Edited: Apr 18, 2018
날짜: 2018년 4월 15일
제목: 순종과 정직
올리브연합감리교회 김배선 목사
20180408 Sunday worship preaching
Romans 13 1-7
“Obedience and Honesty”
We spent the last few weeks talking about passion, death, and the resurrection of Jesus.
Now, we are returning to the Book of Romans.
Today, we read Romans chapter 13.
As I shared before, Romans chapter 1 to 11 is the doctrinal part.
And from the chapter 12 and on, it is the application part.
Chapter 12 talks about how to live as a believer at a personal level.
And chapter 13 talks about living at the social level.
Brothers and sisters, we believers live in two identities.
One is the saints, the people of God called "holy crowd", and the other is the people of the world.
It means that we have duel citizenships.
We are a citizen of the kingdom of God and the citizen of this world.
In history, the Church and the world have been in a tense relationship and at times in a good relationship.
The claim that the church should intervene in all matters of the state is called “the Unity of Church and State"
On the contrary, the claim that the church should not interfere with the work of the state at all is called "Separation of Church and State”.
The debate over Unity of Church and State verses Separation of Church and State has been an ongoing concern for a long time.
The Bible is closer to separation of church and state.
However, there is a problem with the term ‘separation of church and state’.
Political scholars argue that if we are in society, no matter how hard we try, we cannot avoid becoming political.
Supporting the ruling party and supporting the opposition, of course, is a political act.
You may say that you do not support any particular political party and you have a neutral opinion on a certain issue, but this stance can also be considered a political behavior.
Supporting or opposing government policies, or keeping silent ... All of this is a political act.
In this way, there is no politically free person, so the term "separation of church and state" is strictly unacceptable.
There are several elections this year.
We will elect new leaders from some candidates and vote for and against various social issues.
Some believe that the church has to make a voice on some issues related to church community and our faith.
This, in turn, represents a political position.
Some political groups want to use church politically.
Yes, it is a difficult problem.
Many pastors claim themselves to be "separatist of church and state."
They say that they will not engage in political issues.
However, if you listen to what they actually say, you find them very political.
And there are situations that can only be political.
Therefore, I think that it is better to say "distinction between church and state” rather than separation.
The reason is, first, politics and religion must be distinguished from each other.
It is necessary to refrain from intervening directly in each other's territory.
Politics and religion can never be separated, but they must be distinguished.
Therefore, it is wrong for the power of the church to have any political influence.
On the contrary, it is also wrong that politics has an impact on the existence of the church.
Therefore, politics and religion should be distinguished and each area recognized.
When this balance broke, there was always a problem.
There was a time when the church dominated politics for a while.
It was during the medieval period in Europe.
In medieval Europe, it was an age of unity between church and state, precisely the era when the church overwhelmed the government rather than the unity.
At that time, the church had the power to control the kingdom, to recognize the king of a nation, to control the throne.
Being the supreme leader of the church has brought unimaginable power and wealth.
It is theoretically correct that the whole world must be evangelized when the Pope, the supreme leader of the Church, has such a mighty power in the Middle Ages that it dominates the world, but it did not.
Historians have rather unfortunately regarded the Middle Ages as the Dark Ages.
It is the darkest era, the most unfaithful era, and the most depraved and corrupt era.
Not only in medieval times, but we also see this connection between religions and governments now.
In Germany, for example, Germany recognizes Christianity as a state religion.
Therefore, the German government uses some of the German income taxes to support the church.
The fees for the church minister comes from the government, and all the leaders of the church, all the events of the church are supported by the government.
They are all paid by the tax of the people.
If our church is in Germany, we do not have to do fundraising to repair the building and pay the expenses for many programs because the government will pay for it.
If the Sunday school has a new project, the government will support.
So, if the German churches have the government support, will not the church have to revive and grow?
And should not the whole of Germany be evangelized by now?
But it has not.
The combination of religion and politics caused the church to decline even more.
I visited Germany about fifteen years ago.
There were beautiful and old-fashioned churches in every village.
But when I entered the churches, they were empty.
There was no worship service, only tourists.
Pastors did not care too much about it.
There was no enthusiasm in their ministries because their living expenses come from the government and these pastors do not have to work hard.
Then the church will gradually close.
There is no vitality.
There is no other option but to collapse.
How can the church survive without worshiping, praying, and devotion?
It is not only a church because it has a beautiful building.
It is another negative aspect that appears when religion and politics are closely related.
Brothers and sisters, it is not in any political or economic support or legal apparatus that the Church is healthy, revitalized, and capable.
When true worship in the Church is restored, when there are believers praying with tears, and when all the believers voluntarily devote themselves to joy and gratitude, the church becomes a truly capable and reviving church.
God has given us the order of the Church and the order of the state or government to live in harmony when we live on this earth.
The church exists for spiritual growth and spiritual forms, and the state exists for the order of society.
This is called "territorial law" in theological terms.
It means that God's unique plan in each area is different.
Therefore, it is necessary to recognize, respect and follow the authority in each area.
As a senior pastor of Olive Church, I, as a spiritual leader, proclaim and direct the Word of God with authority to you, but I cannot claim authority as pastor when out into society.
If you go to society, you have a social order, a responsibility and an obligation to follow.
It is to acknowledge and follow that area.
On the contrary, even if you are in a high position in society, you have to serve in the church.
Whether the president, the governor, the mayor, or the general, in the church you are a member of church and not higher than others.
When we worship, we do not come with our social status before God, but as believers before God.
There are different domains, each domain has to be acknowledged and respected.
We, the Christians, must live in the world and observe all the orders and responsibilities and duties that the law has set in our society.
We should not neglect the law and order of the world because we are the people of God's kingdom.
On the other hand, the government of the world must respect the Church of God, the Church of God in charge of the spiritual world.
You should not have privileged rights in the church because you are well in the world.
Again, God has given us the order of the Church and the order of the state or government to live in harmony when we live on this earth.
We must recognize each other's authority because the authority comes from God.
Let’s look at the first verse of today’s text.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (ppt)
This is an important message.
We should be able to say that, church and state, they are from God.
And we must respect and follow the government of the world that has been delegated by God's authority.
The church and government originated from God, and we acknowledge their realms.
In that sense, Paul speaks of two things.
Continuing from verse 1,
“Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
In other words, when God's children live in this world, how will they accept, understand, and live in front of the authority of the world?
The answer is, first, you have to obey.
As a citizen, we must follow the order of the state and the government even if you do not feel like following.
We show our respect to the authority, not to a person.
You may not like the person but you still need to show your respect to the authority.
If he is a person in authority and believes in God, it will be terrific, but even if he is not, we must acknowledge his authority and follow the order.
Ultimately, God will rule and providence.
It is because we know the authority of the world under God's sovereignty.
Obedience derives from thorough trust and recognition of God's providence and work.
If we do not trust God, we cannot obey.
I hope that we will have such a view of obedience.
Secondly, Paul speaks about honesty.
Let’s look at verse 7.
“Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
There may be some interpretation of this verse, but in the end, it is "honesty" that we, Christians, should keep all the time in this world.
It is to have an attitude of an honest life.
I hope that all of you in our Olive Church will live a life as honest Christian.
Previously, I watched a TV Drama about the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis.
When Joseph was a servant in the house of Potiphar, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him.
But, Joseph rejected.
Potiphar’s wife screamed and accused Joseph for trying to rape her.
She demanded to kill Joseph.
However, as we all know, Joseph was not killed but put in prison.
Let us think about this.
In an ancient slave society, if a slave tried to bring disgrace upon his owner, do you think sending him to jail is enough penalty for his sin?
Demanding of death is proper and expected.
But Joseph went to jail instead.
Now the scene of the drama has turned into General Potiphar's house.
Potiphar and his wife were arguing.
She was angry and said to Potiphar, "Why did you not kill Joseph?"
Then Potiphar replied:
“I trust Joseph. Whatever Joseph says in the name of his God is true.”
“Whatever he says in the name of God is true…” I would never forget that sentence.
Was Potiphar a believer?
No. He did not know God.
In the mouth of Potiphar, who did not know God, he said "I trust Joseph. What Joseph says are true.”
Brothers and sisters, should not we have such honesty?
Because you are a member of the Olive Church, I want people to trust you 100%.
Is it too much expectation?
I would like the members of our Olive Church members to receive this trust and recognition from people.
Brothers and sisters, please think about ourselves once.
"Did I really live an honest life?”
“Do I live an honest life in the material part?”
“Do I live an honest life personally?"
"The world is not honest, people are living in a way that is not honest, what good is it for me to live honestly? Being honest will bring me a disadvantage.”
Do you think so?
No. You still have to be honest.
Honesty can sometimes harm us.
Honesty can make you lose a lot.
Being honest can be a ridicule, sometimes misunderstood.
Nevertheless, we have to be honest.
God wants us to be honest in the world.
In that part, we must be confident.
"O God, I want to live honestly as a child of God in my material possession, in my relationship, in every part of my life…”
I believe that God will be pleased with our honest lives.
God works through honesty.
I want all of us to be honest and used by God.
Through today's message, we, as Christians, have thought about the way of life in the world.
We shared two things, obedience and honesty.
God wants to keep the spiritual part through the church and the secular part through the government.
That's what God planned.
So God has given different roles and authorities.
I hope that we will recognize and respect those different authorities.
We belong to the kingdom of God, but at the same time, we are living in this world.
We should do all our duties and responsibilities.
As Christians, when we live in this world, we would like to acknowledge and obey God’s authority established in this world.
Also, we would like to live in honesty.
I hope that we will respect even if it is a small authority and be honest in the trivial.
God will delight in us and work through us who live such a life.
It is the way to build the kingdom of God on this earth.
I pray for all of us to live such a life in the name of the Lord. Amen.