Beyond Sunday - Week 21

Beyond Sunday
Week of June 16, 2024,
“Submission to Authority” 
When in Rome Week 20Romans 13:1-10

Thoughts: One key principle of Biblical interpretation and application is the idea of repetition. Generally, something stated in Scripture repeatedly, whether expressly or implicitly, should be given more weight and importance. And the Bible repeatedly—in no uncertain terms and with various words—commands Christ-followers, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority… (1 Peter 2:13).” Whether the Bible uses the terms “master,” “ruler,” “government,” “king,” or any other name for an established human authority, the instruction is always the same – submit and obey.

Yes, there is an exception. We disobey human authority whenever obeying would cause us to personally and directly disobey God. In this week’s Scriptures you will read some examples, so I won’t spend a lot of time on that here.

When I think of our Heavenly Father’s repeated commands to respect and obey human authorities, it is easy to wonder why—why does God want me to do that? I am reminded of my spiritual mentor’s stories of parenting his own kids. Oftentimes, when told to do something, they would ask, “Why? Why must I do that; why now; why that way…why?” His response was always, “You go and do exactly what I told you. If after doing it you still want to know why, come see me and I will explain.” Very rarely did they return to ask.

I believe God commands us to obey all human authority as a demonstration of our love for Him, and our trust in Him. And if we wonder why, perhaps we should just do what God says and see what happens.

Scriptures and Discussion Questions:

Read Romans 13:1-2, Colossians 1:15-16, John 14:23-24, 1 John 2:3-6
o If “there is no authority except that which God has established,” and “…all things were created…whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities…through him and for him…,” how is obeying human authority showing our love for and trust in God?
o If “there is no authority except that which God has established,” and “…all things were created…whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities…through him and for him…,” how is obeying human authority showing our love for and trust in God?
o How does it meet the command to love your neighbor as yourself?

Read Daniel 3:13-30, 6:3-28. These two very familiar stories from the Old Testament give us clear examples of how we should respond when obeying human authority would cause us to disobey God.
o What stands out to you about the response of the three friends thrown into the furnace? How would you characterize it in terms of respecting and honoring the king? What does the outcome reveal to you about God? How would you differentiate between serving the king (i.e., the government), which they apparently did with excellence, and serving his pagan gods, and how does that apply in modern life?
o In the account of Daniel and the lions’ den, how did Daniel imitate Jesus in his response
▪ to the king’s decree?
▪ to his accusers once rescued?

Read Matthew 22:15-21, Romans 13:7, 1 Timothy 2:1-3, 1 Peter 2:13-23
o How could Jesus command the Jews to willingly pay taxes to the Roman government when they knew the wicked and ungodly policies and activities those taxes would fund? How does that apply in your life?
o 1 Peter 2:18-20 can be especially difficult to consider, but replace “slave” with the word employee, replace “master” with the word boss, and replace “beating” with reprimand. Now, how does that apply in your daily work? Thinking about your own response to human authority, whether to those at your work or to all levels of civil authority, how do you stack up compared to Jesus as described in 1 Peter 2:13-23?

o Scripture commands us to “Show proper respect to EVERYONE (emphasis added), love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor (i.e., the President, the Governor of your state, your elected officials).” When unflattering jokes or comments are made about anyone of those authorities, how do you/should you respond? What would your social media account reveal about your obedience to this command?
o How do you/should you pray for those in authority over you? How often?
• What situation in your life challenges you to respond according to God’s will as it relates to your response to government or other human authority? What do you plan to do differently in light of Sunday’s message and this study?

Pray: Thank God for the privilege of living in a country, imperfect as it may be, that still has people desiring to be here. Pray for the leadership of this country, this state—those with whom you agree and those you don’t; those you consider good and wise, as well as those you don’t. Ask God to guide you in your attitudes toward and actions relating to all levels of authority over you.

Next Steps:

• The Christian life is all about relationships. We are better together, and healing comes when we gather in a community of others who want to think and act like Jesus. If you are not already in a RHC Small Group, join one today by going to the website or the RHC App.

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