Dr. Ed Young - Government Taxes and Neighbors
Romans 13, I think, is the 7-up Chapter of the Bible. You say, "That's kind of silly". Someone told me if you'll say silly things that'll be memorable, so all you can know, all I know about Roman 7, it's got 7-ups in it, and I want you to help me, it's raining today. It's cold today. Go through these 7-ups, so we're going to outline all the ups together. All right, this bunch over here in the end zone-in the end zone, this is going to be your "up". It is "look up". When I point over here, I want everybody to say "Look up". You're very important. It's the first point. Here we go! That was terrific! Terrific... be ready! All right!
The next one, I want to say it kind of fits here (all this bunch) I want you to say, "Pay up"! Oh, everybody didn't say it! Here we go! All right. All right. Now this bunch right here, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh! Straighten up! Heh, heh, heh, heh! You think it fits! Here we go! Man! Man... All right! All over here, we're gonna say, "Wake up"! Here we go! We woke up 2 or 3, see? It's working already! All right. Uh, light up. This really fits this group over here perfectly! Clean up! Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh! This group, "Dress up". You can't compete with me, but try. Here we go! Now! You've got the whole Book of Romans outlined. Here we go! We can go home! Heh, heh, heh!
First Verse. "Every person is to be in subjection to the government; for there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore", verse 2 "whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God, and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves". In other words, God has established government. Christians can live under totalitarian government; we can live under communism, and socialism. Any legitimate government, legitimate government; we are to live under that government, under the authority of that government as best we can. But some people just naturally dislike authority.
Have you noticed that? I read a couple of weeks about Percy Harvin of the-he played for the Seattle, you know, in the, in the Super Bowl? They traded Percy Harvin to the Jets. I said, "Why did they trade one of the most talented backs in all the National Football League? One of the highest paid"? Man, he, he is fabulous! Punts, kick-offs, running back, wide-receiver. He's got everything, but they traded him because he, they said he couldn't live under authority-the authority of the other players on the team; the authority of the coach; the authority of his own quarterback, and therefore, even though he was multi-talented, multi-gifted, I think he was an MVP of the last Super Bowl, if I'm not mistaken. He has all of this, but they had to get rid of him.
You see, talent is trumped by those who can't live under authority. And so, we are put under the authority of the government, and they are to superintend our lives. And this has been true in the Old Testament; it's true in the New Testament, and there's authori-say, "Well, the authority, what if it's evil"? We know that God's people and God's individuals lived under Cyrus. We lived under Nebuchadnezzar. We lived a lot of the pagan rulers and kings. God used them to discipline His people. So there is this subjection to government. Otherwise, there's anarchy. Otherwise, everybody does what's right in their own lives, which is the end of the Book of Judges. He says, "Therefore, it is necessary to be in subjected, subjection, submission, not only because of wrath. Judgment may come, but also for conscience sake".
Now, I've noticed something that, when I'm driving down the highway, if I see a patrolman or a policeman, I naturally slow down. Jo Beth doesn't, because she never breaks the speed limit! So he is saying that we should, in our lives, live inside the law of the land and be in subjection to those who are in authority over us, whether it's a mall cop, or whoever it is, as best we can. We do it because judgment comes-citation, tickets, etc... Also because of conscience sake. What about that word "conscience"? The word "conscience" is mentioned twenty-seven times in the New Testament, twenty time by Paul. You say, "Well, let your conscience be your guide". Uh-oh! Be careful with that one! Some of us have so trained and seared our conscience.
I had a friend who told me, I said, "Don't you have a conscience"? He said, "When I had my tonsils out, I had 'em take out my conscience at the same time". And so, but a conscience can be a good guide if we've cultivated that conscience with the principles of God Almighty, because the conscience deals with those of us who are in Christ. Make no mistake about it! Remember Edgar Allen Poe's little book, Tell-Tale Heart? Remember reading that when you were young? Tell-Tale Heart? Oh yeah. It's a story of a guy who murders another guy and chops him up and puts his body underneath the planks of his house. And, and he's sitting in a rocker over the area where he'd chopped up the body and the different body parts there, and the authorities come in, and they're looking and talking and they go over, and here's these policemen talking to themselves, and he's there over that body there underneath the planks of his house, and he hears this da-du! Da-du!
And he says, "My goodness! His heart is alive"! And he thought that heart was getting louder, "Da-du! Da-du"! and the authorities would hear it. Now of course, the heart was not beating. That was his conscience, the tell-tale heart, see? And so all of a sudden, the heart got louder and louder in his conscience, and he went and told. He said, "I did it! I did it! Heh-heh! I killed him"! He confessed! The tell-tale heart. Now you go to a counselor, and for a hundred bucks, if they're a secular counselor, they'll say, "Oh man, that's your church. You just feel guilt; you're all right. I'm okay, you're okay. Don't worry about it..." But see, if we're in Christ, we've got that tell-tale heart, don't we? That's our conscience. That's what David had.
Read Psalm 51. Read the penitential Psalms. He said he's confessing. Hey-adultery with Bathsheba-covering up, as he put her husband, Uriah on the front line, and, had him, and he was killed as well. And now he's covering up. But he had a tell-tale heart. You read about it in Psalms. He can't pray. He, he can't work. He's tear, he can't sleep, and he's restless! That's what happens to us when we're in Christ. We try to continue to live in sin. And when you're free, well, you're like my dog, Winston! My dog, Winston-man, he just sleeps all the time. He rolls over on his back. He's so trusting. He's just on his back, he just, he's not worried about a thing. Is that you? Is that me?
That's how we're to live in Christ. There's no tell-tale heart there. We keep a clean slate. We repent. We change our style. We get reprogrammed. We head in a different direction than we've been going with that renewed mind that He's building in us. And so we see, first of all, we have to... Perfect! I knew you had it. And also, we have to... Pay up! Oh me! Look what he says here. Oh, Paul's really getting trouble here. My, this is way... He says, Verse 6: "For this, because of this, you also pay taxes; for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them; tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor". We are to pay our taxes.
And then Paul tells us what we are not to do, and what we are to do under the auspices of Straighten up! He says, "How do we straighten up"? Look at the passage. He says in Verse 9: "For this, you shall not commit adultery. You shall not murder. You shall not steal. You shall not covet, and if there's any other commandment, it is summed up in the saying, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the Law".
Now, he's saying this is what you don't do-adultery. Murder. Covetous. Stealing. You see, that is what we do not do. That is four of the Ten Commandments, and it covers a broad prospective of immorality. He says, "Don't do this. Don't do this..." he said, "But this is what you do". He said, "You love, and this is under the banner of the law of love". Now love is so misused, and the government is not in the business of love; the government is in the business of justice. A lot of people-the government administers justice, and individual, we administer love. And by the way, you say, "Well, you don't need the law". It says, "Love is the fulfillment of the law". It doesn't say "...the end of the law" and there's a big difference.
Some people say, "Well, just love God and live the way you want to". Well, you better put, qualify that a little bit. You see, you can't have love without law, and you can't have law without love. Say, "Explain that..." You see, love is the fulfillment of the law. It's not the end of the law. Here is a river, and this is the river of love. On, on one bank of the river, you have discernment; on the other bank, you have law. You have truth. And love, to operate, has to be on the basis of discernment and of the law. In other words, I obey the law only without love. That is legalism. I have love without the law; that is sort of a capriciousness of life.
So love and law go together. They're not juxtaposed; they're not in opposition any more than justice and love is in opposition. It is the state administered justice, and individually, we're to exercise love, and we're all under the law of love. It doesn't mean that the judge who sentences someone doesn't account in his mind what would be merciful, and what would be love; but his primary responsibility is to administer justice under the law. This is how God says, Paul says we're to operate. And you get this basic principle in, why, how Jesus handled a very tough situation... The Herodians in the Bible-that's a political party. They just were loyal to Caesar, the Roman Empire. They were delighted to be controlled by Rome. They were Herodians. And the other extreme would be the Pharisees. They were super religious. They didn't like Caesar and his stuff.
And so, you have these two juxtaposed to one another there. But you see, they came together. Following Jesus' triumphal entry, they came together in order to trick Him, and some young Herodians and young Pharisees began to question Him, and they praised Him a little bit, and then they said, "By the way. Should we pay our taxes"? Whoah here... They thought, "We got Him now! If He says don't pay your taxes, He's revolting against Rome. If He says pay your taxes, man, He has infuriated the Jews. So what does He say"? He said, "You're all a bunch of hypocrites"! He said, "Anybody got a coin"? Said, "Look at that coin! Whose picture's on that coin"? They said, "Caesar"! "Oh, Caesar..." He said, "Well, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and what belongs to God, give that to Him".
What is He saying? He's saying that coin was minted by the Romans. Therefore, it is minted with Caesar's picture on it. He was saying you as a human being, you were minted by the Almighty God, and God's image is in you, in your free will. So here we have the most profound statement you can find as far as relationship between church and state; between us as individual Christians and the state in which we live, whatever state that might be. And you say: Well, are there exceptions to... Not straighten up, but there's an exception over here as far as when we do not stay under the yolk of government. First of all, in evangelism. We are to share our faith. Lot of you work in the market place. "Well, you can't wear the Cross. You can't share your faith". Nonsense!
This is where we draw the line, and we are in civil disobedience and say, "I am a Christian. I cannot hide that fact. I'm not obnoxious, but I bear my faith in the marketplace". We can't compromise evangelism. Also, we can't compromise morality. Just because it's legal according to the state, it doesn't mean that it's legal for us as members of God's family, and we see that practice all the way through history. On, and on, and on you see it. We see it especially in Nazi Germany. So many graphic illustrations.
Martin Niemoller, and I heard him speak when I was a little boy in my hometown. He had been in, in, in concentration camps. He, he had survived the Holocaust, and he said a pastor visited him. He was a pastor, and the pastor said, "Martin, what are you doing in prison? All you have to do is preach and leave out just three things-that's all Adolph Hitler asked us. Just don't talk about three things, and you'd get out of prison". And Martin looked at him. He said, "You ask me why I'm in prison? I'm asking you, Pastor, why you're not in prison"? Not in prison. And so there are areas of morality that we can't blink. Corrie Ten Boom was hiding Jews in her home as a Christian. Now, if you haven't seen The Hiding Place, an old, old, old movie, you need to see it. It's a classic.
Jeanette Cliff George, a member of our church in fact, and it, it's a classic. There's an illustration of someone who broke the law because he saw the law was immoral and was hiding the Jews in that context. The other area is civil disobedience. There's a time for civil disobedience. We see when the children of Israel left Egypt and Pharaoh, they rebelled against him. There was a movement of civil disobedience. Mahatma Gandhi, civil disobedience when India was taken out from the oppression and domination there of England, Great Britain. And in their own civil rights here in the United States, Martin Luther King was a passivist, but in the Name of Jesus Christ, became disobedient so there would be equality among the people and no prejudice and bias.
There is an example of civil disobedience. And operation refuge takes place. Those who have fought and protested against the now 55 million murders in the name of abortion and pro-choice, who are no longer with us-were killed in their mother's womb-civil disobedience. Operation rescue, trying to salvage children and salvage lives. You see, there is a place. We're under the authority of the government, but there are exceptions here in evangelism; exceptions here in morality; and exceptions here with prayer, careful disobedience. But other than that, we're under the authority. We're under the authority of the government. And therefore, we move on and we say first of all, we are... We're to wake up! That's the next passage.
Look at it here, and this is what Paul is instruct... See how practical this is, ladies and gentlemen? Verse 11: "Do this, knowing the time that is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed". Many people think it's referring to the Second Coming. I don't think so. I think he's simply saying to Christians there in Rome, "Wake up"! He's saying to us in the 21st Century, "You gotta wake up! It's later than you think"! See, a lot of people say, "Well, when my children leave, my wife and I, I'll begin to do this, or when this..." No, no, no, no, no, no. Now is the time. Now is the time we wake up. It's later than any of us can imagine.
I have a good friend. Wallace and I have a good friend. Jerry Vines-oh, what a great expositor of the Book. He's preached here in our pulpit. Uh, Jerry said when he was a teenage boy, his mother and dad were strict. He was brought up in a little community there in South Georgia. He said they were so strict, he said he remembers that when his mother said, "You can stay out til' midnight, 12:00," he thought that was wonderful. But he knew he couldn't get in one minute late. But he said he was out one night with the gang, and all of a sudden he looked up, and it was a little before 3:00 a.m. He said, "Phew"! He said, "I just flew back into my home". He said, "I go open the door, I was going up the old creakity steps in the house, hoping my mom wouldn't wake up, and all of a sudden", she says, "Jerry, is that you"? Said, "Yes ma'am". "Thank you for being home on time"! "Yyyes ma'am"!
And said about that time, that big grandfather clock struck three-Bong! Bong! Bong! He said, "I just stood there and put out nine more bongs... Bong! Bong! Bong"! It was later than his mother... He said, "My mom never found out about it". Said, "The reason you know that is, I'm still alive"! Heh, heh, heh! It's later than we think, ladies and gentlemen. Now is the time to... All right. Also, we need to... Light up! You're tired of walking in the twilight zone? You're tired of walking in the grays of life? It's so wonderful to walk out in-whewww! In the bright light. Christians, we're able to do that. Paul is saying: Don't stay in the darkness. Don't stay in the darkness, because in the darkness, we come and we need to... You gotta get cleaner... That's right! We clean up. And he tells us what we are to clean up, and it's a powerful, powerful thing. It says, "Let us behave properly as the day, not to carousing..." That's in darkness. "Not drunkenness..." That's in darkness.
"In sexual promiscuity, and in sensuality; not in strife and jealousy". We're to clean up our act. And not in strife, in sensu-the word "sensuality" there... Uh, it's a deadly word. It's the picture of somebody who's not ashamed any more. I'm just not ashamed. Heh! You know anybody like, "I don't care what they think! I'm gonna talk the way I wanna talk! I'm ehhhhhhhh! I ehhhhhhhh!"! Know anybody like that? They have lost any sense of shame. How deadly, and they create strife. They create division. They're negative. They're on to something. They're mad about something. They're upset about something, and Paul says simply we are to And then he says finally we are to... Dress up! Boy, it's a tremendous, tremendous one of these 7's here... He says, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and take no, make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lust".
The word "provision" there is one of those big, giant words in the Bible. It is the word, is a legal term for a loop hole. Heh! It says, Paul is saying don't leave a loop hole in your Christian life for the lust of the flesh to come out. Have you left any loop holes there? Is there anything that's-tho, those eboli, those doctors and nurses-they put on those whole outfits early on, but they said, "Ow, we'd better cover everything". Then they covered everything once or twice. You don't want to leave any loop holes in your mind, in your process, in your life because that gives an entrée for the flesh to come in. Are there any loop holes there?
See, we put on Jesus Christ. We're clothed with Jesus Christ. We're covered with Christ. That's how we're to live. That's how we are to walk. So we go through all of this teaching of the word, and we discover that we are, let's say it together... Look up to the authority of God. He's in charge. He's sovereign. He's working things out. We know He's there. And then we are to... Do what? We are to be under the government, and we pay our taxes. We don't like it. We disagree, but if we're honest and honorable, we give our Christian witness like that, and then we are to Straighten up. Absolutely! Paul said this is what you don't do... He lists four of the Ten Commandments.
He said, "This is what you do. You love". We just squander our love. We're lovers! We're lovers... That's how we handle that. And wake up. Boy, how we need to wake up. It's later than we think. We look around our world. We've talked about it as we study Romans, how America, the world needs to wake up so we can... Light up our lives! That's what Christ does. We see kids come through our, our youth program, and their eyes are so bright, and they get 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and then they begin to get with the wrong people, the wrong crowd. They read the wrong things, look at the wrong stuff on the Internet, and message to other people, and all of a sudden, we see something happens to them. Our youth people talk about it. Say, "Well how is Susan doing"? They said, "Well, you know, her eyes are not as bright as they used to be". You can spot it. It's obvious! The light goes out. It's dim. How important it is that we... Right. And finally, we're able to... Dress up in the armor of light, in the armor of the Lord Jesus Christ.