Stay In Your Lane
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Lesson One - Government
Noble Baird

As we begin our new series on God’s authority, we are going to begin with our government. However, before we begin, let us remember first and foremost who we are - followers of Jesus Christ. Therefore, as we get into some potentially political discussions, let us remember that we are all in this together and as Paul reminds us in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are one in Jesus Christ, yes we have differing opinions and that is okay and I am thankful we do! Yet, the most important thing to remember at the end of the day is the truth that we are all in this together and we are on the same team, Jesus’ team!
January 20, 2009, is a day I will never forget. I was a junior in high school and had the privilege to go on a junior-senior trip to Washington D.C. That morning, all of us students and teachers left the hotel at 4:00 am! Looking back now, waking up at 4 is not as difficult as it was then. Yet, as we all woke up and gathered our necessities for the day, we left the hotel and headed for the subway. When we were about a mile out from the Washington Monument and the Capitol, all the subway trains were shut down and we had to walk to get to the National Mall. As we were walking down the street, I was amazed to see military personal, hummers, and even a tank on the streets to patrol and contain traffic. Once we finally arrived at the National Mall, as a group we were about halfway between the Washington Monument and the Capital building. For the next several hours we waited and tried to keep warm, as history was about to be made before our eyes. Before long, the soon-to-be 44th President of the United States was sworn in on the stage.

1. Do you have a moment in our history as a country that you lived through and have not forgotten?


2. Who is a President that you admire?


For me, there is a bit of irony as I write this study guide. At the moment, I am sitting in the gym of our Holly location, as we are handing out food and resources for those in need, while we are in week two of the CoVid-19 lockdown! Yet, seeing Barack Obama inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States was truly a privilege for me. Sure, I may not have agreed with all that he said or the decisions he made; regardless he was our President and that deserves respect.

As we open to the book of Romans, Paul does a fantastic job of communicating the mind-set and giving understanding as to our response and attitude towards those in governing authority. Beginning in Romans 13:1-2 Paul writes, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” I love Paul’s boldness as he writes what God has put on his heart. We read that there is no room for the discrepancy on who is subject to governing authority - everyone! But Paul takes it a step further. He knows, and really God knows since He is the one who commissioned Paul to write about this, that we are going to question man’s authority or who we have voted into power. Yet, the second half of verse one tells us who put our governing authority in place, God.

3. What is the “therefore” in verse two, there for?


4. Can you share a story from God’s Word about someone who was disobedient to God’s authority?


Ever since Genesis, the beginning of the world, there has been a battle between obedience and disobedience to God’s authority. We know that in Genesis chapter 3 we have what is referred to as “The Fall.” It is a moment in our history, as a world and a people, that forever changed the world. It was more severe and had more ramifications than any other event in history. We were separated from God and forced to live a life apart from His presence. Yet, because of what happened thousands of years ago in the garden, the world was given a chance at reconciliation and redemption through Jesus Christ. Therefore, upon confessing and believing Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer, we are called to a life of obedience to the Father. It is through this lens of obedience that we must view those in governing authority, as it is honoring to God.

Now, I want to look at another passage with that view and understanding of obedience in mind. In 1 Peter 2:13-17, we read, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” Here, Peter reiterates the same teaching and understand as Paul in Romans chapter 13, yet he is more blunt and to the point.

5. What human institution and authority ought we be subject to?


6. Who is the one authority we are called to fear?


At the end of verse sixteen, Peter makes the statement, “but living as servants of God.” If you do not get anything else from this lesson, please hear this. The reason that we honor and respect every human institution and governing authority that is in place is ultimately to show the world that we are different. Further in this passage, Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:21, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” You see, by showing respect and honor, we are showing love and being an example of Jesus Christ. Yes, it will be difficult at times to show honor and respect. Yes, we will disagree and if we ask our brothers and sisters in Christ, around us it is safe to say that we have all disagreed with some governing authority at some point! However, we are ultimately called to obedience to our Heavenly Father and to live as an example of Jesus.

Paul wraps up this topic in Romans 13:5-7 writing, “Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

7. Who are we ultimately honoring if we honor the governing authority placed over us?


8. Is there someone in authority who you have not shown respect and honor to, whom you need to change your attitude toward or with them?


Talking about the government is not an easy subject. I have had many debates and discussions with family, let alone friends and co-workers. Regardless of whether you are red, blue, green, or whatever color you may lean to on the political field, I hope you remember to have the proper lens.

“The very word authority has within it the word author.
An author is someone who creates
and possesses a particular work.
Insofar as God is the foundation of all authority,
He exercises that foundation because
He is the author and the owner of His creation.
He is the foundation upon which
all other authority stands or falls.”
R.C. Sproul

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