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The Christian and Civil Government (part 2)

Romans 13:1-7, Deuteronomy 17:14-18:5, Andrew Love, November 26, 2017

Sermon Notes:


  • A very practical part of Scripture
  • Last week we looked at v1-5
    • All are to be subject to the governing authorities (v1)
    • Those who resist the authority resist God (v2)
    • Government is there to promote law and punish crime (v3)
    • Government is there as God's minster for good (v4)
    • Be subject for conscience sake (v5)
  • This evening looking at v6-7
    • Paying Taxes
    • Giving honour to whom honour is due
  • Paying Taxes:
    • Often large companies try to avoid paying tax
    • To do with the love of money
    • Taxes are for our benefit
  • The spirit towards those who are over us:
    • Fear and honour
    • We should criticise politicians were appropriate, but be respectful to those in authority
  • Reading: v6-7
  • Overview:
    • Background details
    • Old Testament passages
    • Jesus' teachings

Background Details

  • The Israelites 'tax'
    • The Israelites were required to pay a tenth of their produce to the Priests and Levites
      • To support the religious system
      • To support the judicial system
    • They are to give a tenth to maintain the three main festivals
    • To give 20% overall
    • To also pay a temple tax of half a shekel (Ex 30)
    • Other taxes: e.g. those with fields
    • Some were paying up to 25%
  • In the Old Testament there was no separation between government and religion
  • In the New Testament the church was ruled over by the Romans
    • The Romans had a 'poll tax'
    • There was an income tax, a wagon tax, a bridge tax, customs taxes, etc
  • The Jewish people were in revolt - they could not pay two sets of taxes (under the Old Testament and to the Romans)
    • The Romans slaughtered over a million Jews because of this
  • What about the new Christians?
    • Paul gives advice

Old Testament Passages

  • Let us see God's view
  • Deut 17:14-20 - God's teaching on a king:
    • He was to be a just man
    • He was not there to get rich
    • He was there to be a blessing to the people
  • 1 Sam 8
    • Israel ask for a king (though it is not God's plan)
    • They got what they deserved
      • Is that what happens in society today?
        • Good rulers vs bad rulers
      • Saul was not a good king
    • The kings would take a tenth of the lands (and the people)
      • They often put a heavy burden on people
      • Not once are the people not called to pay their dues
  • Taxes are for the good of the people
    • Think of Joseph
    • Tax avoidance may not be illegal but is immoral
    • We do get benefits from the government (e.g. Credits and gift aid)

Jesus' Teachings

  • Matt 22:17-21
    • Famous words, found also Mark 12:13-17 and Luke 20:20-26
    • The Herodians sought to trap Him
  • Scholars think this refers to the poll tax
    • The word render (v21) means return to Caesar what he has given to them
      • Examples
    • But to God the things that belong to God
      • Not to obey evil
      • Not to stop preaching the gospel
  • We ought to pay taxes as it is a command given by Jesus Christ
    • It is reinforced by the Apostle Paul
    • Example of Aberystwyth man
    • Brazil is known as a corrupt government
      • Examples
    • There are circumstances where it is impossible to pay tax, but the principle remains
  • We should be thankful for the benefits of our taxes:
    • Education, health, roads & transport
  • Rom 13:6-7
    • Do we give honour where we can?
    • Do we give thanks for our Queen?
    • There is a place for righteous anger - we should still pray
    • 1 Tim 2:1-3 - if we want to honour them we shall pray for them
  • Matt 17:24-27
    • Jesus and His disciples were no longer under the Old Testament model of taxes
      • He was the Master of the house
      • He was the Master of the sons of Abraham
    • Jesus said to pay taxes
  • Examples of Anabaptists, Menanites - it is not for us to say where our money goes
    • Christians do not always give good examples
    • We withhold money because of our love of it
    • Why do we not pay back our debts?
      • The only debt we should have is the debt of love
    • Where is our heart?

About Andrew Love: Pastor at Tabor Church

Sermon Passage:

Romans 13:1-7

1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3For 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: 4For 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. 5Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. (KJV)

Deuteronomy 17:14-18:5

14When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; 15Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. 16But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. 17Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel. 18:1 The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance. 2Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them. 3And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. 4The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him. 5For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever. (KJV)

Other sermons:
Earlier: Same day: Later:
« Empathy & Sympathy A prayer for the Messiah's reign Affirmation and Inspiration »

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