In this lesson, we are going to look into the Bible and see what the Bible says about following the laws of our land. Our country is full of laws. Some are very good for us yet some are burdensome.
CONVICTIONS ABOUT THE LAW
1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing.
7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
The Bible expects us to submit to the ruling government authorities. No government can come to power unless God allows them to
Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
So if we rebel against the government then we are rebelling against God.
1 Peter 2:13-14
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority,
14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
Respect the government and the ministers who rule.
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,
Obey the laws.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--
2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
Pray for the rulers and authorities.
24 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"
25 "Yes, he does," he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes--from their own sons or from others?"
26 "From others," Peter answered. "Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him.
27 "But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."
Jesus too paid his tax even though he was the Son of God! What are some the laws we encounter on a daily basis? – Traffic rules like wearing helmet, not crossing the red light, having all your vehicle papers up to date, having a proper driving license etc. … Registering your marriage, paying your taxes on time etc.
What laws do you find difficult? Right now where are you defaulting?
GOD IS THE PRIORITY
We have to submit to the authorities but if the government causes us to denounce our faith then what do we do? What is our priority?
Where do we draw the line? The book of Acts deals repeatedly with the issue of the church’s relationship with the government.
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God.
20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."
Peter and John disobey government requests not to preach about Jesus.
17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy.
18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.
19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.
20 "Go, stand in the temple courts," he said, "and tell the people the full message of this new life."
21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin--the full assembly of the elders of Israel--and sent to the jail for the apostles.
22 But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported,
23 "We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside."
24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this.
25 Then someone came and said, "Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people."
26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.
An angel intervenes and helps the apostles to escape from the prison.
27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest.
28 "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood."
29 Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!
30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead--whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.
31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.
32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."
Peter and the apostles refuse to obey the Sanhedrin and insist on preaching
1 When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.
2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ, " he said.
4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.
5 But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.
6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: "These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here,
7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus."
8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.
9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.
Jason, Paul and Silas preach and were arrested.
Bad characters are hired to make them look bad (vs 5).
The situation is intense. Upon receiving bail they were released (vs. 9).
They then skipped town!
In conclusion: Only when your faith is attacked by the government should you not compromise. In such a situation God is the priority.
We should always make every effort to be above any fault and fully abide by the law.