This is my promissory note, so to speak, to society at large per instructions in the holy writings of God. I owe you my love which means, as I understand the concept in God’s terms, that I owe you my life. This never-ending “debt” is owed to any and all whose lives intertwine and intersect with mine. Jesus calls you my neighbors. So even though we live in a hurried, hurtful and often harsh world, by the grace of God and the Word of God, I will with the measure of faith that God gives live the love he calls me to.
So to you, and before God, I commit these things.
I will not forget love. (Because if I forget love my voice will become only more noise in an already noisy world, my knowledge will speak to nothing meaningful and my sacrifice futility.)
I will remember love. I will be patient. I will be kind. I will not allow jealousy to poison my relationship with you. I will not hide my insecurities in bragging and boasting.
I will hate rudeness and embrace gentleness and respect for all. I will not be self-seeking. I will not be a petulant, demanding child. I will not be angry even when you are.
I will never keep a list of the mean things that you do. I will never take pleasure in wrongdoing. I will always rejoice when truth wins the day.
I will never give up. I will never stop believing. I will never stop hoping. I will endure.
I will remember love, and I will not fail because I have the promise of God.
Some years ago the following paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 appeared:
If I [know] the language perfectly and speak like a native, and have not [God’s] love for them, I am nothing. If I have diplomas and degrees and know all the up-to-date methods, and have not His touch of understanding love, I am nothing. If I am able to argue successfully against the religions of the people and make fools of them, and have not His wooing note, I am nothing. If I have all faith and great ideals and magnificent plans, and not His love that sweats and bleeds and weeps and prays and pleads, I am nothing. If I give my clothes and money to them, and have not His love for them, I am nothing. If I surrender all prospects, leave home and friends, make the sacrifices of a missionary career, and turn sour and selfish amid the daily annoyances and slights of a missionary life, and have not the love that yields its rights, its leisures, its pet plans, I am nothing. Virtue has ceased to go out of me. If I can heal all manner of sickness and disease, but wound hearts and hurt feelings for want of His love that is kind, I am nothing. If I can write articles or publish books that win applause, but fail to transcribe the Word of the Cross into the language of His love, I am nothing. (Source unknown)
[MacArthur, John (1994-05-09). Romans 1-16 MacArthur New Testament Commentary Two Volume Set (Macarthur New Testament Commentary Serie) (Kindle Locations 17537-17547). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.]
Ding, ding, ding … Now we are in the bonus round. I have included more study sheets to supplement this week’s study.
Does God not have a plan?
Or is it possible that he has a plan, and we are missing it? We sound the alarm. “This legislation is passing; that liberal was elected … We need a plan. We need to do something.”
So I ask again, does God not have a plan?
(Titus 3:1 ESV)Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,
Have world events and national trends taken him by surprise? Slipped by him? Fallen through the cracks of his sovereign, providential rule? Did God not take into account the political climate in the United States as he wrote these words 2,000 years ago?
So are we saying that we need to “come up with a plan” because there is not a plan in God’s Bible? And what does that tell us?
Isn’t it funny–as in not really funny but sad and ironic–that we (evangelical, fundamental Christians) spend so much time, energy and resources denouncing and disparaging our government, calling for a plan, calling for reform, and God nowhere in his Bible tells us to do such a thing.
No it isn’t funny.
No place in Scripture does God call us to spend our lives seeking government reform. For something that is clearly NOT taught in Scripture, why is it so high on our priority list?
Because we put it there. So we must know better than God?
What God does tell us in his Bible is to submit to governing authorities, obey them, honor them and respect them.
THREE TO ZERO … —Three times in the New Testament God commands us to submit to governing authorities.
—ZERO times he calls us to government reform.
In fact find anywhere in the entire Bible that supports this agenda.
Here are the first two verses of our text this week.
(Titus 3:1–2 ESV) Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
God calls us to a lifestyle that honors both our citizenship in heaven and our citizenship on earth.
to be submissive to rulers and authorities,
to be obedient,
to be ready for every good work,
to speak evil of no one,
to avoid quarreling,
to be gentle,
and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
Is our cause so “righteous” that we are justified in pushing these truths aside?
God’s plan for reform begins in our hearts and it works its way out through the words we say and the attitudes and actions we embrace.
We do not need to come up with a plan of action, we need to obey God!
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky, The larks, still bravely singing, fly, Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago, We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw, The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, We shall not sleep, though poppies grow, In Flanders fields.
[By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918); Canadian Army]
Happy Memorial Day weekend to you! We remember and we honor on this weekend.
Can I be a blessing to God and country?
More specifically … Can I be a blessing to God and to my country without compromising the truth of God’s word?
The answer is a “definite yes” but we must have a truly God-first, biblical approach to life.
Our text today in Titus 3 presents a life-style that transcends any government, society or culture and is pleasing in the sight of God. Do you want to be a blessing to the King of the universe and the government in which you live, then here is a “plan” for you.
Is our government an evil with which to contend or God’s ordained servant?
So where are the battles that God would define? It is interesting to note our seeming obsession at times with government reform, but where might we go in Scripture to even find a solid reference to support this, let alone justify the time, resources and energy spent in battling the evil in government.
What we need to answer is this:
What does God say?
Not “what we say God says” but:
What does God say?
Not “this is how we believe” or “this is the evangelical voice” but:
What does God say?
On our relationship with our government he is very clear: submit to the governing authorities. Respect them. Honor them. God has put them in place for his purpose and plan. Our lack of submission, our dishonor, our disrespect all reflect a disobedient heart before God.
There is a kingdom of peace, quiet, godliness and dignity in which we can thrive, even under adverse government authority.
It begins here with the Word of God: Submit to the governing authorities.
Message Title: Governing Authorities: Servants of God
Here is a question that is on the minds of many Christians, and, actually,
for many Christians this is not a question at all but a moral imperative.
–Should a Christian be involved in secular government?–
Should we run for office? Should we support a right-wing agenda? Should we lobby our legislative bodies of government? Etc.
To some it is a non-issue, but to many people this is the “hot topic” of their lives.
But Romans 13:1-7 does not speak to our involvement in government but with our relationship to government, as do Matthew 22:15-22, John 18:33-36, 1 Timothy 2:1-3, Titus 3:1-11 and 1 Peter 2:13-17.
And since I am preaching through Romans this will be “the headline.”
(Romans 13:1–7 ESV) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.
If I were to preach on our involvement in government, I would go to … Well, let’s see … Hmmmm …. Not sure where I would go. Seems to be a lack of direct communication “in the Bible” on this topic. Not that this often slows us down. 🙂
If I were to address the subject of civil disobedience, I would look at the Old Testament books of Daniel and Esther, but even there I believe the people pushing a right-wing “Christian” agenda would be disappointed if we look at what God actually says.
In these supplemental study sheets, I do give more background as to the historical, cultural setting for Paul’s instruction to us. Albert Barnes gives an excellent overview, and as always John MacArthur adds his insight which is always grounded in the Word of truth.
Here is a question that should have our attention:
Are my actions and attitude toward a leftist, liberal, gay [fill-in-the-blank] agenda putting my mind and heart in opposition to God’s agenda?
And with the direction I have chosen in this matter:
Am I more or less secure and at peace in God’s sovereign and providential rule?
And one more:
Is my biblical/political stance yielding the fruit of a peaceful,
quiet, good, thankful, godly and dignified life pleasing to God?