ROMANS 13 “HOW DO WE RESPOND TO THE WORLD AROUND US?”

INTRODUCTION:

Now we have received life … what is expected of us?
In Romans 12 onwards Paul teaches us that God’s purpose is to build His church … a faith community designed to change the world.
• A world changing church will be a church committed to the cause of the kingdom.
• Committed to personal life change
• Committed to using our gifts in service
• Committed to genuine love.

Last time we saw that the highest test to genuine love is when we are hurt in some way.
Genuine love knows how to forgive.

Now moving into Romans 13 Paul continues with his theme of a world changing church.
How does a world changing church respond to the world around it?

Romans 13

1. Vs. 1-7 How do we respond to the government of the day?

Rome … a governmental system that was increasingly becoming antagonistic to Christianity.
How do Christian people respond to a government that does not share the same values?

Vs. 7 Is the key: “Give everyone what you owe him: if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.”

Jesus: Matthew 22:21 “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Mentioned 3 x in the Gospels.

We respond to the government as good citizens.
Christians must set a good example.
The only time we should move outside of this is when a government asks us to do something we CANNOT do before God.

2. Vs. 8-10 How do we respond to ‘not yet Christians’?

Vs. 8 Debt free (not referring to a mortgage)
Debt holds you captive to another.

Vs. 8-10 Love is the only thing we should owe people!
Vs. 10 “Love does no harm to its neighbour.”

Our response to people around us should be one of genuine love … love Jesus style!

How?
Seek the well-being of people.
Love is interested in their needs.
Seek the well-being of our community.
Seek the well-being of our city.
Jeremiah 29:7 “Seek the peace (prosperity/shalom) of the city to which I have carried you … if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Christians must be interested in the welfare of the non-Christian society around us.
Be at the forefront of social reform, yet not neglecting our spiritual responsibilities.
Love cares for the WHOLE PERSON.
Jesus fed the 5000 … he didn’t just preach to them.
He had compassion on them AND FED THEM!

3. Vs. 11-14 How do we respond to the spiritual realm around us?

Vs. 11 “And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to WAKE UP FROM YOUR SLUMBER,”

“slumber” =Gk “hypnos” from where we get the word hypnotism.
Conveys idea of being under the stupifying power of … like being hypnotised or drugged!

Satan’s biggest weapon is spiritual slumber. Hasn’t changed in 2000 years!
i.e. Gethsemane … “are you still sleeping?”
Spiritual darkness all around them but they slept instead of fighting back in the spirit through prayer.

It is so easy to allow the spiritual & social atmosphere around us to drug us … hypnotise us.
We need to actively resist that tendency ….
“AWAKE!” Paul says.
Stir ourselves up … shake ourselves out of it.

Why?
Vs. 11 “because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed”

Vs. 12 “The night is nearly over, the day is almost here, so let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light.”
The time of the end is drawing closer.
It is not a time to sleep.

Picture is of an army getting ready for battle in the daytime.
Put on the armour … be ready … don’t be taken by surprize!

Vs. 12-13 This involves our lifestyle.
BE DIFFERENT!
Live lives that glorify God.
Separate ourselves from the works of darkness.

Vs. 14 “Rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“clothe” = Totally cover.

“do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature”
Making good choices … day by day.
Getting our priorities right.

As we turn the light on, darkness must flee.
A God honouring church, is a world changing church.
Spiritual warfare is done in the choices we make every day.
Choices to put God first.
Choices to live according to His word, rather than the values of this world.
Choices to live in the light.

CONCLUSION:

How we respond as Christians really matters.
How we respond to the government, the world, the spirit realm.
Our responses determine what kind of influence we will have on the world around us.
Let’s be a “world changing church” rather than a church “changed by the world”!