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Sermon #3338

Church and The State (2)

A Sermon on Romans 13:1-7


Romans 13:1-7 ESV KJV
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. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to …

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Sermon Description

Does church history hold importance for believers today? Why should Christians look to the past for insight into doctrine instead of looking to Scripture alone? In the second part of his series on the church and the state, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones chastises the arrogance of believers who say church history is not important. In this sermon on Romans 13:1–7 titled “Church and the State (2),” he argues for the wisdom of modern believers’ consideration of men and women of history handling difficult questions of their faith. This is particularly enlightening as one considers the relations of church and state. Dr. Lloyd-Jones continues his historical look at these particular relations through consideration of the view that the church and the state are essentially different and distinct. He provides four distinctions to consider: their difference in origin, the object from which they were instituted, the power given to them by God, and the way their functions are carried out. The teachings of Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin are given special attention by Dr. Lloyd-Jones as their beliefs are foundational to the development of the influential Belgic Confession and Westminster Confession. These confessions have direct implications for Presbyterian congregations today. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounds on the value of learning from church history as he continues discussing the relations of the church and the state.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The church and the state differ in their origin. The state comes from God as the universal sovereign ruler, whereas the church arises from Jesus Christ as the mediator.
  2. The church and the state differ in their primary object or purpose. The church exists for spiritual ends, the welfare of believers. The state exists for the wider purpose of preserving peace and external good order.
  3. The church and the state differ in the power committed to them. The church has the power of grace and persuasion but no coercive power. The state has coercive power, including the power of the sword.
  4. The church and the state differ in the way their functions are carried out and their officers appointed. The church has elders, deacons, pastors, etc. The state has magistrates, rulers, dignitaries, etc.
  5. The Protestant Reformation rediscovered the distinction between church and state that had been lost since Constantine. The Anabaptists and separatists said the church and state should be separate. Most Protestants said they were distinct but should be allied.
  6. Ulrich Zwingli believed in a theocracy, with church and state united but the state enforcing church discipline. The Bible should be the law of the state.
  7. John Calvin believed church and state were distinct but should cooperate. The state should maintain right doctrine and worship. The church should guide the state. In practice, church and state were nearly identified in Geneva.
  8. The Belgic Confession (1561) said the state should protect the church, promote true religion, and punish sin. This reflected Calvin's view.
  9. The Puritans in England held similar views. Thomas Cartwright promoted Presbyterianism, with its stronger distinction between church and state but also its view that the state should uphold religious unity and truth.
  10. The Westminster Confession (1643) said the civil magistrate should maintain piety and justice, support the church, and suppress heresy and blasphemy. But the magistrate could not administer the word and sacraments.
  11. Andrew Melville told King James VI of Scotland that there were two kingdoms (civil and ecclesiastical) and two kings (King James and King Jesus) in Scotland. King Jesus' kingdom was not subject to King James.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.