Message Notes

I Choose Love
Authority Issues
Rev. Todd D. Cullen
August 2, 2020

Law Enforcement Roundtable

  • Terrance Rice

We have a two-pronged authority issue in society. 

1 - Abuse of Authority

Ezekiel 34:2-4 (ESV)
2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. - Ezekiel 34:2-4 (ESV)

Injustice, division and violence occurs when people in positions of authority leverage their authority for selfish reasons.

  • Abuse of authority can start small and seem innocent but it is never benign.
  • Abuse of authority is rarely contained to a single situation.
  • Abuse of authority causes widespread damage that ripples into all facets of society.

Choosing love means we use our authority to serve others.

Key Questions: Are you leveraging your authority for selfish reasons or for the good of others?

2 - Rebellion Against Authority

Injustice, division and violence is fueled when those under authority rebel against authority. 

Romans 13:1-7 (ESV)
1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. - Romans 13:1-7 (ESV)

The tension that exists for the Christian is that…

  • We are citizens of both heaven and citizens of earth.
  • We are under the authority of the rule of Christ and those who are in positions of 
  • We are to obey the law of God and the law of our society.

We have a responsibility to submit to both Christ and earthly authorities.

Word Study - The Greek word for “subject” used in verse 1 and 5 means to be under, to line up, to cooperate with, or to help carry a burden.

But How?

  • Civil Engagement not Civil Disobedience
  • Peaceful Protests not Violent Protests
  • Lobbying not Destruction
  • Voting not Violence

Government, God and Christians (credit to Skip Heitzig at Calvary Chapel Albuquerque) 

  • Our Role with the government - Christians are to submit to the government.
  • The Rule of Government - Government is ordained by God but flawed.
  • The Reason for Government - Government is God’s servant to protect and to punish.
  • The Response to Government - Government should be supported, honored and respected.
  • The Rival against Government - We should not obey government authority when it stands in direct disobedience to God’s authority.

What Did Jesus Do?

  • Jesus didn’t try to win a cultural war.
  • Jesus didn’t tell us to disobey the law.
  • Jesus didn’t come for a social revolution but a spiritual one.

Is there a time for the Christian to engage in civil disobedience?

A Christian should be a good citizen until being a good citizen means being a bad Christian. - Skip Heitzig

We should only come out from under the authority of the government if it forces us to directly disobey God.

Biblical Examples:

  • Pharaoh and Egypt
  • Daniel and food
  • Nubuchadnezer and Daniel’s friends
  • Peter and John arrested for speaking the name of Jesus

Choosing love means those in a position of authority leverage their authority for the good of others under that authority.

Choosing love means those under authority submit themself to those in authority.

Bottom Line - A greater potential for oneness will exist in our world when those in authority and those under authority submit to God’s authority.