The Things that are God's
Call to worship
James 4:7-17 “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor? Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.”
LET US STAND AND WORSHIP!
Words and Music by Hillsong
PRAYER OF PRAISE FOR WHO GOD IS
Lord, we praise You today for who You are!
“How Great is our God”
Words and Music by Hillsong
“Great are You Lord”
Words and Music by Hillsong
PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION TO OPEN OUR HEARTS
Lord, open our hearts that we may hear You today!
Our next four messages will all be found in chapter 22 beginning at verse 15
Let’s turn there and get an overview of what we will be studying so we can have a better understanding.
This section is divided by questions directed to Jesus about ethics, morality, and then is concluded by Jesus asking His own question to the Pharisees which is the most important question of all.
Today we will study the first of question which is asking whether we are to obedient to God or the government?
And as we will see today, Jesus does not say either or, but both.
As followers of Jesus we are to live as upright citizens of this nation while also remaining faithful to God.
Turn with me to Matthew 22:15-16
Matthew 22:15-18 “Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they *sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?”
The Pharisees hated Jesus.
We have seen this over and over in the Gospel of Matthew
If they could get by with it, they would have just killed Him right then.
But if they did that, they would upset the crowds and cause an uproar
So in this section, they have devised a trap for Him over the issue of paying taxes.
And this is a very relevant passage for us today because we also pay taxes,
We also have a government whom we must answer to, whom we often disagree with
And we also have the tendency to despise them just as the Jewish people did in those days.
In this section Jesus will give some significant teaching about how we as followers of Christ can live in both submission to the government and God.
God has established the government
God has established the government
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
We struggle with this because not all governments are good
There seems to be a level of corruption in many governing institutions
There is evil that exists in governments
There are governments that are anti-God
But we must remember, sin has corrupted every part of God’s creation
It has corrupted the earth itself
It has corrupted the human race
It has corrupted the government as well
BUT GOD HAS AUTHORITY OVER THE GOVERNMENT
And they are in place primarily to keep peace in this world
And sometimes God uses one government to carry out justice on another government
Sometimes He uses them to bring his will into fulfillment
The key is God owns them all and will use them however He pleases
The question from the Pharisees is this: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?
Who was Caesar?
Caesar was not someone’s name, but a title
Caesar was the emperor over the Roman Empire
And the Roman Empire encapsulated all of Judea and the Jewish people
So they had to pay taxes and submit to the Roman authorities
The question posed by the Pharisees was divisive
Caesar represented the Romans which ruled over God’s people. And many of the Jews were waiting for the Messiah to bring freedom from this rule and this taxation
So if Jesus said, “no you should not pay taxes to Caesar” he would be breaking the Roman law and thus be subjected to be Arrested.
If Jesus said yes, you should pay taxes to Caesar, He would be siding with the Roman government, which most Jews despised and therefore would be an enemy of the people.
What they were doing was trying to set a trap for Jesus
Either way he answered would make him an enemy of someone, and cause Him problems which is exactly what the Pharisees wanted
And notice they throw in a little flattery here
“we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God”
Now is this true of Jesus? YES!
But did the Pharisees were really trying to use this to back Him into a corner and get him to respond
Is it a sin to flatter someone?
This break the 9th command, “to bear false witness against your neighbor”
Prov 29:5 “A man who flatters his neighbor Is spreading a net for his steps.”
How does Jesus respond?
Matthew 22:18-22 “But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? “Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. And He *said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They *said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He *said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.”
“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”
The question: “What belongs to Caesar?”
And Jesus determines this by asking, “who’s image is on the coin?”
Caesar’s image is on the coin. Therefore by them possessing those coins, with Caesar’s image on them, shows that they are citizens of that government.
Since they are citizens of the Roman Empire, they are obligated to the authority of that government.
If that government requires them to pay portion of that money in taxes, then they are obligated to pay it.
They pay that portion in taxes in exchange for the benefits of being part of that country.
What are the benefits?
If someone enters that country and makes war, the government will protect its citizens and fight off the enemy.
If someone breaks the law and begins to murder people, that government will take vengeance on that individual for the crime.
The government provides roads that are used by the citizens that allow them to travel from one location to another.
It is the same for us today
Everyone in here is a citizen of the United States of America. If you have money in your possession, it has an inscription on it that says, “The United States of America”.
Because we are citizens, we have benefits to our citizenship.
And we are also subject to our government, because they have been given the authority to rule this nation.
Therefore we are obligated to follow the rules of this country.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to obey what Jesus taught, and “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”
I’m going to appeal to Paul for application of this principle
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.
Taxes to who taxes are due, customs to whom custom” (both of these terms refer to money owed in taxes.)
We have an obligation to pay taxes.
Taxes on what we earn
Taxes on what we buy
Taxes on what we own
Those who try to avoid paying taxes sin against God
We can do this by falsifying information on our tax returns
Inflating deductions or deflating income
We can do this by not reporting the real amount of something that we own
How tempting is it when we go to the courthouse to transfer a title to say we only gave $1,000 For it?
“render to all what is due them”
It is sad when Christins have their names in the paper for not paying taxes.
It is a stumbling block to the world when we do not have enough integrity to pay our share of the taxes
Don’t let something so petty, ruin your Christian witness
Fear (respect) & Honor
We are to have a respectful attitude toward those placed in authority over us.
Respect for our president
Respect for our local government
Respect for our law enforcement
Do you know how this is often broken today?
Through social media
We get on social media and blast the president
We get on social media and blast the government
We get on social media and blast the other official leaders who rule over us
I am not in agreement with much of what goes on in our world, but I care more about my ChristIan witness than I do about venting my anger on social media
We must be careful that we are not showing the world how disrespectful Christians are
We are citizens of this nation, and must have respect for those in authority over us
Why should we respect them?
It is not because of secular reasons such as money or power, but because God has ordained them to be in those positions
“there is no authority except from God”
And because God has ordained them, we must respect them
The point is not that allegiance to God is against allegiance to government, but that allegiance to government is part of allegiance to God.
Allegiance to God sometimes require disobedience of the government
We are citizens of this nation, but we are also citizens of heaven and our greater responsibility is to our heavenly citizenship
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.
Not gathering for worship
Stop preaching the gospel
Anything that forces us to sin against God
“Render to God the things that are God’s”
Question: “What belongs to God?”
And Jesus would imply here that we ask the same question that was asked about the coin? “Who’s image is on the coin?”….“What has the image of God upon it?”
Answer: We do
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…..God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
When the Roman’s minted their coins, they stamped an image of Caesar on them to show His authority over all who possessed them.
When God breathed life into humanity, He created us in the image of God, in His own likeness.
And Jesus would say, our very lives belong to God, every fiber of our being belongs to God, we are only here because the very grace of God has allowed us to be.
Therefore, to render to God what is God means to give God our whole lives.
And this is really what discipleship is
Giving to God everything that we are
Caesar has a right to a portion, but God has a a right to EVERYTHING
The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all it contains, You have founded them.
How do we render to God what is God’s?
We do it with everything we have
Doesn’t seem odd that we give around 15% to our government in taxes and yet most of only give about 10% of our income to God?
And most of us see that percentage as God’s cut and the rest is ours to do with however we please.
I would suggest that we treat it all as if it belongs to God, because it does.
That means we give the legal amount for taxes
We give what God has purposed us to give to the church
BUT we do not see the rest as ours, but at God’s disposal
If the Lord wants us to use our assets for His Kingdom, then we must be willing
If the Lord wants us to give an additional amount to a different ministry then we must be willing
We should hold nothing we own so tightly that God does not have a right to it to do as He pleases
Is that Biblical?
According to Psalm 89 it is.
Is there an example of this in Scripture?
And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.
We do it with who we are
This world demands that we be just like it.
That should believe what it believes, we should accept what it accepts, we should adapt to its every changing culture, and we should worship what it worships
It demands that we accept their standard of right and wrong
It demand that we accept their ideals about human life
It demands we accept their concept of marriage and of the family
This world demands that become just like it. And if we refuse to be shaped by this world, then there is something wrong with us!
We live in an anti-God culture and we must not let this world mold us!
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Do not let this world conform you!
Do not think like this world, act like this world, or look like this world!
Not weird, but Christlike!
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
God’s goal for you and I are to be as much like Jesus as we can!
Think like Him with the mind of Christ!
Sacrifice your life for Him just lime Jesus did!
Love like He did by coming to save us!
Care about our neighbors!
Find your God ordained purpose in this life and spend your life pursuing it!
Render to God the things that are God’s!
And you will become more and more like Jesus!
What part of your life have you not rendered to God yet?
What is in your life that you are holding back?
What part Of you does god not have?
Would you be obedient to God this morning, trust Him like a child, and give to God what belongs to God
And if you do, Im telling you on the authority of the Word of God, He will change your life and bring a freedom to you like you have never known!
Trust Him, He is good, and He loves you!
“Come Thou Fount”
Words and Music by Hillsong
We will now worship the Lord through our tithes and offering.
Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord cause His face to shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His face to you, And give you peace.’”