Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
To Obey or Not to Obey
The church is to be the pillar of Truth. There is a difference between Truth and fact. Facts are accurate, but subject to change. Truth is eternal.God invests in us and gives us the stewardship of preaching, teaching, and living that which is eternal. That is a very important understanding to have when discussing the issue of civil disobedience.
I do not believe in civil disobedience, but I do believe in biblical obedience.
If we are going to violate the standards of civil government by trying to remain true to God, the objective in our heart should not be defiance; it should be obedience. You have probably seen people who were right on the issues, but wrong in their spirit. They had a poisonous spirit, even though they were technically right.
As a young believer, I read the book The Cost of Discipleshipby Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This book told the story of a man who became militant to stand against the government. When you read Bonhoeffer, you do not sense poison in his well at all, but rather a deep desire to obey God, be true to God, and stand against lies. There are plenty of biblical admonitions given to us to stand against lies. Scripture says to expose darkness. There is injunctive power that we have to do those things.
Our motivation has to be obedience to God and pleasing Him. When you study some of the great people of faith—the apostle Paul in jail, Joseph in jail—you sense something eternal, something of Truth that is coming out of them. They are standing, realizing they are representing a Kingdom whose builder and maker is God.
We cannot be a rebel looking for a cause. We are called to be Christ followers, and His cause is our cause. Things that offend Him should offend us. The things He celebrates, we should celebrate as well.
A mark of a disciple is that they do suffer for righteousness. If we have to suffer for righteousness sake, we should do so with joy and not become victims. A question for this generation of Christians: Have you ever suffered for anything you believe? Is this the norm for the believer, to be willing to stand for the Truth and suffer some natural loss (e.g., position, affirmation, vocation, etc.)?
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Romans 13:1 is frequently taken out of context. Romans 12 is talking about giftings in the Church. The beginning of the chapter speaks of having our mind renewed. The focus of that is how we see, treat, and receive people. When we continue to Romans 13, I do not believe that there is a radical change in subject.
Romans 13 teaches that God is a God of authority, that God is a God of structure. It is notteaching that every personality in power is there legitimately. Obviously, we have tyrants who have grabbed the seat of power, and that’s not righteous. But that does not negate the fact that God is still a God of government.
There are people who believe that since government is corrupt, that there should be no government. There are women who have been wounded by men in authority, and, because of that, they believe that all male authority should be cast aside. There are Christians who have been taken advantage of or misled or abused by spiritual authority; therefore, they reject all spiritual authority. That is what Romans 13:1 is addressing.
ALL authority is from God.That does not mean that every person who stands in authority is ordained by God to stand there. 1 Timothy 5 addresses how to remove a sinning elder. If everyone who is in government was ordained to be there, then there would be no need for us to remove that person from government. If that was the case, then we should never vote someone out of office once they were in office, because that person must have been put there by God. That would mean a woman who was in an abusive marriage would have no choice but to stay in that relationship and be abused. We do not believe those things.
We believe that there is authority. We believe that all authority comes from God, but that it is delegated authority. Whenever anything is delegated, that means there are conditions. We see an example of this in Romans 13:4, for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. The conditions of the delegation are that they are to punish those who practice evil and reward those who practice good. If they don’t, then their authority is null and void.
Therefore, as believers, when the civil government, the family government, the church government, any government structure is teaching us to do evil, is rewarding us for doing evil, then we need to be very suspect of that.
Let’s make sure we have a good spirit. Let’s make sure that our passion to obey God is greater than our offense with a person, a church, a relationship, or a government. That way, we will have the fragrance of God on us, have His authority, and walk in the authority of God.
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!