THOSE MADE RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH ARE GOOD CITZENS
Thesis: One who walks in the Spirit obeys God ordained government and treats his neighbor well.
I. CHRISTIANS MUST SUBMIT TO THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES (13:1-5).
A. There is no authority except that which God has established (1).
B. The authorities that exist have been established by God (1).
1. Consequently, he who revels against the authority of God ordained government is rebelling against what God has instituted (2).
2. Those who rebel will bring judgment on themselves (2).
3. Note: God has condoned rebellion against governments that contradict his instructions.
a. Moses (Exodus 7-16).
b. The conquest (Book of Joshua).
c. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3).
d. Daniel (Daniel 6).
e. Early Christians (Acts 5:27-29).
C. Rulers ordained by God hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong (3).
D. If you want to be free from fear of the one in authority, do what is right (3).
1. He will will commend those who do right (3).
2. He is God’s servant to do you good (4).
3. If you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain (4).
E. He is God’s servant, an agent of justice to bring punishment on the wrongdoer (4).
F. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities (5).
1. Submit to avoid punishment.
2. Submit for sonscience sake.
G. The qualities of governments authorized by God are clearly stated; therefore, would it not follow that any government not showing these qualities have no authority from God?
1. Such governments “hold no terror for those who do right” (3).
2. Such governments do hold terror “for those who do wrong” (3).
3. Under such governments, it is said, “do what is right and he will commend you” (3).
4. Of such government agents it is said, “He is God’s servant to do you good” (4)
5. Such governments are so good that they should be feared by those who do wrong (4).
6. Such government is an agent of justice (4).
7. Such government brings punishment upon the wrongdoer (4).
8. When governments contradict God, we must obey God rather than men (cf. Acts 5:27-29).
9. Since there is no authority except that which God establishes (v. 1), a government that contradicts God (is contrary to what he authorizes) has no authority.
II. CHRISTIANS SHOULD PAY TAXES (6-7).
A. Pay taxes because the authorities are God’s servants who give their full time to governing (6).
B. Give everyone what you owe him (7).
1. If you owe taxes, pay them.
2. If you owe revenue, pay revenue.
3. If you owe respect, show respect.
4. If you owe honor, give honor.
III. ALTHOUGH WE SHOULD LET NO DEBT REMAIN UNPAID, THERE IS ONE DEBT THAT WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO PAY IN FULL (8-10).
A. Since the law requires that we constantly show love for one another, he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law (8).
B. “Love your neighbor as yourself” sums up the folowing commandmants (9):
1. “Do not commit adultery.”
2. “Do not murder.”
3. “Do not steal.”
4. “Do not covet.”
5. “Whatever other commandment there may be.”
C. Love does no harm to its neighbor (10).
D. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law (10).
IV. THE HOUR HAS COME FOR CHRISTIANS TO WAKE UP FROM SLUMBER (11-14).
A. Do this understanding the present time (11).
B. Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed (11).
C. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here (12).
D. Let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light (12).
E. Let us behave decently, as in daytime (13).
1.Behave not in orgies and drunkenness.
2. Behave not in sexual immorality and debauchery.
3. Behave not in dissension and jealousy.
F. Rather, clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (14).
G. Do not think about how to gratify the desires of your sinful nature (14).
Conclusion: The Christian way of life makes one a good citizen in relation to his government and in relation to his neighbors.
© 2004, Dr. Wm. T. (Bill) Lambert
Professor Emeritus – NT Literature and Interpretation
College of Bible and Religion