Do we have to obey the Government?

Everyone must submit to the governing authorities. For no authority exists except by God, and the authorities that do exist have been established by God. Therefore the one who rebels against the authority is opposing God’s institution, and those who oppose will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:1-2—EHV)

It seems as if most people lately are feeling one of two ways: fear or frustration. There are a good amount of people who are afraid right now—afraid of the coronavirus and what it might to do them and/or the economy. We have recently discussed the confidence and peace that Christ’s victory over death gives us.

But there is another group of people that are frustrated—and perhaps angry. They aren’t frustrated with the virus, they aren’t upset that they may get it; rather they are angry at the government. Most people I talk to can’t understand the reaction by our governmental officials—they feel like it’s an overreaction (they would say, “overreaction is an understatement”). Many are frustrated that we can’t worship together; we aren’t supposed to visit friends and family, and many are without jobs and struggling to make ends meet. There may come a time when the “solution” of staying at home will be far worse than the actual virus. It is possible that more people will suffer and die from poverty brought about by a (purposefully) tanking of the economy than Covid-19 itself. Many question the legality of it all—is this even supported by the constitution? The decision of our governmental officials means that there is so much uncertainty about when things will get back to normal—what about schools this year or next year, will I have a job waiting for me, is this going to happen again in a year…We could go on and on—the complaints are nearly endless.

But that doesn’t give us a reason to disobey their commands. Whether we are talking about our national, state, or local governmental officials—we may not agree with what our government has decided, we may think that they are in over their heads, unqualified, and ill-prepared. And yet we are still told to obey them. Why? Because they have been established by God! God doesn’t say when or how he established the government that rules over us, simply that he has established it. In verse four the government is described as “God’s servant.” So when we obey the government, we obey the Lord; and when we disobey the government, we disobey the Lord (keep in mind Acts 5:29, which tells us that we must obey God before mankind, if others try to force us to sin).

Keep in mind that when Paul wrote these words Nero was the Roman Emperor. It was widely known that Nero hated Christians and heavily persecuted them. Years after Paul wrote this letter, Nero would slaughter thousands of Christians—Church tradition tells us that both Peter and Paul died in 68 AD as part of this great persecution of Christians at the hand of Nero. And yet Paul urges his readers to submit to them. And so we submit to and obey our government officials not because they are wise, not because they have made good choices, and not because what they are doing is constitutional—but because God has placed them ahead of us and has commanded us to obey them. The truth is, all those things may not be true, and yet, we are to still obey them. And we are to give them our honor and respect as the Lord commands us to do in the fourth commandment. Can we disagree with them and fight against their decisions? Most certainly—as long as it’s done in a respectful way.

Another thing that the Lord wants us to do in respect to the government? Pray for them! As Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all those who are in authority, in order that we might live a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and dignity. These are unprecedented and difficult times. Many politicians are between a rock and a hard place and often have to choose between two (or more) bad choices. Pray for them. Pray that they would make decisions that are for the benefit of the people, that they would care for the well-being of those under their rule, that they would turn to the Lord in his Word for guidance, and that the Lord would bless their decisions.

If you are like a lot of people, you have had some frustration and anger at our government lately. Praise the Lord for his death on the cross! Remember Jesus’ first words on the cross? Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. No retaliation, no hatred for those government officials involved in his death— simply forgiveness. Jesus kept the fourth commandment perfectly for us, and all other commandments, so that on the cross he could give us his perfect life and we would be holy in the sight of the Lord. His blood has washed away all our sins and we have been declared not guilty. And by his resurrection from the dead a perfect life in heaven awaits forever!

Motivated by God’s grace for us, let us obey the Lord by following his servants, our governing officials.

Pastor Andrew Frey


Church News

Bible Classes:

Pastor Frey is meeting by video on Monday nights at 6:30 to study the books of Nehemiah and Esther. If you are interesting in joining this Bible study, please email Pastor Frey at: pastor.frey@stjohn-appleton.org He also records this class and is sending it out to those who are interested in this format.

Pastor Gartner will be starting again on Thursday at 6:30 pm his study on “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel.” This will be in a video format like Pastor Frey’s class. If you are interesting in joining this Bible study, please email Pastor Gartner at: pastor.gartner@stjohn-appleton.org He will also record this class and will send it out to those who are interested in this format.

Quarterly Voters Meeting:

Our regularly scheduled Voters meeting for April 28 has been postponed indefinitely. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet together in June for worship and other things like our voters’ meeting!

Confirmation:

Similar to our Voters’ meeting the examination of our confirmands (scheduled for April 26) and their confirmation (May 3) has been indefinitely postponed. We plan to have our examination/confirmation whenever we are join together.

Worship Services

By now most of you have been able to find our worship services online, but we will include the notes below for those who might still need some assistance.

  • Important Note: It has come to our attention that some people are having trouble with the sound or volume on their phones or tablets and even some laptops. It seems to happen more with older devices. Here are a couple of remedies that we have found to help. 1) Try listening with your headphones. 2) Try using a laptop or smart TV instead of a phone or tablet. 3) Go to our "Growing in God's Word" Tab on our Webpage and you will find "Sermons". Under this "Sermons " heading you will find an audio of the sermons for each week. This audio should work fine on all devices. Starting this past Sunday we are including an audio of the whole service found under "Sermons" which should work on all devices. We are working to correct this problem, but it will take some time.
  • You can find our worship services at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCsQs-LDzlHE1NTjOaVaQ2A.
  • You can find a bulletin for each Worship Service so you can follow along here: https://stjohncenter-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/g/personal/pastor_frey_stjohn-appleton_org/EqetvOMWflhLsfsLRcDkxSgBL2cnYkpiuk8Klh7d-r_XQg?e=07dSma.

Another easy way to access our worship services is to go to our homepage on our website: www.stjohn-appleton.org There you can do one of several things to find our services:

  • 1. Scroll down to find the youtube link labeled “Now Live Streaming” this will take you directly to our youtube page where you can find and watch all our services.

2. On the top of our page under, “Grow in God’s Word” click on “Sermons” this sill take you to a page that has the video for each service, an audio only version of the sermon, and a written version of the sermon.

3. Also under “Grow in God’s Word” click on “Weekly Bulletin” and this will take you to a page where you can access and/or print a PDF copy of each bulletin. This link can also be found in the description under each of our videos on youtube.

LWMS

Although a final decision has yet to be made, as of right now, the LWMS is still planning on holding their rally in June. This means that elections need to be made on a congregational and circuit level. If you are involved with LWMS, please call or email Kathy Schabo concerning your vote. Try to do this by May 17th. If the rally does take place we’ll try to hold some sort of collection—we’ll keep you updated.

Spiritual Resources For You To Use.

We Are Here To Help

We want you to know that we are here to help you through any troubles you might be facing. Please don't be afraid to call any of the Pastors or the Church Office with any of your questions. We will do our best to be of assistance. We ask for your prayers and patience as we go through these uncertain times.

Please also keep an eye on each other. Stay in contact with those who are elderly or living by themselves or those who may be going through medical issues. If you happen to run into some financial hardships or know someone who may need some financial help, please don't hesitate to call one of the Pastors and we will seek to provide some sort of financial assistance.