Scripture… 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. Rom. 13:1
Story… Acts 5:17-42 tells us about the early church in Jerusalem. Notice how Peter and church leaders in Jerusalem were put in jail for spreading the story of Jesus in their context. God sends an angel to get them out of jail and sends them to teach Jesus in the Temple, which they do. The local Jewish government continues to question, detain, and even beats them. But these Christians honor them as leaders, but understand that they have a greater obligation to submit to and honor Christ. Were these christians submissive or honoring to government? When should christians not honor or obey earthly authority?
Head… What should I know about God and the government?
Psalm 22:28 For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.
Deuteronomy 5:16“‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
Acts 5:29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!
1 Peter 2:13-17 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Heart… How should I feel about government’s role in my life?
Daniel 2:21 He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 13:3-4 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.
Hands… What responsibilities do I have to my earthly government?
Titus 3:1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,
Matthew 22:21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
Prayer… God we celebrate you in your unlimited authority, help us to have a posture of subjection for you are King of all. Lord help me to be a good godly contributing citizen on earth in concert with local, state and national authority, knowing that my ultimate citizenship is in heaven. Lord drive me to honor and pray for our leaders. Holy Spirit help me to discern when I/we should practice honorable civil disobedience when laws make me disobey you and make us unable to do what your Christ has commissioned us to do. Lord we pray for peace where we grow in favor with God and man like Jesus and can do the mission of spreading the message of the gospel everywhere.