Relating Properly to Government

Trey Garner September 20, 2020 Romans 13:1-14
Outline

Isaiah 55:8-9 - For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Colossians 1:28 - We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

Psalm 119:129-135 - Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul observes them. The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Your commandments. Turn to me and be gracious to me, after Your manner with those who love Your name. Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Your precepts. Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes.

3 civic duties of every follower of Jesus Christ

I. Be an Obedient Citizen – (vv. 1-7)

A. The government is God’s instrument of authority – vv. 1-2

Romans 13:1 - Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities…

1. we are to be in subjection to the government

2. all authority is from the Lord

Romans 13:1 - …For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

3. disobedience to government is disobedience to the Lord

Romans 13:2 - Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

B. The government is God’s instrument of judgment – vv. 3-5

Romans 13:3-4a - For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good…

1. against ill-conduct

Romans 13:4b - But if you do what is evil, be afraid…

2. it bears the sword

Romans 13:4c - …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.

C. The government is an instrument of service – vv. 6-7

Romans 13:6-7 - For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

1. servants of God – v. 6

2. servants of man – v. 7

Matthew 22:21 - …Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

Romans 12:1 - Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

II. Be a Loving Citizen (vv. 8-10)

A. The real debt we owe – love our neighbors

Romans 13:8 - Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another…

B. The fulfillment of the law – love our neighbors

Romans 13:8-10 - …for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 6:17-18 - But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

III. Be a Godly Citizen (vv. 11-14)

A. Lay aside the deeds of darkness

Romans 13:11-12 - Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness…

B. Put on the Lord Jesus

Romans 13:13-14 - Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Good morning. It’s a privilege to be with you this morning.

For those who may not know me, I’m Trey Garner. I’m the Pastor of our Children’s Ministries here at Faith. I’m also one of the worship service pastors for our 8 AM service.

But I get to spend some time with you this morning, and I am thankful for the opportunity.

I’d like to begin our time together by asking you a question…

Do you think the gospel should impact the way we relate to the government?

in other words, if there was a group of people where half were followers of Christ and half were not…and they were talking about politics or some aspect of our local, state, or national government leaders – should there be a difference in the way the Christians are speaking?...regarding tone, attitude, and content?...

or if we evaluated the behavior towards the government and its laws and policies…where half of the group we were studying were Christians and half weren’t…should there be a difference in the behavioral choices?…

would it be a cause for alarm if there wasn’t?...

there are quite a few challenges that come with area, aren’t there?...

1. for example, there’s the character of political debate…especially around election time but now with cable news, as soon as one election is over the next one is beginning…

and the nature of the way government leaders speak to/about one another…it’s hard to respect that…regardless of what political party you prefer…

2. Then there’s the issue of the decisions our government leaders sometimes make…

I’m sure we could get a pretty good debate going about mask mandates…or whether the government should have the power to close down restaurants or businesses or even churches…

if I just said the phrase “the way our government has handled the pandemic”…that would probably lead to a spirited debate…

sometimes by people who can barely get to class on time…

but to hear them tell it – if they had been in charge, no one would have died, the economy would not have been affected, and all hospitals and health-care workers would be safe and doing well…but that government – they messed it all up…

3. Or we could talk about the way the government spends our money…

in the providence of God…I had the privilege of preparing this message on September 15th…- and I realize you might say – so?...

well, that tells me you’re not self-employed…

but pastors are…at least for the purposes of social security…which means we have to pay our taxes quarterly…

it also means we pay both sides of the social security tax…whereas most people pay half and their employer pays the other half…

for pastors, 13.5% of our salary comes right off the top with no possible deductions at all…and that’s before we talk about federal, state, and local taxes which we also pay quarterly…

that means days like September 15th require us to send a fairly good-sized chunk of money to the gov-ment…

and when you see the way some of those funds are subsequently spent…it makes you scratch your head…

and when you sit down with a financial planner who says – by time you retire, the Social Security fund will probably be depleted, so you better not count on receiving anything back from that…statements like that can put you in a rather bad mood…

4. We could talk about key decisions our government or supreme court has made…the best civic and legal minds in our country…

like the 3/5 compromise, determining that African American citizens should be counted as 3/5 of a person when determining the population of a state and its number of representatives in Congress…

or the terrible scourge of abortion…since Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973, an estimated 61 million infants have been killed in their mother’s womb…in a country of 330 million people, that is an astounding percentage…our government allows that…

we could give examples like this all morning long…on why it is hard to relate well to our government…which brings us back to our central question…does the gospel of Jesus Christ impact the way relate to this all-important area of our lives…and if so, how?

with that in mind, please open your Bible to Romans chapter 13…

our church’s theme this year is – Celebrating God’s Truth

although no one would have known it last November when we were putting this series together, the last 6 months or so have been a real test of where we’re going to go to find comfort, and answers, and direction…

your chosen epistemology (source of truth) is always an important issue…but when the pressure’s on – the importance of getting that right increases exponentially…

the challenge is – a fair amount what God has to say about life and godliness has a way of cutting against our grains…

it’s like the Lord explained through the prophet Isaiah…Isaiah 55:8–9 - For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

well, when you tie that together with our annual theme – this means we’re sometimes—perhaps even often—called upon to celebrate that with which we may not naturally agree…or may not like…

but that’s a church’s job…Colossians 1:28 - We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

when you step back and ask yourself – from a process perspective, how does that actually happen?...the answer is – oftentimes – with a whole lot of sparks…

because God’s Word is grinding off the aspects of who we are that are unlike His Son…

and we have to decide… Are willing to celebrate that?…Can we stand with the Psalmist and say…

Psalm 119:129–135 - Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul observes them. The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Your commandments. Turn to me and be gracious to me, after Your manner with those who love Your name. Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Your precepts. Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes.

so when you put all of this together – you ask yourself – can you celebrate God’s truth even when what He’s saying about a particular area of your life is dramatically different than what you think, or what you like, or what you desire?...

one area of life where that principle is particularly put to the test is …is how followers of Christ respond to our governments…

with that mind, let’s read this important chapter

Romans 13:1-14

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.

8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

we’re talking this morning about Relating Properly to Government…and with the time we have remaining, let’s think about 3 civic duties of every follower of Jesus Christ

I. Be an Obedient Citizen – (vv. 1-7).

how many of you like the word obedience?...you just wake up in the morning and think – I want to obey somebody today?...and I really hope it is someone from the government?...

were the first words that came out of your mouth when you began talking something like…”yes Maam” or “Yes Sir”…or “I will obey right away?”…

or was it something else?...isn’t that amazing that we could contact all the living mothers of every person in this room this morning and they would all answer that question exactly the same way?...

and that tells us that the fundamental problem wasn’t whatever law or rule we were being given…the issue is the rebellious nature of the human heart…

thankfully, the gospel calls us to something different, and empowers us to be something different…why, according to these verses?...

A. The government is God’s instrument of authority – vv. 1-2

Romans 13:1 - Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities…

so…

1. We are to be in subjection to the government.

and please don’t say – I will be, as long as “my guy” wins in November…

that’s not the way it works…

Our church was planted in 1964… We’ve been ministering here in Lafayette for 56 years now…

during that time, this country has had 10 different presidents…6 republicans and 4 democrats…Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump…

our church has tried to obey this passage of Scripture regardless of who was president…honestly, sometimes that has been easier than others…

and by the way, if Hillary Clinton had been president instead of Donald Trump, we’d be having the same message…

and here’s something else to chew on – let’s just say Hillary Clinton was our president right now, it would have been very interesting to have watched the way we would have responded to any lock-down measures she would have tried to enact related to COVID 19…I honestly wonder what kind of citizens we would have been?...

now, lest any of that give you heartburn…what you think of the people I just named, or of either one of the two candidates running for the presidency in this upcoming election…you realize that what we’re being asked to obey was not even in the same league of what the Roman church was being asked to do when this letter was originally written…

we don’t know anything about that level of challenge…yet the principle could not be clearer…[repeat verse]…

I would encourage you to make a commitment in your heart right now – that whoever wins the election in November…although it might be interesting to see when we actually know the final outcome of the election…that you will determine you’re going to follow this principle…

Lord – if its Joe Biden…help me to be an obedient citizen…

if it’s Donald Trump…help me to be an obedient citizen…

and that’s true on a state and local level as well…

and the reason is given in the very next phrase…

2. All authority is from the Lord

Romans 13:1 - …For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

it couldn’t be much clearer than that…

and you might say – how in the world could the Lord allow some people to gain a position of authority in our world, or our state, or our community?...

remember the verses from Isa 55?...His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts…

in some cases, it may hearken back to a principle we learned in our study of chapter 1…the wrath of God is being revealed…

why did the Lord allow Israel’s very first king to be a disobedient, rebellious, jealous man like king Saul?...

it goes back to the well-known saying – be careful what you wish for…because sometimes in His judgment, God will give you what you want…

remember another haunting phrase in Romans 1…God gave them up…God gave them over…you never want to find yourself at the end of that phrase…

and let me just say this about that – if you don’t have a place for the wrath of God in your working theology of life, I honestly wonder how you’re making sense of everything going on in our world today…

but these principles about the sovereignty of God can bring peace and comfort to our troubled hearts…along with a challenge…

3. Disobedience to government is disobedience to the Lord

Romans 13:2 - Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

this is why there absolutely ought to be a profound difference in the way followers of Christ respond to our government compared to those who don’t yet know the Lord…

and a good question for each of us to ask is – is that difference apparent in my life?...

am I factoring the sovereignty of God into the choices I’m making and what would have to be different to make that truer in the upcoming days?...Paul goes to explain…

B. The government is God’s instrument of judgment – vv. 3-5

Romans 13:3–4a - For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good…

it doesn’t bother me when a police officer is behind me when I’m driving the speed limit…I’ll let you complete that thought if you want…

1. Against ill-conduct

Romans 13:4b - But if you do what is evil, be afraid…

the government’s job is not to make everyone feel comfortable and happy…the best way to stay on the right side of the law is to keep the law…

and please don’t miss this detail…

2. It bears the sword

Romans 13:4c - …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.

does everyone here understand what you do with a sword?...

the relevance of this passage to where we live right now is breathtaking…

and yes, every police officer will stand before God someday for the way he exercised this authority….and anyone who misuses his/her power should be held to same level of accountability…

but let’s be very clear about this – the biggest problem in this country is not abusive policing…it’s a lawless citizenry…

but before you start thinking, “Yeah, some of those other people really are bad”…let me be very clear…I’m not just talking about “out there”…I’m also talking about the people in here…We need to recognize that the propensity for lawlessness exists in every human heart…including yours and mine

but if you’re adopting a philosophy of social justice that feeds the rebellion that exists in the human heart…you’ve adopted a false gospel…

you very well may end up promoting rebellion and lawlessness…and put others in a position where they are less likely to come to Christ as the only true way to DEAL with the rebellious sin that resides in all of our hearts…

that’s one of the reasons this verse by verse study of the book of Romans is so important…

Do you really believe in the doctrine of the total depravity of man?...you cannot study the first 3 chapters of this book and come to any other conclusion…

that’s why the gospel of Jesus Christ is mankind’s only hope…and its only in and through Him that we could possibly respond to imperfect government in a way that honors Him…

C. The government is an instrument of service – vv. 6-7

Romans 13:6–7 - For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

1. Servants of God – v. 6

2. Servants of man – v. 7

now thankfully, we live in a participatory democracy…so there is nothing wrong with us reminding our elected officials from time to time from where their authority is derived…

but I can’t withhold my quarterly tax payment this week because I don’t like something the government is doing…

Matthew 22:21 - …Then He *said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

by the way, this is why we have so hard to collaborate with our state/local officials on our COVID-19 response…

we should be very thankful for our state/local leaders…

Governor Holcomb – said very early on that churches were essential services…

we never had to close our offices if we didn’t want to…

he allowed churches to return very early…very few restrictions

Dr. Adler – has been very accommodating – they approved our CFN at the Amphitheater last Sunday night – and we’ve done everything possible to submit to the health department’s authority [cf. limiting the number of tickets last Sunday night]…

I would just pause and ask every person here – how are you doing at “celebrating God’s truth” on this particular issue?...and are there changes you need to make in both the inner and outer man to come more in line with God’s Word on this matter?...

also, are you committed to continuing to obey this passage regardless of who wins the election…[or if the election results in a tie…and the House of Representatives has to decide who the next president would be]…

  • also, I realize that a number of people that attend our church…particularly at our West campus…are citizens of a different country…Your situation may be far more challenging than any of us from this country could even begin to understand?...But God’s Word is sufficient for any country in the world…and we would be very interested in learning more about your cultural situation so we would know how to pray for you more effectively now and when you return to your home country…

[also please be sure to pray for those who would normally be here this fall involved our international student ministry…but are still in their home country because of the pandemic]…

also – if you are really struggling here, could that be a sign that you don’t yet know Christ?...remember how this passage began at the key transition in chapter 12 verse 1…

Romans 12:1 - Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

if you’ve not yet experienced the mercies of God, it will be impossible for you to be this kind of citizen, at least in a way that is drawing on God’s power to achieve God’s purposes…

now, the passage goes on to affirm this…not only be an obedient citizen, but also…

II. Be a Loving Citizen (vv. 8-10).

it’s amazing how Paul builds on the issue of owing our taxes…

it’s almost as if he says…if you think that’s a significant debt…listen to this one…

A. The real debt we owe – love our neighbors

Romans 13:8 - Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another…

one of the questions we have to answer when we cross the line from verse 7 into verse 8 is, are we still talking about the way we relate to government, or is this really an entirely different subject?...

and we can’t be dogmatic on that – but we set this message up the way we did because there’s no doubt that what would help our government, and any government…would be citizens who genuinely chose to love one another…

this is one of the reasons we are trying to be very careful during the pandemic…

I know that people are getting very tired of masks, and social distancing, and hand sanitizer, and all the restrictions…

but let’s not forget the fact that for a segment of our population, this virus can be deadly…lest anyone want to roll their eyes on that one, we’ve had 2 members of our own church family die of COVID this year…

there’s also the issue of making a statement to all our healthcare workers who continue to put their lives on the line everyday…

then there are all the educators who are taking on significant risk to do in-person instruction…

there are business owners who are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and regrettably some of our local businesses have had to close…

so the most loving thing to do is to be as cautious as we possibly can be…

we faced this last Sunday night…

Pastor Viars explained to the folks who attended that we assumed we would have to hold our September Church Family Night virtually…

But at our pastors/deacons meeting last month – several of the guys suggested that we try to do it outside…

so we had about 3 weeks to put that together…

one of the first steps we took was to contact the County Health Department…they have been great to work with…and we’re submitting ourselves to them…

so we came up with a plan that used about half the available seats in the Amphitheater..

so we made 800 tickets available for the event on-line…that’s more than we normally have attend a CFN, so we thought we were fine…

On Saturday afternoon, we learned that we had reached that limit…so we had to decide what to do…and we stopped distributing tickets…

sure enough, we started receiving text messages late Saturday night – “hey, I’m trying to get tickets for CFN and it says the event is closed”…

the challenge with distributing free tickets…you can never predict how many no-shows you might have…

and you can see by this picture – we probably could have safely seated 50-100 more people…

and sure enough, we talked to some church members this week who told us that they tried to get tickets and weren’t able to – and we feel terrible about that…

but friends – our government needs the people of God, and everyone else, to remain vigilant in all of this…

and at some point it has always come down to whether we are willing to sacrifice ourselves in order to love our neighbors…and its always wise to err on the side of love…

[if time – discuss the Christian group that has asked us to get behind an effort to deem the Governor’s lock-down orders to be unconstitutional – that’s hardly what the Governor needs from the people of God during a pandemic…]

Paul goes on to explain…

B. The fulfillment of the law – love our neighbors

Romans 13:8–10 - …for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

now please remember where we are in the book of Romans…

we’re certainly not saying that a person is saved by keeping the law…that would contradict everything we studied in the early chapters…

but once you have admitted and repented of your sin and placed your faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ…your sin is forgiven, and Christ’s righteousness is placed on your account…

and now your union with Christ frees you to want to keep God’s law…

Romans 6:17–18 - But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

let me give you a practical example of this… Right now, you’re sitting in an auditorium that’s about thirty-four years-old…Our church began using this space in 1986…

Aside from knocking down four walls to give us a little more seating and addressing a some aesthetic elements…this space is pretty much the same as it was in 1986…

The same can’t be said for the size of our church family… Our church family is about six times the size it was in 1986…

And many of you would know this story well…But there came a time about 16 years ago… when we had to decide if we were going to build a new auditorium to accommodate the growth of our church…

But that was a decision that came with a 9 million dollar price tag… Now, that may not sound like a lot of money today… But fifteen years ago, that was a lot of money…

The challenge was… if you invested that money in the construction of a new auditorium (a space that would primarily serve ourselves)… You’d be tying up those funds in a building that would sit vacant for six days out of the week…

And if you know anything about the heart our church family, then you know that we want to use our facilities to minister to people as much as possible… We’d use them 24/7 if we could…

So, we had to decide to between two options…

Option 1: invest in a new auditorium to serve ourselves… or…

Option 2: look for creative ways to accommodate the growth of our church…by adding additional worship services in our current auditorium and in other spaces… And use the funds that we WOULD have spent on an auditorium to love our neighbors…

And I think you know that our church family chose Option 2…

That was a key decision in the history of our church…

Because that decision is what led us to survey our neighbors to learn how we might best serve them… which led to the construction for the Faith East Community Center…

In many ways, that decision set us on the ministry path that led to the start of Vision of Hope… Faith West… Faith Community Development Corporation… the Hartford Hub… Restoration Men’s Ministry… the Northend Community Center… On and on and on…

And think about all the souls we have had the opportunity to serve through those various ministries…

That decision opened doors for ministering the gospel to people that we might have never had if we had built that auditorium…

And incidentally, that decision has served us well during this pandemic… when it has been much more valuable to have a variety of spaces in which to hold smaller, socially-distanced services… rather than mass gatherings in one big room…

And it’s all because the Lord led our church family to be more concerned about loving our neighbors than loving ourselves…

I want to commend you for being the kind of people who take the Lord’s command to love our neighbors seriously…

In fact, I would encourage you, while the weather is still nice, to take some walks around the neighborhoods surrounding our church… and get to know some of our neighbors… and then casually ask if there are ways that you or our church could show love to them…maybe by raking leaves this fall or shoveling snow this winter…our country needs citizens who are committed to loving each other right now…[of course, it always has needed that, and it always will]…

This passage tells us that you need to be an obedient citizen, a loving citizen… and that you need to…

III. Be a Godly Citizen (vv. 11-14).

Lay aside the deeds of darkness

Romans 13:11–12 - Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness…

According to this passage… it as the civic duty of all Christians to grow in personal holiness…

As we take the opportunity to love the people that God has placed around us… As we build those relationships… our neighbors and co-workers need to recognize something different about our lives… something that is appealing and winsome…

And that simply won’t happen if we’re engaged in deeds of darkness…

if we complain about the pandemic… or denigrate our elected leaders…

if we take out our frustrations on our spouses and kids…

if we slough off at work…

if we devote all kinds of time to private sin…

You’ve probably heard it said that “if you want to make a difference…you have to be different from the world.”

For the Christian, that’s means consistently making choices about the way you conduct yourself in public and in private that are designed to bring honor to God…

Of course, we understand that not only do we have to lay aside the deeds of darkness, but we also have to…

Put on the Lord Jesus

Romans 13:13–14 - Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

something else I love about that picture – there were a lot of people from each of our campuses there…

Last Sunday night, the weather was absolutely beautiful… it was gorgeous…

There are so many different ways our church family could have used that evening…

But the people who joined us at the amphitheater, the people who joined us online… chose to devote that evening to praising the name of Jesus Christ…

That’s called “making no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts”…

Now, you and I are going to have all kinds of opportunities this coming week to choose how we’re going to spend our time… how we’re going to use our speech…

I want to encourage all of us—through the power of Christ—to be obedient citizens, loving citizens, and godly citizens.

Let’s pray.

Trey Garner

Roles

Pastor of Children's Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.F.A. - Musical Theatre, Texas State University
M.F.A. - Acting, Purdue University
M.Min. - Grace Theological Seminary

Pastor Trey Garner joined our staff in 2001. He and his wife Deb were married that year, and they have two children. Trey oversees our Children’s Ministries, which serves infants, toddlers, and K-5th grade students. He also provides pastoral care for our 8:00 a.m. worship service.

Read Trey Garner's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Garner to Faith Church.