Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christ is Prince of Governments

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5:29-32).
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During this long Thanksgiving Break, I've listened to many sermons. i Heard a good sermon on the aspect of Jesus as Prince. On Expositor.fm my usual morning line-up to which I dedicate some time in the AM includes wonderful sermons from Barnhouse, Boice, MacArthur, or Lloyd-Jones. A sermon from Acts 5:29-32 delivered by Martyn Lloyd-Jones struck me. Two Lines of History, looked at Jesus as Prince over governments.

The following represents my personal interpretation & spiritual absorption of the Acts verses and the exposition of them.

We must obey God rather than men is not a license to run amok and freely break the law and become rebellious, of course. God instituted Governments. He is sovereign over them. What is meant here is that where a choice comes to obey God OR man, we obey God. That was the choice given to Peter and he chose wisely.

The concept is, Jesus is savior but also Prince- Governor of nations! He is the Prince of the Universe, thee only one who can govern, the only one who has a right to govern, the only one who is going to govern. But the world rejects this. It needs to be convinced of this, convicted of it.

Of man's history, man's government, what are the characteristics of this? It is quite clear in history and in the bible is that government has been appropriated by man who rejects the voice Divine. Despite all of man's efforts to produce order, the jungle is always encroaching. Man sweats, labors, cuts back the jungle of immorality and yet strife, lawlessness, dictatorships, wars always encroach.

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon is a monumental work. He listed five reasons why civilizations decline and fall.

1. The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.

2. Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace.

3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports are becoming more and more exciting and brutal every year.

4. The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within the decadence of the people.

5. The decay of religion–faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life, and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1787).

Geographically, Paul was a resident of Jerusalem but a citizen of Rome. Spiritually we are residents of Georgia (or Kentucky or Washington) but our citizenry is in heaven. We owe respect and allegiance to those whom God has set over us in government, but our highest loyalty is toward the Prince of Governments.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
(Isaiah 9:6-7)

Let us sort out out our loyalties and allegiances. Let us look inward in order to prepare for a moment which may come to us as it did to Peter, and make our decisions regarding God and man.Will we obey man, or will we obey the Prince of Government?

A polling station, with watchful Jesus over the government...EPrata photo

4 comments :

  1. Hi Elizabeth,

    You study from the writings of Calvinists. You are a critical thinker. Would you take the time to read "The Enigma of Calvinism" and give me your thoughts? I would appreciate your explanation of how you reconcile the many Scriptures which don't support Calvinistic doctrine.
    http://www.thebereancall.org/content/enigma-calvinism

    Thank you,
    Robert

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    Replies
    1. Hi Robert,

      Thank you for asking but no thank you. There are no scriptures which don't support the Doctrines of Grace.

      If you take the time to read "Election & Predestination: The Sovereignty of God in Salvation" http://www.gty.org/resources/articles/BRG-90-20/election-and-predestination-the-sovereignty-of-god-in-salvation

      you might have some of your concerns settled. Additionally, I'd suggest prayer and asking the Holy Spirit to help you come to a settled and thorough understanding. He will do so. And keep studying.

      Everyone who goes to heaven will be a Calvinist, in the end.

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    2. How can you ask him to read information you have brought up but will not take the time to read what he has? Also, the classic John 3:16, you can believe on Jesus all you want but if God didn't choose you, well too bad? How do you reconcile that? Do you have a Biblical basis to your last statement?

      Hannah

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    3. Hannah, I looked at the author of the piece he offered and I am familiar with it and the author. I am not going to get into a debate about Calvinism with him.

      Additionally I can choose to read what I choose to read and decline to read what I want to. I am under no obligation and neither is he. There is no implicit contract obligating me to anything simply because someone on the internet made a request somewhere, sometime.

      Also, he contacted ME with a question about Calvinism, and though I declined to read the piece, I did offer some good material to help him satisfy his query.

      As for the doctrinal questions you raised, I know they are difficult. No one can believe on Jesus if they are not headed to heaven. Only unbelievers go to hell. Including those false converts who talked about Jesus a lot but didn't really believe. No one who truly believes on Jesus will go to hell. John 10:28 says

      I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

      As for hell, it is the default destination of every person born on this planet. Ever. (Except for Jesus). How do I reconcile THAT? The reality is, we are sinners, denied entrance to heaven because of our sin. The fact that God chooses ANY of us is to His glory and through His grace. How do you reconcile THAT?

      As to having a biblical basis for saying that sin causes every person to go to hell unless they believe in Jesus, but that Jesus must choose us first so that we may believe in Him, yes, there is a biblical basis.

      We are dead to all things of heaven and have no ability on our own to choose Jesus. If there was a scrap of ability in us in some dark corner of our sin nature that was actually alive to the things of heaven, we would not need Jesus to have died on the cross to make us a way. Ephesians 1:4-5 is a good start, though the essays I offered the man in the comment above would do just as well if you really want the biblical basis. John 3:16 says

      “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

      and this means all those whom God regenerated in order that they COULD believe. The fact is, Hannah, we don't choose God. We can't. He chooses us. Praise Jesus for that!

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