A Taboo Topic to Talk About - Politics and Religion - Romans 13:1-7

Every Saturday, Pastor Mike and Sherry write our congregation a letter of encouragement as well an introduction for the sermon topic he will preach the following morning.  Below you will find the letter from May 18th, 2024.  To watch this sermon, follow this link: Evidence of Faith. A sermon on a taboo topic: Politics and Religion. What does God say, and what does it mean to be in subjection to authority? Romans 13:1-7


A Taboo Topic?  Politics and Religion: What does God say, and what does it mean to be in subjection to authority?  A letter and Sermon on Romans 13:1-7

Week of May 19, 2024


Wonderful and gracious greeting to all. Our God is a Mighty God full of mercy and wonderful grace, grace so abundant and free. He is worthy of every song we can sing and every word we can speak. The brightness of the noonday sun is but a sparkler in the hands of the Almighty. His glory outshines a hundred million suns. HE IS WORTHY TO RECEIVE ALL HONOR ALL POWER AND ALL GLORY.


“The Lord Lives,, blessed be my rock; And may the God of my salvation be exalted,” (Psalm 18:46)


There is an old adage that says, “There are two things you should never talk about, religion and politics.” I suppose this letter and tomorrow’s message may not fit that advice. The truth is, as believers we are called to be good citizens. We are told to go as far as humanly possible (and then go beyond that) to honor those in authority over us. Paul plainly tells us, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God” (Romans 13:1-2). 


It is God who raises rulers up, and it is God who brings rulers down.  Just as he did with Nebuchadnezzar.

We are not only commanded to be in subjection to authority, but God even gives us the reason: “there is no authority except from God.” That’s right, authority is Divinely established. It was Augustine that said, “government is a necessary evil, that it is necessary because of evil within man’s heart.” In other words, even a bad and corrupt government is far better than no government at all because when the passions of man’s heart are turned loose with absolutely no restraint rampant evil and chaos is the result. Just a point of fact at this juncture; at the time Paul wrote these words he was subject to the authority in Rome under Emperors Nero and Caligula, (You don’t get much more corrupt, immoral, or openly vile as those two.)


In calling us to submit to earthly authorities, the Apostle shows that freedom in Christ does not mean that we can do whatever we want; rather, we are to honor those in authority over us as long as they do not require us to commit sin. In describing the state's duty to punish evil, Paul reveals that there is a place for justice on this side of heaven, but that there is an ordained structure for the punishment of evildoers. In other words, we do not find in Scripture an endorsement to “take matters into our own hands”.


To be subject to, or to submit to, is an act of the will whereby you volitionally, "Give yourself over to and place yourself under" another's authority; it is an act of obedient faith, but it does not amount to blind obedience.

Submitting to authorities does not extend to obeying them when they command us to do what God has forbidden or when they forbid us from doing what God has commanded. This qualification is implicit in the words Paul chooses. Paul says "be in subjection to,” not "obey without question." To be subject to, or to submit to, is an act of the will whereby you volitionally “give yourself over to and place your self under” another’s authority; it is an act of obedient faith, but it does not amount to blind obedience. There may be points at which the state's law conflicts with the law of God. On such occasions, the Lord's commands win. We can never forget that the power of human rulers is subject to a higher power. It’s contingent upon the absolute sovereignty of God. It is God who raises up rulers and it is God who bring rulers down, just as he did Nebuchadnezzar.


Well, I’ll close this now so I can get it sent. But before I do there are a couple of thank you’s I’d like to give. First to Jessica who is doing an amazing job as secretary. Her knowledge and initiative has begun to put us on the digital map, making it easier for people to find us and get connected - Thank you Jessica. Second, I’d like to share my love, gratitude, and support for the hard work our “pastor search” committee is doing. It is such a difficult job, and it carries a great deal of responsibility. They have been so supportive of me as we find a way to make the transition to retirement easier on me and most fruitful for the body. Please pray for them as they have taken on a great task looking for the individual God has to lead us further into the future. God bless you each and every one.

Well, I really am going to close now and get the “listening guide” sent. I pray I’ll see many of you tomorrow.


All our love, Mike and Sherry


"Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the Ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.  For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil.  Do you want to have no fear of authority?  Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.  But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil." Romans 13:2-4 NASB

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