Christians and Government Authority

What Does The Bible Teach About Governing Authorities?

Dan Franklin
Nov 7, 2021    39m
Join us as we explore the question, "What does the Bible teach about governing authorities?". The Bible calls us to submit to those in authority because all authority is established by God. Those in authority are God's servants, and our hope is not in human authorities, our hope is in the Lord. Video recorded at Upland, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:16] So if you were zeroing in on the passage that you just heard read, you know what we're going to be talking about is the biblical call to submit to those in authority. The Apostle Paul is going to give us some reasons to submit to those in authority, but I thought instead of just going right into that, I'd start off by giving us some reasons not to submit to authorities because we're all thinking them. We're all like, all right, I hear what that said there, but in my head, I've already got some reasons not to submit to authorities. So I'm just going to give three of them right off the bat, so we can get them out of the way and have these on the table.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:55] Reason number one of why you shouldn't submit to authorities is because authorities often abuse their power. I don't know that I need to spend a long time proving this, we kind of know this, that down to every authority that we have. We know it's not everybody, but we know that there are abusive parents, we know that there are abusive husbands, we know, sadly enough, that there are abusive church leaders, there are abusive bosses, and there certainly is abusive government. And in case you're like we, we're just looking at our life experience, the Bible even says this. Ecclesiastes chapter 5 verses 8 and 9 says this, "If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. 9The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields." What the author of Ecclesiastes is saying here is not, it's no problem, it's fine for oppression to happen. He is saying it's not fine, but he's saying, you're going to wear yourself out if you get surprised every time you see it, those who are in power do frequently abuse their power. And so that's a starter for a reason why we wouldn't submit to authorities.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:17] Reason number two is that even if they're not trying to abuse their power, authorities are fallible, people in authority make mistakes. You know, I remember being in my 20s and being impressed that the people in charge of the world probably knew a lot about what to do. I'm in my forties now, I remember hitting 40 years old and suddenly realizing, like, all right, I no longer can say the real adults are going to take care of things, I'm like, that's me, I'm not a young man, I'm in the middle of all this, I'm a full adult. And I do know a lot more than I knew in my 20s, but not enough that I think that I should be one of the people in charge of the world. But then I look at the other people in charge of the world, and I'm like, maybe I should be in charge of this. It's this odd thing, even if somebody has the best of intentions, really godly intentions, we know parents make mistakes, authorities make mistakes, bosses make mistakes, authorities make mistakes. So even in the best situation, we might say, I'm not sure I should submit to their authority because they may not know any more than I know, and they're going to make mistakes just like I would make mistakes, that's the second reason not to submit to authorities.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:27] And the third reason why you might not submit to authorities is because we've been talking, the last three weeks, we've been really zeroing in on who we are as human beings, and at the core of who we are as human beings is that we are all made in the image of God, which means we are all of equal value before God, which means it could be easy for us to say why is any person in charge of any other person? If we're all equal, why don't we just move away from the idea of authority because we're all on an equal level before God?

Dan Franklin: [00:04:00] In fact, we could look at these three reasons up here, and we could even come to the conclusion just say, you know what? All authority is just oppressive, all authority is just people who want power, they are handling that power so that others will do their bidding. And even when they're not authoritative and rude and trying to get their own way, they're fallible, they don't know what's going on, and after all, we're all equal, so let's just get rid of the whole concept of authority. And while this mindset, this stronghold, this idea that all authority is oppressive, I wouldn't say it's running wild in our culture, there's certainly a faction of our culture right now that buys into this idea full scale. That says, all right, all of our relationships with one another are made up of power dynamics, and in power dynamics, there's somebody that has the power and somebody that doesn't have the power. The one with the power is inherently the oppressor, and the one without the power is inherently the oppressed, and so we need to get rid of all authority structures because all of them are inherently oppressive.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:07] And you might be sitting here and saying, all right, well, I wouldn't go that far, like, I'm not ready to cross that bridge and say all authority is always oppressive. But you may admit to yourself, I'm going to have a hard time with the idea that I'm just supposed to full scale submit to those in authority, I'm going to need some good reasons to submit to those in authority. And thankfully we've already heard the passage, we are going to walk through a passage where the Apostle Paul gives two very, very compelling reasons why we should submit to the authority, and these two reasons are based on two questions. The first question is, where does authority come from? And the second question is, what is authority for?

Dan Franklin: [00:06:00] Verses 1 and 2, Paul is going to talk about where authority comes from, and the first reason to submit to authority that he tells us is authority is appointed by God. So let's look at verses 1 and 2 together, "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. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.". Right off the bat, we get a shocking, maybe for some of us, biblical teaching that all authority is established by God, and that's why we have this opening command that kind of guides this entire conversation, let everyone be subject. And he zeroes in on the governing authorities, but if we were to look through the Bible, we'd see that this isn't the only place we are all called to submit in some area of our lives, citizens to those in government, children to parents, wives to husbands, employees to employers, church members to church leaders, so this covers all facets of our lives. He is zeroing in on the governing authorities and he says, let everyone be subject. Another translation, the word he uses, later on, let everyone submit to governing authorities.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:32] Now, let me again ask you a question that I know, at least for some of you, you're thinking right now. Are there exceptions to this? Are there times that we're not supposed to submit to the governing authorities, or to some authority in our lives? What's the answer? All right, we've got a bunch of yeses, you're half right. I'll tell you, you're half right, you're half right because the answer is yes and no. Here's why the answer is no, there is no exception at all to this, the reason is because submission and obedience, while there's a lot of carryover, they're not identical.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:12] The normal outflow of submission is that you do obey the person in authority, but submission as a whole begins with the idea of a posture that you have to the person in authority. The Greek word has to do with the concept of order, and the idea that you're ordering yourself around this person that has authority, it's a recognition that their authority is legitimate. So here's why I say the opening answer is no, there are no exceptions because there are no exceptions to us as believers in Jesus responding to those in authority as if they are legitimate authorities. And you know why they're legitimate authorities? God put them there. Now, when we ask the question, are there exceptions? What we probably mean is, are there times where we're not supposed to obey everything that an authority tells us to do? And many of you rightly answered, yes, there are exceptions, there are times that you're not supposed to do everything that an authority tells you to do. Not nearly as many exceptions as we think there are, by the way, but there are exceptions, you see this in the Old Testament, and you see this in the New Testament.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:23] If you go back to the book of Daniel and you read in chapter 3, about three Jewish young men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And they're Jews in Babylon during exile, so they're in a foreign land, and the king of the Babylonians, Nebuchadnezzar, sets up a golden statue and says all of the people need to bow down and worship this idol. All of the people do, except these three Jewish young men, that say, no, we're not bowing down to anyone except our one true God. Well, they get noticed because it's conspicuous when everybody's bowed down, and three guys aren't. So they get called into the principal's office, they get called before Nebuchadnezzar, and he says, all right, here's the deal. I'm going to give you one more chance. I'm going to give you one more chance to bow down to this idol, and if you don't, you are going to be put to death by being thrown into a fiery furnace.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:20] Now I want you to listen in Daniel 3 verses 16 through 18 to the response of these men to Nebuchadnezzar, they say, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand." And by the way, did he deliver them? He did, they were thrown into the furnace, and they were delivered miraculously by the King of Kings. Now listen to the last thing that they say, they say, "But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Bottom line, they say we are not going to obey you. Did they submit to him? In a way you could say, yes, did you notice the way that they addressed him, King Nebuchadnezzar, twice, Your Majesty. They recognized his legitimate place of authority, so in a way, you could say there was submission, but there was not obedience, because what he was calling them to do would have required them to disobey God.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:39] If you're going through the book of Acts, which a lot of us who are reading through Acts as part of the Bible reading plan for our church right now. Probably just about a week ago, we read through Acts chapter 4, where the Apostles are told, stop teaching in the name of Jesus, and they're told this by the Jewish authorities. And they respond by asking the question, which is right in God's eyes, to listen to you or to him, you be the judges. And by the way, if you need to listen to a human being or God, who are you going to listen to? You're going to listen to God. So there clearly is a point where you say, all right, there's submission, there's recognition that this person is put in a legitimate position of authority, but there's not always obedience.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:21] Now here's the deal in the U.S., we think everything is an exception, and we think we are always the exception. This is just the way that we live, we assume, all right, that's probably good in most cases, but in my case, it's different. You are not the exception nearly as many times as you think you are the exception. Exceptions are exceptions, that means it's not normally what you do. So there are cases where, absolutely, we are called to rebel or to disobey those in authority, but not nearly as much as we think, and also still in a spirit of submission.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:58] And by the way, in case right now you're looking at this, and you're like, I want to know how this works out and some of the things that we're dealing with right now in our culture, and with some of the COVID things, and with some of the government things? Quick commercial, next week at six o'clock, down in the garage, we're having an elder Q&A time. And I know every elder would love to have you ask deep penetrating questions about how we put this into practice during that time, it's going to be a time for us to talk through things like this. But what we get at its base level, we get the call, the normal way that we respond to our governing authorities that we always submit and almost always we obey.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:35] And the connection, again, don't miss the connection that he makes at the end of verse 1, where he says, "The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted." This is like if you're a kid and your parents give you a babysitter, to rebel against the babysitter is to rebel against who? To rebel against the parents. So if you rebel against the babysitter, you're going to be in trouble with the parents because the parents set the babysitter up. God has given us some babysitters, he's the one that put them there, that means it should never be a light thing when we look at those who are put in positions of authority.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:21] Now, a big problem that we have with a passage like this... And again, this is supported by Peter in First Peter 2, if you want to look it up, Paul is not out on a limb here, this is the consistent teaching of that we want to say, what about the authorities that are not just kind of dumb, and not just that don't know anything, but what about the authorities that are actively evil, that are doing wicked? Are we really saying God has set them up? Are we really saying the God set up Hitler? Are we really saying that God set up these evil people that ended up in positions of authority? Are we saying that? Yes, we are saying that. Does that mean that God approves and just co-signs everything that a person in authority does? One hundred percent, no, God is frequently bringing judgment to people who are in positions of authority and to entire nations. The fact that God has set them up does not mean that God co-signs everything that they've done. But what it does mean, is that even when God raises up an authority who is doing wicked and evil things, God is still going to use them for his purposes.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:30] In the Book of Exodus, was there a wicked pharaoh on the throne? There was an evil, wicked pharaoh who is on the throne in Egypt, and the Jews were slaves in Egypt. And not only were they slaves under the thumb of this pharaoh, but their young boys were being put to death so that they wouldn't multiply and outnumber the Egyptians. There was a wicked man on the throne and listen in Exodus Chapter 9 verse 16 to what God says to this wicked man. He says to the pharaoh, "But I have raised you up a for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Who raised up the wicked pharaoh God raised up, he doesn't say I don't know how you ended up in power, he says, I raised you up, I put you in this position specifically so that you would have a hard heart refusing to let my people free so that I would put my wonders on display and not only would you know that I'm the true God, but the whole Earth, that three thousand five hundred years later, we'd still be talking about the glorious things that God did.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:44] God is in charge of everybody who is in a position of authority, which means that we submit to them, not because of them, but because of God. And again, when we look at this and we're like, why would God do it this way? We can't understand how certain people are in power. Some of you right now are thinking of people in positions of authority and you're like, I wouldn't put them there, in fact, I didn't vote to put them there. If I'd had my way, they wouldn't be there. I just want you to pause and think of the number of things in your life that you would have done differently than how God did. And if you're old enough, you have a long list of things that you are so grateful that God did it his way instead of your way. Anybody with me on this?

Dan Franklin: [00:17:32] Do you have a story like that? Where you're like, God, this was the path I was choosing, and God thwarted you and did it a different way because he knows a lot of stuff that you don't know. When we look at that and say, why is this person my teacher? Why is this person my leader? Why is this person an elder? Why is this person in this position of authority? We can trust that even if we don't understand what God is up to, God is up to something. God is in charge, and we submit to authority because God has established the authorities.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:04] Now here's what we're going to do. We're going to do something participatory right now. The sermon is not over, so don't think it's over because there's more to be said. We're only like halfway through the passage, but we're going to pause right now and we're going to put into practice a way that we, as believers, are meant to submit to those in authority.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:22] The Apostle Paul once again and First Timothy Chapter 2 verses 1 and 2 says this, and he's speaking about church gatherings, in particular, "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people." And then he narrows it down, "For kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." The goal of us as believers is not to be a thorn in the side of those in authority, even though sometimes we do have to say no to things that are asked of us. Our response is to pray for them.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:01] And by the way, this is that passage that just gets discovered by a different political party every four years or so. Like President Trump gets elected, and a bunch of Republicans who forgot about this verse for eight years are like, do you guys notice this is in the Bible? We should pray for the president. And then Biden gets into the White House and all the Democratic Christians are like, hey, did you guys notice this? We didn't see it for the last four years, but here it is, we should do this. You should do this when the person you didn't vote for is in the White House, or in the governor's seat, or your teacher, or your parent, we should be praying for those in authority.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:38] So we're going to do that now. We're going to take a pause in the message and put this into practice. And I'm going to ask you just go ahead and stand up, get into groups of about four or five with just people around you. Pray by name for people who are in authority. Pray for President Biden, pray for Vice President Kamala Harris, pray for Governor Newsom, pray for the people in authority, and in a couple of minutes we'll regather.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:05] Father God, you are the one with all power. Lord Jesus, all power and authority has been entrusted to you. Father, we pray for those, the government officials that you've placed over us at this place and time. Father, we do pray for President Biden. We do pray for Governor Newsom. We pray for our senators, for our representatives, we pray for those who you've placed in a position of influence. And, Father, we pray first for your blessing for them, we pray that you lead us to be a blessing to them. And, Father, we pray for your divine wisdom and guidance in the decisions that they make, that they will be a blessing to those who have been placed under their care and authority. Lead us as a church to trust you enough to submit and to be led by those that you've placed in authority. In Jesus' name, Amen. All right, you can grab your seats again as we continue. And by the way, as you're grabbing your seats, if you're not doing that on a regular basis, I encourage you to do that on a regular basis. Maybe there's one day a week that you just say, this is the day that I pray for those who are in authority to make sure that my heart is soft to them and that I'm recognizing that we submit to authority, not because we think they're smarter than us, not because we think that they deserve their position, but because God and his divine wisdom has placed them there. That's the first reason why we submit to authorities.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:36] The second reason, verses 3 and 4, is that not only is authority appointed by God, but authority is appointed for good. In other words, there's a purpose for which people are put in authority, and we respond to that. Verse 3 begins, "For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong." Now, quick pause, is that always true? No, you guys are like, I had a teacher one time, out to get me, just absolutely out to get me. We look at this, and immediately, once again, because we're Americans, our minds go to the exception. We're like, that's not always true, it's always sometimes there are people in authority that are out to get people that are doing good. By the way, do you think Paul knew that that was true? Paul is preaching the message of Jesus, Jesus was put to death by the Roman and the Jewish authorities, I think Paul knows that sometimes authorities are going after people who are doing good. And not only did Paul know this about Jesus, Paul knew this about himself. He is going around spreading the message of Jesus, the best thing that he could be doing, and he's constantly being thrown in prison by the Jewish and the Roman authorities. Paul knows they're exceptions to this.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:59] Now I want you just to think about this. Paul, who knows very well that there are exceptions to this because he's been thrown in prison for doing good, Paul doesn't feel like he even needs to put in a qualifier to this. What do you think that tells you about the amount of exceptions there are to this rule? I mean, even Paul who experienced the exceptions feels like I don't even need to say that this isn't always true because it is so frequently true that we live under that general assumption. That you live under the general assumption that they're not out to get you, kids, your parents are not out to get you, not out to punish you for doing...Sometimes parents are going to mess up, we have sinful actions too, so we're not going to be perfect in this. But in general, there are not very many parents who are like, how can I create more drama in my life by having conflict with my kids? Parents are not, in general, looking to do this. Teachers are not, in general, looking to do this. Even though I did have one teacher in high school that I was like, this guy's out to get me. Although the worst he did to me was put my name up on the board one time when I hadn't done anything, but man, I was steamed about that. But even that one teacher in all the teachers I've ever had, I feel like, in some way as a forty-three-year-old, I'm like, yeah, he was kind of out to get me. That's one of many, it is the exception to the rule. In general, this is not the case, rulers and people in authority are not out to create drama, they're not out to punish you or terrorize you if you do what's right.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:34] He then asks the question, he says, "Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended." All right, all drivers in this room. Yeah, you already know where this is going. When you look in the rearview mirror and you see that a cop is back there, what's the first thought that you have? The first thought that most of us have is, oh no. that's the first thought I have every time, whether his lights are on, or whatever it is, I look back and I see others a cop there, oh no. And a lot of the times I look down and realize I'm not speeding. I'm like, oh, I don't need to worry about it, I'm not speeding. But do you know why I think, oh no? Because sometimes I am speeding, and he would be legitimate for giving me a ticket for that. Now, if I wanted to get to a point that any time, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a cop back there that I didn't need to say, oh no. Do you know what I could do? Not speed ever, he's not out to get me, but if I'm going to live in a way that I'm frequently putting myself in a position where I could be punished, I've got to be constantly worried about it. And Paul says, do you want to be in a position.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:48] I remember when I was a youth pastor, and it was kind of mean that they didn't know what was coming. I was talking to the students, and I just said to them, you know, have you ever had the time that your parents walk into the room and you're scrambling to hide something from them? I said, do you want to get to the point that you would never? I'll tell you a secret of how you would never have to hide any of that from them again, they're all leaning forward like, oh my gosh, he's going to tell us how to get away with stuff from our parents. And I just said, well, don't do anything that you would need to hide. And they're like, oh man, you tricked us. If we are doing what's right, we don't need to be constantly worried that we're going to be caught for what we're doing.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:26] So we live our lives, and this is something that's important, and again, there are exceptions, but I'm going to speak as if the rule is the way that we live. If you are under the authority of your parents, and you're constantly in trouble with your parents, it is your fault. They are not out to get you; it is your fault that you're constantly in trouble with your parents or with the teacher. If you have a job, and you're constantly in trouble with your boss, and you're just like, I don't know what's with this guy, he's just always upset with me. It is your fault, almost all the time, it is your fault for being in that position. If you are constantly in legal trouble, it is your fault. If you weren't constantly doing things to put yourself in that position, you wouldn't have people come in to bring consequences to you. And once again, some of you are like, but, but, yeah, yeah, there are exceptions. Don't live by the exception, don't live as if the exception is the norm. Paul, who was thrown in prison for preaching the gospel, is telling us they are not out to get you. On the whole, authorities are not out to get you.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:32] In fact, in verse 4, twice, Paul says that those in authority are God's servants. He says, "For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer." Those in authority are God's servants. In other words, it's good that we have people in authority, God is a God of order, and God is a God of justice. And while God's will is never going to be fully done here on Earth as it is in heaven until Jesus returns, when the gates are swung open wide and Jesus returns, God wants justice in the land. And the way that he looks to get justice in the land is not sort of like in the Book of Judges, where just everybody's doing what's right in their own eyes, it's by having people in authority that reward those who do good things, and that punish those who do bad things.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:39] And he says in here, they bear the sword for nothing, which shorthand means, that those who are in authority have the power of force, and it's legitimate for them to have the power of force. Certainly, the death penalty is part of what Paul has in mind here. But even if you're going to eliminate that, the ability to punish, the ability to throw somebody in prison. He says, yeah, governing authorities have that power, and it's good that they have that power, because society needs to have order to it. They're God's servants in that. So part of why we pray for those in authority, and why we submit to those in authority, is because we don't want to make it harder for order to happen in a chaotic world.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:20] And also, there's a message in this, you know, all of us, every single human being, is in a relationship where we need to submit. You know, again, children to parents, wives to husbands, employees to employers, citizens to the government authorities, church members to church leaders, all of that, we're all in a position where we need to submit. Also, most of us, if not all of us, at some point in our lives, will be in a position where we're in authority and people are supposed to submit to us. If you're a parent, that's part of your life, part of your life is that you are a person who has authority. And this is partly a message to us to say, when you're in authority, do you know what that means? That means you're not an authority just so that you can say, finally, I get my way, you're in authority to be an agent of order in a chaotic world, and to look to bring reward for good behavior, and to look to bring appropriate consequences for bad behavior. It's true if you're a parent, it's true if you're a teacher, it's true if you're an employer, it's true if you're a government official, it's true if you're a leader within the church. Part of God's calling for you is not to say, finally, I get to do it my way, but to say, how can I use this position of authority to help bring order through rewarding good behavior and bringing consequences for bad behavior?

Dan Franklin: [00:30:37] And then Paul gives us verse 5, right at the end, where he really sums up what he's talked about. He says, "Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment." All right, that was reason number two, he says, submit, because you don't want to constantly be in trouble. But he says, "But also as a matter of conscience." That goes back to reason number one. We submit not only because we don't want to live lives where we're constantly being thrown in prison, or we're constantly going to the principal's office, or we're constantly in trouble with the people around us, we want to also submit to those who are in authority because God put them there and so out of conscience, we want to respond to God and not rebel against him.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:19] Now, here's the deal, when it comes down to it, when we're talking about this stuff, the challenge that we still find ourselves faced with, is we still find ourselves faced with the fact that we look at certain people in authority and we're not sure that we trust them. We're not sure that we trust how smart they are, and we're not even sure that we trust their motives. And when we read a passage like this, it could be easy to conclude like, all right, I guess it's our best hope for a good life, and I guess our best hope for a life that's free from a whole bunch of trouble, I guess just the best hope is that we submit to these authorities and that they do what they're supposed to do.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:58] Quick question, is your best hope in human authorities? Psalm 146 verses 3 through 5, listen to them, ” Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs..." In other words, when they die, "...they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. 5Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God." Your hope is not in the president, and your hope, by the way, is not in the next president that you really want to get in there. Your hope is not in the governor, and your hope is not in the removal of the governor. Your hope is not in the fact that one day you're no longer going to be under your parents' authority. Your hope is not that you get a new boss who finally fixes things. Your hope is not that you get some new elders in here, and finally, things are going right. Your hope is not in human authorities, your hope is in the Lord, your hope is in the one that you trust who set up these authorities. So even in your submission, your act of submission, kids to parents, wives to husbands, employees to employers, citizens, to the government, when you're submitting, you are not placing trust primarily in them, you're placing trust primarily in God.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:26] You know, earlier this morning, a quick secret, I'm like the only person that has a smartphone and yet still missed the time change, so I ended up here really early to get ready for this sermon, hopefully, it paid off. But I had time after, yeah, my wife was at the women's retreat, otherwise none of that would have happened because she would have had it all right. I took a walk, and I was having some time in prayer, and I found myself out in the parking lot right by where the tent was. And it made me realize it's been a long time since I've thought of the tent, even though I've got this thing on my phone that says, remember the tent? And it made me just reflect back on the season of time that we were out there under the tent, I mean the over a year that we weren't here in this worship center because we were outside with the umbrellas, or we were under the tent in our parking lot. And here's the deal, I know, everybody has a different opinion of how all of this COVID stuff has been handled. But I know because I see a lot of your Facebook posts and things like that, I know that there's a lot of you in here that think that it was either evil or incompetent government that got us to the point that we were outside so long. So many of you that look at that, and I'm not trying to critique, all right, there’s a legitimate case that the reason why we were outside this worship center for so long was because of either wicked or incompetent government, let's just even grant that for a second. Let me tell you this, I am so glad we were under that tent, I am so glad we were under that tent. God was at work in making a bunch of comfort loving people less comfortable, and that's going to pay off. God was in the work of showing us that, you know, maybe following Jesus should cost us a little bit something, and maybe even just the act of needing to bundle up, or to deal with the Sun, or to have crying kids at different times, made us ask the question, how bad do I want Jesus? I am so glad we were under the tent, even if for some of us, the conclusion is it was an incompetent government that got us there. Can God work through incompetent and imperfect governments? Amen. Thank God, we do not place our hope in those in charge, we place our hope in the only one who truly is in charge.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:45] And by the way, even when the government is outright wicked and evil, even when governments conspire to do the worst thing that was ever done, which was to execute the Son of God, God was still in charge. Acts chapter 4 verses 27 and 28, "Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen." The wicked governments of the world conspired against God, and do you know what they did, they fulfilled God's will. Are any of you glad that Jesus went to the cross? Are any of you guys’ glad Jesus went to the cross? Thank God, we have forgiveness, we have adoption into the...Thank God Jesus went to the cross. Do you know who you have to thank for Jesus going to the cross? The wicked government that God put in charge to fulfill His will. Do you think a godly government would have put Jesus to death? What they did was horrible, what they did was sinful, what they did was evil, but thank God that he orchestrated things the way that they did, because, in the most wicked act that a government ever did, we got salvation. Do you think you can trust God?

Dan Franklin: [00:37:18] Do you think you can trust God when your person doesn't get elected? Do you think you can continue to submit and trust God when there's an authority in your life that you don't particularly like? Do you think you can humble yourself to pray for them, even when you don't particularly like them? This is part of how we, as the people of God, shine the light of Jesus in the world. Not trusting in the fallen, broken, sometimes incompetent, people that God puts in charge, but in trusting that the God of all knows what he's doing when he orchestrates the world.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:54] Let me pray for us. Father, thank you so much that you orchestrated events so that your beloved Son, our Savior Jesus, who we love, went to that cross. We grieve those evil men put him to death, but Father, we rejoice that he willingly went to his death for us. Thank you, that even when there are wicked people in charge, you are not thwarted at all from what you're doing. Thank you that even when there are incompetent people in charge, you are not daunted, you are not overwhelmed. And Father, keep us from being anxiety-ridden, and angry, and overwhelmed when people that we don't approve of are in charge of different elements of our lives. Help us to trust in you and your eternal workings to know that you are bringing all things together for our good. And Father, help us to be a witness and a testimony of the hope that you bring by being a blessing rather than a curse to those that you placed in positions of authority. We pray this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, our lord. Amen.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848