Romans #28 – Rebels with A Cause: Obey the Government?

One of the most popular and insightful passages to study in a time of increasing conversation around social disobedience and social justice, Pastor Mark preaches from Romans 13:1-7 on how Christians can discern a course of action when God and government collide.

Rebels with A Cause: Obey the Government? (Romans 13:1-7)

  • Romans 12 is about worshipping God with character – love, grace, forgiveness, peace, overcoming evil with good
  • That is emotionally & practically challenged with gov’t overreach & indoctrination

God Works Through Authority

Romans 13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

1.    God has all authority

2.    God’s authority is internal & external

3.    God’s authority is on a continuum from parental to civil

  • What authority are you in?
  • What authority are you under?

4.    Sin is rebellion against authority & the default of our flesh

5.    Sinners will not make a perfect system, & if one existed sinners would ruin it

6.    The state is “God’s servant”

  • Difference: Subject to/respectful of gov’t VS obeying 1 unjust law

China’s 1 child policy

7.    New is not always better – Jesus’ principle of 7 demons

    • Saddam Hussein deposed 2003 – 1 million Iraqi’s dead, Isis, terrorism
    • XN/s 2000 yrs then killed or fled – was 1.5 million, now 150,000

8.    When Christians are responsible citizens they enjoy greater freedom & influence

  • Joseph in Egypt
  • Nehemiah in Persia
  • Daniel in Babylon

Evil Won’t Stop Itself

Romans 13:Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

1. Civil authority exists to restrain vice

  • Sinners empowered by demons are capable of atrocity
  • Human life & flourishing matter to God

            If you remove laws & law enforcement people suffer severely

2. Church exists to promote virtue

  • We must model virtue if the culture is to have any virtue
  • God’s people should care about both civil laws for crimes & God’s laws for sins

3. Sword

  • Killing vs Murder – “thou shalt not kill” vs “thou shall not murder”
  • First = Cherub angel – Gen. 3

Capital Punishment

  • Discourages anarchy, reduces vengeance, stops worst evildoers

Just War

1. legitimate authority, 2. defensive not offensive, 3. noble cause, 4. proportional force, 5. soldiers not civilians targeted, 6. preserves more lives than it takes, 7. is a last resort

Jesus Paid His Taxes

Romans 13:Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

  1. Government does not create wealth, it takes wealth
  2. God’s tithe is more just than government taxes (10% for all)
  3. Taxes are used for good and evil
  4. Jesus parents paid their taxes (Luke 2 census for taxes)
  5. Jesus paid taxes “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s”

Civil Disobedience: When God & Government Collide

Defined as, “a public nonviolent, and conscientious act contrary to law, usually done with the intent to bring about a change in the policies or laws of government”

  • Wild conspiracy theories on right & left are inciting lie based fear/anger
  • Culture is trending against faith, family, & freedom
  • XN’s should thank God for freedom & use legal means to secure them


MLK won Nobel Peace Prize in 1955

Rosa Parks wouldn’t move to back Montgomery bus

1. Government commands you to do something God forbids

  • Rahab – prostitute, hid Hebrew spies of Joshua, Jesus genealogy
  • Hebrew Midwives told to kill male babies

-Named (not Pharaoh) Shiprah/beautiful & Puah/fragrant blossom

  • Joseph sleeping with Potiphar’s wife
  • Daniel’s friends bowing down – 300,000 bow down, 3 stand up
  • Christ & Christians – “Caesar is Lord”

2. Government forbids you to do something God commands

  • Daniel praying – 30 days forbidden, 3X day, open upper window
  • Apostles – Acts 5 “we must obey God rather than men”
  • Paul – killed by the state for preaching Gospel

13 Nuremburg Trials 1945-1949 – international war crimes

Final Sword Rev. 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and min righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has pa name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

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Mark Driscoll

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