150705 Romans 13:1-7

Last Updated on Monday, 06 July 2015 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Romans 13:1-7

Theme: Proud to be a Citizen of Heaven!

On July 4th weekend, we don't have to look very far to hear and to see people expressing their pride in America. We hear it in songs played on the radio, we see it on bumper-stickers, on social media web sites like Facebook and even on tee-shirts. People all across our country want others to know that they are proud to be a citizen of the United States of America. But, recent events have made many in our country not very proud to be a citizen of America. In God's Word before us this weekend, the Apostle Paul discusses another citizenship that you and I enjoy as Christians. It is a citizenship that we can always be proud of and that we want to tell others about. Through the forgiveness of sins won for us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, you and I enjoy a dual citizenship. We are citizens not only in this world, but citizens of heaven as well. Because of Jesus, you and I are able to say that we are PROUD TO BE A CITIZEN OF HEAVEN!

In Romans chapter 13, God's Word tells you and me how to live as citizens of this world. We are encouraged to show the proper respect to all those who are in authority over us. This respect is to be something which continues throughout our lifetime. Paul writes why when we read: "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Paul gives another reason why it is necessary to show the proper respect to those in authority when he is led by the Holy Spirit to write: "For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you."

How do you and I, as Christians, live out our lives as citizens of this world? We will show obedience not only toward the leaders of our government, but the leaders, the teachers, in our classrooms, and the leaders, the parents, in our individual homes. We live lives that are obedient to the laws established by those in authority over us, whether we happen to agree with them or not. For example, if one of our teacher's rules is no talking in class unless called on, we will not talk to a fellow student sitting next to us while the teacher is talking. If our parents say that we are to be home at a certain time, we will make sure we are home by that time. If our government says that we must pay taxes, then, as citizens of this country, we will remember the words of Paul: "Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then reve¬nue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."

An important point for you and me to remember today is that, as Christians, we are only strangers here on earth. In one of our hymns we sing:

I'm but a stranger here, Heaven is my home;
Earth is a desert drear, Heaven is my home;
Danger and sorrow stand, Round me on every hand;
Heav'n is my fatherland, Heaven is my home

While we live out our lives here on earth, obeying those in authority over us, we as Christians know that it is the Lord of the Nations who is ruling over everything. We know that our stay here on this earth is only a temporary stop, as you and I wait to enjoy our eternal citizenship in heaven.

As we read through the New Testament, and especially the Gospels, we are reminded of the tremendous price our Savior Jesus Christ paid to win citizenship in heaven for you and me. Philippians, chapter two, summarizes all that our loving Savior did to make you and me citizens of heaven: "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross."

How do you and I live out our lives as citizens of our country, while at the same time remembering that we are citizens of heaven? First, we offer our thanks to our gracious Savior for winning the forgiveness of all of our sins, making you and me citizens of heaven. You and I will gladly make use of those opportunities we have to worship and praise our Savior-God along with our brothers and sisters in Christ. In response to the forgiving love our God showers upon us day after day, you and I will make the Word of our God the guide in our lives. Rather than doing things which the sinful, unbelieving world would tell us are all right, we will let the Word of our God be the guide for our lives. Every day, you and I will act and speak in such a way that shows others that we are citizens, not only of this world, but of heaven; proud citizens of heaven, who are eagerly awaiting the second coming of our Lord, and the reward of eternal citizenship in heaven.

While many Americans find it easy to show their pride in our country, not as many of them find it as easy to show that they are proud to be a citizen of heaven. May the Lord of the Nations grant to us his Holy Spirit so that you and I boldly let other people know: "I AM A CHRISTIAN! THANKS TO MY SAVIOR, I AM NOT ONLY A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD BUT ALSO A PROUD CITIZEN OF HEAVEN!" Amen.

We pray:

ALMIGHTY LORD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, WE COME BEFORE YOUR THRONE THIS (EVENING) MORNING, KNOWING THAT BE¬CAUSE OF OUR MANY SINS, WE ARE NOT WORTHY OF THE MANY BLESSINGS YOU GRACIOUSLY SHOWER UPON US DAY AFTER DAY. WE CONFESS OUR SIN AND ASK FOR YOUR FORGIVENESS FOR THOSE TIMES WHEN WE ACT MORE LIKE SINFUL CITIZENS OF THIS WORLD, THAN CITIZENS OF YOUR HEAVENLY KINGDOM. BY THE POWER OF YOUR HOLY WORD, LEAD US TO LIVE FOR YOU. THROUGH OUR WORDS AND ACTIONS HELP US TO PROCLAIM CLEARLY AND BOLDLY THE CITIZENSHIP WE ENJOY WITH YOU BECAUSE OF JESUS CHRIST, YOUR SON AND OUR LORD, WHO LIVES AND REINS WITH YOU AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD, NOW AND FOREVER. AMEN.

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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