Romans- Session 12- Citizenship- Session 12- Romans 13:1-14

Romans 13:1-14

Lesson Resources:

Video Summary

Romans Session 12

Romans Session 12 Handout

Romans Session 12 Powerpoint

Subject:  Citizenship

Central Theme:  Earthly Citizenship

Objective Sentence: You can live as a citizen of heaven with a proper earthly citizenship by being involved in three activities.

Keyword:  Activities

Activity #1- Submit to authority.  V.1-7.

Activity #2- Love your neighbor.  V.8-10.

Activity #3- Anticipate Christ’s return.  V.11-14.

 

Introduction:

Connection:

  • There have been some that have said that it is impolite to talk about two subjects in polite society: religion and politics.
  • I’ve always hated that saying because it is like saying that it is impolite to talk about things that impact your life now and the life hereafter.
  • In a sense it is like saying that it is impolite to talk about things that matter.
  • There are some who think that it is improper for us to mix religion and politics.
  • And there is a sense in which there needs to be a thoughtfulness to how these two arenas of life relate to each other.
  • If you don’t think that politics effects religion just google “satellite korea at night” and you’ll see the lights completely out in North Korea while South Korea is completely lit up.

Tension:

  • Yet at the same time we know that human government isn’t perfect.
  • No political party or country is perfect because humanity is sinful.
  • And our allegiance should be more to heaven than it is to earth.
  • Yet we live on earth.
  • We should be good citizens as that citizenship honors God.
  • How do we honor God with our citizenship?

You can live as a citizen of heaven with a proper earthly citizenship by being involved in three activities.

Activity #1- Submit to authority.  V.1-7.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  (2)  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  Romans 13:1-2

Explanation:

  • The child of God is sincerely and clearly a citizen of heaven first and foremost.
  • Our first allegiance is to the Lord.
  • There are some that would take that truth and make the claim that we have therefore no allegiance or responsibility to any governmental institution.
  • Paul has been predominantly speaking of how we relate to those inside the body of Christ in chapter 12.
  • In chapter 13 he begins to speak of the responsibility of the child of God to the “governing authorities” or human government.
  • Paul makes several observations about human government.
    • Human government has a delegated authority from God.  Any authority in the world has authority because God has allowed it and even appointed human government.
    • To resist governmental authority is to resist God’s authority.  God has instituted this authority in the world and we should obey this authority.  This does not mean that everything a government does is right.  There is a time for civil disobedience when the governing authorities compel us to disobey God.
    • Those who resist the authority that God has deligated to human government will “incur judgement”.  This means that even believers who disobey government will endure the consequences of that disobedience.

Application:

  • This is a particularly interesting subject to read and write about right now as I am writing this post while under the “stay at home” order of the state of Ohio.
  • To be honest, I’m not in love with the order.
  • But I know that to obey this order, at this time, is God’s will for my life as He has instituted this government over me and my house.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  (4)  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.   Romans 13:3-4

Explanation:

  • Have you ever been driving down the road at night and had flashing blue and red lights show up in your rearview mirror?
  • When that happened did your heart skip a beat in fear?  I know that it has happened to me.  Why did that happen?
  • It happened because we know that we don’t always perfectly abide by the speed limit and if there are flashing lights behind us then we may be getting a ticket.
  • If we see the flashing blue and red lights then there is a chance that I was breaking the traffic laws.
  • Now, if we had illegal materials in the car or a warrant out for our arrest, then the terror would be greater than the fear of getting a ticket.
  • If we were driving 5 miles under the speed limit, had not committed a crime, and was being very careful in how we were driving, then our anxiety would be much less.  Why?  Because I’m doing what is right.
  • God has instituted human government, not as a perfectly impartial and perfectly righteous institution immune from human corruption, but as an institution that, generally speaking, is a check on anarchy and mob rule.
  • Governments tend to reward things that keep order and punish things that disrupt law and order.
  • In that sense the ruler “beareth not the sword in vain.”
  • He has power and authority for a reason, and that reason is to “execute wrath upon him that doeth evil”.
  • If you do what is right and lawful “you will have praise of the same”.  You will have praise of the governing rulers for doing the right thing.

Application:

  • Paul is writing this to the Romans, and that says something to us.
  • The Roman government was not a Christian government.
  • Ultimately we know that the Roman government executed Paul himself.
  • Paul was not making a case that the government is always to be obeyed in every situation no matter what.
  • If the government puts itself at odds with our loyalty to God then our citizenship in heaven trumps our citizenship here on earth.
  • What Paul is saying is that even corrupt human governments are in authority by the soveignty and will of God.
  • We should obey the law.
  • We should submit to human authority and thank God for the right behavior that comes from sinful people (including ourselves) being scared of the consequences of evil works brought to bear by human government.

Activity #2- Love your neighbor.  V.8-10.

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  (9)  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  (10)  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  Rom 13:8-10

Explanation:

  • There are some who come to the conclusion that “owe no man any thing” is a prohibition against taking on any kind of debt.
    • There are good reasons to take a conservative position on debt.
    • Yet the Bible does not condemn investing in other passages of scripture.
    • The Bible does speak against taking advantage of the poor by charging outrageous interest rates.
  • In the context here it is my view that Paul is saying that we should pay our main debt to others that never goes away- that is the debt of love to others.
  • The focus is not on financial practice, but on the real obligation that we have to others to show them the love of Christ.
  • The love we show is the summation of the law as Christ said.  All of the ten commandments are repeated in the new testament except the sabbath day command.

Application:

  • To love God rightly we must love our neighbor as ourselves.
  • If we get the love of God right we will get the love of others right.
  • As we get love for others right we will keep the commands given in the law because “love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fullfilling of the law.”

 

Activity #3- Anticipate Christ’s return.  V.11-14.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  Romans 13:11

Explanation:

  • Loving our neighbor and fullfilling the law of Christ is critical and urgent!
  • Why?  Because the “church age” that we live in is a time of making disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • The salvation of the lost is of upmost importance and the time for salvation is today!  The scripture says in 2 Corinthians 6:2b:

“…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

  • Romans 13:11 compells us to “awake out of sleep”.
  • It is time to stop being indifferent to eternal things.  Every day that goes by is another day closer to realizing our salvation.
  • Why is this?  We are not promised tomorrow.  We could die at any point.

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  Jas_4:14

  • Christ’s coming could happen at any point.

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.  Rev 22:20

  • The New International Commentary on the New Testament stated it this way.

At the very close of the book is the confession that the answers to the problems of life do not lie in people’s ability to create a better world but in the return of the One whose sovereign power controls the course of human affairs. [“Christianity is not a faith which bids us look for a gradual upward march of man till he reaches an ideal state of civilisation” (Preston and Hanson, 145).] Redemptive history remains incomplete until Christ returns. It is for the final act in the great drama of redemption that the church waits with longing.

Application:

  • For the unbeliever there needs to be an awakening.  Stop sleeping when it comes to eternity!  Repent and call on the Lord for salvation.
  • For the believer there needs to be an awakening.  Everyone you know must make the decision to call on the name of the Lord.  Today is the day of salvation for everyone you know.
  • There should be an urgency about the eternal.

Response:

What does an urgent response to the fact that we could enter eternity at any time?

(12)  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  (13)  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  (14)  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.  Romans 13:12-14

Explanation:

  • The night is far spent.   The time where we will realize our redemption is drawing near.
  • We don’t know exactly when it will happen, but the truth is that for all of us it is imminent.
  • This is the “day” that the Holy Spirit is referring to in this passage.
  • Morning is coming.  Let’s get ready to act like it’s about to be day.
  • He gets very practical when he talks about two description of “walking honestly, as in the day”.
  • Live according to that “day” culture not this one.  There is a “day” culture that is coming.
    • Every action of man will be revealed.
    • Have you ever heard of someone doing something wrong “in the broad daylight”?  We say that because most of the time people try to do things they want to get away with at night time rather than the day time.
  • We are called to “walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkeness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”
  • Rioting and drunkeness speak of a party lifestyle and all of the sexual and unclean evil that goes with it.  Often the partying leads to the strife and envying.
  • Live like Christ We are called to live like Jesus.  Don’t make provision for the flesh.  Make it hard to do the wrong thing.

Application:

  • It’s so important to live rightly because of the day we live in.  Believers are called to share Christ with those around us.
  • Those without Christ must respond to Christ in repentance and salvation.  We don’t know how much time we have.
  • Therefore let us live with urgency and accountability, imitating Christ as our example and the source of our spiritual power.

Response:

  • How do you need to respond?  Is there a work of darkness that you need to drop?  Is there a person you need to share Christ with?

 

Conclusion:

You can live as a citizen of heaven with a proper earthly citizenship by being involved in three activities.

 

Activity #1- Submit to authority.  V.1-7.

Activity #2- Love your neighbor.  V.8-10.

Activity #3- Anticipate Christ’s return.  V.11-14.

 

 

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