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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:
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« Empathy & Sympathy A prayer for the Messiah's reign Affirmation and Inspiration »

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