Proper 24 (Sunday 2023)

Season after Pentecost  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:10
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(Remember — God Wants His People to Turn His Way!)
GOAL: Continually submit yourselves to God’s authority, which includes what He instituted.
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Our text this morning is first from verse 21 in the Gospel reading, and then from the epistle, Romans 13:
Matthew 22:21
“Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.
Romans 13:1 (EHV)
Everyone must submit to the governing authorities. For no authority exists except by God, and the authorities that do exist have been established by God.
Let us pray: These are Thy Word O LORD; help us and sanctify us in the truth. Thy Word is Truth. Amen.
The Evening news is full of commentary about what is happening in our nation’s capital: More specifically, the activities of the President of the United States, and of late, the partisan disunity within Congress in appointing a Speaker of the House, and the war in the Middle East. These things serve as a constant reminder that we live in a sinful world.
In today’s gospel reading Jesus’ enemies had spent time devising a plan to discredit Him, because they hated Him because He was disrupting their plans. However, knowing all things as God, this situation did not catch him off guard, and He quickly disposed of their shenanigans.
Roman money was the currency in the land. Using this money didn’t necessarily mean that you agreed with everything the Roman government was doing. Yet, Romans were the rulers in the land and the Jews were obligated to serve the government. Perhaps it was degrading for God’s chosen people to be the subjects of the unbelieving Romans, but they themselves were responsible for their problems. The Jews had continually rebelled against the Lord and as punishment for their disobedience, they had to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.”
At the same time, however, they had to realize that they also owed obedience to the Lord. And that’s the lesson Jesus wanted to teach them.
In this world God’s people are obligated to obey the secular government when it comes to secular matters, and obligated to obey God when it comes to spiritual matters. As a matter of fact, because God created all things seen and unseen, everything is a spiritual matter.
Therefore, we are to:
Submit to God's authority, which includes what he instituted.

God Created All Things

The Scribes and Pharisees have been questioning Jesus’ authority. They had already made up their mind what the Messiah was to be, and Jesus did not fit into their mold.
They tried to trick Him regarding paying taxes.
Render to Caesar what is Caesars . . .
First of all, everything belongs to God.
If Jesus is truly the Messiah, then everything changes and the Jewish leadership would not have it. They would lose their power and their control. So if Jesus said don’t pay your taxes, then that would be considered treason, and the Roman authorities would execute Him. But it wasn’t His time to be executed. On the other hand, if he had said, pay your taxes, then the Jewish authorities would have trapped him, regarding breaking the first commandment, because of the graven image upon the coin.
Because it all belongs to God, they need to pledge their allegiance to the Lord God. — and to God Gods.
The grammar of the verb, “Render” is not just a command, but the force behind it points to the fact that we never stop rendering, or giving.
So, in a masterful way, because the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of man, he said, render unto Caesar what is Caesars and of God what is God’s. The point of it all is it all belongs to God!

God Instituted All Things

Romans 13:1 (EHV)
Everyone must submit to the governing authorities. For no authority exists except by God, and the authorities that do exist have been established by God.
God created all things, and there’s nothing that exist that he did not create. This includes the governing authorities.
As Americans, we tend to be partisan when it comes to the government. Republican, Democrat, Independent, or Libertarian
An opposing party is in power and our partisanship causes us to be unsupportive, or hostile, or even disrespectful.
The “Let’s Go Brandon” slogan toward our current President may have been in jest, but in fact, it is incredibly disrespectful toward the office that God instituted.
Ones disrespect toward the office is, in reality, disrespectful toward God and is a grievous a sin against God.
We may not always agree with the decisions of the governing authorities.
Consider Daniel in today OT reading. King Nebuchadnezzar took God’s people into exile. None of God’s people were happy that they were in essence “Prisoners of War.” Yet, listen to Daniel’s greeting to the King: Daniel 6:21 “O King, live forever!” Daniel showed respect to the King, despite what the King did to Daniel’s people.
And Jesus’ comment to Pontius Pilate sets the record straight for us, John 19:11 “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.”
We are to submit to the governmental authorities as unto the LORD.
But we must never submit when they tell us to do things that are against God’s will.
When the government tells us that we cannot gather for worship, or try to limit the number who can be in attendance, we must obey God rather than man.
God wants us to gather together:
Hebrews 10:24–25 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
1 Corinthians 14:26 “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”
Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and the prayers.”
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”
Psalm 50:5 ““Gather My saints together to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me...””
Look what happened when the governing authorities tried to tell Peter and the Apostles that they must not teach in the name of Jesus:
Acts 5:29 EHV
But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men.
The Civil / Secular realm and the Spiritual realm are separate and distinct — Doctrine of Two Kingdoms.
God is THE authority over all, and yet He instituted offices — President, Senate, House, Governor, Assembly, Mayor, Police, Fire Dept. — to govern this Secular / Civil realm. At the same time we have the Spiritual realm, which is governed by Christ.
Colossians 1:16–18 EHV
16 for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and unseen, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and all things hold together in him. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that in all things he might have the highest rank.
We see here in this text that Christ Jesus has the highest rank in ALL THINGS.
Civil authorities have no authority over the Spiritual realm.
King Uzziah (Civil realm) entered the temple to do the work that only the Priests were assigned to do (Spiritual realm). When he was confronted by the High Priest and 80 other Priests, the King got angry. As a result, God afflicted him with leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:18ff)

God’s Image is On You!

Among the things that are God’s is the human soul itself—made in His image, redeemed by Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, and now bearing the stamp of God’s “image and inscription.”
And thanks to the person and work of Christ Jesus, you belong to God.
Psalm 100:3 EHV
3 Know that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Given this truth, we therefore render unto God the things that are God’s;
We “present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
Jesus indeed teaches the way of God—not just the way to live but the way to heaven.
Philippians 3:17–4:1 EHV
17 Brothers, join together in imitating me and in paying attention to those who are walking according to the pattern we gave you. 18 To be sure, many walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. I told you about them often, and now I am saying it while weeping. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their appetite, and their glory is in their shame. They are thinking only about earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. We are eagerly waiting for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 By the power that enables him to subject all things to himself, he will transform our humble bodies to be like his glorious body. 1 So then, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, in this way keep standing firm in the Lord, my dear friends.
Jesus gave clear directions for living a good citizens with our religious priorities straight.
1 Timothy 2:1–6 EHV
1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all those who are in authority, in order that we might live a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.
So, we render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. And the reality is, it all belongs to God.
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