Pay what you owe!

  • Matthew 22:15-22
  • There’s an issue going on here- they once again are trying to trap Jesus- “is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar” 
  • If he says ‘no’ then they can say he is being a rebel against Rome. If he says yes- then they can say he is a rebel against God. ‘is it lawful’ isn’t civil law- it’s the law of God- they are trying to corner him. 
  • Jesus doesn’t play their game- He throws it back on them with a question of his own 
  • Give to Caesar what is Caesar- give to God what is Gods. Simply- Currency belongs to the government that issued it- and People belong to the God that created them. Both are the respective property of their makers. 
  • Lets establish this first- we do not have a king. We do not have (by definition) a dictator. We have a representative republic (in theory) however that plays out- that’s what we are. 
  • There is a struggle (for many Americans) between being a Pilgrim and a Patriot. I’m a veteran, but long before that, I was taught to love my country, and I did and I do. But I love Jesus more.
  • Currently today, loving your country above other countries is called fascism and nationalism by some groups, but I don’t think that love of country is bad, unless it is at the expense of love of God and HIS law. There’s nothing wrong with loving something- its loving it ABOVE the Lord. 
  • Pilgrim over patriot. Allegiance to the Cross not the Crown at any expense. Jesus first always. 
  • Which Jesus is basically saying here- If it belongs to Caesar (his image is on it) then it belongs to him, conversely what ever has the image of God (We have the image of God on us) it belongs to HIM. God owns us wholly and completely- Governments own their currency (Its just paper)
  • There are two operative verses when it comes to civil Government in the NT- 
  • Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13–17 READ
  • Some people say that it is a divine ordinance for Christians to be involved in Civil Government because we have a dominion mandate, while others say that there is no biblical mandate to be involved outside of preaching and holy living. There is an argument for both- I like the middle
  • Christians, through civil law have done much good in the world through Godly laws to protect people and property- and there’s nothing biblically against getting involved with the process. 
  • But also- Christians have been responsible for the deaths of many people (jews) because of their unwillingness to get involved with civic matters that were ‘not their responsibility’
  • Eventually Christians Got involved in civil rights, slavery, abortion, anti-war movements etc. 
  • Saved Lives- pushed back on government- Pushing against abortion today saves lives. 

What do we owe to Caesar- We owe our taxes and our civic loyalty for the privilege of being under their provision and protection. Everyone lives in a nation- All Christians on the planet live in a country. God instituted taxes in the OT. He’s not against them. 

  • Romans 13 says we are to subject to the authority, not to resist the ordinance of God, to do good works, not to do evil, do good so you don’t have to fear the ruler, but also because Christians are supposed to do Good. V6 This is why you pay taxes 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
  • 1 peter 2:13 submit for the Lord’s sake, do good to silence others, not using your liberty as a cloak for vice, fear God- honor the king. 
  • Ecclesiastes 8:2 I say, “Keep the command of the king because of the oath before God. Proverbs 24:21 My son, fear the Lord and the king;  Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,
  • Here’s what we can say about submission to the Authorities- 
  • Their authority is not absolute- The Bible talks about submission to civic authorities, leaders of the Church, husbands, and each other
  • But if ANY of those entice you to sin- you are obligated to follow God and not that person- their authority doesn’t trump the Authority of the word of God. (I cant tell you to steal or murder) 
  • They must bear the sword- Any government that selectively picks and chooses whom they will punish and whom they will absolve has lost its legitimacy. They must bear the sword
  • This is why we rejected masks and meetings- They were turning a blind eye to protestors and mobs and going after churches and pastors- masks were a preference- meetings were a mandate. We answer to God. Churches meet to worship weekly in person. Mandate. 
  • The laws must line up with God’s word- Going against slavery, or transgenderism, or being forced to perform a same sex marriage, or abort your child, or worship a false God- cannot be condoned. No mandate to take a medical procedure against your will. 
  • When once magistrates act contrary to their office, and the end of their institution ; when they rob and ruin the public, instead of being guardians of its peace and welfare ; they immediately cease to be the ordinance and ministers of God ; and no more deserve that glorious character than common pirates and highwaymen- Pastor Jonathan Mayhew 1750 in A Discourse concerning Unlimited Submission and Non Resistance to the Higher Powers
  • We can submit and not obey-Submission is about placing yourself under someone’s authority and oversight. It’s not merely about your action, but about your relationship to them. 
  • Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. good examples of submission but disobedient
  • Respectful to the Babylonian leaders who were over them. Not rude, confrontational, seditious, or rebellious. They honored the king and his representatives, but they didn’t always obey.
  • they would not eat certain unclean foods (Daniel 1) they would not worship a statue (Daniel 3) Daniel would not stop praying to God (Daniel 6) But even in their disobedience, they were submissive. They acknowledged and yielded to the King’s authority to punish them and put them to death if he saw fit to do so. But they kept God FIRST
  • We didn’t poke the bear during covid- we just carried on and we were prepared for whatever just punishment they would have meted out- but we would not stop worshipping our God. 
  • We submitted- we didn’t cause problems- but we didn’t obey. and took whatever may came
  • We’re never shutting down bc of govt again. We can decide to shut down, but never again. 
  • You can go against govt.  And the truth is- if you want some attention in your life- don’t submit- get on social media and poke the bear- or- just quietly disobey- hide them under the floor boards and get them free. Do what God calls you to do. 
  • Exodus 1- Hebrew midwives didn’t obey the pharoah to kill babies, and then lied to him. Joshua 2 Rahab hid the Israelite spies to reconnoiter for battle. Jonathan ate honey in 1 Sam after King Saul said not do, 1 Kings 18 Obadiah went against Queen Jezebel who was killing God’s prophets and hid 100 of them. Jesus disobeyed the authorities! In Acts Peter and John disobeyed and continued to preach, Acts 5:29 “we must obey God and not man” And in Rev 13 when the AntiChrist comes, we are going to be disobedient and we will not worship him. 
  • Andrew Braze- teaching bible and pulling out sex traffickers in China- disobedient but submitted. Bringing bible into foreign lands, etc
  • In America- we have a special provision- in that we get to vote- and you SHOULD vote in every election- and some people should try to run for office- 
  • Vote for people who believe in Limited government (Because God’s natural law supersedes man’s government law- government cannot be our savior. government is not the ultimate source of authority, it must be limited in nature.) Inalienable rights (There are rights given to us by God that cannot and should not be limited by any man) Natural law (Men are men etc. People should be able to progress and prosper) Institutional separation of Church and State (The state has no jurisdiction in the matters of the church) Sin/Crime distinction (The govt. must punish evil doers that harm the inalienable rights of others) . Lower taxes (it is theft to take someone’s money just because they have a lot of it) Ex 18:21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.

What do we owe to God- Our primary allegiance and to abstain from Sin. 

  • Jesus says “render unto Caesar” and then “render unto God what is God”
  • Whose ever image is on the bill belongs to him- indirectly, who’s image is on us?
  • Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
  • As image bearers of God- we should reflect him who made us- Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
  • That which you have and that what you do. Your decisions and your life are all owned by God. 
  • We don’t ever own anything in this life- you cant drive on a road without paying gas tax, can’t own a home without paying taxes. And you can’t take any of it with you- 
  • So why do we war within ourselves and others to gain that which can be lost in an instant?
  • Philippians 3:7-8 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
  • That I may gain Christ- and be found in him- that’s my identity- that’s my focus. That’s my all
  • Not my gender, my race, my nationality, my accomplishments, my possessions, my mind. HIM 
  • Luke 10:27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
  • Loving the Lord with all of your heart is not loving the world- not caring about this world. 
  • 1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
  • Titanic- scene from that movie guy trying to buy a seat on a boat- worthless in a catastrophe 
  • Loving the Lord is not loving money and stuff and believing Government saves you better.  
  • 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
  • If you listen to the political discourse and the complaints about society much of it has to do with have and have nots and who is going to control who gets what from whom (Scarcity)
  • Taxing and giving to others, shutting down competition, lobbyists and corporations. 
  • As Christians- there is nothing morally wrong with having a house, car, money and or stuff. 
  • Here’s the issue and only YOU can answer this– who is your Faith in? What is your hope in?
  • When gas and food prices go up, when interest rates go up, house prices go down, retirement accounts get blasted- what does your heart and mouth do? To whom do put hope in?
  • There’s nothing wrong with preparing, planning, saving etc. But where’s your hope? Who is your provider and to whom are you living for? Who are you hoping will sustain you?
  • There are many Christians on the earth and most of them that lived before 1900 that served and obeyed God with much less than we do- and we set up in our mind that if we don’t travel the world, amass stuff, and retire well we didn’t live our lives. No- Who was it for?
  • Christ was not interested in using political or military power to enforce his kingdom. We don’t see that in Scripture- we are to change the World through our holy living, not through political coercion or spiritual demands. Christianity is not a political movement. 
  • John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
  • We are primarily citizens of Heaven and that’s where our allegiance lies
  • Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
  • Pastor Kevin is from Kenya- sometimes I wonder how he can come here and leave his home country- because I can’t fathom that- but he says he’s called here- just passing through
  • Having priority of citizen of heaven keeps it in check- President, governor, laws etc. 
  • Why do I expect the world to hold my values? The world is going to world. 
  • Traffic. Gas prices. Food prices. Whatever. THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME. 
  • We are to build a Church not a nation. We are the body of Christ and we are called to be separate from 2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord.”. We are never going to save the world, but we can build his church. 
  • Isaiah 52:11 Depart! Depart! Go out from there, Touch no unclean thing; Go out from the midst of her, Be clean, You who bear the vessels of the Lord.
  • There is no scripture in the Bible that tells us that our Gospel work is nation building. 
  • Job 12:23-24 He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. 24 He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth, And makes them wander in a pathless wilderness.
  • And I’m not saying we should give up- but we have to live with a reality and expectancy that we are barreling towards an end- A one world government and the return of Christ
  • If we really wanted to see more people come to the Lord we’d rejoice in calamity because calamity seems to be a better teacher than prosperity. 
  • Calamity brings people to their knees- and to Jesus- let the economy tank and watch them come. 9/11 brought them. Take away their institutions of hope. 
  • C. S. Lewis reminded Christians that human beings live forever while the state is only temporal and thus is reserved to comparative insignificance
  • Invest in what matters. Live as image bearers of God- remember who owns what and put your faith in HIM and him alone. 
  • Render unto Caesar what is caesars- render unto God what is God’s. How you live for him and to him and in him is of paramount importance. Repent if you haven’t had your faith in HIM. 

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