Sermon Notes November 15, 2009 FBCam

God’s Purposes for Civil Government

Romans 13:1-7

Romans 13 is 0ne of the most TIMELY chapters in the Bible, for 21st Century America

WHAT did this mean for the CHRISTIANS in ROME who received this letter?

Rome as a picture of wealth and Success.

The GREATEST and ONLY Superpower!

They possessed a lavish culture built on fulfilling sensual pleasures.

The Gk. and Roman fertility goddesses were worshiped through temple prostitution.

Emperor worship.

Romans would leave unwanted children to die, exposed to the elements.

Historians tell us that “200,000 in Rome were on welfare and received “food stamps” from the government. (Augustus) provided entertainment for the poor to keep them occupied. Hence arose the idea of government provision of “bread and circuses” for the public. In this way, Augustus and his successors could endear themselves to the masses.” (Howard Vos, “Bible Manners and Customs,” 596)

Violence masqueraded as entertainment. This is seen in the predominance of the Roman system of entertainment which was held at GREEK AMPHITHEATERS and the ROMAN COLISEUM that were predominant in every major Roman city.

Today, we might say, “Thank Goodnes We are Not Like ROME!” But consider the following similarities between AMERICA and ROME:

Rome was arrogant in their power and thought they would NEVER be attacked. (Thank goodness we are not like Rome!)

Rome was filled with temples where every sexual indulgence could be fulfilled. (Thank goodness we are not like Rome!)

Rome loved to worship their emperors and thought that their LEADERS would fix everything. (Thank goodness we are not like Rome!)

Rome abandoned their unwanted children so that their lives would not be inconvienced, They said, “why allow a child to live, if she’s going to grow up unwanted or in poverty.” (Thank goodness we are not like Rome!)

By the time of Emperor Augustus, Rome was already a welfare state, with the unproductive living off of the accumulated wealth of previous hard working generation. (Thank goodness we are not like Rome!)

In Rome, you could be entertained in the coliseum by watching the gladiators fight to the death. People became addicted and cried out for more blood. (Thank goodness we are not like Rome!)

The BELIEVERS in Rome were living in a PAGAN SOCIETY.

Pagan’s ran the government

Persecution already existed. 8 years before writing ROMANS, Emperor Claudius “expelled from Rome Jews who were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus” (Mounce, NAC, quoting Suetonius (Private secretary to the emperor Hadrian) “Life of Claudius, 25.2)

5 years after Paul’s writing, Nero would blame the Christians for the fire that burned much of the city.

As we think about SUBMISSION to the government, where is America today?

Unemployment 10.2%

NJ is one of the 10 States closest to financial collapse, according to a Pew Center for the States report. 29% budget shortfall. (

Federal Budget deficit for October was 176.4 Billion

Total budget deficit is 1.42 trillion SO FAR for 2009

Our total PUBLIC DEBT = 11.9 trillion (

$39,000 per citizen

$110,000 per taxpayer (

37 million Americans on food stamps (12% of total population)

Gay marriage,

50 million abortions,

moral corruption,

political corruption,


“How should I respond to what’s going on in America?”

“Did the moral majority really accomplish anything?”

“Since America does not appear to be present in Scripture, are we living through the end of America?”

Christians in ROME were more fearful of their government than most of us today.


Principles for Living Sacrifices

1. SUBMISSION to earthly authority. Romans 13:1-2

“Everyone must submit himself” (NIV)

WE must submit to GOVERNMENT. (Titus 3:1)“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,”

We must submit within the family….WIVES to HUSBANDS (Colossians 3:18) ” Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”….ELDER to YOUNGER (1 Peter 5:5) “Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

The GOVERNMENT of Paul’s day was led by PAGANS

The REASON for submission. Rom 12:1b

God’s Authority. (V.1)”No authority except that which God has established”

God’s Servant. Repeated 2x in 13:4. NERO was Emperor!

Conscience. Romans 13:5

But our Allegiance is to God Alone!

Christians are to pay taxes! 13:6-7 (Matthew 17:24-27; Matthew 22:15-22… We can fulfill our spiritual duties by submitting to the earthly authority.)

God has instituted earthly authority for the purpose of order and human justice. LET THE PAGANS lead the PAGANS, so that CHRISTIANS can evangelize the world! 1 Timothy 2:2 Examples of this are seen in the following:

Paul traveled on ships beause there was a ROMAN NAVY guarding the Mediterrarian.

Paul traveled on ROADS built by the empire.

CHRISTIANS in CHINA spread the gospel. They eat rice grown on government farms.

Governments provide currency, police, armies, border control, laws and justice.

Submission to GOVERNMENT ENDS in any area where such submission conflicts with ALLEGIANCE TO GOD. Examples of this are:

PETER and JOHN (Acts 4:18-19; Acts 5:27-29

Hebrew midwives.

“Whenever laws are enacted which contradict God’s law, civil disobedience becomes a Christian duty” (John R Stott, “Romans,” 342)

When the city government tells a bus driver in Birmingham Alabama not to pick up black riders, DISOBEY.

When the hospital forces Drs and Nurses to perform abortions, DISOBEY.

When hate crimes legislation demands that we can’t preach against sexual perversion, DISOBEY.

Culture changes through the preaching of the gospel, not through political upheaval. (Matthew 10:34-39) “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law…

2. Purposes of Civil Government


Self Government (Proverbs 1:7) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Psalm 1

Family Government (Prov 22:6′; Ex. 20:12; Gen 1:28)

Church Government (Matt 16:18; Matt 28:19-20)

Civil Government (Romans 13:1-4; (Jeremiah 27:1-5) “…send word to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon through the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. …‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Tell this to your masters: With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please. (1 Kings 11:14) “Then the Lord raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom.”

Specific and Limited Responsiblities of Civil Government

a. The punishment of evil doers.

Enforcement of laws

Capital punishment

Protection of citizens from external enemies and internal sinners. Gen 9:6; Rom 13:2-3.

Just use of force

b. Orderly commerce and fair trade. (Leviticus 19:36) “Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt.” Government has a responsibility to enforce consistent measurement of money and weights. This is a protection from those who would take unfair advantage of others.

C. The well-being of society. 1 Peter 2:13-14; Acts 5:26-29. Government’s power is limited, it is confined to the areas which are designated in the Bible. When government steps beyond Biblical limits, it becomes repressive and hinders the citizens.

Duties not a responsibility of civil government

a. Care of the poor. 1 Tim 5:4; Lev. 19:9-10 Care of the poor rests first with the individual, then with the family. Finally, when the needs are beyond what can be provided for by the family., or when a person’s stand for Christ causes economic hardship, the church is to assist. See Acts 6:1-3; 1 Tim 5:1-6, 14-16.

B. Education. De. 6:6-7


We are living in a time of cultural change. Things will never be the way they were.


Be informed


Defend what is right

Leave a legacy for others to follow

In politics we hear a lot about HOPE. But HOPE is found in CHRIST, not in cultural and political change.

We should stand against the cultural changes promoted by the godless.

But the only way that their hearts will be changed is through the gospel.

Deliverance from prostitution

Deliverance from homosexuality

Deliverance from materialism

Deliverance from divorce

Deliverance from addiction